Saturday, 31 August 2013

FASHION | #LIVEFRIDAY with Oxford Fashion Week

This Friday evening the giant blue doors of Oxford’s iconic Ashmolean Museum opened to a fashion hungry crowd. On the last Friday night of each month, the museum will host a special evening curated by different organisations held amongst its exquisite ancient artefacts and art.

Dress Up Live Friday was organised by the Oxford FashionWeek team to bring a fantastic variety of fashion features to the floor. From fashion bloggers to magnificent millinery, fashion debate and discussion to live sketching and upcycling activities there was a whole host of thought provoking exploration segregated across the different floors of the building.

Upon entrance, looking down you could see the beginnings of the live fashion sketching workshop with Dee Andrews whilst taking your gaze upwards you were greeted by the fantastic WINDOW INSTALLATION BY EXCLUSIVEROOTS and INDIGO.

So, from floor to floor, this is what Dress Up Live had in store.

As you sauntered down the stairs to the lower ground floor, the crowd was gathered around the LIVE FASHION SKETCHING with local fashion illustrator DEE ANDREWS where a queue of elegantly adorned models were lined up to be drawn on a podium in the centre of the floor. There was paper and pencils available for any fashionistas feeling particularly arty.

Visitors could join in the discussion at the ETHICAL FASHION SYMPOSIUM in the Lecture Theatre which was then followed by DEMOCRACY AND DANCING – DRESSING UP IN THE 20th CENTURY with historian RaeRitchie. This floor’s other activities and displays included VOGUE! CONCEPT FASHION DESIGNS, a live photoshoot with PHOENIX MAGAZINE and a journey AROUND THE WORLD WITH TEXTILES FOR ALL. This fantastic fashion feast was complimented throughout the evening with a range of music in the cafe. Performances  from ECHO BOOMER, THE APRIL MAZE and THE BUSKETEERS were followed by the ticketed Late Night Lock-In gig by PINEY GIR.

Louise Pocock - Milliner

Making your way back up to the Ground Floor, and there were more treats in store. In the Greek and Roman Sculpture room Louise Pocock displayed her fantastic millinery creations in GET A HEAD, GET A HAT with 1920s inspired cloches to trilbies and fascinators. As the constant crowd would agree, this was a popular dress up and photo opportunity location.

Louise uses traditional techniques and textiles to create her magnificent headwear
With each piece taking at least a day to build they are priced at around £100-£200 with a priceless amount of love and care included.  “I love working with felt and leather using the old methods, traditional methods and vintage styles feels like I’m keeping the art alive,” said Louise.

My favourite was a fuchsia hat with tiny butterflies and flowers attached on delicate wires. There were a number of pieces which had also incorporated fresh flowers from Fabulous Flowers.

In the corner of the room, historian Rae Ritchie shared a fraction of her collection of vintage magazines, including a Women’s Institute publication, for ADVICE AND ASPIRATION: GETTING DRESSED WITH WOMEN’S MAGAZINES. This was a particular delight for me with a background in magazines and a love of old editions.

Other features on this floor included MANNEQUINS a photography display by RORY CARNEGIE

As you walked upstairs to the first floor you were greeted by the Exclusive Roots and Indigo window display of super stylish models posing and dancing.

The first stop on my visit was the WHAT’S HOT? showcase presented by gorgeous fashion bloggers Arabella Golby, Ami Venney, Lexie Vukoman, and Cristina Lopez. The bloggers had chosen three outfits – a Save, Spend and Splurge ensemble which were beautifully modelled by their helpers.

Here’s Arabella in a beautifully embellished, Grecian gown whilst her models Sophie and Jess were styled in her Spend and Save outfit choices.

Ami wore this Lipsy dress and her models Elspeth and Claudia showed of her Splurge and Save outfit.

Our next blogger, Cristina sported a fab playsuit and even managed to incorporate jelly shoes into her model Abby’s outfit whilst Sian rocked the Splurge look with a £265 Karen Millen dress.

Final blogger Lexie wore her Splurge outfit choice and models Esther and Holly wore a mix of high street brands in the Save and Spend ensembles.

This was a great insight into the hottest pieces on the high street today and there were some top styling tips, particularly the shoes!

The Fashion Bloggers also presented the BEST DRESSED people from the event at regular intervals across the evening and it’s fair to say there were plenty of stylish people to choose from.

This floor also exhibited a workshop of FASHION DESIGN INSPIRED BY EAST AND WEST, The

Making your way up to the second floor you were greeted with exhibits such as A SHIRTY PAIR OF KNICKERS BY MARIA SKOYLES of MAKE DO MEND and a historical venture through the influences on the KASHMIR SCARF IN THE 19th CENTURY with The Ashmolean’s Textile Conservator SUE STANTON. SMOCKS AND DRAWERS with BARBARA ALLISON explored Oxford’s fashion way back in the 17th Century.

The finale of the show was the Catwalk show. Curated by Gem Latimer and produced by Erin Moss this spectacular event included designers and brands such as Ghost, Aspire Style, Next, Clements and Church, Melanie J Austin, Little Mistress, Leanne Blenkhorn and Bel’s King-Harman. This highly anticipated show was full to capacity even half an hour before it started but I was assured it was a treat for the eyes!  

Dress Up #LiveFriday with Oxford Fashion Week was a fantastic evening of fashion based entertainment and, with so much to absorb, I left the Ashmolean with my style appetite well and truly satisfied. Thanks to Oxford Fashion Week  and The Ashmolean Museum for a wonderful time and keep an eye out for events coming in the very near future! 

Check out more behind the scenes exclusives from the event on the Oxford Fashion Week blog.