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Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (ACOFI) Book Launch Party… by Matt

Friday 28th January saw us launch Amelia's Comprendium of Fashion Illustration at the 123 Bethnal Green Road ethical superstore. I lost my trousers, survived the day on a chicken bagel and ached all weekend, but here's how 'ACOFI' was for me…

Written by Matt Bramford

123 Bethnal Green Road, side effects illustrated by Naomi Law

The build up for the Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration launch party was immense. The #ACOFI hashtag on Twitter went mental in the run up, pilule with people planning their outfits and talking about meeting for the first time. The invites had all been sent, find Amelia’s kitchen was impossible to manoeuvre due to boxes piled high with goodies and 123 Bethnal Green Road‘s Scout Hut had been transformed.

Jenny Robins applies her make up surrounded by ACOFI goodie bags…

The day started as I rushed to Amelia’s with 8 potential outfits and a tote bag full of press releases. When I arrived, Amelia looking ever so slightly drained (having had about 4 minutes sleep in the previous week) and after responding to yet more emails asking for an invitation and picking nail varnish (for Amelia, not me) Ross from 123BGR arrived with his van. Contributor Sally turned up laden with her camera equipment, and we loaded everything into the van – box after box of Dr.Hauschka goodies, Moleskine notebooks, Tatty Devine necklaces, postcards, Amelia’s Magazine Issue 10, sh*tloads of ACOFI books and Amelia’s Nina Dolcetti shoes.

The atmosphere at 123 Bethnal Green Road was a a bit of a farce, as we unloaded the van, took everything downstairs and started to unpack it all. It was a bit intense, but I just couldn’t stop giggling. How were we going to make up 200 goodie bags each containing nearly 20 items? Well, with a little help from our friends at Forward PR, we managed it.

Lily Vanilli’s magnificent cake, illustrated by Jo Cheung

Holly from Make Lemonade, illustrated by Joana Faria

As the final Pukka tea sachet went into the last bag and Lily Vanilli arrived with her mindblowing ACOFI-inspired cake, the first few guests arrived including a very prompt Holly from Make Lemonade. I legged it to the top of the 123 building to get changed, and by the time I returned the tea party was in full swing. It was bloody packed, with illustrators creating images of guests and tea being served in gorgeous miss-matched vintage teacups and Felicity from Dr.Hauschka giving hand massages. Those who were lucky enough to enjoy her skillz came away from her table with the appearance of taking mild narcotics and I was desperate to get in there myself but just didn’t get the chance.

Rosie and Harriet of Tatty Devine, illustrated by Zarina Liew

Joana Faria sketches a guest

Amazing treats by Lily Vanilli

In between flirting with journalists and taking photographs I enjoyed a green spiced-chai Pukka tea with cinnamon and star anise and my fair share of Lily Vanilli’s delicious pearlescent scones. Thank God there wasn’t a bloody cupcake in sight. I hate cupcakes at these events; they’re impossible to eat and on more than one occasion I’ve ended up wearing more around my mouth than I’ve actually eaten: not a good luck when schmoozing peers.

Adorngirl, illustrated by Abby Wright

The gorgeous Gabby Young and Stephen, illustrated by Zarina Liew

Susie Bubble‘s covetable Dr. Martens

Amelia with stylist Rebekah Roy

Ellen Grace Jones from The Real Runway

Felicity from Dr. Hauschka gives a guest a relaxing massage

It’s Amelia’s parents!

Such a diverse range of guests came through the door, from high-end fashion glossies to Amelia’s parents (not that they’re not high-end, of course, but you know what I mean!)

The daytime bit was over in a flash, and it was a mad dash to throw all the vintage teacups into the sink before heading upstairs, where yet more guests arrived and the cavernous Scout Hut soon became packed wall-to-wall with illustrators, their guests, the fashion press and a host of other creative types.

Amelia’s amazing Nina Dolcetti shoes

The fabulous 6 Day Riot then blew the crowds away with their folky fun, before the Pipettes DJed to much dancing while I took photographs, met even more of the fabulous illustrators who have worked so hard over the last year to make Amelia’s Magazine what it is, and consumed my fair share of Vodka O and Adnams beers. My thanks goes to the Pipettes and later Will from the Mystery Jets (who played us out surrounded by honeys) for playing Single Ladies twice. My only explanation for my ludicrous shape-throwing is that I was so relieved to finally be on the dancefloor that I, y’know, sort of let go a bit. I also blame the sugar rush from Lily Vanilli’s incredible ACOFI-inspired cake.

Were these hired dancers…?!

Amelia with Nicola from Beautiful Soul

Amisha Ghadiali, illustrated by Antonia Parker

I could go on, but here are my top ten ACOFI moments (in no particular order)

1. When Amelia’s Joanna Cave earrings turned up at the 11th hour. Stunning!

2. When Amelia acquired tourettes and told me, as I descended the 123 stairs, that I looked ‘dreadful…erm, DREADFUL? I mean amazeballs!’ (Not verbatim, but you get the picture…)

3. When I told Gareth A Hopkins that somebody had come to the daytime do with a toilet seat on their head and he believed me.

4. When fashion photographer Liz Johnson-Artur took a picture of stylist Sabrina Bangladesh and the flash was so bright that her squeals could be heard in Walthamstow.

5. When I threw myself at the wall trying to be Beyoncé for Maggie Angus‘ benefit…

6. The great cover samples disappearance mystery, which later turned up in Amelia’s Nina Dolcetti shoebox. Well, this wasn’t exactly a favourite moment, but I wanted to mention it anyway…

7. Eating the cake.

8. Having my first taste of Vodka O and ginger ale, and then watching Nick from Forward PR (who was my only rival in the dance stakes) giving out ‘New York’ measures (no wonder I could barely stand up and everybody reported dreadful hangovers on Twitter the next day…)

9. When 6 Day Riot asked the crowd to join them on a chorus singing ‘Yadda yadda ya’ and lead singer Tamara said ‘I know we’re in East London, but come on!”

Sally Mumby-Croft filming

10. Suggesting that contributor Sally’s video edit would turn out like that scene in Love Actually where he films the wedding (more of a dream than a suggestion…)

Lovely guests… (from top) Illustrator Aniela Murphy and her boy, Jo Cheung and June Chanpoomidole, fashion designer Lira Leirner and Illustrator Faye West with the foxy red Chanel lips.

Finally, of course – so I guess number 11 – meeting all the wonderful illustrators and fashion types who I’ve got to know so well on Twitter and seeing them in the flesh! Glorious!

Can we do it again, please?

Read Amelia’s review of the launch party here, check out the in-store Eco Pop Up shop at 123 Bethnal Green Road (as part of the ACOFI fun) here, watch the illustrators talk all about the work on our YouTube channel AND buy the book here!

All photography by Matt Bramford


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One Response to “Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration (ACOFI) Book Launch Party… by Matt”

  1. grthink says:

    Oh Lord, I’d forgotten about that toilet seat thing. I mean, I talked to that lady with a gin bottle for an earring, so it wasn’t TOTALLY out of the realms of possibility…

    I’ll go hang my head now.

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