Friday, 26 February 2010

Henrietta Ludgate - Enchanted ethics

Henrietta Ludgate AW10
Image: Re-Design for Life

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking forward to Henrietta Ludgate's new collection. I was also very excited to be invited to her presentation and party on Tuesday evening. Unfortunately, for reasons too boring to go into, I couldn't make it to her presentation. Fortunately, my impatience to see her collection got the better of me so I'd taken a peek at the Estethica exhibition. And I'm glad I did.

Henrietta has once again created elegantly crafted pieces for Autumn Winter 2010. Her distinctive sculptural silhouettes have been used in a collection inspired by enchanted forests at dusk and legendary tales of Brahan Seer - the oracle from the Black Isle. Modern abstract prints - in a palette of deep smoke greys with a flash of silver - capture the mood. A double-faced wool coat dress - skillfully crafted with a high quality finish - was the statement piece.

All pieces in Henrietta's collection are produced locally in the Scottish Highlands using organic and natural fabrics including Pure Scottish wool and superfine Yorkshire wool jersey.

Henrietta has created a sustainable, sophisticated collection with a modern edge.

Henrietta Ludgate AW10
Image: Tom Chambers

Henrietta Ludgate AW10
Image: Tom Chambers

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Michael van der Ham - New Generation LFW

Michael van der Ham AW10

Michael van der Ham - the unassuming yet extremely talented designer behind his eponymous label - appeared slightly embarrassed as I waxed lyrical about his stunning new collection. As I gasped with delight at each beautifully crafted piece he smiled quietly. I wondered whether I was being unfashionably over-the-top? Perhaps I needed to calm myself down.

For his AW10 collection, Michael has used silk devore, silk chiffon, mohair, organza and liberty prints all patch-worked together with a skillful eye for colour, texture and print to create feminine pieces with an eccentric twist. For women who "are not afraid to wear something a little more bold."

Each piece is perfectly executed and produced to a high standard in the UK. These are very special pieces to treasure for ever.

Michael van der Ham - AW10
Image: Re-Design for LIfe

Michael van der Ham - AW10
Image: Re-Design for LIfe

Prophetik AW10 - Catwalk Images

You'll know - from my post after the Prophetik show on Friday - how much I loved the collection. You'll also know how upset I was that I didn't manage to get any images - totally down to me fumbling around with the settings on my camera. I was really annoyed with myself because I wanted to share with you what I'd seen. So, I'd like to say a big thank you to Courtney (Prophetik's PR) for sending these photos to me.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

London Fashion Week - Today's key look

Grey was today's dominant colour. A wet-look finish being key. Flashes of bright colour and digital prints highlighted the look.

I'm talking about the look in the courtyard at Somerset House.

Inside was a completely different story. I was very excited by what I saw at Michael van der Ham and Louise Gray ... both extremely talented in their use of fabrics, print and textile finishes. Separate blog on each to come.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Vivienne Westwood makes a statement at London Fashion Week

Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW10

Vivienne Westwood showed her Red Label collection at London Fashion Week on Sunday. Always one to use her catwalk shows as an opportunity to make political statements, Dame Vivienne opened the show with printed t-shirts to draw attention to climate change. The show continued with her statement tartans, beautifully cut tailoring, signature twisted and draped silhouettes together with flashes of pink, coral and bright orange.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW10

Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW10

Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW10

Little Green Story at London Fashion Week

I came across Little Green Story at London Fashion Week. This Swedish brand creates organic t-shirts with illustrations inspired by emotions and moments in life. Helena Akesson the designer behind the label told me that she wants to work towards eco-friendly and ethical fashion that is both simplistic and trendy. As she explained: comfortable with a rock and roll edge. Minimal yet directional.

Helena designs Little Green Story for independent, trend aware urban women with an environmentally conscious mind. Her aim is to expand the collection for next season to offer a complete concept. I will keeping an eye out for future stories.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Prophetik AW10 -Sustainable collection with rock attitude

Prophetik’s AW10 show opened at Vauxhall Fashion Scout yesterday to the haunting sound of a lone violin. Violinist Anna Crawd walked slowly onto the dimly lit catwalk where she was accompanied by guitarist Jason Bynum. As they played their blue-grass tune they were joined by a ghost like model dressed in a black vintage silk, high collared, corseted dress that could have come straight from 1800's Tennessee. The model continued her haunting walk - gliding with an expressionless stare along the catwalk. As she disappeared backstage, the bright spotlights went up, the blue grass faded and the room was filled with the sound of nuwave rock from Man Raze playing in the corner.
A procession of perfectly executed pieces inspired by the American Civil War came onto the catwalk. Full length peace silk dresses - worn with vintage boots - floated by, slouchy jodphurs, neat fitted jackets, indigo dyed dresses and subtle paint splattered prints on hemp jersey. Male models strode by in structured military coats with vintage Civil War buttons layered over herringbone hemp jackets and waistcoats. And, finally a blood red distressed velvet gown brought the show to a close. Stunning.
All pieces were created from organic and sustainable fabrics including cotton, flax, corduroy, denim and Greenspun fleece (made from recycled bottles). Crinkled and washed finishes – synonymous with organic clothing – were given a fashion edge. A kind of homespun with rock musician attitude.
I loved every piece that came along the catwalk. It’s fantastic that it’s a completely sustainable collection but what’s more is that each individual piece is well designed and extremely wearable. And that’s what grabs your attention before anything else.
Unfortunately, I was having camera problems during the show. Or rather, my camera was having photographer problems. So sorry I don't have any catwalk images to show.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Waiting for Henrietta Ludgate

Henrietta Ludgate - SS2010 Collection

I've been a little quiet for the last couple of days so sorry for that. No reason in particular. But hey! London Fashion Week starts on Friday so I'll have plenty of posts to come. I'll be checking out the Estethica exhibition, New Generation Designers and Vauxhall Fashion Scout including the Prophetik show and - fingers crossed - the Ada Zanditon show.

I'm also really looking forward to seeing the AW10 collection from Henrietta Ludgate, who won the Ethical Fashion Forum's Innovation Award for her SS10 collection. Henrietta - a champion of slow fashion - designs from her studio in the remote Scottish Highlands with an ethos of preserving traditional British craftsmanship being central to her work. All fabrics are sourced from within the British Isles and all pieces produced locally to create luxurious, cutting-edge and ethically sourced pieces.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Vintage grunge from Richard Chai Love

Richard Chai Love - AW10 Collection

The nineties are now vintage according to a pink neon sign in Selfridges window. I smiled at the tongue-in-cheek humour of the statement until it dawned on me that perhaps the Nineties really is being classed as vintage. How? How can a decade - that I remember so clearly - now be vintage?

I had a stall on Portobello Market in the Nineties. The era of grunge. I'd swan around the market wearing scuffed 1970's retro trainers, full length slinky skirts with a 1930's bias cut and loose knit, moth eaten sweaters. All worn with a thrown together - yet carefully styled - nonchalance.

Now it's back on the catwalk. Richard Chai's Love collection shown in New York this week has all the hallmarks of Nineties grunge. Fortunately, Richard Chai's collection is not a retrospective of the era - he has revived grunge with a modern edge.

His collection reminds me why I enjoyed Nineties fashion so much: The layers. Layering different textures, layering garments that are not usually worn together, mixing proportions.
It's time to mix up those layers. To be individual.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Alexander McQueen

Lee Alexander McQueen

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Prophetik - Sustainable collection to kick-off Vauxhall Fashion Scout

Prophetik collection

February is fashion fervour time. The international 'Fashion Weeks' begin this week with Copenhagen starting today followed by New York Fashion Week tomorrow. London Fashion Week returns to Somerset House on February 19th along with Esthetica the ethical fashion exhibition and off-schedule shows at Vauxhall Fashion Scout.

I'm delighted that Vauxhall Fashion Scout - set-up to promote new and emerging talent during London Fashion Week - is opening with the Tennessee-based sustainable brand Prophetik. Jeff Garner, the designer behind the label, told Drapers Online that he is "looking forward to doing an all-sustainable catwalk show...hoping it will set a marker for the future of the encourage other companies and individuals to get involved in sustainability."

Prophetik create collections for men and women - some of the pieces being unisex. Other pieces can be worn in more than one style creating a number of looks from one garment. Fabrics include organic cotton, organic silk, hemp and recycled fabrics. The inspiration behind the new collection is "early concepts of sustainability when resources were scarce".

With the brand's strong philosophy for sustainability and it's emphasis upon original design, Prophetik certainly prove that one does not have to be compromised for the other. I can't wait to see the new collection next Friday.

Prophetik's full interview with Drapers here.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Suno New York leads the SS10 fashion tribe

Prada Resort 2010 & Dries van Noten SS2010

I don't know about you but I can't wait for summer to arrive. Ever since those amazing tribal influenced prints came down the SS10 catwalks - back in September - I've been longing to transform my wardrobe with an energising shot of vibrant African print. A flash here. A flash there. All mixed in to revive my summer basics. Oooh! I'm getting quite excited about it now.

Even more exciting is that Suno New York - a label designed in New York and produced in Kenya - is now available in the UK. The label was set up by Max Osterweis as a means to employ local Kenyan talent and showcase some of Kenya's artistry, which could potentially affect positive and lasting social and economic change.

The collections - produced in small, fair trade workshops - incorporate traditional Kenyan kanga prints into modern, eclectic styles with a fashion edge. The collections are testament to the talent behind the label - Kenyan and New Yorker.

Suno New York SS2010

Suno New York SS2010

Suno New York SS2010

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Fashion for squares - Study NY

The Square Project by Study NY.
SS10 Collection
All images by permission of Tara St James

I know of Tara St James, the New York-based fashion designer and head of creative collective Study NY, through the Ethical Fashion Network. As part of the Study NY collective, Tara has designed a collection of sustainable clothing - The Square Project - which was launched at The Green Shows during New York Fashion Week last September.

It was this SS10 collection, with it's modern aesthetic, clean lines and cool colours that first grabbed my attention. The collection consists of 14 pieces across 9 different styles and 2 separate colours. Each of the styles is made of a different number of squares of fabric. Tara's aim was to create a sustainably developed collection that can be worn in several different ways, using the most basic shape - the square.

The Study NY collective also produce jewellery, graphic design, photography, music and fine art with an aim to use recycled and organic materials as much as possible in their work. It's a positive study for fashion and design.

The Square Project SS10 collection can be viewed on