Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Catwalk review: FAD Competition

With names on the front row like The Telegraph, WGSN.com, Elle UK and Look magazine, and with Grazia girls dotted about the place, the pressure was on for the fourteen design students chosen to send their work down the catwalk. The brief was simple: two outfits each, based on retro-futurism and space tourism. The garments had to enhance and respect the wearer and, of course, look like the cat's pyjamas (not literally). After a sensational show full of immense structure, a library of fabrics and all manner of shapes, colours and styles, one winner and two runners up were chosen and announced.

In third place was Birmingham City University's Camilla Kennedy, with her incredible pyramid-structured silver coat and simple red jersey jumpsuit, cinched in at the waist with a wide, black padded PVC belt.

Felicity Bagget's menswear came in at second place, being both highly wearable and imminently intersting to behold. A white coat with a high collar and masculine structure stood neatly next to some beautiful grey tailoring, fulfilling all of the brief's criteria.

The eventual winner, Anna Belen Merono (Nottingham Trent University) was announced by Dolly Jones of Vogue.com and Paul Costelloe - who gave a touching and funny speech about what it means to be a designer. Her uber-futuristic designs wowed the judges with their simple lines and lovely prints. First up was a clean black and white number, knee-length and with long sleeves. It skimmed the outline of the body, carefully concealing what was underneath and barely hinting at a hidden sexuality. The second was a floaty acid-coloured dress partly covered by a black armour-esque shoulder piece. Her collection both drew attention to and protected the wearer and wouldn't have been out of place on any number of high-profile catwalk shows. The perfect blend of science and art. If the award speech was right and these designers are "people of the future", then it's a future that Fashion Scout is very excited about indeed. Emma Hopkinson

Images: David Coleman
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Raising your awareness of Fashion Awareness Direct

Tonight’s FAD Charity show caps the end of an exciting A/W ’09 fashion week at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Fashion Awareness Direct (FAD), now in their 8th year, has given 14 aspiring fashion students the chance to compete for a £2,000 prize and top industry placement. The designers were asked to explore ideas of retrofuturism and space tourism in this year’s theme of ‘Urban Holographic.’ An esteemed panel of judges will decide the winner at tonight’s 7:30pm show.

Although FAD and Vauxhall Fashion Scout are taking center stage with the designers tonight, there are others at hand who have aided the development of FAD. One of those organizations is City Fringe Partnership (CFP). CFP supports designers, manufactures, wholesalers and retailers within London’s and creates links to enable businesses to meet the fast turnaround, short-run, and design-led demand of London and the export market. CFP commissioned FAD to join its ‘FashionAble’ programme to work with local students to show how the fashion industry can be a viable route to employment. Leigh McDevitt the Fashion Manager at City Fringe Partnership says, “CFP has always been impressed by the way that FAD sparks such enthusiasm and commitment from the students. With involvement of the industry and prestigious education institutions, FAD raises student aspirations about careers in fashion.”

Another partner with City Fringe Partnership and Fashion Awareness Direct is the London Development Agency (LDA). LDA provided £2 Million in funding to CFP in 2007 to support their fashion endeavors. LDA also supports the British Fashion Council to ensure London retains and grows its place in the international fashion market. In a recent article, LDA Chief Executive, Peter Rogers, expressed the necessity of investing in London’s fashion market as the effects of doing so are felt across many sectors from retail to tourism. Lisa Tumbarello

Catwalk review: Emma Bell

As much an experience as a catwalk show, guests were greeted in the foyer of Vauxhall Fashion Scout with cartoon-esque cupcakes that were as delectable as they were kitsch. The audience were then ushered to their seats. The lights went down and the dulcet tones of a violin filled the room, slowly becoming recognisable as the childhood classic How Much is That Doggy in the Window. A giant dog then appeared on stage with a glitter encrusted cane and high-heel shoes - the canine impersonator took off his head to reveal performance artist Scottee who joined the fiddler singing an ever more aggressive rendition of the ditty.

This opening did not dwarf the show which featured Big Brother twins Samanda and club promoter/DJ, Jodie Harsh. The models donned baby-doll faces with ensembles ranging from garments made of Perspex cut-out hearts and gingerbread men, chunky knit dresses adorned with banana motifs, South East Asian-inspired print leggings and the occasional hamburger and palm tree - and a dog tooth print for good measure. Metallic quilting aided voluminous silhouettes exaggerating hips to massive proportions, there were also cones which provided protection for arms, shoulders, boobs, bums and crotches. Contrasting the matte prints Bell used shiny metallic PVC which came in the guise of drop crotch jumpsuits. The palette was colourful as ever with pastel neons, bright yellow and blue. All of which was topped off by dog head pieces a nod to Emma Bell's experience of animal cruelty in her recent travels to East Asia. Kelly Davis

Images: David Coleman
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Street style round 8: outside Emma Bell

Name: Trushar Patel
Occupation: MensweBoldar Designer
Out of the clothes you are wearing today which is your favorite item?
"These cat tights- it is all in the detail"

Name: Laura Greenwood
Occupation: Features Editor The Conceptionist
Where is the best place to go out in London after a day at the shows?
"Al's Tasty Fried Chicken in Whitechapel"

Name: Sane Pheonix
Visual artist/DJ/Singer in electro band
Have you been to any fashion parties this week?
"No, but I am going to ANother Magazine party tonight so looking forward to that."

Name: Harry Mckinley
Occupation: Fashion Student at London College of Fashion
Have you been to any other shows have you seen this week?

"No, this London Fashion Week has fallen the same time as lots of deadlines so I am only coming to this show because I am friends with Emma."

Backstage vox pops at Emma Bell

Names: Samantha and Amanda
Occupation: Ex Big Brother contestants
"Oh my god we love Emma Bell. Her stuff is so exaggerated and so colourful. We are so excited to be modelling in her show."

Jodie Harsh


Name: Scottee Scottee
Occupation: Performance Artist
"I am actually Emma Bell, but it is fashion's best secret. I am giving this exclusive to you, so don't actually tell anyone!"

Name: Gui Carotti
Occupation: Model
Are you a big fan of Emma Bell?
"Definitely! This is the second show I have done for her. I love her stuff! Last time I did the show I wore these amazing shorts and I wanted to keep them but she wouldn't let me."

Name: Shabnam Naomi Spiers
Occupation: Designer & Medical Student
"Emma Bell is such a breeze of fresh air. The colours are so bright and cheerful. I like to wear something different and Emma Bell is perfect for that."

Name: Mika Doll
Occupation: Club Promoter
"I love Emma Bell. I was so blown away by the last collection I saw. Normally I wear a lot of black, and I'm all about a lot of shimmer but to see all that colour on stage is really quite exciting. She's inspired me to wear a bit more glitter than usual!"

Words: Louise Hemmings
Photos: David Coleman

Catwalk review: Avsh Alom Gur

Launched in 2003, one of the wider-known designers showcasing their collections at Vauxhall Fashion Scout this week is Avsh Alom Gur. With his post as Creative Director at Ossie Clarke, Gur took his own eponymous collection to newer heights this afternoon with a romantic presentation of 15 eveningwear looks, which will be sure to keep his fan base amused.

Clearly, Gur has been focusing on the current economical climate, his concerns scrawled across evening dresses and jumpsuits using heavy gold embroidery. The first look out onto the catwalk provided a moreish taster for Gur’s AW09 offering; a salmon coloured silk ball gown sashaying down the runway to the strains of Nancy Sinatra. As the press release warned, what Gur would be presenting would be “an enthusiastic presentation of excess”.

Inspiration leaped from the noticeably over-embellished ‘CREDIT CRUNCH’ embroidery, to Gur’s famed prints, which added a Bulgarian gypsy reference, reinforced by the traditional floral embroidery placed at the hemline of a tulle and organza skirt. With the main inspiration cited as "The King and I", the silhouette Gur was defining was hard to decipher although it is clear that Gur’s muse is certainly not mourning the economic climate without flair. Dal Chodha

Images: David Coleman
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Catwalk review: Blow Presents... Pop Up show featuring Gemma Slack, Kominako and Craig Lawrence

Ten minutes before the show Fashion Scout noted an air of total chaos and abject terror prompted by the last minute changes that bubble beneath the surface of any good fashion show. By the time the young, beautiful and crazy of hair had filtered in and taken their seats the excitement was palpable. Three young designers, one show, and totally unchartered expectations.

It was to eerie, eighties saxophone and quiet wailing that Gemma Slack's first models strode onto the catwalk, exuding the sort of street-wise sass and attitude that comes only with wearing interminably fashionable clothes and a rough-shorn black wig. A heady mix of untreated leather, extreme neoprene padding and brass detailing, Slack's collection meshed dominatrix leather dresses and drainpipe trousers with medieval-looking epaulettes and a sultry smoke-print created by the designer. When hemlines were up, they were very, very up and when hemlines were down, they were way down. And when padded black gilets covered high-necked, skintight dresses, the overall effect was a desirable one indeed.

Komakino's offering was largely stomped out in their trademark black. Boxy, drop-shoulder sweat shirts sat atop slim-line trousers with a tarnished shine and tri-band belts with with ruck-sack fastenings. Lithe young male models looked as though they had been brought in from London's bustling streets and lent a gritty realism to the proceedings. Draped in see-through mesh and hoods, soft leather jackets, ripped black denim and an occasional well-crafted coat, they strutted their stuff. Concept was key - with ideas about disillusion and loss informing the show - and fabrics and texturing gave the collection what it needed to be an aesthetic winner as well.

And what was there from Craig Lawrence? What there wasn't might be easier, and the answer would be: a dull moment. A throng of knitted ribbon, crafted expertly into men's and women's trousers, dresses, vests and jumpers walked out before a video of a model jumping in stop-motion. The range of pinks and marshmallow whites knew no gender boundaries and the looped and shining ribbons danced prettily on each and every look. The girls got short and body-con in metallic salmon swirls, built-up shoulders and shape-hiding pink pom-poms. The boys got everything from scoop-back white vests in knitted ribbon to a pink and white jumper with an underarm train. Perhaps not one for the tube, but a fantastic fashion show nonetheless. Emma Hopkinson

Images: David Coleman

Live Catwalk Illustrations at Co-operative Designs

Illustrated by: Lindsey Kinsella

Interview with Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, Global Creative Director of Toni&Guy

Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, Global Creative Director of Toni&Guy has impeccable hair credentials. As daughter of the Toni Mascolo, Sacha was destined to be a big name in the industry, proving herself in her own right as the youngest ever winner of the Newcomer of the Year category at the British Hairdressing Awards in 1999, and more recently when voted the coveted "Hairdresser of the Year" winner by Hair Magazine in 2008. Her celebrity clientele list is a veritable who's who of fabulous hair: including Erin O’Connor, Helena Christensen, Jamelia, Jerry Hall, Liz Jagger, Sadie Frost and Cat Deeley. As you'd expect, her work has featured in every glossy fashion mag you can think, and (not that we're jealous) she's done shows for Calvin Klein, Prada, Versace, and Helmut Lang.

It's not just the big names though that get the Toni&Guy treatment - we caught up with her backstage after the Avsh Alom Gur show, as she congratulated her Toni&Guy team who are working hard alongside Vauxhall Fashion Scout designers to create the stunning catwalk looks for the venue's emerging designers. "I absolutely love it here at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, they're so professional and every season it gets better and better. It's so inspirational working with new talent. It ticks every box for us as sponsors, we develop and grow with new talent. No question of a doubt we'll continue our partnership with Vauxhall Fashion Scout" said the vivacious, petite brunette. And yes, she does have fantastic hair. Hannah Kane

Catch Sasha Mascolo-Tarbuck on GMTV tomorrow morning as she mentors and will judge on LK's Top Model Competition. Six mother and daughter couples will be whittled down to the final three, the winning duo will win an introduction to ‘Independent’ model agency, a year’s supply of ‘Model Me’ haircare products and a year’s worth of free hair cuts with Toni and Guy.

Image: Katie Coxedge

Interview: Emma Bell

Emma Bell has been busy: whether it’s reading Lord Tennyson poems, learning hand woven embroidery techniques in Asia or - wait for it - saving dogs, she hasn’t had a moment free. “Whilst I was in Asia, I saw so much animal cruelty; they were literally bashing dogs’ heads on walls,” she says, explaining why her latest collection is called ‘I’m saving the dogs’. Bell worked with an artist to allow the canine influence to seep into her collection, with dogs appearing as prints on the fabric.

Bell is renowned for her unconventional choices of models, previously casting from both the street and from London’s club scene. “For me personally it would be too easy to look in a book and say oh I’ll have that one,” she explains, “so it’s more important for me to make sure I’ve got someone who really gets it”. And with drag-queen-du-jour Jodie Harsh, and Samantha and Amanda, the twins of Big Brother fame, rumoured to be taking part in today’s show, Emma Bell is sure to be top dog. Louise Hemmings

Image: Simon Armstrong

Street style round 7: outside Avsh Alom Gur

Name: Charlotte Carter-Allen
Occupation: Model What brings you to Vauxhall Fashion Scout today?
"I am modelling for Craig Lawrence in the Blow PR pop-up show."

Name: Elizabeth Shingleton
Occupation: PR
Who are you here to see today?
"I'm here for the Avsh Alom Gur show but I've just lost all of my friends so I had better run!"

Name: Bet Orten
Occupation: Photographer
We love your ring...

"Oh thanks - I found it in a bathroom."

Name: Sascha Lilic
Occupation: Creative Director
Have you been to any fashion parties?
"I went to the Stephen Jones show yesterday and it was absolutely glorious - the best party this week. Mulberry was good to - wonderful Appletinis."

Name: Kim Treger
Occupation: Freelance designer and art student
Are you enjoying London Fashion Week?

"Yeah - its been good - I haven't seen many shows but I have just been to Fashion East."

Name: Simon Cook
Hairstylist for Toni & Guy (working backstage at Vauxhall Fashion Scout)
Are there any hair trends that we should know about for this season?
"Well old school is back for boys, fifties inspired quiffs and side-partings- and for girls it's a lot more glamorous"

Live catwalk illustrations at William Tempest

Illustrated by: Victoria Lyons

Illustrated by: Anastasia Vodennikova

Backstage at Cooperative Designs

Images: Simon Armstrong

Credit crunch couture: interview with Dean Sidaway, Creative Director for Avsh Alom Gur

Avsh Alom Gur’s Creative Director Dean Sidaway's imagination knows no limits. “The collection is based on The King And I and Bulgarian folklore,” he explains, “We’ve used the very intense floral ethnic embroideries but as prints so we’ve increased and decreased the sizes of them.” The King and I influence is apparent in the voluminous dresses, but tulle and organza fabrics have kept the collection light, and there are no crinolines. So is this a sign of the times? “It’s just a fun thing in light of the credit crunch, wearing these really decadent gowns in this climate.”

This year’s collection is a lot smaller than usual, restricted to only 15 looks rather than the usual 30. “It’s not necessarily a statement but we did want a more couture salon feel so it became more intimate; a small show with statement looks,” Sidaway explains.

Look out for Avsh Alom Gur’s show at 12.45 today: A collection most definitely fit for a king. Louise Hemmings

Image: Alisa Afkhami

Model interview: Catriona Vowles

Just when you think you have fashion all figured out it goes ahead and surprises you - so here's a book review by Models's One model Catriona Vowles backstage at Avsh Alom Gur. "I'm reading David Ebershoff's 'The 19th Wife', I'm engrossed - it's about Mormon polygamy in 19th century America." We're impressed - clearly Vowles knows her vowels from her consonants. Hannah Kane

Image: Katie Coxedge

Street style round 6: outside Co-operative Designs

Name: Juahee Han
Occupation: St Martins Fashion Student
Which designers inspire your work?
"I don't have any in particular, but ones who tell stories and build strong characters within their collections"

Name: Cynthia Fong
Occupation: Fashion Design Student

Name: Oly Innes
Occupation: Fashion Photographer
What are you most looking forward to at London Fashion Week?
"I should say the shows, but really its the parties!"

Name: Anastasia Nemchenok
Occupation: Fashion Journalist
What inspires fashion?
"Music! Rock n' Roll its generic you can see it in everything"

Name: Ruth Lloyd
Occupation: WGSN Writer
What is the biggest perk of London Fashion Week?
"Getting together with well dressed people,"

Words: Janis Furneaux
Images: Yumi Yoshinaga

Catwalk review: Co-operative Designs

"Spadgermatazz" is definitely not a word likely to pop up in the Oxford Dictionary any time soon. But if anyone was going to provide a definition, it was Co-operative Designs and their imaginatively titled collection, and in our minds it went something like this:


1. An eclectic celebration of head-to-toe knitwear, combining graphic and textural elements on a base palette of black and white with slashes of colour.

2. A playful mix of traditional cables and fine knits, combined with more unusual elements of embroidery, felt and leather, worked to simulate knitted stitches.

3. The creation of an illusion: dresses that look like skirts and jumpers; cardigans with built in skirts; and scarves worn as dresses.

Spadgermatazz , it’s certainly got razzmatazz.

Louise Hemmings

Main image: Katie Coxedge

Runway shots: Alisa Afkhami