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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 catwalk review: Amanda Wakeley (by Jess)

Tailored or floaty, Amanda Wakeley delivered grown-up fashion in elegant black, white and orange to an appreciative audience, plus one excited Fashion Week newbie. With illustrations by Sarah Alfarhan, Mina Bach, Yelena Bryksenkova and Sandra Contreras.

Written by Jessica Furseth

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, prescription this dramatic floor length strapless gown, nurse with green feathers, cheapest stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, pills dramatic floor length strapless gown, site with green feathers, case stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Ziad Ghanem by Avril Kelly

What an amazing show; Ziad Ghanem has trumped everything else I’ve seen this week. Opening with a model dressing in a dark, this dramatic floor length strapless gown, pilule with green feathers, stilts and skull makeup the audience were cheering from the off.

The front row was packed out with the eccentrically dressed – Boy George almost blended into the background in a bright yellow hat and full face of makeup. Special mention has to go to the PVC clad, (and complete with blow up hair), London artist Pandemonia, sitting opposite me. Together with a matching blow up dog, she must have been boilin’!

Ziad Ghanem by Alison Day

The loud show, with music changes more frequent than model changes provided clapping, laughing and unanimous approval – so much so that no one seemed to care that the show started an almost an hour late. Male and female models took to the catwalk in stunning creations – capes, gigantic earrings and tremendously tight dresses were wriggled, danced and glided down the runway on joker-style made-up faces.

The models came in all shapes and sizes but voluptuous curves and a heaving bosom was the order of the evening. Corset dresses that pushed said bosoms up and out were so tight that somewhere Scarlett Johansen was blushing. Full length floaty gowns in pale hues of blue, deep reds, sparkling gold and matte grey also allowed for plenty of swishing, and cloak spinning as the models made their way towards the waiting photographers.

Ziad Ghanem by Madi

My favourite dress was the bright fuschia deep cut and backless cocktail dress that nipped in perfectly at the waist. The shiny nature of the material was so unashamedly trashy that it avoided (I think) being either tacky or quality street wrapper-esque. Other notable highlights of the show include a deathly bride and groom, solemnly showering the crowd with petals at the end of the show, and the model who pirouetted her way backwards after walking down the catwalk. All in all, a brilliant show – exciting, entertaining and some truly beautiful clothes.

Illustration by Yelena Bryksenkova

Rocking up to London Fashion Week for the first time on Day Five feels a bit like having overslept for work: you’re constantly trying to catch up what you’ve missed. Because, case I mean … wow. Just the courtyard of Somerset House is a fashion show of sorts, with the metallic leather, the Jackie O headscarves, the artful hats, the baby-as-accessory, and the miles and miles of feathers-and-corsage up-dos. Not to mention there’s a lot of shoes previously only seen in fashion magazines, girls who look like boys and vice versa, plus a lot of very tall women. At 5’7” I’ve never felt short in my life, but yesterday was a first for this too, as I stood there trying not to twiddle my press pass and look so much like the rookie that I am. But then Helen Martin, a Fashion Week veteran by now, came and rescued me, and together we made our way for the Amanda Wakeley runway show.


Illustration by Sandra Contreras

I had no idea to expect from the Amanda Wakeley show, other than it being ‘grown up’ fashion. Well at least it would be something different, I thought as I brushed some mud off my leg as we found our seats on the second row. A few minutes later people stopped running around, the plastic cover was removed from the runway, lights down, music up, and then – the models. One by one they came, the tall, gangly girls, rolling up the catwalk in their pouts, their towering heels and scraped-back hair. The black dresses came first, then a wave of bright orange, before a third lot of whites.

A few floaty numbers came here and there, but most of the dresses were very sculpted, sitting tight on the body with architectural lines built into the fabric. These all came with a thin, black leather belt, playfully tied into a double knot at the front. The rows of metallic cuffs up models’ arms added to the strict feel of the dresses, each garment subtly different from the next due to an alternative neckline or new skirt shape. Wakeley had maintained a very lady-like dress length on most of her creations, meaning the couple of models wearing flaring minis added a fun touch.


Illustration by Mina Bach

Several of the looser, more transparent dresses had what looked like beading; this was either ‘antique metal sequins’ or something called ’solar encrusted beading’, according to the literature. I especially liked the orange dress with the heavy silver-beaded panel (image above), as with my boyish figure I’ve never found a defined waist to be particularly flattering. There were plenty of boyish shapes among the models as well, but being professional mannequins they pulled off Wakeley’s sometimes unforgiving, figure-hugging dresses with ease. Wakeley actually has a pretty good track record when it comes to designing for real life women, but still, I couldn’t help but think a few curves would have made the outfits look even better, especially the fitted ones. I understand this is the way the world of high fashion works, but coming to this for the first time I guess I’ve not yet fully adjusted my outlook.


Illustration by Sarah Alfarhan

It was over in a flash, and Wakeley showed her face for no more than three seconds to wave, before she disappeared again behind the curtain. All around people were rustling impatiently even though the queue moved quickly towards the door, and by the time I’d made it outside a few of the models were already gathered around the back for a sneaky fag. For them it was just Day Five, but for me it was the first, and sadly the last. For now, that is – it all happens again in September and next time I’ll make sure to show up bright and early.

More of Yelena Bryksenkova’s illustrations can be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

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2 Responses to “London Fashion Week A/W 2011 catwalk review: Amanda Wakeley (by Jess)”

  1. [...] Published in Amelia’s Magazine, 23 February 2011. Original article here. [...]

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