123 Bethnal Green Road, illustrated by Naomi Law
The build up for the Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration launch party was immense. The #ACOFI hashtag on Twitter went mental in the run up, with people planning their outfits and talking about meeting for the first time. The invites had all been sent, Amelia’s kitchen was impossible to manoeuvre due to boxes piled high with goodies and 123 Bethnal Green Road‘s Scout Hut had been transformed.
The day started as I rushed to Amelia’s with 8 potential outfits and a tote bag full of press releases. When I arrived, Amelia looking ever so slightly drained (having had about 4 minutes sleep in the previous week) and after responding to yet more emails asking for an invitation and picking nail varnish (for Amelia, not me) Ross from 123BGR arrived with his van. Contributor Sally turned up laden with her camera equipment, and we loaded everything into the van – box after box of Dr.Hauschka goodies, Moleskine notebooks, Tatty Devine necklaces, postcards, Amelia’s Magazine Issue 10, sh*tloads of ACOFI books and Amelia’s Nina Dolcetti shoes.
The atmosphere at 123 Bethnal Green Road was a a bit of a farce, as we unloaded the van, took everything downstairs and started to unpack it all. It was a bit intense, but I just couldn’t stop giggling. How were we going to make up 200 goodie bags each containing nearly 20 items? Well, with a little help from our friends at Forward PR, we managed it.
Lily Vanilli’s magnificent cake, illustrated by Jo Cheung
As the final Pukka tea sachet went into the last bag and Lily Vanilli arrived with her mindblowing ACOFI-inspired cake, the first few guests arrived including a very prompt Holly from Make Lemonade. I legged it to the top of the 123 building to get changed, and by the time I returned the tea party was in full swing. It was bloody packed, with illustrators creating images of guests and tea being served in gorgeous miss-matched vintage teacups and Felicity from Dr.Hauschka giving hand massages. Those who were lucky enough to enjoy her skillz came away from her table with the appearance of taking mild narcotics and I was desperate to get in there myself but just didn’t get the chance.
In between flirting with journalists and taking photographs I enjoyed a green spiced-chai Pukka tea with cinnamon and star anise and my fair share of Lily Vanilli’s delicious pearlescent scones. Thank God there wasn’t a bloody cupcake in sight. I hate cupcakes at these events; they’re impossible to eat and on more than one occasion I’ve ended up wearing more around my mouth than I’ve actually eaten: not a good luck when schmoozing peers.
Adorngirl, illustrated by Abby Wright
The gorgeous Gabby Young and Stephen, illustrated by Zarina Liew
Ellen Grace Jones from The Real Runway
Such a diverse range of guests came through the door, from high-end fashion glossies to Amelia’s parents (not that they’re not high-end, of course, but you know what I mean!)
The daytime bit was over in a flash, and it was a mad dash to throw all the vintage teacups into the sink before heading upstairs, where yet more guests arrived and the cavernous Scout Hut soon became packed wall-to-wall with illustrators, their guests, the fashion press and a host of other creative types.
Amelia’s amazing Nina Dolcetti shoes
The fabulous 6 Day Riot then blew the crowds away with their folky fun, before the Pipettes DJed to much dancing while I took photographs, met even more of the fabulous illustrators who have worked so hard over the last year to make Amelia’s Magazine what it is, and consumed my fair share of Vodka O and Adnams beers. My thanks goes to the Pipettes and later Will from the Mystery Jets (who played us out surrounded by honeys) for playing Single Ladies twice. My only explanation for my ludicrous shape-throwing is that I was so relieved to finally be on the dancefloor that I, y’know, sort of let go a bit. I also blame the sugar rush from Lily Vanilli’s incredible ACOFI-inspired cake.
Amelia with Nicola from Beautiful Soul
I could go on, but here are my top ten ACOFI moments (in no particular order)
1. When Amelia’s Joanna Cave earrings turned up at the 11th hour. Stunning!
2. When Amelia acquired tourettes and told me, as I descended the 123 stairs, that I looked ‘dreadful…erm, DREADFUL? I mean amazeballs!’ (Not verbatim, but you get the picture…)
3. When I told Gareth A Hopkins that somebody had come to the daytime do with a toilet seat on their head and he believed me.
6. The great cover samples disappearance mystery, which later turned up in Amelia’s Nina Dolcetti shoebox. Well, this wasn’t exactly a favourite moment, but I wanted to mention it anyway…
7. Eating the cake.
8. Having my first taste of Vodka O and ginger ale, and then watching Nick from Forward PR (who was my only rival in the dance stakes) giving out ‘New York’ measures (no wonder I could barely stand up and everybody reported dreadful hangovers on Twitter the next day…)
9. When 6 Day Riot asked the crowd to join them on a chorus singing ‘Yadda yadda ya’ and lead singer Tamara said ‘I know we’re in East London, but come on!”
10. Suggesting that contributor Sally’s video edit would turn out like that scene in Love Actually where he films the wedding (more of a dream than a suggestion…)
Finally, of course – so I guess number 11 – meeting all the wonderful illustrators and fashion types who I’ve got to know so well on Twitter and seeing them in the flesh! Glorious!
Can we do it again, please?
Read Amelia’s review of the launch party here, check out the in-store Eco Pop Up shop at 123 Bethnal Green Road (as part of the ACOFI fun) here, watch the illustrators talk all about the work on our YouTube channel AND buy the book here!
All photography by Matt Bramford
123 Bethnal Green Road, 6 Day Riot, ACOFI, Amelia's Compendium of Fashion Illustration, Antonia Parker, beyonce, Dr.Hauschka, Jo Cheung, Joanna Cave, June Chanpoomidole, Lily Vanilli, Lira Leirner, Make Lemonade, Moleskine, Mystery Jets, Naomi Law, Nina Dolcetti, Pukka tea, Scout Hut, Tatty Devine, The Pipettes, Zarina Liew
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