The Voice of a Century

24/09/2016 12:10 AM
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Atmospohere at the launch of "Vogue: Voice Of A Century", a new book celebrating Vogue Britain's centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Atmospohere at the launch of “Vogue: Voice Of A Century”, a new book celebrating Vogue Britain’s centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

They’ve only published 1916 copies of “Vogue: Voice of a Century” – that’s because British Vogue was published in the year 1916, and this is the latest in a glamorous line of fashionable anniversary celebrations. (Leon Max was proud to co-host the opening gala of the year, for the exhibition, “Vogue: A Century of Style.”) So this London fashion week the venerable magazine opened the door onto the new floors of the city’s chicest boite, 5 Hertford Street, in Mayfair, for the book’s launch.

Anna Wintour, editrix of its American older sister, arrived in a flash of cameras, and stood at the bar with Victoria Beckham fresh from her triumphal New York show. Also there, Christopher Bailey (whose Burberry show the next night would be London’s first foray into the world of “See Now, Buy Now,”) model Jourdan Dunn and Mario Testino, much of whose work is featured in the limited edition tome, glossy and full too of never-before-seen contributions from a long line of the publications’ writers from decades past.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Alexandra Shulman, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour attend the launch of "Vogue: Voice Of A Century", a new book celebrating Vogue Britain's centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Alexandra Shulman, Victoria Beckham and Anna Wintour attend the launch of “Vogue: Voice Of A Century”, a new book celebrating Vogue Britain’s centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Jourdan Dunn attends the launch of "Vogue: Voice Of A Century", a new book celebrating Vogue Britain's centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Jourdan Dunn attends the launch of “Vogue: Voice Of A Century”, a new book celebrating Vogue Britain’s centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Jade Parfitt, Henery Holland and Erin O'Connor attend the launch of "Vogue: Voice Of A Century", a new book celebrating Vogue Britain's centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Jade Parfitt, Henery Holland and Erin O’Connor attend the launch of “Vogue: Voice Of A Century”, a new book celebrating Vogue Britain’s centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 18: Olivia Palermo attends the launch of "Vogue: Voice Of A Century", a new book celebrating Vogue Britain's centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 18: Olivia Palermo attends the launch of “Vogue: Voice Of A Century”, a new book celebrating Vogue Britain’s centenary year, hosted by Alexandra Shulman at 5 Hertford Street during London Fashion Week Spring/Summer collections 2017 on September 18, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)

New York Nirvana

15/09/2016 9:22 PM

It was bold and it was beautiful; after a soporific summer a glamorous crowd got New York fashion week off to a flying start at the Harper’s Bazaar ball at that scene of so much tremendous Uptown glamour, the Plaza Hotel. Hailey Baldwin led the cream of the slinky supermodels off the runway and onto the red carpet, Karlie Kloss included.

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05:  Model Crystal Renn attends Harper's Bazaar Celebrates ICONS by Carine Rotifeld at The Plaza Hotel on September 5, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 05: Model Crystal Renn attends Harper’s Bazaar Celebrates ICONS by Carine Rotifeld at The Plaza Hotel on September 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Hailey Baldwin attends the 2016 Harper ICONS Party at The Plaza Hotel on September 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 09: Hailey Baldwin attends the 2016 Harper ICONS Party at The Plaza Hotel on September 9, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Back on said runway there were some lessons to learn; from Carolina Herrera that nothing beats a sumptuous charity gala-ready gown, and at Zac Posen a ladylike 1950s frock is the next best thing. Over at Proenza Schouler bold block colours and flapper-like fringing stole the show. But it wasn’t always a case of healthy American glamour; the hot LA label Libertine had Union Jack skirts and images of the Queen patterned on to its cardigans. A nod from across the Pond in Her Majesty’s 90th year? Make of that what you will.

COURTSIDE IN COLOUR

02/09/2016 10:48 PM

It’s the week of the US Open so when better to embrace smart, crisp, whites with a sporty vibe? It’s all the rage for every fashionista worth their salt, don’t you know, a sub-section of this early 21st-century craze for “Athleisure.” It’s a fact of life; gym and sports wear is acceptable on the street, Olympic-seque designs are rife in high fashion. Chloe has shown tracksuit tops and their were tracksuits at Gucci and at hot London label Hillier Bartley too. There followed Beyoncé’s ‘Ivy Park’ line for Topshop. Resistance is futile: sporty is a legitimate outfit, and looking like one cares about fitness (even if in reality one doesn’t) is very much ‘in’ right now.

But whether you’re a tennis spectator at Flushing Meadows or keeping things cool at home or the office, there is no need to lose all sense of style.

 

Instead, beat a path to these ace tennis-style ensemble. Be bold and bright in this casual but elegant sleeveless sweater vest and sweater skirt in cool green. Paired with a pair of white ankle wrap sandals and tortoise sunnies, this look amplifies sporty chic.

Wear white with a pop of colour in our silk polo neck sweater. With its sporty polo neckline, flattering tapered silhouette and luxuriously soft feel, this sweater has it all. Pair it with cropped trousers, gladiator sandals and a pair of bold sunnies.

Game, set and match.

LA Status

26/08/2016 1:05 AM

A London Girl Touches Down in LA

By Sophie Coleridge

 

Regardless of whether or not one has actually stepped foot in LA – the ‘City of Angels’ is already firmly engrained in the imagination. A fantasy place of yoga-pant wearing, fitness buff flexing, quinoa salad munching, palm trees a ‘sprawling mass of consumerist fun – how can one not instantly visualize a land where the sky is always blue, its inhabitants teeth whiter than white.

The set to chick flick moguls ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘Clueless’ – Rodeo, Melrose and Sunset already feel like roads you’ve actually walked down before.

When this Brit did indeed arrive, apart from being faced with the fact that nobody actually walks anywhere at all – I was pleased that my LA zeitgeist was not just a feature of movie sets and heavily filtered faux instagram accounts; they are of course living and breathing aspects of normal every day LA life.

And as I unturned new stones each day – it was a privilege to wear Max Studio clothes – LA being Leon Max / Max Studio headquarters. Here is a small snapshot of my time, curated by Leon Max.

Heading Downtown one day, to shoot the collection at a rented studio location, I was faced with exposed brick wall façades, rustic rough-aesthetic doors and the latest technology in photography and media – the studio epitomized the clean and modern mindset of Californian living.
A small café, opposite the studio, was all supplied by home grown vegetables. How did they do this in such a small urban space you may ask? Using an ingenious ‘hydroponic system’, otherwise known as the Garden Tower. Like a cluster of white lampposts, water is circulated equally throughout, keeping the plants both hydrated and away from pests…no need for chemicals.
From the rooftop, if the panoramic views weren’t impressive enough, someone pointed down at the drying Los Angeles River Basin, casually stating it was the set location for the iconic race between Danny Zuko and Kenickie near the end of the movie Grease. Hollywood is all around, even when you least expect it.

Florence’s Fashion Family

20/08/2016 1:20 AM

by Flora Naughtie

‘Across Art and Fashion’ is the new exhibition from the Ferragamo foundation and it looks at the relationship between art and fashion.

The work of influential designers from the mid-20th century to today are shown with iconic works of art illustrating the dialogue that exists between the two.

Salvatore Ferragamo, Dartboard , 1958, court shoes in yellow ocher suede and polychrome kid applications.


Salvatore Ferragamo, the celebrated Florentine shoe designer, and his interest in 20th century avant-garde movements provides the basis for the show. His fabulous ochre Tirassegno pump from 1958 takes pride of place; dotted with polychrome kidskin appliqués Ferragamo was specifically referencing his contemporary, the artist Kenneth Noland. Noland’s painting ‘Untitled’- from the same year – is displayed alongside it.

Taking Ferragamo as a starting point the curators expand the trend using other designers and art movements to demonstrate the continuous crossover. Issey Miyake’s 1980 work Plastic Body, on loan from Tokyo, shows emphatically Miyake’s foray into the visual arts. Even more recent inclusions such as Viktor & Rolf’s ‘Irina’ – part of their ‘Shirt Symphony’ 2011 collection  – flirts on the boundary between wearable fashion and outlandish visual art.

Issey Miyake, Plastic Body , 1980, bodice-reinforced plastic fiber. Tokyo, The Miyake Issey Foundation.


Yves Saint Laurent’s famous colour-block dress, inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition paintings, is an obvious but effective choice for the narrative of the show. Another early inclusion, a 1937 Elsa Schiaparelli evening dress loaned from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a perfect example of a collaboration between artist and designer. In this case the superstar Surrealist, Salvador Dali.

Pop-Art also makes an appearance, an Andy Warhol Campbell Soup Dress, which plays on one of his iconic images from the later 20th century. Of all of them, it’s perhaps this that most effectively shows how culture and art have been translated into fashion through the decades.

‘Across Art & Fashion’ is at the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo until 7th April 2017.

Curtain Up

12/08/2016 5:54 PM

By Flora Naughtie

London and New York, two fashionable theatrical capitals with an archive of design that ‘Curtain Up’ now on at the V&A delves into. Shows produced – both on Broadway and in the West End – over the last four decades are revisited and the exhibition is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of The Olivier Awards. It covers many aspects of a production – music, set-design and scripts are all included – but the highlight is how it re-introduces us to some of theatres most iconic moments in fashion and costume.

The journey from sketch to stage is fascinating. Maria Bjornsen’s original designs are shown alongside the white mask worn by Michael Crawford for the 1986 Phantom of the Opera. There are the golden, glittery top hats from The Chorus Line (1967) which have been installed like an artwork.

Female acting heavy-weights are also a focus. Helen Mirren’s award winning appearance in The Audience is honoured by an inclusion of the white regency gown designed by Bob Crowley. Judi Dench and the Royal Shakespeare Company also get a nod with her costume from the final scene of Cleopatra (1987). The costume for the character of Roxy from mega hit Chicago also makes an appearance.

This exhibition seems long overdue and the combination of elements that make up a production make it an impressive experience. The fashion choices and the different stages of design are part of the wider picture of Curtain Up but they are presented as centre pieces, reflecting how fashion design is at the heart of every successful theatrical and musical production.

Curtain Up

11/08/2016 1:14 AM

By Flora Naughtie

London and New York, two fashionable theatrical capitals with an archive of design that ‘Curtain Up’ now on at the V&A delves into. Shows produced – both on Broadway and in the West End – over the last four decades are revisited and the exhibition is timed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of The Olivier Awards. It covers many aspects of a production – music, set-design and scripts are all included – but the highlight is how it re-introduces us to some of theatres most iconic moments in fashion and costume.

The journey from sketch to stage is fascinating. Maria Bjornsen’s original designs are shown alongside the white mask worn by Michael Crawford for the 1986 Phantom of the Opera. There are the golden, glittery top hats from The Chorus Line (1967) which have been installed like an artwork.

Female acting heavy-weights are also a focus. Helen Mirren’s award winning appearance in The Audience is honoured by an inclusion of the white regency gown designed by Bob Crowley. Judi Dench and the Royal Shakespeare Company also get a nod with her costume from the final scene of Cleopatra (1987). The costume for the character of Roxy from mega hit Chicago also makes an appearance.

This exhibition seems long overdue and the combination of elements that make up a production make it an impressive experience. The fashion choices and the different stages of design are part of the wider picture of Curtain Up but they are presented as centre pieces, reflecting how fashion design is at the heart of every successful theatrical and musical production.

Goodwood – A Summer Horse Race

30/07/2016 1:22 AM

It’s one of the last hurrahs of the English
summer season (and when it’s sunny why would ever want to leave for warmer climes?) “Glorious Goodwood” is the exclusive race meeting that runs this week. Goodwood House is the scene, and the stately pile set in the South Downs belonging to the dukes of Richmond, where a king once described the last week of July as “a garden party with racing tacked on.” Plus ca change. Royalty still comes but in the 21st century you might also be rubbing shoulders with a Hollywood movie star; Tom Cruise has been spotted in the Duke of Richmond’s Box. That box is still the place to lunch. 

But what to wear? Summer suits or blazers and a panama hat are de rigeur for the men. For the ladies, this is a more understated meeting than Royal Ascot which has a great spectacle of colour but where the dress code is far stricter. There it’s huge, super-size brims, here it’s pretty dresses, full head pieces or beautiful, more relaxed hats. And they’re off.

Shop dresses

Serpentine Summer Party 2016

08/07/2016 12:33 AM

Yana and Leon Max attend The Serpentine Summer Party Co-Hosted By Tommy Hilfiger at The Serpentine Gallery on July 6, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)


London, Last Night

The annual high society meets fashion bash at London’s Serpentine Gallery brought celebrity guests together including Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Sienna Miller. Leon and Yana Max wearing the eponymous brand attended the event, which celebrates the opening of the Hyde Park set contemporary art gallery’s Pavilion, this year an “un-zipped wall” conceived by Bjarke Ingels. Also there, Clara Paget, the former Leon Max campaign star.

Lily Donaldson arrives for the Serpentine Summer Party (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

Clara Paget attends the Serpentine Summer Party (Photo by Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

Naomi Campbell attends the Serpentine Summer Party (Photo by Darren Gerrish/WireImage for Tommy Hilfiger)

Missoni Art Colour

03/07/2016 3:05 AM

“Missoni Art Colour” at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum addresses the brand’s links to 20th century Italian art. Using art from Italian museums the show offers a chance to see many works on display in Britain for the first time.

These Futurist and Post-modernist works, featuring heavyweights from Balla to Fontana, complement the (previously unseen) studies, sketches and paintings of founder Ottavio Missoni.

This brand was, and remains, more than a fashion label and it deserves a place within a wider cultural history: a creative enterprise which flowed alongside the theories of its artistic contemporaries.

At the centrepiece of the show are, unsurprisingly, designs from the Missoni archive: 42 mannequins form a pyramid of the most recognisable and iconic moments in the brand’s 60-year history.

These pieces are presented under flickering spotlights and a sound installation by contemporary Italian composer Pietro Pirelli – dubbed a ‘textile symphony’ in the museum’s caption – to highlight how Missoni can be viewed through the prism of the visual arts. 

Founder of Missoni, Rosita Missoni attends the Missoni Art Colour preview in partnership with Woolmark at The Fashion and Textile Museum


What the exhibition makes clear is that Ottavio and Rosita Missoni were a formidable duo: Ottavio the unrelenting creative and Rosita the fashionista who guided the empire as we know it today.

Missoni, of course, is still known for its eclectic mix of colour, pattern and knit and ‘Missoni Art Colour’ represents not only an important milestone and recognition of the brands history and influence but also its’ acceptance within an exclusive art world. All the time emphasising its specific Italian heritage.

Missoni Art Colour is at the Fashion & Textile Museum until 4th September.

STAGES

21/06/2016 6:07 PM

By Flora Naughtie 

The first major survey of the Chicago-based artist, Barbara Kasten’s work – Stages – is now on at MOCA. Known primarily for her photographic work Stages unites Kasten’s use of sculpture, installation, textiles and video to expose the relationship of space and light. Her attention to these themes creates a strong cinematic voice and is perhaps why the exhibition suits the Los Angeles setting so well.

The constructions that Kasten presents are abstract forms and the transformative experience is achieved through shifts in tone, shape and shadow. It is this relationship between the viewer’s bodily experience and the work – shifting or fixed – that is tested throughout the rooms of the exhibit and the different points of Kasten’s career they represent. In the video work Axis (2015) Kasten employs the architectural space of the gallery as her set and allows the walls of MOCA to envelop the viewer as they become part of her geometric, architectural composition. 

Kasten’s use of photography has certainly influenced a new generation today and is the take-home message of the extensive exhibition. The roots of her practice in the Bauhaus avant-garde of those like LászlóMoholy-Nagy represents an investment in line, form and light over explicit content and documentation. The staging raises the question of whether experimental, non-representative photography is indeed undergoing a mainstream comeback.
Go, see it and decide.

Barbara Kasten: “STAGES” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles until August 14th 2016.

Cruise Control

11/06/2016 2:53 AM

Last week when a line of black Mercedes snaked through the quaint village of Charlbury in Oxfordshire the rumour went around that it was the Kardashians house hunting.
This turned out not to be true, it was the fashion set descending on Blenheim Palace for the Christian Dior cruise collection.
Blenheim is the palatial 18th century home of the Dukes of Marlborough, designed by Sir John Vanburgh (assisted by Nicholas Hawksmoor who designed Easton Neston, the home of fashion designer, Leon Max.)

A private train had taken celebrity guests who included Kate Beckinsale, Emma Roberts and Bianca Jagger from Victoria Station to Charlbury. There, a fleet of cars swept them into the Palace.
This was to be a recreation of the 1954 show when Christian Dior first brought his “New Look” to England and high society went crazy for it. At the original Blenheim show a young Princess Margaret, the Queen’s sister was guest of honour.

WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND - MAY 31:  Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier appear on the catwalk following the Christian Dior Spring Summer 2017 Cruise collection  at Blenheim Palace on May 31, 2016 in Woodstock, England.  (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)
WOODSTOCK, ENGLAND – MAY 31: Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier appear on the catwalk following the Christian Dior Spring Summer 2017 Cruise collection at Blenheim Palace on May 31, 2016 in Woodstock, England. (Photo by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

This year Bella Hadid was the star catwalker.
Cruise or resort shows in glamorous locations are now de rigeur for the European luxury fashion houses. The week before Blenheim the fashion set was in Rio with Louis Vuitton.
Two days after Blenheim, it was to the cloisters of Westminster Abbey (unheard of previously as a fashion or social venue) where Gucci showed their cruise collection. It was eccentric and British and retro. There were thigh-high 60s dresses and plenty of punk.
When it comes to Cruise, it seems, Britain rocks.

Vogue 100 Gala Dinner

25/05/2016 12:53 AM

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 23: Leon Max (L) and Yana Max attend British Vogue’s Centenary gala dinner at Kensington Gardens on May 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)


London, last night: fashion was out in force to celebrate the 100th anniversary of British Vogue. Leon Max, who had co-hosted the opening of  "Vogue 100: A Century of style,“ earlier in the year was there, as well a host of other designer including Giorgio Armani, Miuccia Prada and Dolce & Gabbana.

For all the pics…

It’s Reigning Men

14/05/2016 12:04 AM

Menswear designer Kean Etro co-ordinated a wool-and-leather briefcase with a three-piece suit in wool plaid in his Fall/Winter 2014 collection.


For once there is something for the guys: three hundreds’ years worth of menswear has landed in Los Angeles. “Exhibitions about fashion have tended overwhelmingly to focus on womenswear,” says the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Michael Govan in his foreword to the book of his exhibition, “Reigning Men demonstrates that men’s dress has its own – in some ways unexpected – story to tell.” 21st-century Hollywood, this ain’t. Check out LACMA for a rainbow-like and glittering display of court and ceremonial dress, the 18th century frock coats of the London ‘macaroni’s’ whose wigs rivalled that of an unfortunate Queen of France, and the stripey tail coats worn in Revolutionary Paris as they were beheading her. Here too are the modern outfits of the dandy, the 19th century elegance of early Savile Row, the street in London where the art of mens’ suits’ has been perfected, the swinging styles of 1960s Carnaby Street through to a white, floor-length dress with a long, structured blazer from Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2012. Because, you see, it’s never too late for the man of the house to research some dandy inspiration for his closet.

Dressing gowns: on the left, an "at-home robe” (banyan) from 1880, right, a chic 1989 dressing gown from A. Sulka & Co. in New York, once a favourite of the Duke of Windsor’s.

The ‘Tuxedo’ got its name from Tuxedo Park an exclusive residential enclave outside New York. This jacket by Tom Ford is in a rich floral brocade rather than the traditional black.

Looks from the exhibition “Reigning Men: Fashion In Menswear, 1715-2015” which is at LACMA until August 21st.

The First Monday in May

31/03/2016 1:01 AM

By Flynn Roddam

“The First Monday in May” is the hot, new fashion film of the moment and it premieres at next months’s TriBeCa Film Festival in New York. The documentary is about the preparations for last year’s ‘Met Ball,’ the glamorous annual fashion event that raises money for the Costume Institute wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and follows the work of American Vogue Editrix Anna Wintour in putting this event together. Working with Wintour is Costume Institute curator Andrew Bolton whose meticulous eye has him travel from China to Ireland in preparation – the exhibition that the ball opens is “China Through the Looking Glass” and it explores the impact of Chinese aesthetics on Western fashion.

Bolton seeks only the finest and most authentic pieces and the exhibition includes the works of greats, Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, all juxtaposed against ancient Chinese artefacts, costumes, porcelain and paintings.

And now we can see some of the behind-the-scenes dramas that took place in the lead-up. If you liked the “September Issue” you will love this.

Vogue 100: A guided tour of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition

01/03/2016 9:51 PM


Take a tour of the newly opened Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition, sponsored by Leon Max, at the National Portrait Gallery with Vogue’s creative director, Jaime Perlman, and curator/Vogue contributing editor Robin Muir as they discuss a few of their favourite works in this very special centenary display.

FASHION CIRCUS TAKES ON LONDON

25/02/2016 1:04 AM

main_front_row_london_fashion_week_spring_summer_2016_01_1b01717-1b017ab

Suki Waterhouse, Sienna Miller, Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and St. Vincent at the Burberry Womenswear Spring/Summer 2016 show

By Flora Naughtie

The seasoned heavyweights, Burberry, Alexander McQueen et al, again joined the emerging hip young stars, all fighting for the attention and of the fashion elite.

A first time entry to the London Fashion week diary is Mimi Wade. She is this years ‘one to watch.’ Her presentation with Fashion East (one of the many platforms that makes LFW so essential in introducing new designers to the roster) was met with particular acclaim, she was dubbed the “IT-girl designer who has re-designed the party dress.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 21: Models backstage ahead of the Preen by Thornton Bregazzi show during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016/17 at TopShop Show Space on February 21, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images)
Veteran NEWGEN designer Ryan Lo had a bold, feminine and frilly display combining Chinese popular culture with textile manipulation and earnt himself a place in the fashionistas’ diary.

Other highlights included Gareth Pugh’s (80s power dressing) collection at Freemasons Hall; the models were in strong tailored pieces, styled with masks (a bit Hannibal Lecter) and long leather gloves. It was a dark, eerie vibe perfectly suited to the quirky grandeur of its setting. Young Milanese designer Manuel Facchini also stood out for brilliance in tailoring and form. He was influenced by the Gothic architecture of Michael Hansmeyer and Richard Sweeney’s sculptures. Thornton Bregazzi’s professed ‘poetry groupie’ held its own in the Preen show. This was all decedent fabrics and winter florals which were brought together in an enchanting mix of grunge and free spirited imagination. Topshop Unique had the usual cool and youthful styles, all about the notably supermodel-studded front row; Jourdan Dunn fooling around with Karlie Kloss, social media male model star Lucky Blue Smith cosying up to Kate Moss’ little sister, Lottie, grande dames Anna Wintour and Dame Natalie Massanet smiling benignly.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 20: Our former cover girl Erin O’Connor (L) and Naomi Campbell attend the Marc Jacobs Beauty dinner at the Club at Park Chinois on February 20, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Marc Jacobs)

Fashion Week brings with it the parties, almost as important as the shows, and Saturday night was the night the city went wild. Over at Old Billingsgate Market, Natalia Vodianova and Karlie Kloss hosted the Naked Heart fundraiser. The whole hall was turned into a fun fair, with rides and competitions, bumper cars and crazy golf. Meanwhile, Marc Jacob’s dinner at hot new Mayfair restaurant Park Chinois (Great Gatsby meets Chinese, by the way) was a hit with the style set including Georgia May Jagger, Naomi Campbell and Alexa Chung.

Next stop: Milan.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: Yasmin Le Bon, Amber Le Bon, Tiphaine De Lussy and Mimi Xu attend Peter Pilotto LFW AW16 show at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre on February 22, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Darren Gerrish/Getty Images)

It’s Couture, darling

03/02/2016 11:51 PM

By Flora Naughtie

It’s not hard to realise the painstaking artisan work that goes into each collection in Paris for the Haute Couture. The hours spent dreaming up the designs and the hours spent implementing them – by hand from start to finish – goes far beyond the mass-produced, ready to wear fashion of today.
Ulyana Sergeenko’s two slip dresses – reported by Vogue to have taken five months each to create – illustrate the severity with which designers approach couture week and how tightly the quality is regulated by it’s governing body, the Syndicate Chamber of Haute Couture.

Ulyana Sergeenko Summer 2016 Haute Couture Paris
Ulyana Sergeenko SS 2016, Haute Couture Paris

The work produced this season emphatically belongs to, and upholds, the illustrious tradition of haute couture that stretches back to the early 18th century. Standout pieces from Yacine Aouadi, a newcomer to the couture roster, included an abundance of floral appliqués.
Elie Saab’s collection comprised feminine lace and embroidery pushing the boundaries to a new height of luxe extravagance.
Maison Martin Margiela under John Galliano paid tribute to the late David Bowie with a clear glam-rock edge – think knee high glittering boots and asymmetrical hair and make-up.

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Elie Saab Spring Summer 2016 fashion show during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week on January 27, 2016 in Paris, France.

GIGI-HADID-BACKSTAGE-CHANEL-PFW-SS16

Gigi Hadid at the Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2016, Photographed by Kevin Tachman.
Source: VOGUE.COM

What matters and creates talking points is not just the garments themselves but also the increasingly adventurous settings in which they are presented. Notable as always was Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel: a Doll’s house presenting the models in compartments. The equally inventive Jean Paul Gaultier took his inspiration from the infamous Le Palace nightclub, the models smoked, drank and high-fived as they walked.

Cool work while you can get it.

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Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda SS16

Fairy Tales Brought to Life Through Fashion in FIT’S Latest Exhibit

25/01/2016 10:49 PM

Kirsty Mitchell, The Storyteller, from the Wonderland series. Photograph © Kirsty Mitchell, kirstymitchellphotography.com


A bright red 18th century cape sits next to its 21st century Comme de Garçon cousin at the “Fairy Tale Fashion” exhibition at FIT in New York. It is a rather amazing mix of three hundred years of fashion themed around the famous fairy tales that inspired them, stories with which all of us are familiar.

The “Little Red Riding Hood” gallery inside “Fairy Tale Fashion.” Photo: The Museum at FIT


A pure white J. Medel cape for the “Snow Queen,” the sweeping silhouette of the Charles James ‘Swan Dress’ for the “Swan Maidens,” it’s full skirt made from alternating black, brown and beige meche and a 1980s Thierry Mugler with fish-tale skirt for the “Little Mermaid” just a few glamorous examples. This is a fun and imaginative way to look at fairytales, through this lens of high fashion.

Charles James, Swan evening dress, 1954-1955, USA. The Museum at FIT (illustrating “The Swan Maidens”)