Thursday, August 28, 2008

Keira Knightley Dresses Up, Gets Big Hair

Ms Pirates of the Caribbean has moved on to her zillionth period piece, The Duchess, and for that task she suits up as an 18th-century aristocrat. The new film has Keira playing Georgiana Spencer, Duchess of Devonshire - a direct ancestor of Princess Diana, and an equally influential style icon.

Although you likely wouldn't get away with wearing your fake mole, bustle and powdered wig to a pub in Camden (or maybe you would...), Georgina pulled it off with ease and had loads of women copying her. This sketch, from The Duchess costume designer Michael O'Connor, shows what was turning heads in the 1700s.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Modernist designers like Turkish music, hate conspicuous handbags

Andrew Jones and Abdul Koroma of Modernist. Copyright Modernist.Abdul Koroma and Andrew Jones, the unlikely business partners behind the line Modernist, became friends by default as some of the only men working at an Italian design house. Next month will mark their third time presenting at London Fashion Week after entering the Fashion Fringe competition in September 2005.

Abdul and Andrew took a break from their latest collection and gave us the rundown on everything from their advice for Beyonce to the music scene in Turkey.


So the two of you met at MaxMara in Italy?

Andrew: Right. Abdul was fresh out of university and got his placement in July.
Abdul: We just became friends because we had no other option but to be friends.

How would you describe your partnership?
Abdul: It's the alchemy of two opposites. We don't compromise. We blend our styles together.

Any hints on what your Spring/Summer 2009 collection might be like?
Andrew: We got the idea of a bride's trousseau. It's the polar opposite of last season, which was really dark.
Abdul: There's no witchcraft…we drew on some new baroque and rococo. We like the idea of hard and soft. We're using neoprene with duchess.

Name another designer collection you love.
Abdul: I really liked the Prada winter collection with all the Perspex and fake fur.

What trend should die now?
Andrew: Print handbags.

Whose style has caught your attention?
Abdul: The actress from Don't Look Now. Julie Christie.
Andrew: Probably Beyonce. Even Tina Turner quit dressing that way.

On a more personal note, where do you go for a good bite to eat in London?
Abdul: Home in Shoreditch.
Andrew: We go to the same places. I'll say Bistrotheque.

What's your favourite vacation spot?
Andrew: Amsterdam or Berlin. I'll say Amsterdam. I've never been to either place.
Abdul: My bedroom - I like to sleep. No, Cinque Terre [in Italy].

Name your favourite artist on your iPod.
Abdul: I like some really random Turkish artists. Servet Kocakaya is good.
Andrew: The Kills and Feist.

And your favourite movie?
Andrew: Probably 9 to 5 with Dolly Parton.
Abdul: Don't Look Now.

What's your biggest vice?
Abdul: Probably smoking. And tidying up. [Ed. note: This is a vice?]
Andrew: Not tidying up.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Get a Grip: 'Make Do and Mend'

Photo Credit: andrewarchy. C.C. License.The House of Lords is asking you to ditch fast fashion and return to post-war thriftiness. Yes, you, with the Primark bag in your hand!

Peers on the Science and Technology Committee want consumers to "make do and mend", rather than buying loads of clothes cheap enough to toss in the bin after a few months.

The group's report, released today, attacks high-street retailers for their contribution to textile waste and says that "[t]he attitudes of individuals and organisations must be altered so that waste is not just viewed as being costly but as being socially unacceptable."

Would you go on a Topshop/H&M/Zara diet to help the planet?

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Gavin Douglas Likes Dior, and M&S

Gavin Douglas Runway Look. Copyright Gavin Douglas.If Britain's style scene were a classroom, then Birmingham-born designer Gavin Douglas might be the teacher's pet. After graduating from Northampton University, he secured help from the Prince's Trust to start his own fashion label. In quick succession he won the London Fashion Forum's Young Avant-Garde Designer of the Year award, a spot at the V&A's Black British Style Exhibition, and a prestigious Fashion Fringe sponsorship.

That last nod entitled the glamour-loving designer to show his collection at London Fashion Week in February 2007. Did we mention his collaborations with Superdrug and the Royal Opera House? We assume he also eats his five-a-day, every day.

We caught up with the very busy Mr Douglas as he prepares for his next London catwalk show. He filled us in on everything from his fascination with Dior to his favourite treat from M&S.


Any hints on what your Spring/Summer 2009 collection might be like?
I've looked towards the renowned Maasai tribe who are based in Eastern Africa. I've also explored the social and cultural forces of this tribe and looked into their lifestyle, distinctive customs and dress. I'm creating a collection that is both new and fresh without the obvious connotations.

Did you always know you'd be a designer?
When I was at high school I realized that my career definitely had to be in an area of design. I excelled in my graphic design and art qualifications and they were also my favourite subjects.

You spent time in the Middle East working for Beirut-based couturier Elie Saab. What was that like?
Working with Mr Saab and his team was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to see first-hand exactly how the entire atelier works together to create their couture garments. I was also able to watch the collection grow from concept, to design, to toiling and then onto the complete sample. Seeing the beading work in process and the lengthy time and intricate detail that goes into each piece was incredible. I also enjoyed taking in the beauty, culture, history and also the food of Lebanon.

What's the best garment you've ever made?
It's difficult to single just one garment as being 'the best'. I have a favourite piece from my Fashion Fringe collection. It's a peacock feather all in one bodice with hand-sewn sequins. It was inspired by a Victorian trapeze artist called Miss La La, and it received a huge amount of press. It was also worn by Kelly Rowland at one of her concerts.

Name another designer whose work you love.
I have always been a fan of [Dior designer] John Galliano's work. He is such a creative genius, and his work is truly inspirational.

What trend should die now?
Each to their own, I say.

On a more personal note, where do you go for a good bite to eat in London?
The Lane (Osborn Street, E8)

What's your favourite vacation spot?
Strawberry Hill, Kingston, Jamaica

Name your favourite album on your iPod.
Estelle, Shine

And your favourite movie?
Set It Off

What's your biggest vice?
A chocolate profiterole dessert from Marks & Spencer or a packet of Haribo Strawbs!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Make Your Own Andy













"Art is what you can get away with," reads an iconic Andy Warhol print from the Sixties. Now your t-shirt can deliver the same dose of attitude, thanks to Pepe Jeans' collaboration with the Andy Warhol Foundation in New York.


Just in time for the late innovator's 80th birthday, the Pepe flagship on Portobello Road has launched a limited-edition bespoke t-shirt service that lets you turn wardrobe staples into wearable works of pop art. Just head to the shop (now dressed up like Warhol's Factory), select your favourite Marilyn or soup can, and wait while it's screen-printed on-site.

Pieces from a Warhol-inspired capsule collection that Pepe introduced earlier this summer are flying off the shelves, and a store insider said some people are so crazy for it that they even beg to take home a Campbell's-print paper bag. The autumn/winter collection is full of great options – like a crazy pair of silver jeans for ladies and some smart blazers for men – and work on the upcoming spring/summer collection is underway.

One shirt that's in the works could test just how much the shop can get away with. Would you wear a tee with a screen-printed knife stabbing through the fabric?

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kate Moss for China

Topshop. Photo Credit: ClaudineLonget. C.C. License.Sir Philip Green has been busy lately. He's somehow found time between partying in Ibiza with Kate Moss (who's learning 'rumpology' from Sylvester Stallone) and thinking over a possible business deal with Leona Lewis to scope out plans for Topshop in China.

Greenie is reportedly set to rent a space for his high-street chain in the Shanghai Superbrand mall and then expand to other locations in Hong Kong and Beijing. Too bad he couldn't get it sorted in time for the Olympics tomorrow.

All this could be good for Kate's designer pocketbook. She earned £3 million initially for the Topshop collection based on items from her wardrobe, and it's estimated that sales in China could boost her share in the company to £25 million. That country's population is 22 times greater than the UK's, which means even more fashion-lovers running around grabbing ditsy-print dresses and various wardrobe goodies covered in fringe.

Assumably, the Chinese shops could stay even busier than the flagship at Oxford Circus on a Saturday afternoon. Maybe Kate Moss could use the private jet she's saving for to fly in dedicated shoppers on Tuesday mornings?

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Monday, August 4, 2008

The Line-Up

London Fashion Week Catwalk. Photo Credit: Julianne.hide. C.C. License.London Fashion Week is just more than a month away, and now the well heeled can get a slightly clearer view of their cross-city dashing to see the shows.

The provisional catwalk schedule went out today, and it looks like Dublin-born designer Paul Costelloe will kicks things off early on Sunday, 14 September. Ossie Clark, PPQ and Peter Jensen are also lined up for the first day of madness, with Luella and Marios Schwab getting runway-ready for Monday.

Donatella Versace-trainee Christopher Kane will tell everyone what dresses are supposed to look like on Day 3 of Fashion Week, while Agyness Deyn's buddy Henry Holland will have to wait until Wednesday.

The week ends with Topman's MAN show on Friday evening, but the highlight of the week might come from Vivienne Westwood. She's come back to London for the second consecutive season to show her commercial line, Red Label, and who can really get enough of the Viv?

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