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Archive for July, 2010

After a full on weekend filled with Kettle Chips, PVC and sanitary towels, we’ve come to the Ready to Wear show.  The beauty of Ready to Wear collections is just that, they are actually wearable! No inappropriate cling film dresses here.

Let’s get started:

Once again, peacocks appear to be the inspiration behind the Orleans Design collection.  Colourful fabrics printed with peacock feathers were used as the basis for a variety of dresses.

A stunning yellow peacock print ruffled dress was given an additional pop of colour with a bright red bib neck.

Another startling piece was shift dress which looked as though it was made from hundreds of folded ties! The paisley printed and solid plum ties were alternated to give a tiled effect, and flapped around amusingly with the movement of the model.

Designer Hazel Aggrey-Orleans took to the stage holding her sweet but bemused looking daughter to enthusiastic applause.

Playsuit Parlour’s stunning collection did exactly what it said on the tin, and more by showing not only playsuits but kimonos too. Gorgeous paisley and ditsy printed fabrics were pinned, cinched and tied into playsuits of different shapes and sizes, from flirty little minis to ankle skimmers.  Favourites included a ditsy printed moss green mini with v neck, voluminous cap sleeves and a row of tiny buttons down the front, giving it a 1940’s feel, as well as a cornflower blue floral, backless playsuit with a tulip hem.

Brighton based Yamama’s collections consisted of clean shapes and simple patterns put together with stunning effect.  A white shift dress was sparsely patterned with purple and orange dandelion halos and cap sleeves while a simple pink shift was brought to life with a waist cinching black belt and hem.

Former Glory kicked off their collection with a patriotic prom dress in the colours of the Union Jack and featuring both a corset top and masses of frothy, voluminous underskirts.  A forest green body-con jersey dress was tarted up with a deep scoop neck and a chiffon bustle whereas pair of black sequined leggings was topped with an equally sparkly sequinned visor. Who said less is more?

Like Minnie Mouse, polka dots are a staple in my wardrobe too but Be Urban Chic managed to make this classic print even more adorable when they used hearts instead of dots. Topped of with a Queen of Hearts playing card fascinator, this boxy playsuit would brighten up any day.

In complete contrast to the sweetly detailed playsuit, hot pink fabric was used for a very simple floor length dress which was equalling as stunning and showed the diversity within the Be Urban Chic range.

Another 7th Day took the idea surly, emo teenagers and managed to make them beautiful in this predominantly black collection. Using models as opposed to spotty adolescents obviously helped.  Leather jackets, knitted hoods and crepe fabrics were all used in this moody range, reminding us that black doesn’t have to mean boring.

Distressed jeans and oversized blazers were worn by the foot-dragging and slouched models, both male and female. The one ray of light in this sulky collection was a cream crotchet dress worn with cream cropped trousers and a light, multi-hemmed trench.

I knew I was going to like the collection shown by Brighton based store Profile, not just because they were showing pieces that were high-end designer and eye-wateringly unaffordable, but because the combination of a fuchsia frothy skirt and a nude vest is right up my alley. Who doesn’t love froth? Pink and black voluminous shifts dresses looked like 60’s nighties, whereas paisley silk hanky-hemmed dresses brought the rich bohemian look up to date.

Kerry Knowles presented us with a striking monotone unisex collection that looked stunning on both male and female models. Identical items were worn with subtle styling differences to differentiate this boxy range. Simple details like leaving a couple of buttons at the back of a cream button back tank top undone gave the top a cowl back for a more feminine look. And oversized coat was belted for a feminine waist. Barbara Hulanicki was  also a fan, mentioning Kerry’s collection during her afternoon Q and A session.

Last but not least, the models of Ailsa were a friendly bunch, constantly high-fiving, winking and caressing each other as they passed on the catwalk while wearing outfits such as sheer, voluminous tops with paisley style prints, a long striped maxi dress was accessorised with a cropped purple jacket, and a grey waistcoast teamed up with silver sequinned harem pants.  Furiously backcombed quiffs were sported throughout the collection, extending to Ailsa herself who took to the stage for her bow arm in arm with one of the overfriendly girl gang of models, and wrapping up the last collection of 2010.

Until next year…

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If backstage at Jez Eaton’s Trashion show seems a little bit too calm, the couture show was the exact opposite.  Eleven designers with 11 sets of models, props, costumes and nerves crammed into the backstage area similar to particles of gun powder. One flame and the room might explode.

Without the crazy attention-grabbing props from the Trashion show, I was free to concentrate on all the other activities going on backstage… Models were preened en masse, often with several pairs of hands at a time. Some lounged on the floor while body paint dried, while others stood patiently while make up artists carefully and attentively fake-tanned their bums. I helped with this job once. I didn’t pay quite so much attention.

A show with 11 designers was always going to be spectacular and from the get go, we weren’t disappointed.

Joanna Fleming was first with her show, named Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The ‘good’ featured bride-like models in soft A-line dresses in a range of sheer pastels.  Ruffles, floral embellishments and diamante worked together to give a soft and impossibly delicate look to the collect. Dry ice covered the catwalk, and out came what I imagine is the ‘evil’ part of the collection, although it still looked pretty good to me. Long draped silk dresses, in similar pastel hues, wafted past us.  The floor length hems managed to imitate the movement of the dry ice as they billowed along.  Despite the matching colour palette, the backless dresses and diamante ties managed to contrast in many ways to the first collection, even the pace of the models was transformed, from a shuffling wedding march to a power walk that would have make Beyoncé proud.  I hadn’t realised it was possible to have so much attitude while wearing floor length silk… Chiffon shoulder pieces and bouffant hair completed the look.

Ada di Vincenzo was next.  Black body-con dresses were transformed with heavy structured shoulders and contrasting linings, offering a flash of neon colour on the black fabric backdrop.  Sheer draping, long bell sleeves and solid plastic accessories were used to stunning effect.

Rosaline Francis Holmes announced herself with her name emblazoned on screen in a news print style font.  Using such fabrics such as bold peach leather or grey starched linen, the show was the first of the night to offer a mixed palate of colour.  A model in a sheepskin coat looked as snug as a bug in an Ugg, whereas the pale grey starched dress had the effect of a skirt blown up by the wind, which always only happens on a busy street in front of hundreds of people…  Strands of diamante, like glittered cobwebs, were the threads that held the collection together.

Leanne Garnett managed to form a collection out of heavy black fabric while layering it in a way that reminded me of florals. The soft ruched fabrics matching the feel of a bouquet.  Add to this high funnel necklines and asymmetrical hems and the look is both playful but secure.  A nervous Leanne was dragged out for her bow, by the hand of a model, and was met with rapturous applause.

Meganne Murrin’s show was titled Alien Armour and it was very obvious to see why. The outfits all incorporated snake skin style material, heavy black plumage and distorted shapes.  The robotic movements of the models made the catwalk resemble a factory conveyor belt  gone haywire, as the machine churned out radically different models. One of the most eye-catching pieces consisted of a full length playsuit made from a heavy black leather top joined to a pair of snakeskin legs.  Fierce black feathers ran the shoulders, through the back of the top and down to the ankles.  Foghorn Leghorn can only dream of looking this good.

Studio_805 by Andrew Bannister featured what appeared to be jack-in-the-box puppets come to life.  Full length playsuits patterned with oversized diamond pints in pastel colours were worn with jaunty dice headwear… and that was just the men! One of the only girls of the collection wore a red and white playsuit and looked very much like a classic American Candy-Stripper.  If the colours and patterns weren’t startling enough, the look was topped off with a rectangle of fabric, identical to their outfits, affixed over the mouths of models.  The other alternative was a set of red, plastic lips, gaping open and giving the models sporting them a creepy doll-eyed look.  Combine these lips with tweed trousers, horn rimmed glasses and an eye patch and the look is Dr Who in an alternate universe.

After a short break, because even models need to be fed and watered, the second half of the show started with Nikola Bertok.  Sheer, chiffon trousers were tucked genie-like into ankle boots.  Tops made from heavy fabrics were made lighter with an organza bow.  A sheer black skirt looked as through it was inspired by a peacock as it trailed petrol-blue fabric and beading.  A long black velvet dress embellished with an anchor headpiece(?) and full length trailing gold ribbons proved to be a bit tricky for the model wearing it as she kept having to stop to lift the skirt to stop her foot from catching the key hole detail at the hem.  Nikola is also showing his collection at London Fashion Week in the autumn so I can imagine that much more will be heard from him soon.

Kayleigh Valentine’s collection felt like a deleted scene in Grease where Sandra Dee and sexy Sandy have a showdown.  Sweet pastel dresses were accessorised with heavy black leather, studded belts. Raw floaty hems were toughed up by leather jackets.  Alternatively, leather jackets were softened by shocking pink lining.  Even the hair was Grease, tied into flippy ponytails, or teased into big bouncy curls.

I can only imagine the amount of talcum powder needed to slip the models into the pieces from Joy William’s latex collection.  Sheer black latex was sexed up further with the addition of ribbon corset fastenings and suspender belts. A structured red skirt with black detailing reminded me of one of those tourist-tat Spanish dolls, but only if the dolls were wearing funnel necked, one armed latex tops.  The potential for condensation under the lights for this collection were huge.

Peachy leather, hessian and fur sound like an unlikely combination but worked brilliantly when put together by Flik Hall.  A high-waisted hessian tulip skirt was attached to a peachy nude leather slash neck top and featured a visible zip at the back.  A black and pink panelled shirt dress was made extraordinary with the addition of a black fur panel running from middle to the hem of the dress. A female Teenwolf appeared to be on the loose when a pink leather and black fur bolero was worn with black hotpants and a sheer camisole.  Add to this collection a print of an arm flexing a bicep(!) to every piece and Flik Hall’s mannequin parade is complete.

Last but not least, Sarina Poppy’s Beauty and the Beast show brought the fairy tale to life as sparkly-tutu-wearing, petal-scattering fairies skipped down the stage.  An Irish fiddler played while a pirouetting dancer twirled her way up and down the catwalk, her sparkly red voluminous skirts floating up to reveal black and red frilly knickers. And no fairy tale show would be complete without Red Riding Hood.  A full-skirted Riding Hood adorned with a sparkling hood managed to charm the tux clad wolf and they moseyed arm and arm back up the aisle… perhaps even living happily every after.

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Sorry this is so late. Moving flat has taken over my life.  And I didn’t have my broadband up till yesterday…

***

Wandering around nosing at costumes and prop, I thought I’d given myself a good idea of what to expect at the Jez Eaton Trashion show. I’d sort of envisioned a more glamorous version of Derelicte, complete with a Hansel intervention; Jez might even be wearing a piano key necktie…

But no.

Pre-show, everyone appeared to be calm.  Make up artists attacked rows of models with various powders and creams while hair stylists asphyxiated everyone within a 15 metre radius.  Strange props filled every surface, blown up rubber glove balloons, rolls of hazard tape and feather duster antennae took up one corner, while another was consumed by a crinoline of Cindy dolls in what looked like a gigantic cheerleader formation.  Elsewhere a model was having a beret affixed to her head at a suitably jaunty angle.  Looking closer, I noticed the beret was made entirely of sanitary towels. There was even a sanitary towel bow!  Time to sit down before I break something…

Instead of the usual ‘reserved’ signs that you’d expect on the seats of a fashion show, guests to Jez’s show were greeted with a packet of Kettle Chips,  they were everywhere, a packet on every seat in a variety of flavours. These came in very handy during the 30 minute delay to the start of the show. Who doesn’t idly eat when faced with snacks and waiting time?

When the show finally commenced, it was to an absolutely eye-popping start. Musical duo My Bad Sister wrestled each other down the length of the catwalk, clad in black micro-mini playsuits made entirely of bin liners. Looking like a feisty pair at the best of times, the girls stunned the crowd by literally tearing strips off each other, leaving black bin liner trailing in their wake as they left the stage.  This was closely followed by a change of pace as the auditorium of the Brighton Corn Exchange was filled by the sounds of Goldfrapp, while a troop of models dressed in Lidl’s finest took to the stage. Not since Jason Donovan turned up in the Iceland adverts has a budget supermarket looked so attractive. Mini dresses, kimonos and even a hooded shrug were all adorned with the not normal enticing Lidl logo.

Another tempo change and a sombre couple emerged performing a slow Tango. More bin liners were used, fashioned into a shiny cummerbund and voluminous bolero for the male, while a head dress made from black rope and wire, eerily reminiscent of the Medusa was attached to the head of his partner.

60’s prom dresses were next, printed with the instantly recognisable Ariel Powder logo. These were topped off with retro pink wigs and glassy-eye stares as the colourful model-dolls slowly shoop-shooped down the aisle at a zombie-like speed while old film clips were projected onto the backdrop.

A roller skating can-can was performed by a cheerful trio dressed entirely in clothing made from sanitary towels. The aforementioned beret was accompanied by a short swing jacket and an arm muff. The effect was not too dissimilar from the puffa jacket trend that lingered around the 90’s but was, surprisingly, much more attractive.  A precarious moment ensued when it looked like a skater might have been undone by her own fancy footwork, but thankfully, this wasn’t to be. Not that she’d have felt the fall…

The jovial mood was shattered when the stage was invaded by a truly terrifying Poseidon-like creature. A towering 7ft half-man, half-sea monster, complete with trailing bubble wrap tentacles, horned head dress and McQueen style lobster shoes. And to think I used to think Ursula from The Little Mermaid was scary. The menacing  song ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ is now a lullaby in comparison.  The monster was followed down the catwalk by 2 writhing females, clad only (only!) in the skimpiest and sheerest of cling film bandeau dresses. I can’t imagine anyone wearing this down the Pitcher and Piano, I don’t care how even your fake tan is.

Now as someone with naturally curly hair, I’m never without my umbrella, but I’ve never seen so many put to such spectacular use as I did tonight. Worn by two sets of models, the first a group of solemn females shuffling down the catwalk  looking like a cross between Victorian ghosts and the Scottish Widow, while the second set of baby pink and white creations were worn by 3 drag artists who danced and sang while twirling their umbrella skirts.  The Cindy doll crinoline was next, worn with a pair of hot pink DM’s and accessorised by a bouquet of flowers consisting of stems topped with Cindy doll heads. Who hasn’t given themselves a fright when their doll’s head popped off when they were younger?  Not this girl.  The bouquet was the kind of creepy artefact you’d find in the room of a haunted nursery while you were chased screaming into the distance by knife-wielding twins.

Chain mail dresses made entirely of condom packets took on a gladiatorial vibe, rubber gloves became bandeau tops, sponges become head dresses, and a metal pan scourer became a bow as Jez Eaton took household items and used them in arrestingly different ways.

Bridesmaid’s dresses are notoriously unattractive as brides hate to be upstage, but I can’t imagine anything beating the dress which followed Jez Eaton’s model bride which was constructed from rolls of toilet roll, unravelling and wafting behind her as she made her way down the aisle. A tasteful headdress made from a further 6 rolls completed the look.

Without a doubt, the show stopper of the entire collection was an outfit which appeared to be based on the Virgin Mary.  This was an outfit that would outshine the baby Jesus in any nativity. A headdress made from a paper doily was haloed with fairy lights.  Empty cupcake cases formed shoulder straps and a full skirt was constructed by a frame covered in Chinese fairy lanterns, which shone as the model slowly and steadily paced herself down the aisle.  The lanterns lit the darkened catwalk giving the model an ethereal glow.  The model looked painfully aware of the potential for electrical catastrophe that could befall her as the lanterns swung from side to side as she walked… no one wants to be thrown from a catwalk by the weight of their own overexcited light bulbs.

And before I knew it, it was over. All good things come to an end, and Jez Eaton’s Trashion show was without a doubt a very good thing.  Inspiration obviously strikes the Brighton based artist and designer at the most unexpected of times and if she can get this excited by recycling, I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

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Absenteeism

Sorry, I’ve been:

moving flat

quad biking

in France

canyoning

killing spiders

But I’ll be back soon.

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