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Central Saint Martins BA 2012 Degree Show

Oliver Ward BA (Hons) Fashion Womenswear

Last night I was lucky enough to be sat front row at the first Central Saint Martins BA (Hons) Graduate show at the new CSM King’s Cross building. Also in attendance was the ‘Fashionable Auntie’ Suzy Menkes, Vogue’s effortlessly beautiful Francesca Burns and alumni Gareth Pugh and Stephen Jones.

Aisling Farrell BA (Hons) Fashion Womenswear, Isabella Newell BA (Hons) Fashion Womenswear


The quality and standard of the designs was incredible. The way in which different fabrics, prints and elements were put together was astounding. From knitwear designers through to design and marketing students, the attention to detail was stunning.

Witty, tongue-in-cheek collections kept the hour and a half show light-hearted with collections inspired by jolly gardeners’ workwear, elaborate human sized ornate Chinese vases, and even an entire collection obviously inspired by Arsenal FC.

Although the garments were the main focus, the way they were styled and presented were also very integral to the whole presentation. Shoes were customised with crystals and foam, and even the tradition fashion faux pas of socks and sandals made an appearance.

Hair and make up was simple and elegant for all shows with some Collections applying their own styling, my favourite including a contemporary take on the 18th Century powdered inward hair roll.

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My favourite looks from the whole presentation

  • Aisling Farrell– I loved this collection. With feathers and polythene balls trapped in plastic it created silhouettes which both had structure and movement at the same time. The balls would congregate in the corners where the plastic had been stitched together therefore creating different densities all over the garments.
  • Alan Lee– Forever a big fan of beautiful draping and contouring in minimalistic ways that flatter and celebrate the shape of the body, this collection was perfect and very commercial. Could have sold in stores immediately.
  • Anita Hirlekar– A very talented print designer who was able to emphasise the shadows of the mixed fabrics that the pattern was synthesised with.
  • Caroline Minar– A simple idea used very successfully. Geometric laser cut patterns were created and used on areas of  garments that flattered the waist.
  • Isabella Newell– Obviously a Gooner; the collection illustrated a new take on sportswear shapes, even highlighted with a pearly mesh Arsenal logo.
  • Lucas Leclere– The edgy Marie Antoinette; a collection I definitely have on my wishlist. Tailored jackets with traditional silhouettes and 21st Century prints, an ideal juxtaposition.
  • Luke Stevens– Spot on styling; the sheepskin coat with black paint.
  • Oliver Ward– LVMH sponsored student who produced absolutely breathtaking dresses. The whole room was in awe; the craftsmanship was obvious, the techniques inspirational; a truly truly remarkable collection.
  • Sarah SimkinsWorkwear I would like to own. pin-stripe and crisp white fabrics over stiff chest pieces created interesting silhouettes with unique shapes. Styling also bang on.

 These students are the designers of the future. and with brands such as Jenny Peckham, Swarovski and LVMH sponsoring five students between them, it is refreshing to see top end luxury brands recognising this and nurturing these young talents with their debut shows within the industry.

Read about the  L’Oreal Professional Young Design Talent Award winners here


Mary Katrantzou AW12 Look 9 Close Up Details

Mary Katrantzou AW12 Look 9 Babydoll dress

One of the most popular looks from the most talked about London designer of the moment, the Greek native, Mary Katrantzou.

Her Autumn Winter 2012 Collection was the talking point of London Fashion Week.

The babydoll silhouette that she debuted in this collection proved to be  very successful in accentuating the print that is always so flattering for the body.

Butterfly detailing on soft, melting leather

Front detailing, leather contrasting chiffon

Back detailing, clear bead buttons finish the dramatic look


Easter in West London

The Cleveland Hotel, W2

Living in the East End and working in Central, I rarely venture West. With a last-minute urge to have a long Easter break I booked hotel for my Mum, sister and I.

After intense research, The Cleveland Hotel is the only hotel it seems in the whole of West London to accommodate for 3 people sharing one room with the option of bringing a dog.

At an affordable price we stayed in a room on the top floor with a large double bed and pull out sofa bed. When you’re in London you don’t really spend that much time in your hotel room anyway so the lack of space due to the pull out bed was not an issue.

We ventured down to the Easter Market at the Southbank on the drizzly Easter Monday Bank Holiday and were met with the lovely smells of freshly cooked organic beef burgers and tempting coffees.

In need of a wake up from the night-before-bank-holiday-head, I tried the organic chocolate espresso by Rococo Chocolates. Slightly bitter with the right amount of sweet, it was perfect. The company also sell beautifully packaged chocolate bars including infusions of Earl Grey Tea, Lavender and Arabic Spices.

I booked a table that night for the Mandarin Hotel’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal as a treat. Walking into the prestigious Mandarin lobby the staff are very friendly and helpful in directing you to the restaurant.

The room is dimly lit with windows at the back looking onto the beautiful Hyde Park. Each menu was wrapped with a lesser known fact about dining which definitely added to the personality of the meal.

With cocktails ordered looking around the room the details that became noticed were brilliantly true to Heston’s fun take on food, including jelly mould lights on the walls and a glass walls looking into the science lab that is the kitchen.

To start I had a savoury porridge with perfectly cooked fish and my Mum had snails that were unusually displayed in a bone-like holder.

Both absolutely delicious and light which was exactly what I needed to prepare me for the 50 hour slow cooked beef special that I had ordered.

The softest meat I have ever eaten. At times the texture of the meat felt like I was eating fat but full of flavour none the less. I do recommend ordering a side order of beans or some other vegetables or starch as otherwise it can become a bit gamey.

The course I was most looking forward to was definitely dessert. Known for being a bit more experimental with his sweet dishes I had already spied this brown bread ice cream as soon as I opened the menu. With a mixture of crunchy base and silky ice-cream it was the perfect refreshing way to finish the experience meal; or so I thought…

With the bill came the most crowning little taste of creamy chocolate. With the texture between mousse and spread a yummy surprise. Meanwhile on the table next to us dry-ice came billowing out of an ice-cream maker whilst the waiter explained how it was made and the fun unusual toppings that you could customise your freshly made ice-cream with!

It was going to be hard to top the dinner from the night before, but I had managed to find The Lounge. A film and fine dining lounge in W2 I was very much looking forward to the new experience.

With new releases and boasting a menu consulted by Le Café Anglais chef Rowley Leigh the ‘Fingers, Fork and Spoon’ menu has all been designed with the cinema in mind. Subtle waiters are available at the press of a button throughout the film all of which allows for an exclusive experience.

eBay and the CFDA present: You Can’t Fake Fashion 2012

eBay and the CFDA have teamed up with 50 top designers to create one-of-a-kind customized totes on sale at eBay’s Fashion Vault.

A brilliant idea, creating a hot bed of demand with exclusive statement canvas tote bags which have been transformed by the chosen 50. Designers used multiple types of media including sketches, embroidery, badges and all other sorts of trimmings to make their bag their own.

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My favourite has to be the Christian Cota satchel tote.  The water-colour-like illustration is dark and beautiful and really works with the bright green statement.

Front and back = amazing.


Alongside the $200 designer totes, fashion fans can buy limited edition, $45 plain duffle, satchel, gear or bucket totes to customize themselves. I think I might have a go with the duffle or the gear!

Below is this year’s You Can’t Fake Fashion promo video featuring Thom Browne, Rebecca Minkoff, and Rachel Roy.

Sorapol AW12 Iron Grip Show at The Old Vic Tunnels

The Old Vic Tunnels

Down in South London, in the walls of a designated graffiti area lies the damp smelling, raw brick tunnels where Sorapol chose to host their Autumn Winter 2012 show ‘Iron Grip’.

Blackcurrant and menthe cocktails quenched our thirst as we stood admiring the many different outfits of the Sorapol audience. An anything goes vibe where a fully crystallized head or gimp suit wearing person might trigger a few looks but would still be able to walk about not worrying about getting beat up.

As the likes of Boy George and Jodie Harsh took their seats, the Russian influenced Collection saw a theatrical opening with smoke billowing and war zone sounds, a juxtaposition to the slow walking models in dangerously high heels.

The first look saw a regal cloak and floor skimming dress which perfectly set the tone for the collection.

Sorapol AW12 Look 1

Following this, Look 2 was contoured with bullet shells set on a rich red fabric that clung to the model.

Sorapol AW12 Look 2

My favourite look of the collection, Look 3 was a red furry skin vision, bound at the back with heavy draping I just wanted to reach out and feel the fabric.

Sorapol AW12 Look 3

Sorapol AW12 Look 4

The first of the furry looks, complete with furry shoes, this coat/dress concoction had beautiful embroidery detail on the back which made the could-have-been-too-drag-like look all that more luxury.

Sorapol AW12 Look 5

An interesting shape for the fifth look. A soft looking black fur dress worn with a restricting floor length skirt styled with an unnecessary skull…

Sorapol AW12 Look 6

Nicely following Look 5, this look saw a heavier take on the black fur, styled with a subtle sparkling clutch and first of the fully encrusted war-time helmets.

Sorapol AW12 Look 7

The most interesting styled look; this stylish-robo influenced look saw thigh high lace up boots contrasted with a fine, soft flowing multi-pleated dress. I liked the juxtaposition.

Sorapol AW12 Look 8

A very majestic look, the military green trimmed dress’ most impressive part was the back, where clever pattern cutting made the fabric jut out.

Sorapol AW12 Look 9

The headpiece in Look 9 reminded me of a Stephen Jones creation, the coat of Cruella Deville; shame the look was finished with glittery gold heels that had a very shallow top. Made it look a bit amateurish.

Sorapol AW12 Look 10

One of my favourite looks, the fox tail touch added class. The best bit was the contrast of fur with the soft armour and movement of the skirt.

Sorapol AW12 Look 11

Impressive origami folded fabric adorned the metallic bronze top with an Evil Eye sitting amongst the folds.

Sorapol AW12 Look 12

Ice-Queen-esque, Look 12 was a contrast of harsh metallic structures and soft demure virgin white fur.

Sorapol AW12 Look 13

Fluid beauty, worn with a strong fully encrusted helmet, Look 13 presented an interesting shape and beautiful embroidery on the train.

Sorapol AW12 Look 14

Super sparkly Look 14, heel-less metallic silver boots, and thigh flaring military shape trousers. Avoided tacky with the extreme use of crystal= can be hard to do.

Sorapol AW12 Look 15

The penultimate look was an interesting silhouette, created by a solid metallic garment that exaggerated the hips. The same fabric was used to create wing like shoulders on which draped the wedding like fabric. Strong and soft at the same time. A running theme of the whole collection.

The final look was a firm metallic dress with white layered fabric which made it near impossible for the model to walk in. Creative Director, Daniel Lismore helped her manage a few steps, but was an impressive showpiece to finish the show with.


The Hunger Games Dresses: Red Carpet, Rodarte and The Girl On Fire Dress

I was lucky enough to go to the European Premiere of the Hunger Games last night!

Walking on the red carpet centimetres  away from the amazing cast I saw, Jennifer Lawrence baring the cold in a lovely gold full length Ralph Lauren dress and 38-year-old Elizabeth Banks stunned in a fully adorned canary yellow floor sweeping Bill Blass dress.

I had read some of the hype and news surrounding this film and immediately thought of 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale.  Rated as an 18 it is a lot more violent than the less gory Hunger Games but otherwise pretty much the same concept.

Having not read the books I know that I would not have felt the connection with the characters that I would have wanted; having said that it was an amazing, hand-over-mouth, jump-out-of-your-seat, gasp-in-shock film.

However, I was able to appreciate the fashion.

Costumes by Judianna Makovsky, Hair by Linda Flowers, Make Up by Ve Neill

Whilst the people living in the Districts were dressed in pale, basic, staple clothes with slight prairie-esque feel (plaits included) in contrast to this, people in the city were overly adorned, a celebration of colour, shape and luxury fabrics. Some of the looks were created by the Mulleavy sisters of Rodarte, are the  extreme silhouettes and outfits maybe a prediction of future fashion?  As for the make up it  reminded me immediately of Illamasqua campaign’s with dramatic contouring of the face and circus influenced shapes.

And the dress, the Girl on Fire dress. Designer still unknown, but Katniss wore a one shoulder, floor length red dress, adorned with Swarovski crystal with those flames on the bottom which came to life when she twirled.

I think I will read the books and watch the film again to relate more to the subtle references that I felt I was unable to appreciate, and look forward to the next film!

The Kooples 2012: Pete Doherty and SPORT Collections

Pete Doherty & The Kooples,  SPORT The Kooples

Influenced by mod and suede head films, personal purchases from Berlin, and smart uniform school days, Pete Doherty has scrubbed up nicely to collaborate with the effortlessly cool brand The Kooples.

A small collection including a three piece suit and t-shirts printed with Doherty’s personal artwork brought together with Oxford brogues and and ‘Grandfather Braces’.

With pocket deer print handkerchief, and pink pocket lining, the devil is once again in the detail as always with the best of menswear.

As for the ladies, minimal garments including a Prince of Wales check jacket with Doherty crest medal detailing is very reflective of a uncomplicated Parisienne look. I love the shape of the cuffs for a different cut on a traditional fit.

I love the whole idea of the one of my most loved musicians collaborating with my one of my most visited contemporary stores; the story behind Doherty’s influences adds to the garments incredibly but if you were to take the name from the clothes they may seem a bit bland.

Yes, the average Kooples customer does know how to put an outfit together but those who are going to end up buying into this collection just because of Doherty better have a good understanding of  ‘dandy’ because they could end up more rock’n’roll wannabe than effortlessly Parisian.

A further venture of The Kooples this year is their SPORT range, faced by french football legend Éric Cantona and his wife Rachida.

Slim fitting polo t-shirts for the boys and weightless zip detail t-shirts for the girls, The Kooples SPORT range is a collection for their off-duty, usually smartly dressed, French couple.

My favourite from the whole collection is definitely these Born to Box sweats for the boys. Look closely and the old-school illustration of a body shot includes high detailing including the fighters’ tattoos.

Grey one please!

SPORT range on sale now, Pete Doherty & The Kooples Collection on sale March 14th.

Fur, Frills and Feathers at Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen AW12 Look 11 Detail

Sarah Burton can do no wrong. 

The Alexander McQueen Autumn Winter 2012 show at Paris Fashion Week was spectacular.

Feminine and striking, silk and leather,  and everything cinched in at the waist = my perfect wardrobe.

The dresses were adorned with laser cut, doily like motifs, playful fur pom poms and ostrich feather trims; futuristic, beautiful girls in dream-like moving, breathing visions.

And the shoes, the SHOES.

Heel-less, fur detailed ankle boots with a metal slither. PERFECTION. Made the girls walk with a goat like manner, prim but with purpose.

Self- Defense class à la Lara Stone

My two loves martial arts and fashion… never thought that they would come in the form of Lara Stone wearing Balenciaga and Prada…

Directed by SHOWstudio’s  Nick Knight and styled by Carine Roitfeld, ‘Get Back, Stay Back’ is a series of films demonstrating Krav Maga, a self-defence system originating from the Israeli armed forces for close combat.

High fashion meets physical combat, who knew!

So to learn how to protect that designer handbag and outfit (as well as yourself) head over to SHOWstudio to see Lara Stone kicking some ass.

J. W. Anderson AW12 Menswear at the Old Central Saint Martins Building

Jonathan Anderson’s AW12 Menswear Collection wonderfully complimented his Womenswear Collection from Sunday. With similar thin quilted puffer fabric, this time in the form of trench coats, jackets, trousers and bags in black, orange and whites.

Thick knit jumpers were again present but this time with cage patterns and cable knit textures and along with head-to-toe optical illusion  looks, brought complimentary variants to the Collection.

All looks were styled with roll neck sweaters and the same thin puffer quilt hats as in the Womenswear show along with  shoes that Jonathan worked with Aldo to create with multiple fabric uppers and ski buckle style fastenings.


Favourite look was definitely the finale, multi-layered, multi-textured, black. Everything I love.

I am a huge fan of Menswear because of the extra and abnormal detailing that doesn’t seem to occur in Womenswear; so I was overjoyed by the news of Menswear having more than just the one day at the end of LFW starting in September for SS13!