Monthly Archives: September 2010

British Designers @ FashionCapital Boutique


A few posts ago I mentioned Bath’s plans to open a boutique that will reveal emerging fashion talent. Well, The British Designer’s@FashionCapital  boutique is now open and ready for business! I went along to the launch the other week and I can safely say it is a right hip little joint.

In keeping with the rustic aesthetic of Bath, the boutique is like a tranquil sanctuary of white washed walls, wooden beamed ceilings and the occasional bit of bare Cotswold stone. Kevin McCloud would be foaming at the mouth. The clean and minimal layout means there are only a few designers with a select few of their items showcased at one time, but this makes the place fresh and super stylish, and it achieves this feeling without being austere like some of the big time billies of Sloan Street. Although I only visited for the launch, I don’t think there’s any worry that this could be the kinda place where you’d feel awkward about the deafening sound of your heels on the polished floor … or that the shop assistant would cast you out, leaving you with no option but to cry to Richard Gere about it until he has a word…  Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, there’s no pretention here.

And as for the clothes – despite the fact that LFW designers are in one room whilst recent fashion grads and up and coming designers are in the other, unless you know the labels it’s actually quite hard  telling which is which – such is the quality of the grads’ work. The dresses by Vjera Vilicnik were beautiful and delicious! As in, I literally wanted to eat the colourful and intricately embroidered beading on an epaulette of one of her dresses. Hardly surprising when her objective is to produce ‘hand crafted, beautifully investigated and soul stitched’ pieces. Soul Stitched. Gosh.

Over in the corner were some striking and vibrant tribal looking dresses courtesy of &Co of Knock On The Door – an organisation which sources new designers and helps them create and showcase their pieces ethically, as founder, Charlotte Bramford explained to me.

Even for those that aren’t fussed about ethical produce (but pretend they are), something to bear in mind, is that the fabrics used for &Co’s dresses have been hand dyed by African community enterprises and therefore the patterns and colours vary from one dress to another – so how’s that for exclusivity? There’ll certainly be no embarrassing same dress sagas on the red carpet with &Co, we can be sure of that. Check out Knock On The Door here to be up on the latest emerging designers or to kick start your designing career!

Charlotte with the Knock on the Door collection – modelling one of the &Co dresses.

Knock on the Door Designer – Camilla Kennedy inbetween PPQ and Felder Felder

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Kate Who?

Popped along to the Saatchi gallery the other weekend to roll with the cool kids of Kings Road and soak up some contemporary art. I went once before when it was on the South Bank and housed mannequin sculptures of mutilated men, and children with anuses for mouths and penises for noses – courtesy of the Chapman brothers. No shock factor this time around though, it was a bit more toned down. Maybe the curators got a slap on the wrist after people left in tears. Anyway, I’ve always liked to think of myself as a contemporary art enthusiast… Cos it’s a bit cool and indie to say you like contemporary art isn’t it? And it’s even cooler to take a real interest – actually visit the galleries and be able to discuss it. I think we can all admit that arty references have slipped ‘casually’ onto our facebook or twitter pages every now and then. With me, it would have to be my mention of the ‘Mumblecore‘ independant film movement as one of my facebook interests… which I stole from my brother who had told me about it, and I thought it sounded cool so… BAM – straight on facebook. I hadn’t even seen a Mumblecore film! But rest assured, I’ve since removed this horribly cringey LIE.

And so….I think it’s a similar situation with contemporary art – I looked forward to going to the Saatchi because I thought it was right up my street, but standing amongst the other arty types ‘considering’ a display of luminous cups and plates in a glass cabinet, I realised I was just copying their thoughtful poses whilst actually thinking “this is shit. I’m bored”. Jeeeez was it just that particular piece didn’t interest me or have I become a moron? I’m faiiirly sure that it’s the former, since there was a lot of stuff I did like including…. Mario Testino’s ‘Kate Who’ exhibition, that greeted me on the top floor. And so let’s bring this back to fashion…

Being a hard core Kate Moss fan, I LOVED this exhibition, the purpose of which was to coincide with Testino’s latest book entitled ‘Kate Moss’, consisting of various intimate and unseen photos or her, taken by him over the years of their friendship. As the publishers explain, it’s a photographer’s tribute to his greatest muse, d’awww.

The exhibition is like the public’s free sample of the book – because at £450 it does burn a bit of a hole in the old pocket! The Saatchi displayed a select few larger than life Kate portraits across the walls of the gallery. It really is heaven for a superfan like me – the pictures are so powerful and beguiling, I could have sat crossed legged in the centre of that room and stared up at her until closing time.

Here’s the boyfriend musing over the portraits. I can excuse his musing (oggling) at the many topless photos, because, to be honest I sometimes think I love Kate more than him! It’s great that the 3 of us can all get along like that.

That weekend was also my first ever experience of the Notting Hill Carnival. At risk of being shot down by fervent Carnival lovers, I’m gonna say… I’m not entirely sure I liked it. It just kind of seemed a bit… all over the  place. Some streets were just completely dead. Where was the heart of the action? Plus I couldn’t help but feel sliiiightly intimidated… but I think I was just influenced by The Guardian, who, in an article I’d read before I arrived, described it as always having an ‘undertone of violence’. Always nice to read that about an event you’re about to go to. Jeez. Spoke to a friend about it afterwards who somewhat matter-of-factly informed me that, ‘only two people got stabbed this year’. Oh, well that’s fine then! What was I even worried about?

Am I showing my non-London roots a bit too much? Have I misunderstood the Notting Hill Carnival – did I go on the wrong day perhaps (Sunday)? Should I have gone with a large group of mates (instead of just a boyfriend) and got pissed? Should I have stayed later than 6 and skanked the night away?