Friday, September 19, 2008

Spotted: London Fashion Week, Day Five

Vivienne Westwood. Copyright LondonNet. All Rights Reserved.Vivienne Westwood, London loves you. Because who else can pack Pamela Anderson, Dita von Teese, Jourdan Dunn, Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe into one room during fashion week?

Viv, your Red Label collection looked great. And you proved last night at Naomi Campbell's Fashion for Relief that your dancing's not half-bad, either.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Drool, Spend, Repeat

Naomi Campbell at Fashion for Relief. Copyright LondonNet Limited. All Rights Reserved.Naomi Campbell might get a lot of negative attention for her little lash outs, but the girl can seriously put together a good charity event. Her celeb catwalk show and auction tonight not only featured work by all (no really, all) the best designers, but also had enough big names to make even Mischa Barton gawk from the front row.

Just to get the details straight before the name dropping commences, the programme was called Fashion for Relief, it benefitted The White Ribbon Alliance (designed to keep pregnant women, mums and babies healthy in developing countries and around the world), it was at the BFC Tent, and tickets could have set you back about £650. The show ran an hour and a half late, but the first two rows got gingerbread men to eat, which were tasty.

Now for the celeb lusting. Estelle opened the show, did a little dance at the end of the runway, and was followed by 64 other models including Tyson Beckford, Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Cheryl Cole, Vivienne Westwood, Paul Sculfor, the Sugababes, Daisy Lowe, Erin O'Connor, Lizzie Jagger, Kimberley Stewart, Jacquetta Wheeler, Jade Parfitt, Alice Dellal, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Tamara Beckwith, Tamsin Egerton, Terri Seymour, Roisin Murphy and Naomi herself.

Show highlights: Chanel Iman strutting with Naomi. Tyson Beckford walking around in a motorcycle helmet. Vivienne Westwood nearly breaking into a jig. Seeing designers from McQueen to Lanvin to Prada on some of the most gorgeous specimens around.

After the runway show - introduced by Trudie Styler, BFC chairman Harold Tillman and Sarah Brown - came auction time. The first item up for bids didn't take such a shabby total. Turns out a Zac Posen couture peacock-feather gown, worn by Mama Campbell, can fetch £25,000 fairly quickly.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spotted: London Fashion Week, Day Four

Avsh Alom Gur Runway Look. Copyright LondonNet Limited. All Rights Reserved.The celeb news is light for the moment, but wait for tonight, when Naomi Campbell stages her Fashion for Relief charity auction and catwalk show. The invite promises "special guests", which roughly translates to "special spectacle".

Suzy Menkes was on hand again at Avsh Alom Gur's Vauxhall Fashion Scout runway presentation. The Ossie Clark designer's personal label was something like '50s machinist babe (read: industrial playsuits with headwraps, see left) meets Camden girl on holiday.

And to rewind a bit, Giles drew an impressive crowd at his show last night. Emma Watson, Daisy Lowe, Mischa Barton, Tamsin Egerton and Jamie Winstone were just a few of the faces watching Agyness Deyn's first London runway show this season.

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You Sweet Little Thing

Muffin. Photo Credit: moriza. C.C. License.There’s a place my fashion-assistant friend and I call The Muffin Room. It’s not a big place, just the lobby of the BFC Tent next to the Natural History Museum. In the morning, The Muffin Room serves…muffins, along with gooey pastries, champagne and fresh fruit to people on their way to the shows. The thing is, no one usually eats the muffins in The Muffin Room, because no one wants to be that person.

The Met’s Fashion Candy Party had super-sweet treats that were apparently good enough to eat. Cranberry jelly shaped like a puzzle piece, anyone? How about a big fluffy marshmallow in that peppermint-and-Ketel-One cocktail? (You know it’ll go down well with your octopus fishcake.)

One hostess wore a dress glammed up with strings of orange jellybeans, and huge pink lollipops separated the smokers outside from the cleaner-lunged guests waiting to get inside. But still, the cupcakes waiting to unleash their sugary goodness mostly went untouched. “I really wanted one,” said a jewellery buyer, “but I was like, ‘Are these fake? No one’s eating them.’”

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Spotted: London Fashion Week, Day Three

Chanel Iman at Nicole Farhi. Copyright LondonNet Limited. All Rights Reserved.The London Fashion Week reception at 10 Downing Street might have drawn Naomi Campbell and Matthew Williamson, but Nicole Farhi didn't do so poorly for herself at the Royal Opera House this morning.

Here are just a few of the front row offerings: Suzy Menkes, fashion director of the International Herald Tribune (and the recipient of a possible tongue stick-out by Marc Jacobs). Kate Lanphear, US Elle style director (looking chic in YSL). Designer Jasper Conran, who showed his latest runway collection Monday.

Oh, and there was Chanel Iman, looking gorgeous as usual.

Check back tomorrow for highlights from The Met's Fashion Candy Party. It's yet to be seen whether guests will actually eat the chocolate jewellery.

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Check the List

Jourdan Dunn at Nicole Farhi. Copyright LondonNet. All Rights Reserved.Most people hate waiting, but when you get a large crowd of skyscraper-heel-wearing fashion-show followers standing in a 150-strong queue, you have a bit of a situation. Such was the case at the On/Off 10th Anniversary Party, where a selection of editors from, let's just say, big magazines, were left standing in the cold for 45 minutes puffing Marlboro Lights.

And since Rhys Ifans doesn't seem to be with Kimberly Stewart these days, there wasn't even that to watch.

On the bright side, Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn and Ali Michael were all looking smashing at Nicole Farhi this morning. And tonight there'll be another party at The Met, so time to buy some plasters and keep on with it.

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Spotted: London Fashion Week, Day Two

Photo Credit: Ben Chernivsky. All Rights Reserved.So far today:
Roisin Murphy at Marios Schwab, still loving the big-shoulder-pad look.

Model Yasmin Le Bon at the Qasimi show in Westminster, where fellow model Erin O’Connor closed the show.

Later tonight:
Rhys Ifans rocks out. Check back tomorrow for news on his band, the models watching him and, of course, Kimberly Stewart.

Party Like a Frock Star

Photo Credit: Bramus! C.C. License.It was the Vendome in Mayfair. It was late. People were getting crabby or giggly, depending on whether or not they had started sampling the Moet. When PPQ stages an after-party on opening night of London Fashion Week - and brings on Andy Weatherall, Kevin Rowland, The Charlatans' Tim Burgess and The Horrors as guest DJs - the scene is going to be big.

While Daisy Lowe bobbed in and out of the club, and while Roisin Murphy strutted in wearing a suspiciously linebacker-ish black jacket, the queue stretched halfway down the street for a party known to be a fashion-week spectacle. Tonight is the 10th anniversary party for the On/Off design branch, starring Rhys Ifans' band The Peth, so check back tomorrow for pictures and all the latest.

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Spotted: London Fashion Week, Day One

Peaches Geldof. Photo Credit: Life in LDN. C.C. License.At Ossie Clark: Alexa Chung, Jade Jagger.

At PPQ: Peaches Geldof, Henry Holland, Alexa Chung, Kimberly Stewart, Daisy Lowe (sans Mark Ronson).

Check back tomorrow for pictures, trends and more gossip.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Be Our Guest

Modernist Spring/Summer 2009 Fashion Show Invitation.London Fashion Week is almost here. That means people who want to see what they'll be wearing next spring are clamouring for invites to shows like Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Luella and Christopher Kane. There's always the underlying pressure to outdo the competition, even when it comes to the invitations themselves.

The prize for best invite this season goes to Andrew Jones and Abdul Koroma of Modernist. Their upcoming collection is based on a bride's trousseau, and these send-outs have made the post very ladylike indeed. Feast your eyes on their offerings - and don't try to zoom in for the show details, sneaky, because I didn't learn Photoshop for nothing.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nabil El-Nayal Likes Rats, Is Not Amused by New Ravers

The British Fashion Council sometimes catches an unnecessary amount of flack (Are size-zeroes sickly? Is anyone else just a big fat fatty?), but it has a big heart. Just ask Nabil El-Nayal, a budding designer who won this year's MA Scholarship scheme.

Nabil impressed judges - including Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey - with his latest collection and is on his way to the Womenswear MA course at London's Royal College of Art. He just graduated from Manchester School of Art, won the 2008 Graduate Fashion Week Womenswear Award in June, and plans to be showing at London Fashion Week before long.

It's not unexpected from someone so enthusiastic. In case you're wondering, Nabil (now doing work experience at Burberry) didn't pick fashion - it picked him. "Before I was even born," he adds.

How would you describe your design style?
I use a mix of authentic historical referencing, which could be the Victorian era, for instance, or Elizabethan era, as was my last collection. With this I combine elaborate concepts such as RoadKill. I did a rat collection in my second year project entitled 'It was about to Snow...', and the rat transformed into the plague (or the Black Death), which led to a monochrome collection as my graduation collection.

Did you always know you'd be a designer?
Absolutely! I'm one of those who could sew up clothes before he could walk - I really was. I began to knit at the age of 4 and completed a wedding dress made (without my mum knowing) out of net curtains by the age of 6 or 7.

What's one of your favourite garments done by someone else?
There are too many. I love a Christopher Kane dress that was made in leather and featured beautifully trimmed hem lines in pleated leather.

What trend should die already?
Will the New Ravers of 2006/7 please move on?! I think they are in desperate search of something new but just haven't found it yet. They end up either toning it down a little and ending up looking like they don't have any style direction, or they are still hardcore ravers! We're nearly in 2009. It's time to be more pure, I think.

If you had to live in any other time period, deciding on fashion alone, what would you choose?
Elizabethan era, without a doubt. I'd feel totally at home wearing the queen's colours, too - black and white - as I do anyway.

Name someone you've met who's made you star-struck.
Claudia Schiffer, Julien MacDonald, Christopher Bailey...

Tell us your biggest vice.
I love to lose myself in children's story-book writing.

What's your favourite band on your iPod?
Oi Va Voi

How about movie?
The Dreamers

What's your favourite restaurant?

And your favourite vacation spot?
I have had the most fun in the Canary Islands. But I love France, too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Designers, Discounted

Prada Bag. Photo Credit: (nutmeg). C.C. License.

Free for an afternoon? Need to go shopping but frustrated by all that credit-crunch business? London has some great sales lined up for the next few weekends.

Check out the Regent Street Festival from noon to 7pm this Sunday, when lots of retailers in the area are knocking 10 percent off their prices. The festival also has a James Bond show, if that's a draw.

Then there's the British Designers Sale (Kings Road, SW3) on 12 and 13 September. Get a dose of UK style pride - and as much as 80 percent off Jenny Packham and Alexander McQueen - at Chelsea Town Hall. Show up and save from 10am to 7pm on Friday or 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday.

For those planning really far in advance, the Designer Warehouse Sales (5-6 Islington Studios, N7) is scheduled for 19 to 21 September, to give you Prada and Chloé for about as much as you pay for your monthly mobile bill. Friday, the sale's on from 10am to 8pm, and it runs Saturday from 10am to 6pm or Sunday from 11am to 5pm.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pound It

Money, money, money. Photo Credit: Manuel Delgado Tenorio. C.C. License

If you happen to be sitting on a large pile of cash and if you also happen to be fretting about your insufficient wardrobe, then you might want to solve the problem now. Fashion retailers and suppliers are bracing for price increases of more than 6 percent for spring 2009, according to Drapers magazine.

The majority of companies buy their goods in US dollars, even when it comes to sourcing in Asia, and the pound continues to weaken against the dollar. As of this morning, it's £1 to $1.77. That's a 10 percent drop in just a month. At this rate, the scale is sliding back faster than Jude Law's hairline.

On the bright side for British companies, the levelling of currencies could make it easier to sell their goods in America. So the next time you pop over to Disney World, take a side trip to a boutique or two and try to spot your favourite brands.

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