Tuesday, 8 November 2011



"We have come here from all over the world because we care deeply about Japan," Newhouse said. "The Japanese love for beauty has inspired artists, architects, poets, film makers, fashion designers and editors. It is perhaps the reason why historically, Japanese people are the foremost consumers of fashion and luxury goods in the world. We come here to show our respect for Japan, to give support to Japan, and to say thank you to Japan for inspiring us." 




Thursday, 3 November 2011


Female musicians with endearing voices and an acoustic guitar seem to be dime a dozens these days. Standing out from the crowd, Lucy Rose is the talented London based artist with Bombay Bicycle Club as her biggest fans.
Hailed as one to watch by several major publications, her addictive voice and powerfully close to home lyrics have many watching her every footstep. Self-releasing her own material with a further two singles recorded with Charles Watson of Slow Club, the future seems bright.
A quiet yet comical and clear-headed young musician, Lucy Rose is beginning to see the rewards of hard work and dedication to her art. Currently touring with Ben Howard and looking forward to releasing her debut album next yet, Lucy Rose’s simperingly seductive voice and talent across an array of instruments will see her far.
How would you describe your sound, and what inspires you when you write?
I find it so difficult to describe my sound, I like to think that it’s cinematic, but probably somewhere around acoustic/folk/pop. Everything inspires me to write music, but I do find it hard when I’m busy to write, the best time is alone with no plans or things to worry about.
You’ve mentioned that you only write about personal experiences, have you ever found it hard to share your intimate thoughts with an audience?
Every time I write a new song, I find it really difficult to play it for the first time to an audience because I immediately feel vulnerable. But I believe the best songs are the most honest.
You are on tour at the moment, how is it all going?
I’ve been on tour with Bombay Bicycle Club for over 2 weeks now. It’s our final show at Brixton Academy tonight, which I’m supporting as well, so I’m really excited. Touring is brilliant, I have always loved it. I start touring with Ben Howard tomorrow as well, so I feel very lucky at the moment.
Is there anywhere in particular you have enjoyed playing, or look forward to playing?
I really enjoyed playing Bestival this year. It was a really special gig. I’m definitely looking forward to playing in Ireland.
You’ve been getting a lot of exposure recently, has there been any moments that have stood out and if so which?
I try not to look at the things written about me but I was really pleased that my song went to number 5 in the hype machine.
You started out by self releasing and gigging a lot, what can you tell us about this experience and how it has shaped you as a musician?
I’m still self-releasing my music and gigging a lot. Nothing has changed there. I think it’s important to do a lot of the work yourself and play lots of shows. Word of mouth is very important and I’m very much relying on that at the moment.
You first made a name singing on Bombay Bicycle Clubs ‘Flaws’, how did you find that experience?
I was friends with BBC at this point and Jack had just invited me to his house to sing some music with him. Then we starting recording a song in his bedroom and that became ’Flaws’.
Laura Marling also started out in this way with Noah and the Whale, would you say that she is an inspiration to your music, and if so in which way?
Laura Marling is an amazing musician. I haven’t got any of her albums yet, but I know I’d love them.
You can play quite a few different instruments, which is your favourite and why?
It used to be the drum-kit but recently starting playing bass, which I’m loving!
On your website you have ‘Builders Grey Tea’ as a merch item, what was the idea behind it?
I love tea! Every time I made a cup of tea, I’d put an Earl Grey and English Breakfast teabag in the teapot to bet a blend of them both (it’s best that way). So I thought I’d make my own brand of this tea and see if anyone else liked it.
Your second single is out in physical format next month, is there a debut album on the cards?
I really hope so, that’s pretty much the dream - to be able to record an album. I’m hoping to get started in January.

Monday, 31 October 2011


VOGUE.COM UK will launch Online Fashion Week for the first time in December this year.
Following the hugely successful Fashion's Night In online event in November last year - which raised over £40,000 for charity in six hours by encouraging readers to shop the best, exclusive buys on the web via a blog on VOGUE.COM that ran from 6pm until midnight- this year's event will involve more online retailers, include more high fashion styling advice, feature even more exciting exclusive content and - hopefully - raise a good deal more money for charity over the course of a full working week.
From now until December 5, we'll be liaising with retailers to plan top secret, exclusive offers, one-time-only collections and never-seen-before content. Then, from 9am on December 5 to 6pm on December 9, we'll reveal all by blogging constantly to direct you to the best events happening across the web - allowing you to put together your own Christmas wish lists, plan your Christmas shopping and generally join the action as we celebrate all that is fashionable online.
Brands from Alexander McQueen and Chanel to Topshop, and from Prada and Miu Miu to H&M, are already on board and are currently planning their activities for a week of virtual events. Cheryl Cole's new collection of shoes is set to be unveiled during OFW;Burberry's pioneering online department is already planning something bigger and better than ever for the Week; VOGUE.COM blogger Livia Firth has already signed her Eco Age boutique up; whilst shops including Browns, Net-A-Porter and Matches are preparing to bring their many international designer names to OFW.

Fashion week: Why does Central Saint Martins produce so many designers?

Fashion week: Why does Central Saint Martins produce so many designers?

A large number of the designers showing at London Fashion Week have passed through Central Saint Martins. But why does this school dominate?
Even if you're not hugely into fashion, chances are you'll have heard of Stella McCartney, John Galliano and the late Alexander McQueen.
They're fashion superstars, celebrities of haute couture, newsworthy personalities in their own right, as Galliano's recent trial for racial slurs showed. But what also unites them is their alma mater, as all three studied at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
To name drop a bit more, its fashion alumni also include Katherine Hamnett, Bruce Oldfield, Jenny Packham, Matthew Williamson and Christopher Kane.
But it has not just spawned great British designers. Riccardo Tisci, the Italian creative director of Givenchy womenswear and among those tipped to take over from Galliano at Dior, went there.

Others include American Zac Posen, worn by Natalie Portman and Beyonce among others, and Greek-born Mary Katrantzou, whose print dress adorned Keira Knightley at this year's Venice Film Festival.
Only the fashionistas will have heard of Kane and Katrantzou, and only the hardcore will have heard of the Central Saint Martins designers who don't have their own label but who help power the world's biggest fashion houses, such as Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
CSM, as it is known to staff and students, has been around a long time but its reputation as one of the world's top fashion schools was forged in the 1980s. Its fees are in line with other fashion schools but it is notoriously hard to get a place, with the MA in fashion receiving 600 applications for 50 places.
The Daily Telegraph's fashion correspondent Hilary Alexander says the school nurtures the free-thinkers, the mavericks, the people who think outside the box.
It would be impossible to put a monetary value on the school's contribution to global fashion, she adds."The training is very anti-establishment. But that is underpinned by a knowledge of pattern cutting and how clothes hang. It's not an anarchic free-for-all, there's a rigour in terms of the disciplines that go towards making a designer."
"It must be millions and millions when you think of the influence, inspiration and sales of people like McQueen, Galliano, Williamson, McCartney... the list goes on and on and on."
It is undeniable that Saint Martins has produced more than its fair share of big name individuals.
Out of the 86 brands showing during London Fashion Week (LFW), 41 involve CSM designers. It is also the only college deemed professional enough to have its own show at LFW.
Savannah Miller is one of the many CSM graduates preparing for this year's LFW, which kicks off on Friday 16 September. She runs her Twenty8Twelve label with her actor sister Sienna Miller.
The fashion designer Miller, who specialised in knitwear and graduated in 2004, says it has a very hands-off approach to its teaching.
"They leave you to get on with it and that made you so free. There were people who couldn't handle that kind of freedom - they wanted classes and structure but you only saw a tutor once every two weeks.
"I was in from 8.30 in the morning to 8.30 at night. There was a handful of us doing that and it was those people who have gone on to do well. "
And if she wasn't studying, she was working at the McQueen label.
"We didn't have any free time to hang out in the pub. We did have fun but fashion is a competitive environment and you had to put in the work."
Of course, one might argue that the school benefits from a virtuous circle. It produces the top designers so it garners the attention that helps it produce top designers.

Its professional reputation also means global brands, such as Puma, are keen to sponsor projects providing both industry experience for the students and revenue for the college.Its reputation enables Saint Martins to attract the best tutors and talent, as well as interest and investment from the industry. Its alumni feed back into the college, with former students returning to give talks and offering work experience.
Fashion consultant Andrew Tucker says there are plenty of other fashion schools in the UK, such as the faculties at the University of Brighton and Newcastle University, the Royal College of Art (RCA) and London College of Fashion.

"Central Saint Martins is genuinely brilliant and I think that's particularly down to the course directorship of Louise Wilson. It's a bit like Fame and someone like Louise is almost a celebrity in her own right. You get people who just want to go there and nowhere else.He says each has its strengths and there is no resentment about Saint Martins having the highest profile.
"It is the place for someone who is very individual, who wants to be a fashion designer, who has their own message."
Head of MA fashion Prof Wilson is adamant that her job is not to produce labels but to teach her students the skills they need to succeed wherever they choose to pursue a career in the fashion and wider creative industry.
"British Fashion Week is the bane of my life. I've got far more students all round the world in high positions of the fashion industry which is far more satisfactory."
Former CSM student Bruce Oldfield's client list includes everyone from the late Diana, Princess of Wales and Queen Rania of Jordan to Jemima Khan and Rihanna.
He contemplated going to Kingston, Saint Martins or the RCA as they were the "most hi-vis colleges where you would be noticed if you had something to say".
Naomi CampbellStella McCartney's graduation show included a few of celebrity friends
Oldfield says he wasn't very sociable, kept his head down and grabbed all the opportunities Saint Martins offered. He found the atmosphere and language a "bit precious".
"I floundered on some of the over-intellectualised projects that I do recall. I just got on with designing what I wanted to do and they seemed happy enough with me."
Jenny Packham's dresses are worn by Hollywood A-listers and royalty - the Duchess of Cambridge has worn three of her creations this summer - and she says it was "survival of the fittest" at CSM.
She describes the teaching style as "passive aggressive" and says the tutors are all "without exception committed and enthralled by their subject".
"One day in one of our history of fashion lectures I sat in the front row. I turned round to find that out of a class of 30-ish I was the only one awake. The lecturer was so passionate about his subject that he had just continued."
CSM is currently in the throes of moving to a new base in King's Cross. Many of its old fashion graduates have been lamenting the loss of its Charing Cross Road building, which was deep in the heart of fashionable Soho but a complete dump internally, by all accounts.
Despite the buildings decrepitude, the crumbling corridors fostered an array of talent.

Just Warming Up

AMY HALL'S statement knitwear designs were in public demand before she even decided to launch her eponymous label.

HAWTHORN"I was taught to knit by my mother and grandmother as a child and have been knitting ever since," Hall told us. "As someone who was always seen with a pair of needles in her hands, I was always getting asked by friends to teach them how to knit and about five years ago, I started to teach knitting in Peter Jones and then Liberty in London. As I gained confidence, I started experimenting more. I began to veer away from following traditional patterns and created increasingly dramatic pieces which I wore around town. I kept getting stopped in the street and asked where I bought those knits and after this had happened several times, I decided to get to work on my first collection which I launched last year."

London-based Hall originally trained a photographer before realising knitwear design was her forte and undertaking a summer course at Central Saint Martins. Now in her second season, the designer's work is defined by her use of British-sourced, extremely soft wool and ability to manipulate it into feminine shapes, with colour block, cropped jumpers, luxurious coats with thick ribbed sleeves, high-waisted skirts and body-con dresses with cable knit panelling.

"Now, more than ever, I feel that wool has a central part to play in fashion," she explained. "In an increasingly synthetic industry, it is the best renewable fibre we have. It is important to use natural yarns where possible and if wool is properly looked after, it will last you a lifetime. It keeps you warm, it's versatile, comfortable - it's simply a wonderful fibre to work with."

Despite the annual celebration of Britain's best loved fabric during Wool Week, backed by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Hall still thinks there is room for improvement within the wool industry.
"It's definitely picking up again now, but it could be better," she said. "Wool just doesn't sound terribly sexy to a lot of people - to many it's a functional thing rather than something that could make you look chic. Wool Week raises awareness of the brilliance of wool and knitting with it. Knitting and crochet are still seen as activities for elderly ladies, despite people of all ages getting in to it."

London Farewell

   Not all of the fashion crowd left London in time for the Gucci show yesterday - plenty stayed in town for London Fashion Week's Menswear Day, which has gone from strength to strength over recent seasons. Two designers who also showed on the womenswear schedule earlier in the week, JW Anderson and James Long reappeared on the menswear schedule, whilst British institutions Topman and Aquascutum also presented their spring/summer 2012 collections. One of the day's highlights was Fashion Fund-nominated Patrick Grant's E. Tautz collection, a bold athletic collection with plenty of his signature relaxed elegance.

At just twenty-five, Central St Martins print graduate, Flaminia Saccucci is turning heads with her debut collection of floral printed latex pieces. Inspired by her Italian roots and installation artist Paolo Canavari, Flaminia’s highly covetable garments juxtapose the femininity of flowers, with the masculinity of rubber tyres to great effect, earning her the prestigious L’OrĂ©al Professionel Young Talent award.  Following her graduation in June, Flaminia’s collection of clean cut floral designs have been snapped up by Browns and will be under the spotlight once more as part of their window display during London Fashion Week.
Hi Flaminia. Could you tell us where you’re from and where you studied?
I come from Rome and I’m 25. I moved to London when I was 19 to study fashion at Central St Martins. I never studied fashion or textiles in high school because in Italy it’s a very different system. My background is actually more in Philosophy and Greek. St Martins is an amazing creative environment. You have the freedom to do what you like, without being scared of peoples’ opinions or being judged.
You grew up in Rome. How has this influenced your work?
One of my greatest influences comes from my Italian background in the History of Art. When I was younger, I lived very close to the modern art gallery in Rome. Ever since I was a kid I used to go there every afternoon after school and I spent entire evenings just staring at the artwork.
Did you always want to study fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion. I have a great passion for fabrics, history and society and fashion combines all of that for me. I was always sketching on my classmates’ diaries at school, but it wasn’t until I found out about St Martins that it became a dream for me.
Can you describe your graduate collection for us?
My collection is made mainly out of printed latex. I was inspired by tyres after coming across the work of Italian artist Paolo Canavari. He makes these huge installations out of tyres & rubber. I wanted to create ‘wearable’ tyres so I used latex, which is more practical yet still has the feeling of rubber. My main focus was to use latex not in an expressly sexy way, but instead to make it more feminine. I wanted to create something as far away from the idea of ‘sexy’ as possible. The collection is very feminine but there’s also a dark side to it.
Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?
The suit!
Talk us through the design process.
The latex is screen printed.  It’s a really difficult process because it’s a material that shrinks a lot when you print it. It’s also difficult to match the colours as there are four colour separations. My biggest challenge was to find the right kind of ink that would stay on the rubber. It can be frustrating at times but I never give up once I have the idea in my head!
Is latex going to feature as a signature in your work?
I’d like to explore other materials. I don’t want to get pigeonholed with latex. I’d like to experiment with silk and leather, continuing to play with masculinity and femininity.
Tell us about your personal style? What are you wearing today?
My personal style is clean and minimal… and always black! I like to be comfortable and sharp. I’m wearing shoes by Alexander Wang, black skinny jeans from Cos and a long silk shirt I just bought from Liberty.
You’ve interned at Alberta Ferreti, Balmain and Viktor and Rolf. Can you tell us how these experiences have influenced your work?
My style is a bit of a mix of everyone. You’ve got the femininity and softness of Ferreti, the strength of Balmain, and the artistic influence of Viktor and Rolf. I took a bit from each of them because they were very different experiences.
Which other designers you admire?
Raf Simons at Jil Sander, Ricardo Tisci and Phoebe Philo.
What do you love/hate about working in fashion?
I love the beginning of a collection where you are really free to do research and you can just experiment loads with different fabrics and designs. The difficult part is narrowing it down!
Do you feel there’s a lot of pressure in the industry?
No, that’s the way fashion goes and you know what you’re getting yourself into. Fashion is different from art in that it’s much quicker.
What are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m designing a collection specifically for Browns, which will be on display during London Fashion Week. It’s an elaboration of my graduate collection but with a bit of jersey and leather thrown in! After that, we’ll see. I think it’s too early to start my own label just yet. I’ve had a really great offer from a French fashion house so I might be moving to Paris!
Last but not least, what advice would you give to young designers trying to break into the industry?
Never give up! Be really focused and love what you do