Posted 1 day ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | SIBLING - Holiday Celebrate

"We understand the power of display and this collection embodies  the fun and fearlessness of dressing up to please yourself." - SIBLING

The SIBLING message of exuberance, fun and sweet nostalgia came via the work of two New York photographers - Amy Arbus and Maripol - whose prolific and iconic images documented eighties style, the former snapping fashion on street level in black and white for The Village Voice while the latter’s colour-saturated polaroids captured the likes of Grace Jones, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring in their eighties glory at Studio 54 and Max’s Kansas City. Madonna was snapped by both.

Incidentally, Arbus’ image of Madonna in her thrifted street urchin look, an oversized Fagin-esque coat almost obscuring white leggings is one of my favourite all time style mash ups.

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SIBLING collaborated with Bernstock Speirs to create the enormous bows.

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A knit depicted Madonna in that very same urchin incarnation, hair haphazardly knotted atop the head with a scarf, sweetheart lips and crosses dangling from one ear.

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One of my favourite looks: a co-ord skirt and top in a loose fit, with delicate knit patterns and a scalloped hem in excellent red, white and grey stripes - reminding me of my brother’s beadspread from the eighties.

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Abstract patterns and shapes had a retro party girl feel. Stacked rubber bangles by Tatty Devine recaptured Madonna’s earlier style, in which Maripol herself had a strong hand as her stylist.

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La Isla Bonita? Floor-length, hand-crocheted raffia skirts hit on early memories of MTV and ra-ra skirts from the decade.

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Twin sets were given the SIBLING treatment, i.e. decorated with knitted frills and patterns.

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All photos my own

Some other things

Lonson Fashion Week SS’15 | Lulu & Co. - “Space is the Place”

'Glorifying McDonalds' - a reaction to a reaction

Follow me on Instagram @exceptmamacass

Posted 3 days ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | Eudon Choi - “Paring down of essential shapes”

Choi drew inspiration from the work and personal style of artist Georgia O’Keeffe for spring/summer 2015. It was a feminine collection, mixing small floral jacquards on tailored looks with loose-fitting, romantic smocks beautified with panels of lace.

Black dresses with a floral print came closest to replicating O’Keeffe’s serene and beautiful paintings, in shapes that were modest and elegant.

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Youthful florals and frills

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A rose and green floral jacquard suit adds a masculine element to the feminine collection

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Simple back fastenings with a pretty, girlish charm

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A chic update on Little House on the Prairie?

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Looks for the city..

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..followed by artist-style smocks and streamlined peasant dresses.

All photos my own

Some other show coverage

London Fashion Week | Faustine Steinmetz - “Craftsmanship over trend”

Epiphyllum At Midnight - Masha Ma AW’14

Posted 3 days ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | Apu Jan - Encountering a Roaming Sheep

Here are the collection notes that I wrote to accompany Apu Jan’s spring summer 2015 show.

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Fo centuries cultures have built mythologies and woven tales around the sheep - a constant presence in the history of humankind, elevated to religious and spiritual heights and redered a symbol of man’s own vulnerability and weakness in literature.

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Drawing on the otherworldly realms of Haruki Murakami, Philip K Dick’s philosophical questions on humanity and the parallels between man and sheep in Aesop’s Fables, Apu Jan has based his collection around the humble animal, using jacquard knits and digital prints in a spectrum of blue tones which represent the psychedelic, as well as the incertainty of human nature.

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This collections marks the designer’s fourth collaboration with award-winning print designer Ying Wu, whose designs combine the abstract and the figurative to create an unsettling canvas, accentuation the sense of remoteness and mysticism.

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Meandering woven lines of varying thickness form part of the design story, representing the spiritual and physical journeys people make.

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Dresses, skirts and tops in lightweight silk-cotton knits draw diagonal lines across the body which simultaneously cover and reveal in a modern interpretation of the cheongsam.

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DJ QuestionMark and Taiwanese indie singer Olivia Yen accompany the show with music produced entirely from knitting and sewing machine audio recordings.

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I’m not so comfortable with print and colour, though the prints from this collection really nailed the vibe the designer spoke of when discussing his inspirations and themes. There’s something spooky, surreal and a bit 2D pop art about the swirling blue lines and sheep, and I particularly liked the body-lengthening lines and the swishy bounce of knits as models strode by.

All photos my own

More on knitwear

Catching up with ffiXXed at Capsule

China Fashion Week in Beijing: Gioia Pan SS’14

Posted 3 days ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | Antipodium - Women on a Mission

Designers’ inspirations can be sometimes be surprising, obscure, even bizarre, and when the spark comes from several places, disparate as, say, American televangelists, cults, Utah Mormons, late night telephone operators, Mid-nineties Kylie and astronauts, you’ve got to see it before you can absorb a description on paper.

So..

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The idea of a prim moral lecturer - seen in the modest cut of a plain blue belted shirt dress with big summer collar..

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..meets a hint of something altogether more salacious in chokers and zip front dresses in futuristic neon..

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..and a skirt made of a slinky soft pink fabric.

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Prints on the shirts and modern bombers come courtesy of the (aptly named) Victoria Sin, Toronto-born artist, illustrator and print-maker, keeping in tune with the label’s light-hearted and playful aesthetic.

Styling the looks with these velcro-strap sandals - which, incidentally, are going to get thicker, strappier and dominate next summer - is a touch; the very antidote to glamour and style, they dilute the sex appeal and give it a grislier and even mundane edge, unifying the collection in a manner “worthy of a very stylish commune.”

Unless flaring out, the cuts are neat and prim. There’s a sense of propriety turned bad. Then again, I’m easily sucked into imaginary worlds described in press releases and it’s all too easy for me to see the character in the clothes.

Anyone else seeing it too?

All photos by my own

Follow me on instagram @exceptmamacass for more photos and videos from London Fashion Week SS’15

Posted 4 days ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | Lulu & Co - “Space is the Place”

Lulu Kennedy has made her LFW debut this season with a collection that mashes up sun god motifs, nineties rave and Louise Gray’s colourful prints, all converging on a wardrobe of “easy pieces a London girl can go out and have fun in.”

It’s time for a rave-up.

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A killer heel in lilac and orange, or a metallic high top for pounding the dancefloor? The Lulu girl can work either.

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Sweatshirts and cut-off denim for dressed down days, tinsel earrings and sequin-embellished camisoles for dressing up.

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All photos my own

Some other things you might like

Nick Knight x Lane Crawford SS’13

London Showrooms in Paris

Posted 4 days ago.

London Fashion Week SS’15 | Faustine Steinmetz - “Craftsmanship over trend”

Parisian designer Faustine Steinmetz has brought an intense level of artisanal craftsmanship to ready-to-wear. Every piece from her presentation is made of hand-woven and hand-dyed fabrics, some painted (again, by hand) to give the appearance of denim, some hand-knotted using Japanese techniques.. all produced in East London. With everything produced by hand - several pieces took days to complete - it raises the question of where to draw the line between ready-to-wear and couture.

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Distressed and dishevelled but crafted with precision and care.

Each piece has been labelled with the name of the person who made it. Whether you believe it to be a nice personal touch or a gimmick, the hands-on manner in which the clothes came into being can’t be denied. And after spending hours and hours making something, who wouldn’t want to sign their work?

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White trainers - the footwear option of the moment - bring the clothes to street level and give the labour-intensive pieces a familiar context.

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This video on faustinesteinmetz.com gives a sense of the processes behind the work.

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The French designer studied at Atelier Chardon in Paris before completing her Masters at Central Saint Martins.

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The major houses have been taking steps to heighten the sense of exclusivity of their products (because if everyone’s wearing it, it’s hardly exclusive) by offering monogramming services and design-your-own colour schemes - things that ensure yours won’t be exactly the same as your neighbour’s, but this collection is rooted in the idea that it’s not only haute couture that merits hours and hours of dedicated craft, that everything begins from scratch - no monogramming necessary.

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The witty jewellery collection presented alongside the clothes is by East London label Niomo, sexing up security tags and those annoying plastic barbs that you always try to bite off before giving up and fetching scissors. More pictures of their collaboration with Faustine Steinmetz are on their site.

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51 Shades of Grey #1

The too-good-to-be-true heatwave is properly over and we’re back to the kind of schizo British weather I understand and can dress for with the least amount of stress.

Now that chilly winds have begun kicking up again I’ve welcomed back the Vans. Unlike the Mister, who likes to scuff up his trainers as soon as he’s bought them, I want my kicks as white and fresh-out-of-the-box-looking as possible (the fabric on the insides is for my eyes only) and have already employed toothbrush and detergent several times this summer.

I’ve been banging on about Mêhlê quite a bit lately. This black dress is the newest addition to my wardrobe, riffing on a 20s drop waist and pleated skirt with a sporty, tennis feel - all things I love. Amongst the things I’ve been Googling recently are shots of tennis/style heroines from the ’20s, Suzanne Lenglen, Kathleen McKane Godfree and Lili de Alvarez all cropping up looking understated and chic in all-white, body-skimming dresses.

Sidenote: In 1931 Alvarez played at Wimbledon wearing Elsa Schiapparelli’s excellent bifurcated skirt (culottes) and caused an uproar - GET THAT WOMAN BACK IN A DRESS! - as shifting fashion paradigms do.

A predilection for monochrome is always going to lead to famous fashion imagery from the early nineties -  the supers shot by Peter Lindbergh, Calvin Klein campaigns by Bruce Weber and portraiture by Herb Ritts. The slicked back wet hair is an easy fix while my hair continues to grow at a ridiculously slow rate, as well as touching on that sporty, stripped back vibe from the period, as seen on Christy and Linda.

Then there’s the coat, which you’ll probably recognise is from Topshop Unique - the perennial fail-safe for colour-shy types with a fondness for a slick, minimal silhouette. Kim Basinger’s killer wardrobe in 9 1/2 Weeks is impeccable and whenever I put on this coat I feel way cooler.

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