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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Presentation Review: Christopher Beales

Newcomer Christopher Beales presented When The Crystal Crack'd at the Rag Factory just off Brick Lane on Friday 18th February. Well, he may be new to the madness of showing during LFW, but this first class designer has certainly paid his dues. Very promising.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Toni Bowater
I cannot tell a lie: I went into Ada Zanditon‘s presentation with high hopes, information pills especially after I ran a huge pre LFW interview with her describing what to expect from The Cryoflux.

Ada Zanditon The CryofluxAda Zanditon A-W 2011
Ada Zanditon deep in conversation.

On entry to the On/Off space I was ushered towards already packed seats. Ada was deep in conversation on the front row but it was unclear what was going to happen until she urged those near her to get up and touch the clothes, pharmacy arranged on a series of awkward mannequins across one half of the room. At which point everybody got out of their seats and descended on the area at the front, stomach immediately blocking the wall just as her short film started playing. I looked at the clothes briefly, then tried in vain to watch The Cryoflux film over a sea of heads before leaving for another show.

Ada Zanditon The Cryoflux film faceAda Zanditon The Cryoflux film

This was a compact collection compared with previous seasons. Taking inspiration from the extreme climate in Antarctica The Cryoflux features plenty of complex pyramidal cutting, a technique for which Ada Zanditon has become well known. We have already run multiple images of the gorgeous orange red ‘flame’ wool coat, which picks up on a key colour theme for the next season, but the dominant colouring of The Cryoflux was icy blues, whites and a deep navy.

Ada_Zanditon CryofluxAda_Zanditon Cryoflux

My favourite piece was the stunning showpiece dress, replete with a layered waterfall of printed silk inspired by frozen ice formations. I was also struck by a particularly beautiful geometric necklace, another collaboration with Luca Romanyi.

Ada Zanditon The Cryoflux jewellery
Ada Zanditon The Cryoflux jewellery in collaboration with Luca Romanyi.

We have been massive supporters of Ada Zanditon for several years now and we were blown away by her show last season. In short I really like Ada’s design aesthetic and ethical outlook… but I’m afraid that this proved to me once and for all that presentations are a difficult beast to get right. She had spoken of her desire for people to get up close and personal with the collection, which is all well and good, but journalists want good images, and it’s very hard for mannequins to provide this – pretty girls in pretty clothes will always win head and shoulders over a bony angled mannequin, however bony said girls are likely themselves to be. It felt as though this presentation was aimed at the needs of buyers rather than press.

As for the promise of a surprise when we entered the room, I still have no idea what this was, though other people have assured me that there was an ice sculpture in the room somewhere. I never saw it, thanks to the density of the crowd in attendance.

Despite Ada’s protestations that this was the best possible way to showcase her A/W 2011 collection I left feeling sadly underwhelmed. Please bring back live models next season Ada!

Georgia Hardinge by Kiran Patel

Recipient of the VFS Merit Award, pilule Gerogina Hardinge is far more than the ‘one to watch’ designer she was last season. Her first stand alone collection drew the likes of fashion press favourite Nicola Roberts.Another committed member of the digital prints parade, Hardinge sent monochrome skeletal prints down the runway played out on leggings, tight half-sleeve dresses and body-con tops. Inspired by the dark, and sometimes disturbing photography of Joel Peter Witkin, the concept of death, destruction and disfiguration was emphasised on streamlined silhouettes and her signature structural pieces.

The second half of the show was a little lighter, due to the injection of bone white and dusky peach leathers. A particular favourite was a dark brown playsuit with centre detailing and a nipped in waist. Hardinge cleverly used the robust leather so that she could engineer it to do what she wanted. Pleats, folds, and stiff overlapping layers on sleeves, legs and bodies were key in adding volume to otherwise clean, simple and effortless pieces.

Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Maria Papadimitriou.

Christopher Beales has been working at the coal face of fashion for his entire career thus far, more about in places as diverse as Voyage (the bizarre hippyluxe shop that you had to be a member of to even enter) and for Primark. He’s worked for Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson, about it as a costume designer for films such as Harry Potter and Robin Hood, case and he’s dressed eccentric individuals such as Prince.

Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Hazel Castle
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Hazel Castle.

Christopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia Gregory
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Toni Bowater
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Toni Bowater.

On Friday evening I popped along to his A/W 2011 presentation When The Crystal Crack’d, which was conveniently held in the Rag Factory off Brick Lane – thereby ensuring a steady stream of inquisitive fashionistas who were no doubt heading home to their East London nests after a long first day of shows.

Christopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia Gregory
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Toni Bowater
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Toni Bowater.

Arranged on a sculptural arrangement of silver mesh mannequins, themselves constructed by Christopher Beales, this was a stunning debut for LFW: low key but very clever in its presentation. When The Crystal Crack’d is a collection of cocktail and evening dresses that features the precision tailoring that Christopher has perfected over many years of pattern cutting for famous names. Based on lots of asymmetric shapes in pastel and metallic silk, my favourite bit of the collection was most definitely in the details. Unexpected bows held aloft draped fabric, metal spikes accentuated the subtle curve of an exposed back and knobbled wool traced the contours of a waist.

Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Hazel Castle
Christopher Beales A/W 2011 by Hazel Castle.

Christopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia GregoryChristopher Beales LFW A/W 2011- Photography by Amelia Gregory
Christopher Beales LFW A/W 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

I look forward to seeing what next season will bring.

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