Thursday, 19 November 2009

Kane for fashion 'Oscar'

Fashion, has always been one of Britain’s fortes. We pride ourselves as being the home to some of its greatest talents. Therefore, what better way to celebrate that talent than with the British Fashion Awards? Our very own Oscars if you like.

Many are awarded on the night, but always the one gathering the most attention is Designer of the year. Luella Bartley was awarded the accolade last year- and quite rightly so; her quirky, school girl inspired designs had everyone talking. But who should it be this year? Personally, the only individual that springs to mind is Christopher Kane. His contribution to fashion, particularly in the past year has seen him go leaps and bounds over any other designer. His collaboration with Topshop caused a riot amongst the fashion hungry; all of whom (including myself) were eager to get their hands on anything with his name on it. Next, comes his newly formed friendship with mother of fashion, Donatella Versace, (forming the most unlikely of collaborations) with Kane co-designing the Italian brands ‘versus’ collection.

Kane is the master of reinvention. From his A/W09 designs to his S/S10 ‘Checked Collection’- all have cemented him as an innovator of fashion.

Vintage hoarder or High street devotee?

Too many (myself included), trawling through vintage shops is like being let loose in Aladdin’s cave. Vintage allows us to express our individuality and gives us an opportunity to dip into a fashion filled pool of nostalgia.

But which one are you? A vintage hoarder or High Street devotee? Whilst most will pick a side and stick to it, there are those of us who are constantly stuck between. Because, despite it being criticized for being ‘samey’, the high street is the most reliable source for every style, shape and size you could possibly imagine; and with designers and celebrities jumping on the band wagon, its never been easier or more accessible to replicate their looks. It’s also a safe haven for women, as opposed to Vintage which, requires masses of confidence and the right kind of attitude. If you don’t get it right you could risk looking like you’ve dressed in the dark (that lime green blouse was only acceptable in the 80s).

However, if done properly, vintage can look fabulously authentic. Of course, there’s no law against mixing vintage with modern pieces; like a loaf of Hovis, ‘best of both’ can often be the most pleasing.

A flourishing fixation with florals.

Whether they’re graphic, antique, bold or brocade, I just adore florals. From Liberty’s traditional print to Cath Kidson’s kitsch variety, they are and have been the desired print since their birth more than 100 years ago and have remained in bloom ever since.
But why is it we are so obsessed with florals? Is it their nostalgic qualities or simply their pretty aesthetic?  For me, it’s both. Granted, the florals of my childhood rather resembled those you would expect to find on a carpet from the 70s - which were of course printed all over the equally questionable dungarees, my mother insisted on dressing me in- as opposed to the fantastical, feminine designs that have blossomed onto the catwalks.
Whatever the reason, no longer are we afraid of the print that we have seemingly avoided after a long hate affair with our grandmother’s curtains. Now the print goes hand in hand with desirable, attractive clothing; seeing its popularity grow ever more by the decade.
Despite not particularly being a focal point at fashion week this year (much to my disappointment), the likes of Dolce&Gabbana, Luella and Erdem still incorporated florals in their SS 2010 collections- good news for all floral fanatics like me.

I was in a Chanel state of mind.

Paris: known for high fashion, glamour and the Eiffel Tower. I do love a city where as you walk down the street spot women head to toe in Chanel, accompanied by the stylish attitude it requires. So any opportunity to revisit is one I’ll never turn down. Despite being a short trip this time (only a day) means that squeezing everything in completely impossible. However- having not been before- a visit to Chanel on Rue de Cambon was firmly on the agenda- the most important of destinations for the fashion-conscious.

Always the optimist, I was secretly hoping Karl Lagerfeld would appear from his headquarters above us, but was sadly left disappointed.

As i had expected, i had the door opened for me and was greeted by faces full of smiles. I thought to myself, I could sure get used to this. However, the smiles soon went away when the assitants realised I didn't qualify as a potential customer- being a penniless student meant those £450 pumps were just out of my reach. Admittedly, I felt a tad intimidated being amongst the oh so chic shoppers purchasing their quilted 2.55 bags (I wasn’t envious at all…) whilst I was too afraid to sit on the tweed clad sofas, which were naturally accompanied by leather cushions...

Note: do not enter without sufficient funds.

Back to the ‘60s with Twiggy

In swinging London, only one model was on everyone’s lips; her common cockney prose, quirky features and waif like frame, made Twiggy a much loved figure in the 1960s and has since become a national treasure. Therefore, when I heard that The National Portrait Gallery had opened an exhibition in her honour- ‘Twiggy: A life in Photographs’- showcasing her life in front of the lense, I brought it upon myself to go and delve into the life of an icon.
Upon my arrival, after admittedly getting lost on the way- accidentally (and rather embarrassingly) going to The National Gallery; curious as to why all the portraits were from no later than the 18th century (I certainly gave the gallery assistant a few laughs). I was pleasantly surprised to notice the variety of people as I observed the room, one side of me were fashion students scribbling in their notebooks and on the other were women reminiscing to one another about their youth: “Oh I had hair exactly like hers, she looked so wonderful”
Despite being rather small in quantity, collectively the photographs displayed an immense assortment of enjoyment, energy and awkwardness. Photographed by the greats, we see Twiggy transform from a sweet, child like Barry Lategan girl, to a fully fledged - Cecil Beaton approved – model.

Certainly one I would recommend.