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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week: Wheels & Heels

columbia road, 14th February 2008

Written by io takemura

Danish born Louise Amstrup made her London Fashion Week debut at On/Off on the concluding day of the bi-annual trend event.

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For AW08 Amstrup took inspiration from film director David Lynch and the modernist artist Man Ray. Interpreting the surreal representations of mysterious women in Lynch’s films and TV drama Twin Peaks, salve this Amstrup combines their perfection and dark hidden agendas and the mood of Man Ray’s art with the surreal ‘reverse negative prints’.

The powerful music began, the bright lights lit up and astute looking women took to the catwalk. Two graphically sharp and nipped in, belted coats were the initial pieces in a collection of lavish clothes. Strictly constructed surreal and dreamy draping was contradicted by hints of chiffon, leather, wool and silk. Striking exaggerated folding methods and pleats erratically, and imaginatively cropped up here and there. Detail also took place in the form of tassels and fringing on garments, as well as on scarves and shoes. Oversized bags, killer heels and a turban headscarf acted as accessories. There was a satisfying colour palette ranging from cream and bran tones leading to dark and dusty blues, greys, burnt ochre and plum with black.

A surprising pair of trousers made the odd appearance- surprising not because this was a collection primarily comprising of skirts and dresses but because they were rather peculiar in their own right. Ill fitted, high wasted, wishy washey cream and jodhpur-esque, these trousers are going to be my only criticism in this otherwise pleasant show. I was also taken aback by Amstrup’s treatment of her models- alluring long hair was shaved right up the back of the partings! Surely this couldn’t be the case I thought to myself, then again it is the final day of LFW, and one can do whatever one pleases to these model’s barnets now right? But then this is only newee Amstrup’s show, not Vivienne Westwood’s. It took three or four models for me to realise that this expected extremist haircut was merely just a cunning hairdo and that no hair clippers were involved in the making- just clever hair stylists.

Welcome to London Fashion Week Louise Amstrup, a superbly talented designer making dreamy yet simultaneously powerful and shocking wearable works of art.

The invitation to the Aganovich A/W show promised a Valentine’s Day massacre. From that moment I knew this show would definitely not be short on theatricality. Once seated, information pills the mood music that had been piped in to calm the frantic diva nerves of the industry elite morphed into a pounding heartbeat. I was on edge. Then the strains of Frank Sinatra singing You’re Sensational began, seek and out stepped…a bride. This was a little surreal, especially as it was more like a conventional Home Counties bride and not some sexed up Quentin Tarantino version. Quizzical looks flitted across the front row as she swanned down the catwalk, but these were soon quieted as she made her exit and breakbeats set in. Once the ironic Valentine’s Day gesture was over, the real show began.
The archetypal bridal up-do was exaggerated on the Aganovich models to create a modern and subversive take on this classic style. Hair was either quiffed, or the fringe was styled to cover one eye. The make-up paired copious amounts of gold and silver face paint with Clockwork Orange style lashes. It was Grace Kelly in High Society meets Blade Runner.
The strong silhouettes created by the tailored jackets and military coats complemented the hair and make-up as shoulders were defined and padded out. Gold zips and chinoiserie prints brought some flashes of colour into the rather dark collection, while the traditional set of pearls worn by a bride was re-imagined into a half beaded dress.
The Aganovich label has always been intent on exploring paradox in its collections, and A/W was no different as silk dresses were finished with snakeskin detailing and sharp tailoring was created using cashmere. Two things made this show memorable. One being the willingness with which Aganovich desire to push boundaries, and the other being that the chosen soundtrack meant I got to mention breakbeats in a review.

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Yorkshire tea and quintessentially British cake preceded a long and tedious wait for ‘the world to come’. But the setup was unusual, here which I appreciated; the audience was divided into three rooms, so the models glided through from one to the next like a strange narrative when they eventually emerged. They were an embodiment of old English country-dwelling aristocracy, carrying books in their leather-bound palms and live chiuauas in their arms, harking back to a classic past yet obscuring it in a slightly vampire-like manner. All the models had a groomed, Dickensian look, pale, preened and ghostly, which echoed in the shuddering orchestral music. There were shawls that looped around the crown of the head, huge lapels, a cow-hide jacket, enormous, decadent floral corsages and tights the colour of Colman’s mustard. Sitting on wooden chairs in the fitting location of the Mary Ward House, a listed turn-of-the-century building, it felt like we were part of a 1930s English murder mystery film. Close-fitting black and maroon leather gloves made a frequent appearance, as did red netting draped elegantly over the shoulders. Peacock feathers poked out of the men’s trilby hats, over shining quiffs of brown hair, while the women were surmounted with red satin tiaras. A dazzling performance.

Unconditional share their marketing budget “with those whose lives are fragile”, and their funds support Save The Children.
Even though it was 9:30 in the morning, viagra sale there were a lot of people gathering at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. I have not been to the Royal Opera House before so I was excited to visit this venue. The whole place was covered with the smell of perfume and as soon as I entered I was served breakfast with coffee by a gentleman with a tuxedo. Very posh, page but I liked it!

After a short while I got in. I only had a standing ticket but I found quite a good spot and it was not packed with people like all the other shows, clinic meaning I could relax and view the show comfortably. Whilst everyone was still finding their seats, there were many photographers trying to take pictures of fashionista guests. With the solo piano melody, the show had started. The collection was slick and sophisticated, toned with browns, blacks, greys and reds. I especially liked the way they used red as a key colour of the collection. Also, flower motifs were used a lot in the collection upon brooches, prints and embroidery. I also personally enjoyed a skirt where the hem of was cut out as a flower motif. I can imagine smart career girls, who daydream about running around in fields of flowers, wearing Nicole‘s clothes. Music by Regina Spektor went well with the collection and added a jolly feeling to it. I got shivers by the end of the show, as I was very excited. I think shows should be like this more often to make people full of pleasure!

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Who doesn’t want to believe in magic? Whether we can suspend our disbelief or not, order I’m certain that a little bit of enchantment in our lives wouldn’t go amiss. The seven female artists in ‘Sex and Witchcraft’ (Hilary Jack, Anne Marie Kennedy, Rachel Tweddell, Lisa Penny, Kate Street, Susan Taylor, Beata Veszely) explore the ideas of the occult in very different ways; resulting in works that range from the exuberant to the quietly melancholic.

An essay by Gary Lachman, an author interested in links between the occult and modern culture, contextualises the work nicely. I’m one of those exhibition-goers who laps up any kind of socio-historic background to work, particularly when the essay in question gives such valuable tit-bits such as that sleeping with the devil is akin to being with ‘a stallion among mares’. Although there is undoubtedly an undercurrent of sexuality to some of the work, I saw the exhibition more in terms of ‘sex’ as a celebration of the feminine.

Highlights included Kate Street’s ‘Orchis’, a drawing of slow, considered beauty. The work seemed somewhere between a memento mori and a botanical catalogue image, fusing delicate petals with skull-like imagery. According to the ancient Greeks, orchids sprang from the spilt semen of mating animals; this rather earthy belief contrasts with the delicacy of the work.

Beata Veszely’s video piece ‘On the Way to Heaven’ also seemed to comment on the inherent beauty in nature; it celebrated in a dream-like way the power and movement of a white horse. The interaction between nature and the artist was a recurring idea in the exhibition, fittingly so since so much of our ideas of witchcraft are tied up with Wiccan beliefs of nature-supreme. The icon of the white horse is unavoidably linked with the unicorn, well at least in my child-like mind it is…and this is why this exhibition is so enjoyable: work that explores ideas of witchcraft persuades us to be as imaginative and as open to ideas of magic as we were when we were children.

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With the current proliferation of animal-loving musicians playing with tambourines and haunting harmonies, viagra it is interesting to see that The Ruby Suns are experimenting with their musical menagerie Sea Lion; they have bravely avoided finding a sound that ‘works’ and sticking safely to it, online taking a wildly different approach to each track. Blue Penguin, page There Are Birds, Morning Sun – what was that I said about a revival of Romanticism? The increasing emergence of animalia and flora in song lyrics is enough to convince me that today’s bands have been having words with the late William Wordsworth. To solidify my argument, Morning Sun consists almost solely of the lyrics; ‘When I wake up, I get the morning sun‘, sung in such a high-pitched repetition of solar-worship it almost had me falling sideways off my chair in a brainwashed, slumbering heap.

In the flip of a sea lion’s tail, the album oscillates between eighties electronic drum machines, latino guitar flicking and melancholic cult wailings, which may leave you asking, ‘Quoi?’

But each track is a singular gem, luminous and curious; the ecclesiastical It’s Mwangi In Front Of Me, which summons up images of smoking church candles and, towards the end, the ever-decreasing hallways of Alice’s rabbit hole (you’ll know what I mean when you hear it), precedes the wistful, dreamlike vocals interspersed with gentle wind-instrumental spates and apostolic chanting of Remember. Curiouser and curiouser.

Paris-based record label Kitsuné are releasing the fifth in their series of compilations, page promoting the work of such prodigies of electro MIA, mind Autokratz and Alan Braxe. The Parisian music scene is pretty wonderful at the moment, viagra and, as you may have noticed from the way I can’t resist slipping in a bit of vocabulaire Francais in every review, I have a deep affection for it. So you may think I’m biased when I say that this compilation is GREAT. But it is.

Big Face, described by the label as ‘some nutters from Glasgow’, Cazals and my old friends Does It Offend You, Yeah? all grace us with their musical presence, and the princes and princesses of cutesy keyboards CSS themselves get in there with a remix of Bitchee Bitchee Ya Ya Ya’s Fuck Friend. I wasn’t particularly enamoured with the Silverlink vs Kicks Like A Mule remix of MIA’s XR2, but perhaps that’s just because I like the original so much that I felt it didn’t need manipulating. And this is the only – very minor – disappointment of Kitsune Maison Five to my ears. The Teenagers are inevitably heading skywards this year, as are our very own Nottingham-based Late Of The Pier, and their second single, Broken, is brought to the fore with Fairy Lights’ fantastic remix of Earl Samuel Dust’s charmingly vivacious vocals. Alan Braxe, co-creator of the now decade-old Music Sounds Better With You (remember that one?) also contributes a delectable track; in my opinion, his departure from Stardust has done nothing but good, and Addicted truly lives up to its name – it cannot be played only once. A thumping, adrenaline-fuelled beat ascends into a climactic eruption of zombie-like strobes of sound. Indeed, with regards to his former musical collaborators, the music really sounds better without you. Autokratz present a morsel of hearty rave goodness in Pardon Garcon; it isn’t a new sound, but it’s as hard, dark and satisfying as a bar of Bournville. Expect an album imminently.

The compilation has a spontaneous but natural development to it – it’s not just an array of random electro thrown haphazardly together. Creativity and consideration has evidently been imbued in this nocturnal dream of dance music, and French consideration at that. Oh, monsieur!
Royal College of Art Graduate designer Erdem Moralioglu has revealed his A/W 08 collection on Valentine day’s in London. I recognised a few key faces in fashion such as Hilary Alexander from Daily Telegraph and Caryn Franklin from the Clothes Show was there. It was a bit manic when the show was about to start as people from the back row attempted to get into the first row, generic and the cameramen started shouting; it was chaos for a second! And then show commenced….

It all started with classic violin music. Models walked steadily and it was very smooth until the first model’s shoe got caught on the tiled floor and came off causing her to carry on walking unevenly. The collection was elegant with evening dresses in marbled colours. The variety of fabrics ranged from thick silks and cotton to light weighted chiffon, pharmacy all adorned with the same print designs. Also, approved there were plain bright colour high collar jackets, which made the whole collection contemporary; it was like Victorian meets Modernism. My mind wandered to stone castles in fields robust with flower. I especially liked Mac coats that had contrasting front and back aesthetics, evoking totally different feelings. The Mac coat’s back was created with white laced frills – It was unexpected and mismatched but it was somehow still slick and gorgeous. The finale of the collection was a stunning marble coloured top entirely made out of crystal glasses.

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Following a classic English tea (in vintage cups) and biscuit reception we were lead up a grand old winding staircase to a large room where, viagra if I remember correctly, viagra sale the national anthem was playing. An impressive blood red velvet curtain fell parallel to a large gathering of press lined up along the back wall, and above the seated audience below. We were greeted by Antoni and Alison who gave a short but sweet welcoming and introduced a ‘A Spontaneous Piece of Work’ inspired by the black marker pen.

Grand atmospheric music played for what seemed a good few minutes and the audience and the press, cameras at the ready, waited in great anticipation of the unveiling of whatever lurked behind the theatre curtain. The music continued for what would usually have been a thumb twiddling, looking around few minutes but my eyes were glued to the red drapes and my bottom was on the edge of my seat! Ten female models were revealed-in a line and with their backs to us they turned towards the audience one by one, almost in slow motion, and like robot Stepford Wives they removed their headscarves.

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The A/W 08 collection consisted of beautiful prints and vintage floral patterns, which were basically doodled over in a variety of thicknesses and techniques. Antoni and Alison had attacked these models with the black marker pen; headscarves, dresses, handbags and even their exposed legs and lips had become victims. I’m not being critical, these were great clothes and beautiful patterns and detailing had been created. Some scribbling was as the title of the collection suggested – spontaneous, whereas some of it was more controlled. The marker pen effect had also created precise detailing in the form of dots and bow illustrations.

There was a definite vintage air about the collection, something that I felt was lacking throughout the previous six days of LFW. The press release listed items called ‘quickly sketched jumper’, ‘ruined hunting scene headscarf’, ‘carelessly folded wool check shirt’, ‘jersey blouse t-shirt with ink-spot stag’, ‘badly drawn handbag’, ‘boring tweed headscarf with random line’ and ‘spoilt red tartan handbag with rush embellishment’.

The marker pen theme ran throughout the show, the invitation we had received was an upside down gas bill quirkily scribbled over. Portraits of the queen hung in elaborate gold frames and even they hadn’t escaped the vandalising marker pen. And in our goodie bags we found a special edition scribbled mug and the next best thing to a black marker pen- a chunky black eyeliner.

This supposedly haphazard and spontaneous collection I think was actually quite on the contrary, yet still brilliantly creative. Feminine, classic, vintage and pretty, with the cool urban contemporary twist of the marker pen. Bravo.

Who would have thought you could be sexy whilst riding a bike? Now you can! Tower Hamlets and Hackney councils organised the fashion show as a part of London Fashion week on the streets of the Columbia road. It is a quirky idea to combine the idea of cycling and fashion. The purpose of this event is to encourage more people to cycle around in London rather than using a car with dirty exhausts, no rx so really this event promotes action against global warming.

There were six or seven designers presenting their collections there. All the clothes had light reflections so it sparkled when light hit the garment. I liked the cape, web which looks like a simple brown tweed cape, click but in flushes it goes to and from silver and black; I would love to wear that when I cycle around in London! During the show the models were riding the bikes and towards the end, fashion became a circus-like performance, as a boy and girl were doing tricks upon the bikes. He was riding a bike with out utilising the handles, and the girl was riding a unicycle with his handle and constantly swapping around on the seats.

It was very cute show – I felt very warm seeing these people show off their work and that so many people went to see it. There were a lot of cheers every time models walked onto the catwalk and I felt the power of a community. It reminds me of Brick Lane when it started to get regenerated.

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One Response to “London Fashion Week: Wheels & Heels”

  1. Jazmine says:

    I sooooo want a bike plus cape right about now x

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