Thursday, 4 June 2015

Savage Beauty: Alexander McQueen at the V&A

Platos Atlantis

For months I waited impatiently to go and see Alexander McQueen's 'Savage Beauty' exhibition at the V&A. By the time we finally got around to booking tickets, I'd heard great things from many people so expectations were very high. Nothing could have prepared me for just how stunning it actually was. Everything from the clothing to the layout to the digital visuals and the music was perfect. A compelling, dark and inspiring experience.

Stepping into a dimly lit space, the set up included quotations and descriptions of McQueen's story alongside the highly experimental designs that make up his earliest work. You get a sense that his inspirations have a gruesome and troubling undertone - if the collection title, 'Highland Rape,' didn't make it clear enough...

Highland Rape

From here, the room opened out to the next area revealing McQueen's transition into tailoring. Unlike his previous collection, this work showcases highly technical skills, gained from his training at Saville Row. His fascination with Victoriana is evident in the cut of the clothing and extends further with garment labels including locks of hair - a Victorian tailor tradition. This detail was a recurring theme hidden inside many of McQueen's designs.

Jack the Ripper Stalks his Victims

Moving on from his graduate work, the next room exhibits outfits from several collections displaying the merging of his experimental and technical skills into beautifully made, extravagant designs. Of course, the underlying theme is still morbid and the colour palette mostly black. The silhouettes are dramatic and powerful, the materials gothic and the details meticulous.

The atmosphere and extravagance continues to build with every new room you step into, each one meant to create a full experience. In the next room, the most notable development is the addition of colour and an ethereal atmosphere. An opulent glass cabinet holds five stunning outfits from McQueen's last season collection. It's amazing to think that these pieces were only 80% complete at the time of his death, courageously taken over by his right-hand designer Sarah Burton, who took on the challenge of realising McQueen's final vision.

Autumn Winter 2010

After tearing myself away from staring at the lavish gold feather gown and crystal embellished shoes, I found myself travelling back into moodier depths in the form of a dark cave made from skulls and bones. Here there was a primitive theme exploring predator and prey using natural fabrics such as fur and leather. These designs display expert textile manipulation in the form of weathered beading, distressed fabrics and raw hems. A beautiful pink fur, animal-skin dress had been cut away and worked into with floral embroidery and embellishment and was one of my favourite pieces within the exhibition. 

Another theme that makes a return is England's ruining of Scotland. More refined than, 'Highland Rape,' the collection, 'Widows of Culloden,' continues to explore McQueen's Scottish patriotism in the form of the Mac Queen Tartan. The overall aesthetic is far more romantic with compliments of elegant lace.

Widows of Culloden

Opposite this is a glamorous array of Indian inspired designs from, 'The Girl Who Lived in the Tree.' Experimenting with ideas of monarchy, this collection portrays how Britain's identity has been shaped by other countries. The Indian references come through in the Sari draping and lavish head pieces.

The Girl Who Lived in the Tree

At this point, I didn't think that anything could surprise me more than it already had. And then I entered The Cabinet of Curiosities... 

This huge, futuristic-looking, black space was made up of numerous alcoves filled with accessories, jewellery and one-off pieces made for the catwalk shows. I didn't know where to look first! Luckily, a central seating area had been created so you could spend some time taking it all in. 

Cabinet of Curiosities

Large screens played footage from the shows that the pieces had been used in and the famous spray paint dress from Spring/Summer 1999 twirled in the centre of the room. Amongst all this I also spied the butterfly headdress made by Philip Treacy for 2008's 'La Dame Bleue.'

La Dame Bleue

A few awe inspired minutes later, I moved on to another darkened room where everyone had gathered around what seemed like nothing. A few seconds later, specks of light started to appear in the centre of the space, slowly growing until they formed a holographic image of an ethereal Kate Moss floating in a white, ruffled organza gown.

After Kate vanished into thin air, we moved on to a room devoted to McQueen's interest in Eastern cultures. Exquisite embroidery using Japanese motifs and fabrics is juxtaposed against American styles such as the football helmut and shoulder pads. These designs were a lot more playful and lighthearted in pastel colours.

Next to this was the famous glass box from 'Voss,' featuring a recreation of the trapped models from the show whilst footage played in the background.

It's Only A Game


Nearing the end of the exhibition, romanticism was at its height. The lighthearted feel continued into dreamlike creations in the form of roses, tulle and organza. I especially loved the floral gown, originally made from real roses and recreated in silk for the exhibition as well as the clam shell dress. The whole room conveyed McQueen's appreciation for the beauty and fragility of nature.

The final show space was colourful, futuristic and full of energy. The collection entitled, 'Platos Atlantis,' explores the notion that humans will have to mutate in order to survive in the sea during the deterioration of the planet. Sleek silver mannequins wore digitally printed outfits with signature McQueen Armadillo heels. I particularly liked the reptilian scales that were recreated through acrylic embellishments.

Platos Atlantis

Looking back at the journey that McQueen took, you can clearly see how much he developed as a designer. His daringly creative ideas and raw energy saw him become a world renowned talent. It doesn't come as a surprise that this last collection is regarded by many as McQueen's greatest achievement.

The exhibition is open until 2nd August 2015. If you haven't already been, I strongly recommend it! Pictures cannot fully illustrate how impressive his work is.


Sunday, 8 March 2015

Capsule Collection: Online Shop Launch

I am pleased to announce that I have finally launched my capsule collection online through Etsy! Each piece is high quality, unique and handmade for fashion conscious women who want to make a statement. Shop the collection.

I have also created a new Facebook page for the brand where you can keep up to date on upcoming designs and the latest news such as my interview with Cagecity. Please show your support by liking the page here!

Cagecity Interview


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

London Fashion Week AW15

The start of the new year meant the fashion world were gearing up and getting ready to show us what's going to be hot by Autumn/Winter 15. Once again, I teamed up with Who's Jack Magazine to to attend some of the shows and write coverage. Below are some of my favourite shows I saw this season.

First up on the menswear side was Barbour who were celebrating their first ever presentation at London Collections Men. The event was laid back with free champagne at the door - always a winner - and attracted the likes of David Gandy, who I will never get tired of bumping into!

Barbour AW15

The presentation was made up of live models and clothing on rails so you could really get a close look and feel for the collection. Inspiration came from the 1919 Barbour catalogue and introduced to contemporary techniques, combining heritage with modernity. Traditional tweeds were speckled and layered with camo print and patchwork knitwear.

The colour scheme consisted of three stories: navy, olive and brown (established Barbour favourites). Overall, the look was stylish and fashion forward whilst remaining very wearable.

Barbour AW15

From traditional British outerwear, we move onto international luxury tailoring label, Velsvoir. The presentation took place at London's Edition Hotel in a swanky basement bar. As soon as I walked in, the slick set up of luxurious armchairs, pristine glass tables and ornate floral arrangements gave me the feeling that this collection would be extremely smart and refined.

Velsvoir AW15

After a few minutes of anticipation whilst the bar filled up with guests, the composed models walked out and took their posts on set. We were free to walk around, mingle and admire the collection at our own leisure whilst models posed and rotated positions.

Velsvoir AW15

The collection had a moody, dark feel to it which was aptly conveyed by the dimly lit venue. Bold stripes made up shirts and waistcoats, styled with quirky, printed bow ties which the brand specialises in.

Inspiration came from 'crisp winter days bathed in sunlight.' This can be seen in the sharp tailoring and contrasting colour scheme of moody shades against crisp white. 

Velsvoir AW15
Photographer: Prexa

Moving on to womenswear and one of the first shows I saw - Australian label Sass and Bide, whose show was appropriately held at Australia House. This collection was the new Creative Director, Anthony Cuthbertson's debut show so the pressure was on!

The brand is known for its artisanal handiwork, free spirit and bold statements and Anthony certainly did not disappoint. Stunning metallic embellishments glistened against a monochrome base and there was intricate beading on almost everything from jackets and dresses down to leggings.

Sass and Bide AW15
Photographer: Rosemary Pitts

The silhouette was comprised of structured, boxy jackets over both sculpted pieces and flowing, pleated, glitter skirts. I particularly loved the cutout detailing and lattice dresses. Tousled straight hair and dark eye make up gave the collection a fiercer edge and created a sense of power and confidence.

Sass and Bide AW15

The show I was most impressed by this year was Mimi Tran whose collection exuded glamour! The brand celebrates femininity and aims to enhance a woman's beauty. Models were styled with cascading, glossy curls which mimicked the fluidity of some of the designs.

Mimi Tran AW15

The designs experimented with sheer panelling, glistening embellishments and delicate lace work. Silhouettes ranged from figure hugging cocktail dresses (Mimi's signature) to flared, A-line mini dresses and skirts paired with cropped tops in bold prints. This showcased both womanly glamour and girly playfulness, all within one collection. 

Mimi Tran AW15

Perhaps Mimi's eye for elegance comes from her childhood spent in Paris where she was recognised as a gifted creative. I was surprised to learn that Mimi actually graduated with a degree in electrical engineering! Luckily for the fashion world, Mimi's creative side won.

Mimi Tran AW15

Click here to see more of my posts from fashion week with Who's Jack.


Thursday, 30 October 2014

A-Z of Autumn/Winter 2014 Fashion

A is for... Artistic

Autumn/Winter patterns are reminiscent of art work, be it geometric like the 60s or scribbles and doodles as seen at Burberry.

Left to Right: Chanel, Burberry Prorsum, Bottega Veneta

B is for... Berry, Tomato, Crimson Reds

Seen all over the catwalk, red is a hot colour this season. Wear in any shade you like, as long as it's red, it's right!

Left to Right: Versace, Sportmax, Dolce and Gabbana

C is for... Capes

Capes are back! But if they aren't for you, wear your coat over your shoulders, cape-style.

Left to Right: Valentino, Thakoon, Saint Laurent

D is for... Dappper

Channel the androgynous look with crisp shirts and sharp tailoring. This season, best worn head-to-toe block colour.

Left to Right: Stella McCartney, Gucci, Hugo Boss

E is for... Embellishment

Even top print designers such as Mary Katrantzou opted for embellishment over print for AW14. This is one sparkly season!

Left to Right: Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem

F is for... Fairytale Fantasy

Woodland creatures at both Valentino and Dolce and Gabbana, Game of Thrones at McQueen and Little Riding Hood at Fendi, there was an overall fairytale fantasy theme on the catwalks this season.

Left to Right: Valentino, Alexander McQueen, Dolce and Gabbana

G is for... Glitter

Glittery fabrics were a very popular choice with the designers. Seen on everything from skirts to suits and outerwear.

Left to Right: Rodarte, No.21, Antonio Berardi

H is for... Hairy

And by that, I mean fur! It is making a huge comeback!

Left to Right: MSGM, Marni, House of Holland

I is for... Intergalactic

Stars at Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and Matthew Williamson, and the moon at Rodarte.

Left to Right: Rodarte, Jean-Charles de Catelbajac, Matthew Williamson

J is for... Jungle Fever

Animal patterns is on the biggest trends right now. A key piece seen across many catwalks is the leopard print coat.

Left to Right: Givenchy, Just Cavalli, Carven

K is for... Knit Head-to-Toe

Make a statement with your knitwear, wear head-to-toe for full impact. Chanel even had knitted tweed sunglasses...

Left to Right: Missoni, Chanel, Joseph

L is for... Lace Up

Lace up footwear is a big trend this season, whether it be trainers, heels or boots, the more laces the better.

Left to Right: Chanel, Antonio Berardi, Emilio Pucci

M is for... Mini Bags

One of the cutest trends this season is the mini handbag, adorable! Not the most practical trend but don't worry, oversized bags are still in style. Keep it dainty or keep it bold. Another bag trend for AW14 is fun packaging - see Moschino for ideas.

Left to Right: Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Moschino

N is for... Newcomer Danielle Romeril

Danielle Romeril's label has only been around for 2 years so far but she is one to watch with her youthful and contemporary yet nostalgic designs. I lover her AW14 collection with a 60s feel.

O is for... Outerwear

Outerwear is getting better each season, more and more designers are getting creative with their coats and jackets. Waterfall coats as seen at Chloe are particularly popular along with plastic or sporty raincoats. I love Balenciaga's plastic cable knit one!

Left to Right: Chloe, Balenciaga, Thakoon

P is for... Patchwork

Whether traditional like Prada, abstract like Missoni or layered like Jonathan Saunders, patchwork is in!

Left to Right: Prada, Missoni, Jonathan Saunders

Q is for... Quliting

Quilting is back but this time it's not just restricted to outerwear.

Left to Right: Miu Miu, Christian Dior, Temperley London

R is for... Retro

Biggest comebacks are from the 60s and 70s but if you don't want to let go of the 90s just yet, you're in luck.

Left to Right: DSquared2, Meadham Kirchoff, Saint Laurent

S is for... Sports Luxe

The 90s sportswear revival takes a slightly more glamorous and refined approach.

Left to Right: Jeremy Scott, DKNY, Tom Ford

T is for.. Tartan, Plaid, Checks

This trend is everywhere, you can't really go wrong!

Left to Right: DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Chanel

U is for... Ultra High Neck

Wrap up warm this winter as high-necks are super stylish. Layer a rollneck under your clothing, wear a turtleneck coat or scarf it up.

Left to Right: Edun, Peter Pilotto, Salvatorre Ferragamo

V is for... Velvet

Glam up in luxurious velvet.

Left to Right: Michael Van Der Ham, Emilio Pucci, Nina Ricci

W is for... Woolly

Woolly textures are both stylish and practical this season. A key piece is the woolly coat in cute sugary pastels.

Left to Right: Emilio de la Morena, Erdem, Gucci

X is for... X-Ray Sheer

Sheer fabrics are great for layering or showing some skin without baring all.

Left to Right: Prada, Alberta Ferretti, Donna Karan

Y is for... Yoda

Rodarte's collection this season was full of Star Wars references with images of Yoda, R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker printed across garments.

Z is for... Zesty

Brighten up your winter in eye-catching colours.

Left to Right: Christian Dior, Paul&Joe, Gucci