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The Fashion Illustrations of Sue Bailey
We had the pleasure of meeting artist Sue Bailey whilst working backstage at London Fashion Week, many years ago. Sue is one of the Pamela Chapman’s closest friends, and worked with the team backstage for years on countless shows – you could always spot Sue, in the sea of boring black dresses, wearing a bright hand painted garment. She has since retired from this seasonal joy, and is spending time instead focussing on her beautiful paintings and illustrations.
Sue’s work spans landscapes, fashion illustrations, portraits, floral arrangements and even some prints designed for cards and wrapping paper. Her diverse subject matter is often rendered in vivid and rich tones, full of texture and expression. Some of our favourites are her fashion illustration, created in situ in the buzzing backstage environment. You can see more of Sue’s work here on her website.
All illustrations by Sue Bailey
The Photographers Gallery is often full of the sort of contemporary photography that sparks young creative minds to go and snap away, to challenge and subvert their fields, exhibits such as the recent Viviane Sassen. But the current display of Edward Steichens photography from his years at Conde Nast is something altogether different, something special and beautiful, and inspiring in a different way.
In a chance meeting with Conde Nast editor in 1923, Steichen was offered the prestigious title of chief photographer at Vanity Fair. You know, just offered, on the spot – such was his reputation, as one of the most important fashion, fine art and portrait photographers of his age, a reputation he went on to cement in his years at Conde Nast – Vanity Fair and Vogue. It’s these images the exhibit concerns itself with, and shows just some of the wealth of images Steichen contributed in the magazines.
The man was a genius with a camera, he appears to paint with light and commands flawless composition. These pictures do no justice for the work, I implore you to go and visit!
London Fashion Week SS15
Another London Fashion Week has raced past, leaving behind a series of dazed bloggers and a blur of new fashion imagery to tease us for next year.
We had a crazy busy week backstage at shows and around the tents at Somerset House, and here are some of our snapshots of the whole crazy circus. London Fashion Week is always the highlight of our year. We take the whole spectacle with a pinch of salt, and simply use it to inspire and invigorate us for the coming season!
The Bold and Beautiful Koro Kimono
Koro Kimono is a clothing brand made of a mutual love for beautiful fabrics and a flair for the dramatic. Creators Sophie and Tara also work in theatre and film and I think you can see their creative theatrics in their choices of fabrics and shapes for their collection of Kimono’s, jackets, headscarves and cushions. Bold colours, relaxed photography and an overall feel of fun really endears you to both the clothes and the brand.
We’ve not ever seen anything quite like it, and as everything is made in the UK and their collections have a limited run, I imagine owning a piece feel as if you have been inducted into their little corner of bright, bold and beautiful. Our favourite are their short kimono’s modeled here in a striking print with optional taxidermy. Check out more of their designs on their website here.
Charlie Casely-Hayford, and the things that make him Swoon
Casely-Hayford‘s clothes are a lesson in how to combine streetwear with formal wear. The father and son designer duo present collections that are a delicious clash of tailoring and streetwear, see their recent collections here, and our images from backstage this season here. They are one of our favourite shows to be backstage at during L:CM, with a relaxed, friendly yet somehow electric vibe. We asked Charlie Casely-Hayford for a few of the things that make him swoon.
Lockwood Umbrellas – lockwoodumbrellas.com
I love handmade crafted products and these rare umbrellas are handmade in London by two former craftsmen from James Smith and Sons umbrella makers.
The New Remastered Led Zeppelin album
It was the inspiration and soundtrack for our recent SS15 catwalk show and it wakes me up in the morning,
Heinreich Dinkelaker Brogues
The shape of the last is a best of Italian and English – Heinreich Dinkelaker brogues are the perfect shoe and will last a lifetime. Each one is handmade.
La Residencia in Mallorca
My favourite place to go post-fashion show where I can re-energise and start thinking about the next season.
Blanc eyewear – sunglasses
Highest quality sunglasses around. These Sunglasses are made in Japan in the same factory as Tom Ford, but still remain a quietly kept secret…. and they work perfectly with my suit and boots.
Chanel Dallas Ranch Swagger
Backstage at the Chanel Dallas show, all feathers, frills and boots!
Hosted at the Old Bond Street Store (Number 5, of course) the whole Chanel Dallas show was recreated, right down the saloon setting. The girls wore feathers in the hair, ornate necklaces, and were swathed in pleated chiffon, fluffy feathers and embroidered ponchos.
Gaultier, Women and Power
One amazing element of the Jean Paul Gaultier Fashion World Exhibition was the portrayal of powerful women through his designs. You hear Gaultier and you think couture, Breton stripes and cone shaped bra’s, and while that’s not an inaccurate summary, we’re leaving out the important underlying theme of his work – empowerment.
In the Boudoir part of the exhibit you can see some of the designers finer lingerie, corset and bedroom couture, and although dripping in sex appeal, we mustn’t forget that part of the reason we associate corsets with sexy images is due to Gaultier. His iconic designs took a garment that initially confined and restricted a woman, that oppressed them and their freedom quite literally by restricting movement and forcing them into a shape that was seen as appropriate, and turned it into a symbol of feminine power and strength. The iconic and unforgettable cone shaped bra from Madonna’s Blond Ambition tour not only accentuates a woman’s shape and sexiness, but her power to embrace her sexuality and strength. Amazing stuff!
Gaultier loves a muse, from Kylie, Madonna to Beth Ditto, Erin O’Connor to Rossy De Palma, these women were unconventional, rule breaking, and stunning, the epitome of a Gaultier design. The exhibition houses all the perfect examples of the designers rule breaking, including a corset for a pregnant women, body stockings made to look like flesh and some with sequined and appliqued body hair, and this stunning embellished skeletal corset, famously worn by Dita Von Teese.
Accidently in love with Yves Saint Laurent biopic
I went to see the Yves Saint Laurent biopic recently, and found it the most moving fashion film I think I’ve ever seen. Having never been an adorer of YSL, I wasn’t expecting to love it, but love it I did and I found myself spellbound from start to finish.
The film documents the designers progression from new face at Dior to head designer, to launching his own fashion house and then becoming the iconic figure we know today. We follow Yves through his personal battles with anxiety and depression, through his dalliances with drugs and alcohol, his adventures, illness and his misgivings, but most importantly through his tangled love life. His rollercoaster relationship with his true love and long-term business partner Pierre is brilliantly played, heart breaking and utterly French, I honestly found myself swept up in his battles with emotions so much that I forgot to read the subtitles. But then I’m a romantic…
The film met with mixed reviews, most of the negative ones claiming that it erred too much on the side of caution, trying not to upset a beloved fashion house. I didn’t take this hesitation as caution though, more as reverence, and I think the sleek portrayal of the dark times in his life is simply a very YSL way of doing things.
The cinematography is beautiful, and behind every scene is the flawless fashion. The catwalk presentations of his collections punctuate and finish the film and I especially liked these scenes; they captured the raw adrenalin of a backstage area and the heart-in-mouth moments, and really portrayed Saint-Laurent’s shy nature and modesty.
Trailer for Yves Saint Laurent biopic:
Blitz London – the Vintage Department Store
Blitz London, the Vintage Department Store on Hanbury Street, just off of Brick Lane, is amazing. It’s a treasure trove of vintage finds, a 2 storey warehouse filled with clothes, accessories, furniture, homeware, curiosities, books and gifts, and they do a mean cup of coffee too.
This is John, the husband of my friend Kazuko, talking about Blitz, number 9 in the Timeout top 100 London shops. See more about Blitz here.
London Fashion Week
As the Fashion Week’s around the world finally wrap up after what has seemed like an everlasting month of truly spectacular fashion, we are simply awestruck with the sheer volume of it all. Through the awesome power of Vogue.com and Style.com, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, live streaming and tireless bloggers, the catwalk has been even more accessible, more instant and more detailed than ever this year. We simply, can’t take it all in!
The glitz of New York, the effortless style of Milan, the true home of fashion that is Paris, and the designers that inhabit these places have done themselves proud, but when all is said and done, it’s London Fashion Week that we reminisce over, quite simply because we were there. We saw the lights go down, the designers wringing their hands before show start, we ate the Pret sandwiches backstage and puzzled over the beauty water, we met the models, hair and make up, designers, seamstresses and production teams that poured blood, sweat and tears into the shows, and we loved every second of it. Here are a few pictures from our Fashion Week…