Saturday, 27 November 2010


As part of the Made in Clerkenwell event Vauxhall Fashion Scout opens it's doors offering a range of designers such as Florencia Kozuch, Hermione de Paula, Jacob Kimmie, Orchel Read and many more.... all at sample sale prices!! Sale ends tomorrow at 6 pm. Visit THIS link for more info.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Exhibition Review at V&A

Costumes for brigands in Fokine's ballet Daphnis and Chloé, designed by Léon Bakst, 1912
Costumes for female dancers in The Rite of Spring, designed by Nikolai Roerich, 1913. 

My senses were blasted with burgundy paint, a euphoric musical harmony and most importantly the divinely creative costumes. Diaghilev’s legacy has been lovingly represented by this collection of costumes, sketches, videos, theatre sets and music. We gaze in wonderment at the costumes that were far ahead of their time, dramatic and exotic creations some of which were conjured up more than one hundred years ago.

A vast majority of the costumes were composed of rich colours infused with gold and silver brocading and jewels. Even after the fall of the Tsar during the Russian revolution in 1905 Diaghilev kept up these glamorous designs which represented his Russian nationalist style. He acknowledged that ballet defied gravity, as it appeared to suspend dancer’s bodies in air, he needed composers to create the most original and daring music, and designers costumes, to compliment this.

There are many creations by the French Couturier Paul Poiret who was known for his grand and debaucherous fancy dress parties. I was particularly excited by the Russian National identity being portrayed in outfits which showed belts with horses stylised on archaeological finds. The illustrations exhibited show real bodies with fleshy body parts and muscular physiques. I highly recommend these for inspiration and insight into illustration with their wonderful colour, detail and body positioning.

A major highlight of the exhibition was work by Pablo Picasso. He designed thirty-one sets, props and costumes for Le Tricorne. He was extremely specific about every aspect and accessory, drawing the front and back of each design in specific detail. Picasso’s costumes hinted at the disintegration of the world that the Ballet Russes knew.

The finale of the Exhibition is five outfits from four separate collections by Yves Saint Laurent, who was directly influenced by The Ballet Ruses repeatedly throughout his renowned career. After seeing so many intriguing costumes I have no doubt that many of the current collections of our greatest designers this decade are inspired by Diaghilev’s genius.

Over the past year and a half several courses from The London College of Fashion have been involved in a competition dedicated to designing for the modern day Ballet Russes. This is soon to come to completion, so keep your beady fashion scout eyes out for the finished garments soon to hit the stage.


Charlotte Summers

Cheryl Cole wears BodyAmr again!

Kenny Wang
We all know Cheryl is a fan of BodyAmr, and this weekend she donned the BodyAmr SS11 collection for Sunday's X Factor for the second week in a row…

Monday, 22 November 2010

Wonderful Madness, Future Beauty at the Barbican Review

Perhaps the most anticipated winter fashion exhibition, Future Beauty at the Barbican lives up to the expected hype. The first exhibition in Europe to survey Japanese fashion from the early 1980’s, the exhibition showcases the renowned creativity and avant-garde designs of Yamamoto, Miyake and Kawakubo, whose collections irrevocably changed the fashion landscape, challenging accepted notions of beauty. Deliberately dishevelled, with pared down palettes that reiterated the appeal of understated fashion, it’s difficult to assess the impact their collections had in an era dominated by bright and gaudy creations. 

The exhibition follows on from the Barbican’s successful collaboration with Viktor and Rolf in 2008, and is curated by respected fashion historian Akiko Fukai (Director of the Kyoto Costume Institute), designed by Sou Fujimoto. The exhibition presents over 100 garments that span three decades, many of which have never been seen before in the UK, a fitting tribute to mark the 30 years that have passed since Yamamoto and Kawakubo first came to international acclaim.

Focusing on the three key pioneers, the exhibition delves in to the revolution they ignited, examining how their revaluation of tailoring and silhouette resulted in couture that fused art and fashion in a new way. Presenting concepts in a very ‘Japanese’ way, the exhibition is arranged thematically, with sections including ‘In Praise of Shadows’, and ‘Flatness’. Supporting films and imagery heightens the visionary aesthetic - Naoya Hatekeyama’s extraordinary photographs of Rei Kawakubo’s flat garments reveal an unexpected simplicity, stark graphic statements that redefined notions of dressing, Issey Miyake’s A-POC – is stretched from floor to ceiling, the seemingly never-ending vibrant red fabric resulting in a vibrant focal point.

Japanese principles, including the concept of ‘ma’ (the void between objects) and ‘Wabi-Sabi’ (finding beauty in imperfection) are explained, having informed and inspired a new relationship between flatness and form. Other designers – including Matohu - utilised traditional dying and printing techniques of seventeenth-century Japan, juxtaposing convention with contemporary to result in a new take on beauty.

The exhibition is also keen to promote a new wave of radical Japanese designers, who continue to take cues from their visionary leaders, reiterating and evolving innovative principles. Upstairs rooms are dedicated to monographic presentations of individual designers – including Tao Kurihara self-imposed limitations, Mintdesigns signature prints and Chitose Abe. The ‘Masters’ do not escape attention either – as Miyake’s new 132 5 project is presented for the first time. Flat folded polygons (constructed from recycled PET) transform unexpectedly into clothing when placed on the body – proving that the house of Miyake is still exploring the possibilities of creativity.

Leave feeling more than inspired, and not just to don every black garment in your wardrobe.

Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion is at the Barbican until 6 February 2011. Check the
website for a full programme of events.

Vicki Loomes
Photography: Lyndon Douglas