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London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Ziad Ghanem

Ziad Ghanem made an explosive return to the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue on Monday 19 September with his usual outlandish take on fashion, with fights in the photographer's pit, vaginas, paint-splattered ensembles and the cutest model you might ever see…

Written by Matt Bramford

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2012 by Aysim Genc

In the hotbox that is Vauxhall Fashion Scout‘s Freemasons Hall venue, approved Ziad Ghanem was about to return to the catwalk in dramatic fashion, symptoms and we would not expect anything less. He’d already tweeted that he’d received up to 3000 ticket requests for his show, about it and while I’m not sure there were that many there, it was bloody packed. We were asked to make more and more room for new guests, to the point where I was almost spooning the girl sitting next to me. And it was SO HOT.

Marnie Scarlet for Ziad Ghanem S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

One guy, wearing an outfit only suitable for the front row, idled up and down the catwalk in the hope that someone lesser dressed would offer up his seat. Luckily they managed to squeeze him in a little further down from me. Thank God, I thought – imagine wearing a toilet seat on your head and having to sit fifth! Mortifying.

As I made eyes at Amelia across the catwalk, something rather dramatic happened in the photographer’s pit. A loud bang, as if somebody had fallen, came first – everybody spun to see what was going on. A girl was struggling to maintain her balance and let out a yelp and it was clear that there were some photographers missing. The guy sitting next to me was certain he’d seen fisticuffs; as the photographers vied for space, one had lamped another. It was all very confusing and a little distressing, not least to resist the urge to stand up and cry ‘FIGHT!‘ Ziad, being the gentleman that he is, took to Facebook post-show to offer any injured parties a free outfit. What a lovely man.

Photography by Amelia Gregory

There ain’t no better show suited to a bit of pre-start drama. After the hysteria had settled down and I’d lost a few more pounds in sweat (never a bad thing), the show commenced. This particular collection is inspired by profound Polish film Matka Joanna (Mother Joan); a dark tale of the demonic possession of nuns. Well, what were you expecting? Floaty floral dresses? I don’t think so.

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2012 by Rukmunal Hakim

It’s hard to describe what really happens at a Ziad show. You can’t say ‘the dresses were long’ or ‘the skirts were short’ because every piece is unique and that’s just how Ziad does it. We had a couple walk first, the gent in a cropped white organza jacket, the lady in a glamorous pale pink dress, both with flowers atop their heads and big red eyes.

Photography by Tim Adey

We had performance artist Mr Pustra, who skipped in wearing an exaggarated black ensemble and red PVC gloves, and Marnie Scarlet, wearing one of Ziad’s bridal creations – layer upon layer of white silk and tulle, teamed as any bride would with white PVC leggings. Marnie entered the arena with a PVC umbrella that showered her with rose petals when she opened it.

Photography by Matt Bramford

Intense colours are always the flavour of these shows – this time around monochrome and red threaded the collection together. We had a floor-length translucent number, worn sans underwear. The funny thing is I was thinking I hadn’t seen any vaginas this season after VaginaGate a year ago, and I thought to myself I really wish I hadn’t thought to myself that I hadn’t seen any vaginas, because I suspect that’s why I did.

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2012 by Helena Maratheftis

The rest of the couture pieces celebrated Ziad Ghanem‘s exceptional talent when it comes to making clothes, and it wasn’t all about spectacle. A fishtail gown with incredible lace detail brought audible gasps from the audience and had that timeless quality like the grand dressmakers that precede him. Of course, it was sexed up with leather gloves. Then came a selection of paint-splattered pieces in allsorts of vibrant colours that would have made for a complete collection (and were borderline wearable) if this had not been the mighty Ziad.

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review photo amelia gregory

Photography by Amelia Gregory

The show featured the usual roll call of weird and wonderful models, including DJ Jackee Word, dancer Laura Cherry (who modelled the aforementioned fishtail dress) and singer Tanya Valensi who looked fiece in a less whacky micro dress with incredible embellishment. My favourite model in this show (and in any, for that matter) has to be Ziad‘s ‘favourite niece’ Janet Younan. A girl aged no more than 10 or 11 sashayed down the catwalk like a bridesmaid from a fairytale with as much confidence and swagger as any other model could muster. The crowd went NUTS for this, and quite rightly – Janet really werked it and looked overjoyed when she brought her uncle out for a post-show bow.

Ziad Ghanem S/S 2012 by Claire Kearns

Amelia and I both remarked that this collection was a little less cohesive than previous seasons, but then this is Ziad Ghanem we’re talking about – master of craftsmanship, creator of drama and intensity and master couturier. Some of the shows you see begin with one outfit and change very little throughout, sometimes making you ponder if they’ve actually made a mistake and sent the same model in the same frock out twice. But you’d never get that at a Ziad Ghanem show – no way José. This was a celebration of haute fashion, of everybody’s beauty, and of a designer’s ability to do whatever the hell he likes.

Photography by Matt Bramford

Long live Ziad Ghanem.

Ziad Ghanem SS 2012 review

Watch the show in full here:


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One Response to “London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Ziad Ghanem”

  1. [...] vibe to it, so it just felt right. To see the entire post over at Amelia’s Magazine, click here! GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("IsLong", [...]

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