Monday, 25 February 2013

Trend: London Fashion Weekend

Yesterday I visited the Vodafone London Fashion Weekend with a friend. After having an epic journey back to London, with delayed trains and a mish-mash of tube lines, I finally made it. It was definitely worth the effort.
We had booked to 2:30pm catwalk show that showed an arrangement of trends curated by Hilary Alexander including designers such as Issa London, Jasper Conran, Hermione de Paula and Meadham Kirchhoff. Many of the looks included headbands from Her Curious Nature, of which I wanted to purchase everything from!
The show had 4 sets: Graphic Art, Urban Lifestyle, Eastern Promise and Dolls House. As there were 12 looks for each set, I'm just going to speak about my favourites.
Graphic Art:
2 great dresses from David Koma. The electric blue was the perfect balance of in-your-face and subtle. You knew it was there, but it wasn't too shocking. The folded layered skirts were cute but serious and the mesh detail on the second dress added a bit of a grunge feeling to the look.
David Koma Blue and White Dresses
Urban Lifestyle:
The first two outfits for this set were from a student at Bath Spa University (Stephanie Kitchen). They were both listed as 'Hi-Tech cycling outfit'. I favoured the first one, maybe because the model had a Barclays Hire Bike accompanying her down the catwalk but who knows. If I cycled, I would definitely do it in this outfit. It was kind of like a Parka coat, with reflective strips on without looking geeky! Who knows, in a few years time these may be everywhere!
Stephanie Kitchen Design
Jasper Conran Double Denim and
Hermione de Paula Ladybird set
Next, there was a fantastic ensemble from Jasper Conran, reminiscent of my childhood in the 90s. Double denim? Yes please. Matching mini skirt and jacket, this was my guilty pleasure of the show. The white applique detail gave it a western feel. Although I would probably never wear this out, it is probably something I would want anyway.
Green Levi's and Blue Trench
Possibly my favourite look of the day was the blue trench coat and green Levi's jeans with purple hat and black bow tie. I have a thing for hats and bow ties and this was just a dream come true, as it was different but classic.

Eastern Promise: The opening look to this set was insanely beautiful. If I had anywhere to wear this, I would have made sure to acquire it! A stunning Issa London gown and head-dress by Her Curious Nature. Both were detailed to the max, be it in print or in headwear content! The head-dress was full on flowers and gems, just exquisite.

Issa dress, Her Curious Nature Head-dress
My next favourite look of this set, my picture didn't turn out for, but I have to talk about it anyway. This was a matching top and trouser set from Hermione de Paula. The print was Ladybirds, but the colours were not what you expected. There were flashes of green, but mostly metallic beiges and dim golds. This is what stood out to me. (For a little look, the outfit is in the same picture as the Jasper Conran double denim above.)
Dolls House:
We all know pastel and ice cream shades are a staple for spring/summer arrangements, but this set included a few Mad Men inspired looks as well as modern twists.
A lovely pink rose strapless dress from Topshop was teamed with a shocking pink rose headband from Victoria Grant and some fuschia shoes from Irregular Choice. I just loved this look for it's great use of different shades of bright pinks whilst not being too 'out there'.
Pink Arrangement for Dolls House
The closing look consisted of a dress, blouse and knee-boots all from Meadham Kirchhoff. It was crazy but so cool. The shape of the dress reminded me of Mad Men- how you ask? The shape is clearly padded/structured in some way, and in the 50s, dresses were made with padding to give women an hourglass figure. Okay so this is over exaggerated but I'm still loving it.
Meadham Kirchhoff
Also, Vodafone customers got a free limited edition Nails Inc. nail polish in 'Vodafone Red.' This excited me greatly.

 So that's that! There were so many amazing and wearable looks but I'd be here all night if I went through each one. I hope you enjoy them, Sorry for the poor pictures- that's what I get for using my iPhone!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Valentino: Master of Couture

So we all know this exhibition has been around for a couple of months now, gracing Somerset House with it's high fashion, but I only got the chance to visit it last week.
Accompanied by my mum, I booked tickets to the Valentino exhibition.
I won't lie, I wasn't too bothered about going. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with fashion, especially with designer and high end couture, but Valentino has never been a favourite designer of mine so I wasn't too fussed.
Anyway, after a lovely lunch at Strada next to Covent Garden, my mum and I wandered down to Somerset House. After winding our way through the LFW crowds, we found our way to the exhibition entrance.
I picked up a little guide, which was classically set out, and we went in. The first bit is of the correspondence between Valentino and various other fashion big names and members of celebrity society, including royalty. I particularly loved the Christmas card from Prince Charles, with a very over-posed photograph of him with Wills and Harry.
Reading the map of Valentino's life showed his dedication to fashion. I had no idea of the places he had worked and designed for.
One of the highlights of this exhibition for me was the various fashion illustrations that were on display- I found this particularly thrilling as I am currently teaching myself fashion illustration. The drawings from the late 60s and early 70s were my favourites.
The next part of the exhibition was the cleverly designed catwalk of which viewers walked down to see some of the iconic dresses and outfits of Valentino's designs throughout the years.
They were all insane- in every sense of the word! Some were insanely amazing and truly beautiful, whilst a small handful were insanely scary- really not to my taste!
A particular envy arose in me whilst looking at Jackie O's wedding dress.
Another interesting aspect was the display of some pieces that had been designed in the 50s and 60s, but not actually materialised until the 90s and 2000s. This made me question- how many more unknown fabulous designs are hidden away, maybe never to be seen? Of course not every idea and ensemble is a good one, but there will always be some amazing ideas which the world will never see.
Going back to wedding dresses, there was the display of the dress of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece. What a stunning piece. Pearl and ivory lace, with the work of 25 hand seamstresses over 4 months. A truly exquisite dress that is well worth viewing.
The final part of the exhibition was a small display of some of the infamous Valentino detailing to garments- the tulle rose for example. Each item had it's own video of someone making it- My mum liked this part in particular, as she is a keen sewer and knitter, although I think this level of expertise was a bit beyond her.
Of course, upon exit we had to go through the gift shop. I was very excited to see the tote bags on sale with some lovely prints- the big cat one being my favourite, but alas, I could not purchase said tote with the £350 price tag.
Overall, I was very impressed with the exhibition. It really opened my eyes to Valentino, and I appreciate him and his designs so much more now. My mum also thoroughly enjoyed it, and she is someone who isn't bothered about designers.
I would certainly visit it again before it goes, and if you are thinking of going, I would recommend you get to it!