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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Orschel-Read

Stefan Orschel-Read presented his third collection, 'The Spy Who Becomes Me', during London Fashion Week's Menswear Day - with illustrations by Yuann Shen

Written by Naomi Law

Illustrations by Jamie O’Callaghan

I’m a fan of small, help independent festivals and I’d pick one over Glastonbury any day. I’m not sure I can include Southsea Fest in that grouping just yet, more about because, viagra as one organiser said, “we’re not the Great Escape love”. I don’t think they’ll ever be able to rival the festival that’s just 50 miles along the coast, and that lack of ambition is just one of two things that holds the one-day festival back.

The other is the organisation. Mix ups over guestlists, disputes over whether or not I had a plus one and general waiting around meant that I missed the first band I wanted to catch, which was Revere. They played in the stunning Kings Theatre, and would probably have been my highlight of the day, if I’d been able to catch them.

Instead, I headed over to the Fat Fox to check out Real Fur but they were running late – over an hour late – although I was determined to not miss them. At this rate, I’d been at the festival for a couple of hours without hearing a single note of live music. When we finally watched Real Fur, it was definitely worth the wait. They’re a rock band that are so much more exciting live. ‘Pride’ was the standout track for me, but generally the feel of Real Fur is that they’re a jangly, dancy rock band with the odd harmony and, as much as I hate the phrase, a groovy vibe.

I caught Montage Populaire after and I really enjoyed their set. I had no idea they were one of the local bands booked, and spent hours trying to remember where I’ve seen them before. I failed, but I’ll definitely be checking them out in the future. They’re an art-rock band, and it’s easy to see why they’ve drawn comparisons with Los Campesinos and early Blur.

I watched a couple of local bands after that, before stumbling across the Ruskins doing a street gig to promote their set, which I went to. So did the majority of festival-goers judging by the size of the crowd. The lovely London lads managed a couple of songs in the street before some security guards made them stop, but inside Little Johnny Russells they managed half an hour of their ska-infused rock. It was refreshing to hear something that wasn’t indie or acoustic, as the lineup was pretty swamped with it.

The next venue was pretty hideous, but home to two of the most exciting bands on the bill. I got there in time for Let’s Buy Happiness; it’s always exciting to watch bands you know are destined for big things play such a tiny venue. The vocals are completely disarming, the music has this beautiful swaying rhythm and Let’s Buy Happiness produce the most charming pop songs that I’ve ever seen played in Portsmouth. They just got featured by the Guardian, so it won’t be long until the rest of the press begins to gush about them. They are truly spectacular.

Bright Light Bright Light played a set of electro-dance-pop that wasn’t too interesting, so I’ll skip over that bit. After came Islet, who I was crazy excited about catching. They don’t bother with the concept of a stage, preferring to swap instruments and drag them into the crowd. In fact, when one guy in the crowd reached out to touch a guitar, he was handed it. When he wasn’t sure what to do, the guitar was gently led back to the stage. Islet are pretty weird, but they’re unlike any other band I’ve seen.

When I listen I have this internal fight between feeling they’re some kind of Emporer’s New Clothes, art-school weirdness that people sway along to because they’re fashionable, and genuine love for their uniqueness. It’s tiring watching them jump around the stage, share instruments and howl, made all the stranger by the setting. They’re a band everyone should see, even if just for the spectacle of it.

The closing set came from King Charles, back at the Fat Fox. I’ve been listening to his music for a while, so to be able to watch him with a couple of hundred other people was the perfect way to end the day. The harmonies are even more heart-stoppingly beautiful, the guitar riffs that little bit more exciting and the drums that bit more frantic when played live and on a tiny stage. Easily the most captivating performer, King Charles literally didn’t put a foot wrong, performing every track note-perfect. He drew queues outside, the size of which I didn’t notice anywhere else, and showed every other band how it’s done.

If Southsea Fest had a little more ambition, if it could decide whether it’s a festival in Southsea or a festival with bands from Southsea, and if it could book the same quality of bands as this year, it could be popping up on many more radars at the end of next summer. All the elements of a successful festival are there, and hopefully the success of this event will encourage the organisers to step it up for next year.

Illustration by Yuann Shen

Born in India, approved Stefan Orschel-Read grew up in Scotland, page he won gold medals as a dressage rider for Great Britain and also studied law before deciding on a career in fashion. His Central Saint Martins graduate collection in 2008 was based on Virginia Wolfe’s novel ‘Orlando’; a historical biography in which the subject lives over 400 years and changes gender mid way. Subsequent collections were inspired by cathedral murals and the works of Shakespeare, order so it was interesting to see the RCA graduate’s stimulus for S/S 2011 being something a slightly more conventional.

Entitled ‘The Spy Who Becomes Me’, SS11 is inspired by an imagined playboy youth in the Riviera of the Ligurian Sea and his struggle to evolve into ‘a self-sufficient gentleman of responsibilities’.

Although more subdued than his previous seasons, this sophisticated collection successfully utlilised an array of luxurious fabrics which were expertly tailored and incorporated some distinctive detailing. The tag line of the collection is ’We all have a little bit of espionage in us’, but I doubt Orschel Read would be the best outfitter for a Bond-style spy-on-a-mission who hopes to be easily lost in a crowd.

Looks were presented in a refined palette of greys, soft khakis and airforce blues, punctuated with jewel tones and blazes of iridescence.


Illustration by Yuann Shen

Modern slim-fitting suits with traces of utilitarian military styling, such as extended epaulettes, were created in sumptuous British cashmere tailoring wools and iridescent tonic suiting.  The blazers at the more muted end of the palette were complemented with dupion silk shirts, glowing in emerald and olive tones.

Digitally printed monograms, paisley and bird motifs were applied to boxers and shirt panels, some silk brocade being produced in collaboration with Italian luxury tailor Brioni, apparently the go-to-coutouriers of a whole host of names from Nelson Mandela to Robert Kennedy and Luciano Pavarotti to Donald Trump.

Alongside his blazers and formal trousers, Orschel-Read showed biker jackets in cashmere suiting, jeans named after MI5 and MI6 and gauzy hand dyed and beaded bias cut vests seen under many of the blazers.  Oversized trench coats in pale denim continued the spy theme, and monogrammed underwear was shown with raglan sleeve sweaters with rib detailing.

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