Saturday, 13 February 2010

Spotlight on the Ones to Watch: David Longshaw

He’s been nominated for a barrel-load of awards, won reams of column inches and managed to bag himself a job at Alberta Ferretti before his graduate collection had even made it down the catwalk.  Yes, David Longshaw’s done good, and, judging by his debut collection, all signs are pointing to success for the talented young star. 
An award-winning illustrator as well as designer, Longshaw’s collection works as a perfect balance between the chic and high end and the whimsical and playful.  His alter ego, Maude, the rather fabulously dressed mouse, makes an appearance, but this collection is by no means childlike, with an ultra polished sophistication that Lady Beckham herself would applaud.   In glistening bronze and pewter shades, Longshaw’s immediately wearable mini dresses make instant impact with their pretty, plumage-like petals puffing up over the shoulders and creeping up from the hem.  There’s also easy day wear, with simple, silky separates, and a fabulous dress-come-suit with exquisite tailoring and those gorgeous signature petals, clinging daintily to the skirt. Longshaw’s pieces are expertly cut, carefully considered and, above all, ooze girlish sex appeal from every stitch.   We predict the fashion magpies to covet his collection for months to come.

Posted by Fiona Anderson

Friday, 12 February 2010

The winners of The Fashion Scout photography competition

Over London Fashion Week we're really excited to be working with the following winners of our photography competition. They'll be snapping all the action backstage, keeping their eyes peeled for VIPs, bringing you Sartorialist-worthy streetstyle, as well as reportage and portraits to go with the fantastic interviews our journos have got lined up. 

The winners are:
Marsy Hild Thorsdottir, 2nd Year BA Fashion Photography, LCF

Doh Lee,  3rd Year Year BA Fashion Photography, LCF

Kristen Blow, 2nd Year BA Fashion Photography LCF

Posted by Hannah Kane

top, Marsy Hild Thorsdottir; 
middle, Doh Lee; 
bottom, Kristen Blow (model: Amanda Perera, make up and hair:  Kenny Leung)

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Lee Alexander McQueen 16 March 1969 – 11 February 2010

Lee Alexander McQueen 16 March 1969 – 11 February 2010
It is a shock and we are all deeply saddened by the news of Alexander McQueen's death. Our thoughts are with Lee McQueen’s family and all his friends and colleagues.  He was an inspiration to all of us and will be missed.

Spotlight on the Ones to Watch: ASKH

Ones to Watch: ASKH
Two newcomers to rocket onto the Danish fashion scene are 2009 MA graduates, Anne Sofie Madsen and Katrine Hedegaard.  The collaboration between womenswear designer, Madsen, and menswear designer, Hedegaard, looks set to be a match made in heaven, wowing the fashion press with their Nordic couture creations.   Based on the book, Skins, by Gavin Watson, the collection looks to the beauty and fragility of youth, and the embalming techniques of the ancient Egyptians.  The pair’s love of art, fashion, storytelling and craftsmanship radiate from this collection with intricately embellished sheer dresses, wrapping, binding and a fabulously luxurious shaggy coat in a beautifully pale vanilla and cream colour palette.  Fine knit sweaters in flattering, neutral tones and subtle, understated textures dominate the equally as neat menswear line.

Dripping with innovative techniques, their technically complex aesthetic is cool, crisp and the essence of Danish style.  Clean without even a whisper of the clinical, this collection is pure perfection.

Posted by Fiona Anderson

Breathe in ladies... the bodysuit is back

When the glitter began to settle, catwalk trends of the 1980s transitioned into tired trends of the 1990s only to fade into fashion oblivion. The bodysuit was swept away with them, only thought of in distant, cheesy pop culture memories...until now. 

Maggie Dolan, PG Cert LCF reports.

With its versatility and ability to figure flatter, the bodysuit is the 1980s fashion trend that got away. Now, in the midst of the era’s fashion revival, designers remind us that the bodysuit is the anchor to the modern women’s wardrobe.

Already embraced by hipsters and their ringleader, American Apparel’s Dov Charney, the bodysuit is transitioning from lo to high. “We began producing the original, plain body in 2004, and they sold well, so we kept developing more designs. Ones with stripes, graphic patterns and now zippers and mesh down the front, even full lace ones. The demand is there, so we keep creating,” says American Apparel representative Sarah Woodiery.

Donna Karan catapulted the bodysuit into the fashion realm with her “seven easy pieces” in 1985. The bodysuit became a lifestyle essential for the urban career woman’s wardrobe. "I'm on the go day and night,” Karan told The New York Times in 1986. I like clothes that you don't have to think about, things with a certain sense of effortlessness that really allow your personality to come through. Karan put emphasis on comfort, fit and sex appeal, and designed clothes to enhance women’s figures.

The bodysuit’s sleek lines harmonize with the female form, allowing a woman’s sexiness to come through naturally. “The bodysuit is very seductive. It’s high cut on the hip baring the entire leg and is skin-tight,” says Woodiery. “Although stuff is covered, it leaves very little to the imagination.”

The beauty of the bodysuit lies in the versatility of its smooth lines. Anything goes over the sleek base of a bodysuit. In an economic climate when pockets are shorter and investment pieces are all the rage, the bodysuit’s flexibility within the wardrobe is a key attribute. Investing in the style chameleon opens a range of looks for any occasion.

On the Spring catwalks, a range of designers highlighted the versatility of its streamlined simplicity. The sexy, sans pants look was sporty at Alexander Wang’s “varsity Americana” show and smart at Rochas with Marco Zanini. Celine’s Phoebe Philo and Hussein Chalayan used its sleek lines by pairing it with high-waisted trousers and a pencil skirt, respectively. Stella McCartney, practical chic extraordinaire, paired an asymmetrical style with belted cargos. Carine Roitfeld, Editor-in-Chief of French Vogue, was spotted taking the look off the runway at her son’s art premiere in New York City wearing one in black satin with a lace overlay.

American Apparel’s extensive series ranges from original and simple at £25.00 to leather and lace at £36.00. Or try Wolford’s “bodies,” which come in six classic shapes, including a turtleneck, polo and blouse and range from £79.00 to £320.00.

“The bodysuit is just so appealing because you don’t have to fuss about with it throughout your day,” says sales representative Rahiannon Ducker from Camden . “You put it on and everything stays in place, doesn’t ruche or untuck. It keeps a smooth line along the body from morning to night.” 

Effortless style from morning to night? It is no longer a secret; the 1980s castoff is a modern must have. The bodysuit is back. 

Images: above, Carine Roitfeld; below, American Apparel bodysuits. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Spotlight on... Florencia Kozuch

"I want to make clothes that I love, with lots of character. I want to make timeless pieces with references to me, where I come from and what I represent as a designer". 

Well, Ones to Watch designer Florencia Kozuch has certainly achieved that. Born in Buenos Aires, later moving to Barcelona with her family, Kozuch graduated from CSM in 2009 with a show-stopping, killer collection that is set to storm down the runway and straight into the fashion glossies. 

The collection, which is rock and roll meets tribal, sees Kozuch draw inspiration from the Onas, also known as Selk’nam, an aboriginal tribe from South America.  The result is a fabulously unique combination of traditional design with modern innovation, utilising unusual materials, super chic prints and lusciously touchable textures.   With long, shaggy capes of twisted, frayed yarn, tumbling over the torso, towering, jet black feathered headpieces and soft, light knits that look like they could float on air, this collection is an absolute stunner.  A lavish offering for the fiercest of tribal queens, the myriad of textures and proportions make Kozuch’s collection alluring, exquisite and imaginative.   

Posted by Fiona Anderson

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Glitterati

Why the recession calls for the power of sequins by Jessica Whyte, MA Fashion Journalism LCF

New Delhi-born Ashish Gupta and his sequinned creations have been causing quite a stir in the fashion industry. His collections, which have been showcased at London Fashion Week for the past five years, have attracted celebrity fans such as Beyoncé Knowles and Kylie Minogue. Ashish’s success becomes even more intriguing when one considers that he has been up against stiff competition.

Ralph Lauren, in his spring/summer collection for 2009, was one of the first designers to hop on the sequin bandwagon with his safari-inspired gold sequinned harem pants. Nicholas Ghesquière for Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen quickly followed suit with a more futuristic take on sequins, while Giorgio Armani and Jean Paul Gaultier featured them in a more traditional style. For Ashish however, it isn’t a case of merely including sequins in his designs; they are an integral part of his work, vision and personality. It has been his full throttle, pedal-to-the medal approach to fashion that has the world sit up and take notice.

Taking his sequinned creations at face value, it could be argued that their success lies in society’s craving for escapism. There is certainly no denying that escapism is something that both society and Ashish Gupta have in common. “I like the darkness in things,” he says, “and I feel that my clothes are definitely a form of escapism from the darker side of life.”  But is using fashion as an escape mechanism from the current economic climate the only explanation for this global obsession with all things that sparkle? There is also perhaps a feeling amongst fashion enthusiasts to celebrate the creativity and spirit of the industry as opposed to creatively closing up shop.  According to Ashish, “a recession feels like a good time to celebrate the fun of fashion.”

All fun and games aside, the reality is that society is still combating a global recession. It would be wrong to simply categorise the entire world to be craving shiny and glitzy outfits simply because they are in denial. On the contrary, sequin-seekers are looking beyond the sequin’s associations with glitz and glamour to something more concrete. Sequins today have evolved past being a symbol for fun and frolics, to becoming akin to armour. By their very nature, sequins deflect and reflect when brought into contact with light. They give movement to garments as well as multiple dimensions. Wearing a sequinned outfit or carrying a sequinned accessory therefore makes a statement and a strong one at that. And so rather then being swept away by the uncertainties of the future, women are empowering themselves with this fashionable form of armour to tackle the recession head on. 

The success of Ashish’s recent collaboration with Nike further cements this attitude of using fashion to overcome the psychological and emotional obstacles. In his spring/summer 2010 runway collection, he featured a number of outfits used in his collaboration with the sportswear company. The most thought provoking was undoubtedly a full length sequinned t-shirt with the iconic Nike phrase ‘Just Do It’ dripping in sequins. Considering how his latest collection sold out from Selfridges in just three days, it seems that society is doing just that. 

Image: Ashish SS10

Back to the Future... Again.

The cyclical nature of trends by Rosemary Brodhurst-Brown - MA Fashion Journalism, LCF

It occurred to me the other day I was admiring something I’ve seen before. A 1980’s mock 50’s print dress with a cheeky little sweetheart neckline. Being greeted with this particular frock on an unknown bystander sent me surfing on a wave of nostalgia, I usually feel one tenth of this feeling when I spot a vintage gem in Beyond Retro, or East End Thrift store. But not today. It was only later that day that it dawned on me, I’d seen the dress before, not recently, oh no, more like twenty years ago on the back of my mother in the late 80’s, it was one of her never-going-to-die M&S frocks she just adored.

This recycled clothing malarkey has been going on for an age now; vintage is no longer a dirty word, but a necessity in giving your wardrobe genuine kudos in dedication or homage to your ‘look’. Buying these dedications/badges of fashion honour to the past is no longer a fashion sport, with the chase slowing with old age, vintage shopping is now second nature, with the help of a whole industry of vintage shops, charity shops dropping on, and the vintage buyers old reliable, eBay.

With the passing of another decade, naturally, it does bring on a wistful look back at trends gone by. It was when we were unloading the millennium bug stockpile that the Electroclash look came in, with 80’s hipsters displaying overt attitude and sparks of sci-fi. Only eleven years had passed since the actual end of the 80’s, with the line between vintage/retro becoming even thinner. The 80’s revival ultimately hit its tipping point; our polka dot earrings and 80’s frocks were put back away into the treasure trove of time.

2008 saw 90’s style subtly creeping back in - the Hervé Léger bandage dress, which is still doing the red carpet rounds on celebrities worldwide. The end of the 00’s (I’m not getting into ‘teenies’ or ‘tweenies’ debate), also saw a muted grunge revival come and go.

It’s only now, with this everlasting, ever confusing Back to the Future renaissance that these trends are overtly influencing our crop of fresh new designers. Louise Gray, House of Holland and Felder Felder are all incorporating the 90’s aesthetic into their collections. Even most recently Selfridges proclaimed ‘The 90’s are Vintage’ – hosting a retail dedication to the decade, showcasing pieces from Rellik and Beyond Retro. Savvy eBay sellers are also joining in on the action – with there currently being 213 items listed as both 90’s and vintage. ‘We’ve definitely had an up-surge in clients requesting clothes from the early 90’s – it’s no longer about tea dresses and flannel shirts, our buyers are looking for the original bodycon look and high-waisted velvet shorts’ says Teresa Ferreira – East End Thrift Store, London.

The real issue here is the limitations that are being encouraged by the frequent celebration of the past. Firstly, when the 90’s are officially ‘over’ – what will be next? The 00’s passed a mish-mash of cultural trends, but not specifically clothing trends. And secondly, designers like Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano are celebrated for paying homage to historical styles, but with the history ever dwindling, where will inspiration now come from next?

Images: Louise Gray

The winners of The Fashion Scout journalism competition

In the same way Vauxhall Fashion Scout seeks the best new design talent, here at The Fashion Scout, in conjunction with the London College of Fashion, we’ve been searching for emerging writers, photographers and illustrators to come and work with us live at London Fashion Week.
The winners of the journalism competition, guest judged by Jessica Bumpus, Fashion Features Editor for UK are:

Maggie Dolan – PG Cert Fashion & Lifestyle Journalism, LCF

Jessica Whyte - MA Fashion Journalism, LCF

Rosemary Brodhurst-Brown - MA Fashion Journalism, LCF 

Keep checking back to read the fantastic trend pieces our future Anna Wintours submitted!

Posted by Hannah Kane

Grazia previews the Ones to Watch!

The girls at Grazia have given this season’s Ones to Watch designers a right royal seal of approval, with a sneaky preview of the what to expect from the talented group.  With a low down of past Merit award winners and their celebrity fans, this is a perfect, whistle-stop tour of the VFS Ones to Watch initiative.  Click here to check out the article!

Posted by Fiona Anderson

Image: Ones to Watch designer Askh

A man and his mouse - David Longshaw and Maude

There’s a mouse in the house over at David Longshaw, with the reign of his murine companion, Maude the mouse.  “I made her out of cashmere that Richard James of Savile Row gave me” explains the Ones to Watch designer.

Stitched together during his CSM years, Longshaw’s cuddly creation appears to be carving a career of her own, with two articles for Disorder magazine.  Longshaw, hidden behind the miniature guise of Maude, has written, illustrated and produced all the photography for the articles, resulting in a brilliantly dreamed up fantasy interview between Maude (and her troop of fabric friends, the Maudettes) and the designer himself. Click here to read the full interview over at Disorder.

Longshaw’s gin-swigging, attitude-packed, beady eyed alter-ego doesn’t stop there.  She’s also interviewed designer, Timothy Lee, for her second instalment at Disorder magazine and featured in Volume Magazine with her friend, and Charles Anastase fan, Mildred the penguin.

With the confidence of Paxman and the ease of Parky, Maude the fictional fabric mouse is set to take over the world.  To hear more from the chicest rodent in town, check out her blog What Maude Wore Next and to find out more about Maude’s online magazine, Maudezine, see

Longshaw’s natural talent for illustration as well as designing sets him apart and it’s refreshing to have playful fun injected back into the industry. We’ve heard Maude will be lurking around over fashion week, so keep your eyes open.

Emma Drinnan & Fiona Anderson

David Longshaw SS10

Monday, 8 February 2010

Iris Van Herpen collaborates with avante garde accessories designers to style her AW10 collection

Iris Van Herpens’ three-dimensional garments resemble art or sculpture rather than fashion. Her incredible imagination, combined with the use of unusual fabrics and materials, has gained the Dutch fashion designer an enviable reputation within the industry, even though she only graduated in 2006.

This season while showing with Vauxhall Fashion Scout she is collaborating with some impressive artists. The models will strut down the catwalk wearing hats and headpieces designed by Irene Bussemaker and shoes by the United Nude label.

Milliner Irene Bussemaker also experiments with unusual shapes and materials including leather, feathers and even plastic. She divides her designs into categories including Dareables (for those who dare) and Wearables (easy to wear). She is inspired by things around her, especially nature.

The innovative shoe brand United Nude has established itself with concise concepts and elegant designs. It is distributed in over thirty countries worldwide, including the fashion capitals of New York, London and Shanghai. Designed by a selection of creative minds including architects and photographers, you can see how the experimental style will work with Iris Van Herpen's collection. 

And with James Brown and his team doing the hair backstage it looks set to be an exciting show.

Posted by Emma Drinnan

Prophetik in the press

As Jeff Garner, the man behind Tennessee-based sustainable men's and womenswear brand, Prophetik prepares for his show Southern Shores on the 19th February, he is fast gaining interest by the press. Well, he does do dresses painted by elephants…

At Spoonfed Tom Jeffreys writes:

One of Jeff's philosophies is “The Sustainable Journey”. “This means,” he explains, “that a meaningful analysis and evaluation of any product's relationship to the environment must include a broad array of criteria including low-impact production, low-impact maintenance, and its classification as recyclable, reusable or incineratable. Primary considerations are low impact on plant and animal life, conservation of limited resources, and waste minimisation.”

But this is also a fashion label, and the look is just as important as the philosophy. Luckily, for both men and women, Prophetik is both ethical and seriously cool. And they even do dresses painted by elephants! “Designing for both men and women becomes a story, as the collections have to complement each other. I actually have a lot of pieces that are unisex as well. For menswear we blend organic silk, hemp and organic cotton for smoking jackets, trousers and waistcoats and for the womenswear we do pieces like organic silk dresses, two-toned hemp cardigan dresses, and organic cotton day dresses. The colour palettes always reflect and play off each other.

Read the full story (and all about the elephants) here

And over at Drapers Online stylist and Vauxhall Fashion Scout favourite Rebekah Roy writes:

“I respect London and the UK in their drive for sustainable and ethical fashion.  I’m looking forward to doing and all-sustainable catwalk show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. I’m hoping it will set a marker for the future of the industry and that I can be catalyst to encourage other companies and individuals to get involved in sustainability.”

Read the full interview here

Posted by Hannah Kane

The winners of The Fashion Scout illustration competition

Over the last few weeks we’ve been running a competition in conjunction with the fantastic students at the London College of Fashion to find the best new writers, photographers and illustrators to come and join us on the blog team at the upcoming fashion week. 

The illustrators were judged by Daisy de Villeneuve - one of the country’s top fashion artists who has illustrated for British Vogue, Topshop, Moët and Chandon, the V&A, Elle Decoration, Nylon, Nike, Browns Focus, Boots, Random USA and UK, and the Fashion and Textile Museum among others.

The winners are:
Louise O’ Keeffe, 1st Year BA Hons Fashion Illustration, LCF
Daisy says:Louise's illustrations were stylish, colourful with good added detail to the clothes”.

Kelly Sheppard, 2nd Year BA Hons Fashion Illustration, LCF
Daisy says: “Kelly's illustrations were strong and bold, giving the characters she'd drawn attitude in which the clothing came alive”.

Hana Termanini,
1st Year BA Hons Fashion Illustration, LCF
Daisy says: “Hana's illustrations were quirky and fun, I liked her use of colour and line throughout”.

They're a talented lot this bunch! Keep checking back over fashion week (19th -24th February) when they'll be drawing AW10's collections live from the front row...

Posted by Hannah Kane

Images: top: Louise O'Keeffe, middle: Kelly Sheppard, bottom: Hana Termanini