Wednesday, February 29, 2012

POP: THAT GUCCI GIRL

Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Just before Christmas, the lucky Fash Ed got to spend a day in Rome with Gucci designer, Frida Giannini. The resulting feature is in the new issue of POP which is out now. As we looked through the shoot this morning, we thought there was something very AW12 about the look of this collection, like it skipped over SS12's pretty pastel girliness and instead acts as a precursor to the dark, gothic elements which were so strong in Milan.

And the interview, though I may be biased, is a must-read insight into Frida's ability to combine the archives at her fingertips with the commercial edge for now.











All images from POP SS12 edition

FASHION QUESTION: JUST HOW RIDICULOUS ARE MODELS' POSES IN MAGAZINES, REALLY?

Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Most people would agree that fashion photography conjures up a wonderfully different world – completely removed from the realities of everyday life – but to make that point in a clever and powerful way is pretty hard. Step forward Madrid-based artist Yolanda Dominguez, whose most recent piece recreated fashion magazine poses in normal situations. The results, particularly the public reactions, are funny, thought-provoking and revealing.






I don't know what took me so long to find this. The woman with the bag on her head in the Madrid alley outside the grocers shop is genius. I would love to hear your thoughts.


(Via: http://www.itsnicethat.com)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WHAT IT IS REALLY LIKE WORKING IN FASHION

Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

A few months ago, I shared my perspective on getting a job in fashion. I had lots of great responses to that blog post but since then Fashed and I have been thinking that I should really let you know what it's actually like once the longed for job is landed.

Virtually everyone I encounter who is unfamiliar with the fashion world assume it is true to its glamorous myth- that everyone spends their days wafting through impeccable fashion cupboards, wearing designer dresses and impossibly high heels, pointing at clothes. Categorically not true.

This is an amazing world to be starting out in - I still have to pinch myself when to think I attended almost 40 shows during London Fashion Week. There are plenty of things I have learnt since last August which have surprised me.

Did you know that it is not a foregone conclusion that because romebody works in fashion they will be obsessed with being uber-thin? Revelation, right? In fact, one of the things that everyone attending London Fashion Week seems to look forward to most is the food served prior to the shows at the Topshop venue. Most of the senior fashion editors I came across made an extra special effort to arrive early so they could chow down.
Anna dello Russo in head to toe Gucci (image from vogue.fr)
I also love the fact that very, very few people who work in fashion feel the need to wear head-to-toe designer looks each and every day. That's why Anna dello Russo is such a photographer's favourite; she is almost unique in her dedication to wearing looks in almost exactly the same way they were shown on the catwalk. More often than not, you will see fashion editors with a fabulous designer handbag or coat, but there are high street and vintage pieces pulling their look together. Some - shock, horror - don't care at all and slop around in jeans and boots.

Mrs Burstein of Browns (image from vogue.co.uk)
When I was a wannabe fashion journalist, many of the most revered members of the industry seemed gilded and untouchable. Some still are, but in the short space of time that I've worked with the Fashed I've met some people I never dreamt I'd have the pleasure of encountering. One highlight has to be Joan Burstein who founded Browns on South Molton Street. She is credited with introducing some of the greatest designers of our time to London- John Galliano, Jil Sander and Donna Karan amongst them. At the store's press day back in November, she was happily chatting away and greeting everyone as they arrived. To my mind, that is amazing because with a reputation like hers, she could easily eschew anything like that.

Kristen McMenamy in the heart stopping finale of McQ's
 first LFW show (image from mydaily.co.uk)

The Fashion Show holds a kind of legendary status in the public eye. Back when I was merely a super fan, I would watch Youtube videos of some of the shows I'd read about as being particularly amazing. So when I found myself last Monday, walking across a crunching bed of autumn leaves to my seat at the McQ Alexander McQueen show it felt a little like I'd been transported into one of those videos. There was Anna Wintour chatting to Samantha Cameron and, oh look, Salma Hayek just walked in too. Later, as Kristen McMenamy in her white, full skirted creation, froze on the catwalk and was showered with leaves before collapsing to the ground, I got to experience first hand the feeling which had been described by fashion editors when asked, 'What's your greatest fashion moment?'. Their answers invariably referred to the spectacles put on by Lee McQueen and now Sarah Burton had given that chance to a new generation. It was unforgettable.

I'm amazed to think how quickly you can be assimilated into the fashion world. Of course, I'm still right at the start of my working life, but this weekend I delivered two talks- one about SS12 trends, the other about how fashion designers use wool in their work- to audiences who actually listened and valued my views. That's astonishing to me but it's also showed me that once you do get a job in fashion, your learning curve is absolutely massive. Fashion is always changing so every day there's a new development, a new way of thinking about things or a new trend that's starting to emerge. That pace really keeps you on your toes. For me, that's infinitely more exciting than the prospect of a free outfit.

Monday, February 27, 2012

SS12: TEN THINGS TO BUY RIGHT NOW

Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

While most of the fashion world had their eyes fixed on Milan this weekend, London Fashion Week's main venue at Somerset House was transformed into a shopping mecca for London Fashion Weekend. This is the consumer antidote to the press/buyer event earlier in the week. I was representing FEAL in the Vodafone Lounge on Thursday and Sunday, giving a little talk about being on trend for SS12. It was great fun and lovely to meet lots of the shoppers.

Here are the ten items I told them to buy to be right on trend for SS12...

1. SILVER
We blogged about silver just before LFW. We spied a lot of silver around fashion week- usually in shoe or bag form, as well as a brave few in silver jeans. Anything with a silver sheen ties together two of SS12's biggest themes- Under the Sea and Sporty- very nicely.



Silver trousers £560 Alexander McQueen  at Matches

2. SOMETHING LACY
More specifically, white lace. Lace is always in but it's having a particular moment right now. Contrary to its usual reputation as delicate and super pretty, the thicker your lace is the better for SS12. That's why broderie anglaise (white cotton with a cut-out, lace-like pattern) is a good alternative if lace isn't quite your thing. The picture below is a rather classic example of how-to-wear lace from the lovely Erdem. But the couture tee from Oasis is super versatile.

Erdem SS12
White daisy lace tee £40 from Oasis
3. A CRICKET JUMPER
I'll admit these aren't all over the shops but in my opinion a cricket jumper would be a solid addition to the SS12 wardrobe. I love the way Christopher Kane's were styled with silk mini skirts, it's like the most luxe school uniform you could imagine. However, the cricket jumper is also a nice nod to the Olympic spirit without being too literal. And the best thing? They are readily available in the wardrobes of any boys in our lives and/or charity and vintage shops. Score.

Christopher Kane SS12


Vintage Cricket jumper £30.50, from a selection at Beyond Retro

4. A DIRNDL SKIRT
We're not telling you to dress up like Austrian peasants but we are loving the shape of their traditional skirts. One of these, especially in a lovely print, will be a mainstay of your SS12 wardrobe and is super-versatile, dress down, dress up, be girly or tomboy it with a t-shirt and converse. This Warehouse one is not quite so pouffy as many of the catwalk ones but carries the same idea.


Yellow floral £38 from Warehouse

5. PYJAMAS
Ok, not just any PJs but luxurious, silky head-to-toe print, especially paisley, is the idea here. Get the set and wear altogether with heels for evening cocktails. Alternatively, wear separately for a less full-on vibe.

J.W Anderson SS12


Whistles take on pyjamas: top £85, trousers £125


6. BRIGHT TROUSERS
This is a pretty open field- if you're brave enough go for some fluoro/ pastel jeans (the styles below are from Christopher Kane's J Brand collaboration). Alternatively, there are lots of really cute print jeans about, think palm trees and pineapples. My personal choice will be these Topshop chinos.

Christopher Kane for J Brand



Pink chinos £28 from Topshop

7. FLATFORMS
Mrs Prada started this off and there's no sign of the trend abating. In fact, SS12 sees a branching out beyond the styles with brogue uppers to a sandal look. These are a definite move on from the wedge. I love these with a painterly floral panel but ASOS have plenty more, including Nicholas Kirkwood for Pollini's rope ones and more sporty versions.
Floral flatforms £50 ASOS
8. HI-TOPS
Thanks to Isabel Marant's Bekket hi-tops- complete with massive tongue and hidden two inch wedge- the hi-top has gone from street wear favourite to fashion's darling shoe. The Bekket might be the ultimate combination of all the possibilities but there are also plenty of styles which give a sleeker look, as well as those which are more authentically sporty, like the Nike ones below which I will be purchasing shortly.

I spotted the Bekkets at Berlin Fashion Week.


9. MANOLO BLAHNIK HEELS
The FashEd recently wrote about the resurgence of love for a timeless Manolo Blahnik heel. In September it became clear that Marc Jacobs had been hugely influenced by Manolo's Mary-Janes and Mules- he used the style in his own name and Louis Vuitton collections. Every girl should have an elegant yet run-for-the-bus capable pair of heels in her wardrobe and Manolo is the first man to call. Especially poignant as it is the designers 40th anniversary.


Red heels £280 by D&G at My-Wardrobe
10. RUCKSACK
Sporty, cute and easy- rucksacks are already proving popular according to our very scientific survey involving looking at people out and about. If that sporty bit  repulses you then plenty of designers/ stores have done more grown up versions in more structured shapes and expensive leathers.

Carven SS12 (Image from lloyd-evans.com)

Printed rucksack £225 by Diane von Furstenberg at Net-a-Porter

STEFANO PILATI OUT AT YSL, HEDI SLIMANE OR RAF SIMONS IN?

Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Hedi  (via: wwd)

Suzy Menkes has acted like she has known for months; and finally it has been made official by the house: Stefano Pilati is leaving Yves Saint Laurent. His contract is up in one month, and the suits at Pinault-Printemps-Redoute have not renewed his contract. Though on a positive note, his Paris show next week (March 5th) will be his swansong; cue sobs and weeping from the fashion press and an outpouring of emotion similar to the scenes at Jil Sander this weekend. I will also expect a highly collectible collection. 

So why is Stefano out? The informed thinking in Paris is that the PPR bosses didn't think his work was up there in the brilliance stakes, and his collections occasionally seemed very laboured; anyone remember that disastrous scene in The September Issue? They also allegedly didn't like the way Stefano conducted himself socially, with a general implication that he was back to his old ways (he has been open about his drink and drug habits in the past, like in this interview with Vice). Or perhaps after eight years as Creative Director of Yves Saint Laurent, and with founder of the house Mr Saint Laurent long since dead, it is simply time for fresh energy to inject new life into the reputation of the house, which in turn will boost sales.

Commenting on the announcement, Yves Saint Laurent Chief Executive Officer Paul Deneve said 'We are all at Yves Saint Laurent grateful to Stefano for his important achievements in advancing the mission and success of this historic and treasured fashion house.' 

Kate and Stefano Pilati (via Fashionista) 

It is expected that one of two men will take up the post at Yves Saint Laurent. The favoured contender has long been Hedi Slimane the highly creative designer, photographer and art director who ran YSL menswear with a very specific vision from 2001 to 2007. He is in line to oversee the entire creative side of Yves Saint Laurent, an opportunity he hinted he has been waiting for

Raf Simons sheds a tear as he takes to the runway for his second encore at his last Jil Sander show at the weekend 

Also now in the frame is 44 year old Belgian modernist Raf Simons who is leaving Jil Sander this week following news that Jil Sander herself is to return to the label. Rumour has it he was fired because industry gossip about him leaving for Dior had gone into overdrive, and Simons in fact has no job to go to. Whatever the truth of the matter, the fashion industry seems mired in the thought that Mr Simons is headed to Christian Dior. But though it is an outside possibility, just how PERFECT would the art and architecture minded designer be for the house of Yves Saint Laurent? Personally, I would camp out to be among the first to own a Raf Simons for Yves Saint Laurent piece. I don't think I would feel the same about a Raf Simons for Dior item; and I'm sure I'm not alone in this.  

What Stefano does next will also be something the fashion world will wait for with interest. Stefano is a totally lovely and talented man, and I am sure he can emerge with his head held high from all of this.   

Friday, February 24, 2012

LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN'S DAY: J.W ANDERSON AW12 - AN ISOLATED MAN

Note from Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Recent journalism graduate Joshua Drew has been interning with us at FEAL for the last fortnight, and in that time his flair and passion for menswear has been so infectious, I just had to assign him the task of covering Men's Fashion Day in London on Wednesday. So while I was in the recovery position following London Fashion Week, Mr. Drew hit town.

Guest Post for Fashion Editor at Large by Joshua Drew 

J.W Anderson fuelled the fire of menswear on Wednesday, and boy was it a scorcher!  As the first menswear designer to showcase his new collection, entitled ‘Chamber of Isolation’, the venue was claustrophobic to the backdrop of heavy industrial beats. A spooky start to a theatrical collection. Fitting considering Anderson’s background in theatre.

A fitting venue for a show entitled 'Chamber of Isolation' in the old Central St Martins building. 
If the music didn’t have you shaking in your boots then you were most certainly moonwalking, as footwear, in collaboration with Aldo Rise, came in white or black leather mixed with plaid wool. Trousers came in the form of flares, a trippy throwback to the 80s with zip detailing, a theme throughout menswear which we’re loving this season.


J.W Anderson AW12  (photos: catwalking.com)

“I keep asking myself, does menswear exist anymore?” said Anderson in typically rhetorical form backstage. “Everything seems so sartorial nowadays. Menswear is dry. It needs a certain awkwardness about it.” Anderson seemed like just the right candidate to shake things up a little. His gender bending designs steered far away from any sartorial references and instead injected quilted skirts over leather flares. Potentially not every man's dream wardrobe staple and not a new concept for Anderson. Yet it was his knitwear pieces with their rope detail embellishment which proved most wearable this season. You wouldn't have to be a typical Anderson man to pull off one of these statement items.

J.W Anderson AW12 (photo: catwalking.com)
Inspired by the idea of bad taste and good taste he certainly left his collection open to criticism.  His man was futuristic, moody and isolated. Yet Anderson, true to form, struck a confident and rebellious collection. Who doesn’t love a rebel? 

(Photo: Fashion Editor at Large)

LONDON FASHION WEEK MEN'S DAY: CHRISTOPHER SHANNON AW12- AN EVERYDAY MAN

Guest post for Fashion Editor at Large by Joshua Drew

Christopher Shannon AW12 (photo: catwalking.com)

Receiving the NEWGEN MEN sponsorship in just 2010 Christopher Shannon has propelled his label to new heights in only a matter of years. This Central Saint Martins graduate should be hanging up in every man’s wardrobe by next season, and you don’t even need to be a fashion frenzied animal to adorn a collection suited for you, me, them and us.



His collection shown Wednesday was inspired by Matthieu Kassovitz's gritty 1995 film La Haine, and Sin√®ad O’Connor. An unlikely blend that worked by making icons of key pieces in the Shannon wardrobe, namely easy to wear pieces such as Harrington jackets with beautiful paisley detail, parkas with monochromatic prints and great bomber jackets with pristine white lace back panels. 


Key looks from Shannon's AW12 collection (photos: catwalking.com)

“ The boys modelling in the show were actually street cast, and when I saw them in my clothes I thought to myself, 'wow, the Christopher Shannon man is real, and accessible',” the designer told me post show. I couldn’t agree with him more. These clothes were not catwalky crap, it was proper gear for guys. The new season demonstrated sports aesthetic with functional cuts and large zip detailing. Shannon pieces were wearable, functional and most of all perfect for any man who simply appreciates good technique, impeccable design and continuous consistency. Here's to next season Shannon! 

This outrageously interesting backpack is at the top of my menswear wish list.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FRED BUTLER AW12: SUSHI PASTELS AND CATCHY TUNES

Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Fred Butler AW12
Fred Butler is a clever girl- she's created a niche for herself amongst the plethora of designers competing for attention over the fashion week schedule. On Monday afternoon, Fred presented her latest collection of out-there shoes and accessories. Although she mostly works on commissions for editorials and shoots, Lady Gaga being a recent client, Fred uses the LFW platform to show the potential of her creations. For AW12, that's sushi. Yes, that's correct, the Japanese rolls of raw fish, vegetables and rice. Add to that obi belts and kimonos and you'll see that Japan is a major theme here; that's not surprising given the that Butler's aesthetic probably has most appeal for cool kids who are already massively influenced by Japan.

Lady Gaga wears Fred Butler headpiece in the Telephone video (from guardian.co.uk)
Shoes by Rosie Nicholas (image from red bull.co.uk)
The collection is called 'Tank Top-Ranking Tongue Tied and Twisted'. The name gives some indication of all the knots and plaits which Fred has incorporated into that sushi theme so that end result is a collection of origami-like 3D creations in the sweetest of colours which make the wearer look like they may have walked straight off the set of  a souped up fashion version of Star Trek.

A high collar gilet 
This harness which looked like a string of marshmallows was my favourite
This presentation wasn't just about the amazing pieces on show. Butler has teamed up with singer Charli XCX, together they have worked on a track which accompanies the collection and which Charli performed during the presentation. Red Bull brought the two together as part of their Catwalk Studio project which brings together young musicians and designers. Charli explained that Fred had already began working on the Japanese theme when they met so she used Taiko drum sounds as the starting point for the track. The pair spent plenty of studio time together which means that the whole project is a true collaboration as well as being an exciting way to do a fashion show, after all fashion doesn't exist in a vacuum but is created from all manner of cultural references. 



Fred Butler and Charli XCX (image from red bull.co.uk)
I loved that there was nothing literal about this presentation. The song was catchy and the accessories certainly didn't immediately bring to mind a tray of sushi- thank goodness!

Any pop stars/ performers/ lovers of exuberant costume reading, take note, Fred Butler should be on your wardrobe radar!

Backstage at Fred Butler AW12 
An obi/ origami belt