Friday, November 28, 2008

Afshin Feiz Likes Rumi, Hates Being Interrupted

Afshin Feiz is a thinker. Not just any designer turns mythology and Persian poetry into fashion, but maybe that gives the British style star something to talk about with rocker Bryan Adams - one of Afshin's friends who's been known to do photo shoots for his line.

Training with John Galliano, Thierry Mugler, Nina Ricci and Christian Lacroix Haute Couture has helped shape the designer's sexy but restrained line. (Fans like Elizabeth Hurley and Halle Berry seem impressed.) Here, Afshin shares his thoughts on impressing the masses in China, birdhouse dresses and what ruins his holidays.

What gets the creative process going for you?
My lastest collection was inspired by a passage I read in a book called A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle - there is a passage that talks about Buddha's silent sermon. Generally, I am inspired by anything to do with love and renewal of oneself. I have been very inspired in the past by the Persian poet Rumi.

What's one of your favourite garments for the upcoming season? What type of woman do you see in these clothes?
I would say it would be my opening look for my show, the pastel green short dress with the mini ruffles and cut-outs and the embroidered chains in the ruffles. It's a confident and sexy woman, but more flirtatiously sexy than overtly.

Describe the first garment you ever made.
Oh God, it was at school and I thought I was being so avant-garde. It was a green jersey catsuit with appliqued birdhouses and actual bird looking toys sticking out of it. Quite humourous though!

Did you always know you'd be a designer? And if you couldn't do this, what would you do?
Yes, I always knew. It took a while before my father warmed up to the idea, but he supports me now fully. If I didn't do this I would always be in some creative industry - artist or photographer or filmmaker.

Could you talk a little more about your Chinese brand?
It is called Reves De Fleurs, which means Dreams of Flowers. The Chinese love cutesy names like that so it works over there, and it is high-end but more cute and wearable than directional. It has quickly been adopted by all of the major Chinese movie stars and singers and we are about to open a new boutique in Beijing.

What trend should die already?

What's one of your favourite garments from another designer?
The whole collection of autumn/winter 2004 - I think it was Tom Ford for Yves Saint Laurent.

Which movie character wins your best-dressed title?
There are undoubtedly many, but off the top of my head I would say Sean Young in Blade Runner.

What's your biggest vice?

Name your favourite band on your iPod.
The Kills

What's your favourite vacation spot?
Anywhere where I'm not harassed by people trying to sell me things.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Dazed & Confused Sees It Clearly

Dazed & Confused. Copyright Dazed & Confused, Courtesy of Property4Media. All Rights Reserved.Feeling depressed by the state of the economy, and by the extraordinarily well-to-do who sneer "Credit crunch is my breakfast cereal!" as they squeal away in their Aston Martins? Take heart in the latest issue of Dazed & Confused, the magazine here to tell you it's not all bad.

Dazed fashion editor Katie Shillingford told the Independent this week: "The creators are creating more than ever before...optimism is a must, and our outlook is multicoloured!"

Shillingford & Co pick their favourite fashion innovators for the December issue - Italian
Andrea Cammarosano, for one - plus explore the creative underground in Beijing and profile Japanese erotic photographer Nobuyoshi Araki. That, and the staff get to eat cake with electro-pop duo HeartsRevolution. Good for at least a temporary morale boost, no?

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tom Ford Can Entertain You

Julianne Moore. Photo Credit: david_shankbone. C.C. License.Grab your designer shades and a bucket of popcorn. Julianne Moore is rumoured to star in a new film by former Gucci Group creative director Tom Ford.

Filming for the feature movie, A Single Man, should begin in Los Angeles on 3 November. Tom
started the film production company Fade to Black three years ago, but this will be his directorial debut.

A Single Man, adapted from Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel, is also said to have Colin Firth and Matthew Goode among its cast. Not bad for your first go, Tom.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And the Nominees Are...

Place your bets, people. The BFC announced the shortlist of nominees for the British Fashion Awards today, and there'll be some tough choices to make. But if we look on the bright side, at least the runners-up probably will look really good when they hear another name called on 25 November.

Here's a full list of fashionites who got the nod...

Model: Agyness Deyn, Jourdan Dunn, Lily Donaldson
Designer Brand: Jimmy Choo, Agent Provocateur, Paul Smith
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Pat McGrath, Terry Jones, Tim Walker
Red Carpet Designer: Matthew Williamson, Giles Deacon, Stella McCartney
Menswear Designer: Christopher Bailey for Burberry, Paul Smith, Richard James
Accessory Designer: Jonathan Kelsey, Rupert Sanderson, Lara Bohinc
Swarovski Emerging Talent Award – Ready to Wear: Danielle Scutt, Louise Goldin, Felder Felder
Swarovski Emerging Talent Award – Accessories: Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia, Anna Vince
Designer of the Year: No shortlist available (winner announced at the ceremony)
BFC Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design: Winner announced on 11 November

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Manish Arora in Your Makeup Bag

Manish Arora Runway Look - Spring/Summer 2007. Photo Credit: Rebecca Cotton. C.C. License.Your blush just got a little more Bollywood. Manish Arora - the Indian designer who made his name in bright colours and blatant kitsch - has teamed with MAC Cosmetics to produce a limited-edition makeup collection for Harrods.

The palette casings are nearly as flashy as a Manish runway look, with the designer's traditional Indian decorations replicated to near Delhi-quality. The seven-piece collection, also available online at
MAC, ranges in price from £10.50 for Tinted Lipglass to £30 for a six-colour eye shadow set.

Manish is the first Indian designer to establish an
international brand (in 2007 he became the first to show at Paris Fashion Week, he's collaborated with Reebok, and he also has the tamer line Fish Fry). Save your old lipstick tube when the last swipe is gone because you just might have a collectors' item.

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Friday, October 3, 2008

Princesses Party in Style

Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie also got all dressed up with Pussy Glamore lingerie designer Marissa Montgomery (part of Lizzie Jagger's 'Pussy Posse') for the FORM launch at Harrods. Outfit thoughts?

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Harrods After Hours

Boris Becker and Sandy Meyer-Wolden at the FORM launch at Harrods. Copyright Piers Allardyce. All Rights Reserved.Harrods hosted the launch of FORM, an exclusive menswear line by Formula 1 legend Bernie Ecclestone's daughter Petra. Alexa Chung guest DJed, Princesses Bea and Eugenie showed up at the party, and even Jamiroquai's Jay Kay stopped by. (Go to LondonNet for more pictures.)

Boris Becker and his girlfriend, Sandy Meyer-Wolden, also checked out the collection. What do we think of the look Sandy chose to look at the clothes?

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

London, Je T'aime

Agyness Deyn. Photo Credit: leairbag. C.C. License.First thing's first: your resident style devotee took a much-needed holiday after London Fashion Week - apparently missing the only sunny week in ages. Apologies for going missing.

Speaking of holidays, if you happen to be in the French capital before 7 October, and if you also happen to have a British Fashion Council pass at your disposal, then you'll want to check out the stash of UK designer goods at London Rocks.

The pop-up showroom is opening to show off the hottest British talent during Paris Fashion Week. Think displays from Erdem, House of Holland, Louise Gray and Todd Lynn conveniently located near the Louvre and the catwalks. Does all the London love mean that Paris will start plastering pictures of Agyness everywhere, too?

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Monday, September 15, 2008

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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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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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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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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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, July 16, 2008

Halston Heat-Up

Walking Away. Photo Credit: Decafinata. Creative Commons License.The monochromatic fellow at left isn't Marco Zanini, but you probably knew that a dapper young gent like him would never step outside with something looking curiously like a lightning bolt around his waist. The Italian-born designer reportedly is walking away from the iconic disco-age design label Halston, though, just a year after he took the reins as creative director.

Marco had joined an impressive pack working together to resurrect Halston to its former 1970s glory. Movie producer Harvey Weinstein (who's married to Marchesa co-designer Georgina Chapman) and Jimmy Choo Founder Tamara Mellon are leading the effort, with the media-schmoozing designer to the stars Rachel Zoe also on the creative advisory team.

But unless roving eyes missed Rachel's teeny frame at Marco's first runway show in February, she was M.I.A. Insiders speculated she and Marco, who previously worked with Versace and Dolce & Gabbana, had conflicting visions for the line. Overall, the collection earned underwhelming runway reviews.

WWD reported that American retailers were less than impressed by the new Halston, but European and Asian shops seemed more optimistic – Selfridge's even opened an 800-square-foot Halston boutique last month. There are plans to expand into denim, swimwear, sunglasses and candles, but seemingly with a new someone in charge.

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