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.

Monday, 26 August 2013

FASHION | Designer in Focus: Claire Gaudion

Luxury accessories designer, Claire Gaudion is a creator of striking geometric and illustrated scarves as well as notebooks, cards and rural home accessories.

Having launched her eponymous label in 2012, her first year has seen the Guernsey born designer selling on an international level and named Best New Fashion Product at Top Drawer 2013.

The abstract patterns of circles, zig zags and striped are fitting with SS13’s sixties revival as are the deliciously vivid colours.

As well as the signature shapely patterns, Claire’s AW13 collection also draws on a sibling collaboration with brother and artist Tim Gaudion in the form of beautiful painted scarves illustrating the pictorial scenery of Guernsey’s coastline.
With an expanding collection for SS14, titled ‘Land, Island and Sea’, Gaudion continues her exploration of the ever-changing Guernsey coastline, a dominant inspiration throughout her work. Sorbet colours clash and compliment within the bold prints and designs scale from subtle to statement.

Her products are made in Britain and the scarves, headscarves, neckerchiefs and classic squares are crafted out of from luxury silks, silk wool and silk modal blends.

Fashion Prive caught up with Claire to find out more..

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

My home island of Guernsey is my inspiration. I am drawn to the colours, patterns and textures, in Guernsey’s dramatic coastline of granite reefs, sandy beaches, fishing bays and rocky coves. My design development work is usually a mix of hand-weaving and digital experimentation to achieve the layers of form and colour, and a sense of movement, in my designs.

How did you get into accessories design?

I launched my accessories label last year but, since graduating from the London College of Fashion, I first worked for several years in London’s fashion industry in design and product development. This gave me a good foundation on which to build my own label.

What are you currently working on?
In August, I will be launching my Autumn Winter collection titled ‘Geometric Seascapes’ which is a striking and expressive mix of patterned printed scarves. It features zigzags and stripes weaving together in green, red and yellow tones speaking of the tides in the Gouliot caves of Sark. Abstract geometric layered-coloured prints tell stories of the island’s changeable seas at Les Tielles, and the colours of the dramatic and beautiful cliffs at Icart. The collection also includes my classic designs, Albecq, Rocquaine, Vazon, Rousse, and Oyster Point, as silk squares and large silk wool scarves.

At the moment, I am also working on marketing my SS14 collection to buyers. I will be exhibiting at Top Drawer, London again in September. I have been invited to show with Spotted Plus, curated by Charlotte Abrahams. This gives me the opportunity to show my collections to an international audience, within a featured arena of hand-picked new design talent. I am also working with an agent in Paris to grow my business internationally. Plus, I am always thinking ahead, and already have ideas for next AW designs which I will start work on as soon as I can.

What are your most popular pieces?

This summer’s favourite has been ‘Albecq’ with Vazon and Oyster Point following closely. But all of my designs seem to be popular – the mix of colours makes them very wearable and offers choice to suit individual outfits and preferences. This also makes them a perfect gift.

What has been your career highlight so far?

It has been a fantastic year since I began my label, with many highlights! I am selling my collections internationally and am stocked in independent fashion boutiques, as well as online fashion stores and art centres, including the Barbican and Guernsey fashion boutique, Gwyneth and Grey, among others which can all be found on my website,

How did it feel to win the Best New Fashion Product Award at Top Drawer 2013?

This was a great surprise, and honour. I had been invited to exhibit in the ‘Spotted’ arena at Top Drawer which was a great launch-pad for my first collection and to win ‘Best New Fashion Product’ was fantastic. It drew a lot of attention to my new accessories label and generated additional press for my scarves.

What’s in the pipeline for you and your brand?

To continue! It has been a great first year for CLAIRE GAUDION, with some great new stockists and some great press coverage including The Times, Elle Decoration, Eurowoman DK and Since launching my accessories label last year, I have already added new scarf ranges and new fabrics. Also, my notebooks & greeting cards collections continue to grow. There are some other new things on the horizon but, as a new label, I want to focus on my accessories collections and create a really strong brand identity. I will continue to work hard at growing my business. 

Thanks for talking to Fashion Prive Claire and we look forward to seeing more of you in the future.

What do you think of Claire Gaudion’s designs? Which is your favourite piece?#

Sunday, 11 August 2013

EXPLORE | V&A Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s

V&A Museum Club to Catwalk Exhibition 2013 London Fashion 1980s

Last month, the iconic V&A museum opened their Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s exhibition.

The 1980s was a poignant era in fashion history. It saw the birth of London Fashion Week and institutes such as the British Fashion Council. It was a period of social and economic unrest which from which formed subcultures and fashion genres such as the Punk and Goth and the club scene exploded.
V&A Museum Club to Catwalk Exhibition 2013 London Fashion 1980s Katherine Hamnett
The fashion exhibition area was brimming with iconic designers who were key to the decade. Statement snippets of Vivienne Westwood, Betty Jackson, Katherine Hamnett, John Galliano and Paul Smith amongst others were encased behind the glass panels on the ground floor. At this time, London style became defined as individual in its own right. Designer Georgina Godley described 80s London as “all about taking risks and creating something out of nothing through passion and ambition,” and this is evident through these designers and their creations.
V&A Museum Club to Catwalk Exhibition 2013 London Fashion 1980s Vivienne Westwood
Climbing the stairs and faced with a mirror questioning ‘would you let you in?’ the top floor of the exhibition takes you to the iconic Blitz club with a queue of mannequins dressed in trends of the time. Inside the Blitz booth is a series of screens playing a montage of 80s club footage, creating an atmospheric feel. This level focuses on the different rebellious subcultures which seemed to form in this decade. Punk, headed by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren, has a consistently heavy influence on recurring anarchic fashion trends to this day. Goth again is still a strong force and combines elements of punk and fetish. The ‘Ravers’ captured a sensationalist attitude full of metallic and day glo whilst the New Romantics channeled an androgynous vibe pioneered by the likes of Boy George and David Bowie.

V&A Museum Club to Catwalk Exhibition 2013 London Fashion 1980s Blitz Club

This exhibition truly transports you back to the 1980s and educates on the fashion and popular culture of the time. Eighties influence on current trends is a frequent reoccurrence so seeing how it was done the first time round is a great insight for future fashion. Club to Catwalk is the perfect compliment to the constantly sold out David Bowie retrospective which is also at the museum until the 11th August 2013.

The event will run until February 2014 with tickets costing just £5.00 so there’s plenty of time to check it out.

Have you visited the V&A Club to Catwalk exhibition? What did you think?
V&A Museum Club to Catwalk Exhibition 2013 London Fashion 1980s

Saturday, 10 August 2013

FASHION | Scoop International Fashion Show

On Tuesday 24th July, on behalf of Fashion Prive, I attended Scoop, the biannual international fashion trade show for emerging, directional and established designers of contemporary apparel, accessories and lifestyle collections.

Over 400 designers and brands showcased their exciting SS14 womenswear collections to an enthusiastic audience which included everyone from buyers to bloggers. From clothing and accessories to jewellery and beauty products, there was a mass offering on every level.

This year, the event was split between both the Saatchi Gallery and Philips Gallery which was the perfect creative environment for the quality collections to be presented in. The show was first launched in 2011 by Founder Karen Radley who said: “Carefully curated around the artwork within each venue, Scoop’s selection of inspirational fashion collections is equalled by outstanding works of art in unique and bespoke Gallery environments.”

There was a real buzz as you walked up the orange carpet and into the famous, Chelsea based, Saatchi Gallery which was brimming with designers who had travelled from near and far to network, secure deals and present their new wares.

There were so many unique, exciting concepts and collections to take in and we're already spotting some trends emerging for SS14. Vivid neon accents are prominent again next Spring/Summer as are bold patterns and prints. Texture is key, particularly in accessories whilst clear Perspex also featured in numerous collections.

With so many exquisite collections it would be impossible to discuss them all here at once. We loved the classic and delicate jewellery from INGENIOUS whilst MAYRAFEDANE  showcased a contrasting selection of acidic bright and earthy neutral bags and accessories. When it came down to clothing the range was vast. We loved the texture and adaptation of the classic shirt from SARA ROKA’s collection whilst contemporary neon met heritage folk in CRISTOPHE SAUVAT’s fantastic selection. LETTERBERG COUTURE also impressed with rails full of feather and sequin adorned gowns fit for a princess.

The show has created an insatiable thirst for the upcoming seasons and we can’t wait to see what further offerings and trends will develop across the next batch of trade shows including PURE LONDON.

Did anyone else visit Scoop last month? What were your favourite collections and designers?