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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Presentation Review: Carolyn Massey

A look at Carolyn Massey's breathtaking S/S 2011 collection presented in style in the Portico Rooms during London Fashion Week's Menswear Day, will illustrations by her pal, shoe designer Annejkh Carson…

Written by Matt Bramford


Illustrations by Izzy Lee

Now showing in his fifth season at London Fashion Week, patient pills Mark Fast showed his debut on-schedule show on the British Fashion Council space.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mark Fast, prescription he made his name with electric body conscious lycra knits in 2008 when graduating from the prestigious MA Fashion programme at Central Saint Martins, crafting on his domestic knitting machine in his studio East London.

For S/S 2011 he kept his eye on the lace knitting whilst moving onto heavy fringing and plastic panels, held by hand-manipulated stitches. The result was one of extreme beauty.

Moving on from A/W 2010 where he knitted fabrics and wrapped them up as saris whilst using his trademark lace to craft floaty lower-hip hemmed dresses. S/S 2011 was one for perhaps the more serious woman, something they can and will wear for a more formal affair.

The show opened with a knitted jumpsuit that had fringes running down the leg side seams and underarm seams, creating a vision of destroyed beauty. Referencing from the oil spill where birds have been covered in oil and have lost the ability to fly, this followed with further more black looks where fringing dominated.

Red, pink and turquoise viscose fringes brought bursts of colour to dominant black garments, followed by flashes of yellow, pink, nude and white.

Another key element to the collection was the study of butterfly and insects under microscopes. Using the vivid color from insects and butterflies, knitwear had been encrusted with Swarovski crystals, referencing the study and observation he undertook.

He also continued his take on the “plus size” models he brought into action at London Fashion Week in S/S 2009. The girls looked much more comfortable than in previous seasons.

Mark Fast has made incredible progress over the last few years, bringing knitwear to the forefront of fashion. It’s so exciting to see his collections develop as he cements himself as the pioneer of contemporary knitwear design.

Izzy Lee is the founder of the fashion knitwear blog UrbanKnit


Illustration by Zarina Liew

Hermione de Paula is known for her distinctive screen printing; using hand drawn, doctor painted and embroidered elements she creates beautifully intricate and complex floral textures.  Her website describes the signature style of the label as romantic and sultry, sexually charged yet nonchalant and feminine with a twist. The irresistible philosophy in life of Hermione’s girl is ‘I probably shouldn’t, but I will anyway’. If that doesn’t entice you to explore her collections then I don’t know what will. 

Hermione’s collections are always centered around a female figure; her debut collection was named ‘I heart Elizabeth Berkley’ and took inspiration from the film Showgirls.  A/W 2010 was entitled ‘Polly Crystalline’and featured fabrics printed with pearlised, crystallized and frozen flowers.

http://www.cobaltcafe.co.uk/

S/S 2011 sees de Paula focussing upon ‘the sexual awakening of Flora, the goddess of flowers’.  Garments were layered and fluid; sheer printed silks and chiffon were embroidered loosely with gossamery wisps of cashmere and mohair, adding to the weightless movement of the pieces.  The palette consisted of the delicate muted pink and mauve hues of petals, contrasting with indigo, taupe and black. 






Photographs courtesy Hermione de Paula

Assymetric hems gave a contemporary feel to the collection, along with unfinished, fraying collars and translucent panelling. 

So far it sounds very feminine and demure, but on second glance, the flowing floral prints included unexpected hidden details – dry, wilted blooms, octopus tentacles, thistles, blackbirds and ghostly stems and branches.  

In contrast to the fluttering layers, fraying denim was used to create neckpieces, ankle cuffs, belts and Macramé overskirts. Chunky black crocheted vests, silk shorts and flimsy printed camisoles with denim halternecks were just seen under blouses and dresses.  

http://www.cobaltcafe.co.uk/

The looks were finished with ankle socks in black, taupe and nude, worn with chunky geometric heels by Nicholas Kirkwood.  Hermione is currently working on print consultancy with luxury shoe designer Kirkwood, as well as collaborating with Browns Focus to produce bespoke pieces. Plenty to look out for…


Illustration by Zarina Liew

Hermione de Paula is known for her distinctive screen printing; using hand drawn, viagra buy painted and embroidered elements she creates beautifully intricate and complex floral textures.  Her website describes the signature style of the label as romantic and sultry, illness sexually charged yet nonchalant and feminine with a twist. The irresistible philosophy in life of Hermione’s girl is ‘I probably shouldn’t, diagnosis but I will anyway’. If that doesn’t entice you to explore her collections then I don’t know what will. 

Hermione’s collections are always centered around a female figure; her debut collection was named ‘I heart Elizabeth Berkley’ and took inspiration from the film Showgirls.  A/W 2010 was entitled ‘Polly Crystalline’and featured fabrics printed with pearlised, crystallized and frozen flowers.


Illustration by Zarina Liew

S/S 2011 sees de Paula focussing upon ‘the sexual awakening of Flora, the goddess of flowers’.  Garments were layered and fluid; sheer printed silks and chiffon were embroidered loosely with gossamery wisps of cashmere and mohair, adding to the weightless movement of the pieces.  The palette consisted of the delicate muted pink and mauve hues of petals, contrasting with indigo, taupe and black. 






Photographs courtesy Hermione de Paula

Assymetric hems gave a contemporary feel to the collection, along with unfinished, fraying collars and translucent panelling. 

So far it sounds very feminine and demure, but on second glance, the flowing floral prints included unexpected hidden details – dry, wilted blooms, octopus tentacles, thistles, blackbirds and ghostly stems and branches.  

In contrast to the fluttering layers, fraying denim was used to create neckpieces, ankle cuffs, belts and Macramé overskirts. Chunky black crocheted vests, silk shorts and flimsy printed camisoles with denim halternecks were just seen under blouses and dresses.  


Illustration by Zarina Liew

The looks were finished with ankle socks in black, taupe and nude, worn with chunky geometric heels by Nicholas Kirkwood.  Hermione is currently working on print consultancy with luxury shoe designer Kirkwood, as well as collaborating with Browns Focus to produce bespoke pieces. Plenty to look out for…


Illustration by Annejkh Carson

I have absolutely no idea why I’ve struggled so much with this one. It’s no secret that I love Carolyn Massey, pills so I was ecstatic as I dashed up the Portico Rooms’ stairs again to see what S/S 2011 had in store. Massey, of course, didn’t disappoint and this was by far my favourite outing on menswear day.

This season saw Carolyn draw inspiration from picture books, notably – Tibor Kalman’s (un)Fashion and Jackie Nickerson’s Farm. The influence of the stark images in these two publications was clear and Massey had taken the visual culture of these opposing landscapes and fused them together.

Entering the room, Massey’s army of models stood in an arrow-facing shape. At first, attendees bunched together in front of the models, unsure as to what exactly to do, but the show was predictably oversubscribed and they soon started to spill all over the place. I quickly dashed around trying to take photographs so that I wouldn’t have a million people in the background, which was stressful I tell ya. I love taking pictures in the static shows. You can probably tell. I took my eyes off the collection for a while (subconsciously, I think, to prevent myself from de-robing these boys and legging it with a handful of coats) and got a little obsessed with taking photographs of the models’ heads.

This collection was by far Carolyn Massey’s most sophisticated yet. Her unique approach to contemporary tailoring keeps journos guessing season after season as to what each new collection will hold. Moving on from her utilitarian collection for A/W 2010, which featured a muted colour palette, lots of heavy fabrics and military blazers, this time around Carolyn presented a softer, more wearable array: more English, more practical, more fun.

Massey’s sophisticated eye for colour was omnipresent with a gorgeous selection of petrol blue, sand, rust, navy and a burst of bright orange. This dreamy colour palette was applied accross the entire collection; on drawstring sports-luxe trenches, tailored jackets and rolled-up trousers. The onset of stripes used on tailored shirts managed to dilute a generally smooth collection. The influence of Eastern military and battle is evident, too.

Each piece in the collection radiated a timeless feel – and while Massey’s collections couldn’t ever be described as anything less than super contemporary, they also avoid being trend-led and instead focus on more connected, enduring style.


Illustration by Annejkh Carson

This season, to my unashamed glee, also sees Carolyn introduce accessories. Suede desert boots in tonal colours similar to the collection are featured, as are the most desirable black leather cases, which come in varying sizes and are modelled on vintage doctors’ cases.

I’ve been mesmerised by fashion film this season, with many designers producing films to show alongside their static presentations (Craig Lawrence, Sibling and Ziad Ghanem have been my faves). This was no exception – a film directed by Chris Brooks played discretely in the corner, featuring a gent making his way through a green landscape. Beautifully shot and edited, it really enhanced the hour we had to enjoy the collection. See it here.

When I discovered that Massey would be hosting a presentation this season rather than a catwalk show, like many other designers, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. My general feeling after seeing so many, though, is that they’re far more preferable. Catwalk shows are over in a flash; you have literally seconds to view an outfit, photograph it and digest it. With a presentation, though, particularly one with as much style as Massey’s, you have a really good chance to absorb everything. There’s also something quite haunting about stock-still models who avoid eye contact and barely move, and allowing press and buyers to see your work and craftsmanship in so much detail widens their opportunities to criticise. With Carolyn Massey, though, it simply allowed us to see exactly what she’s capable of.

Keep an eye out for an interview with Carolyn in the coming weeks, if I can ever pin her down…!

All photography by Matt Bramford

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