Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Alison Erika Forde - The Tallest of Tales exhibition

I visited an exhibition by the artist Alison Erika Forde named 'The Tallest of Tales' a little while back and really want to share the images with you. She uses all salvaged materials in her creations which I enjoy as it is inventive and shows that old cast offs  once given a little thought can be turned into unique items which in themselves tells a story.

The theme of the exhibition was based around old fairy tales but Alison reinvigorates the happily ever after fairy tale into something more sinister and macabre. For example in the painting which depicts the story Little Red Riding Hood instead of the young heroine being shown in her happily ever role she is instead seen as still emotionally troubled by her experiences and by having many wolves hands scratching at the bedding shows that unlike a fairy tale the nightmare carries on.

However not all the art was macabre she also bought a surreal, whimsical element to the exhibition by her use of animals in human life like scenarios such as doing the conga which was amusing to look at.

Overall I really enjoyed the exhibition, I liked the playfulness coupled with the macabre mix which makes for an interesting glimpse into a fairy tale world that is definitely not told as a child. 

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Susie MacMurray - Widow 2009

On visiting The Galley of Costume in Manchester I came across a stunning dress made by Manchester based artist Susie MacMurray. It is constructed from black nappa leather embellished with over 100,000 long silver adamantine pins. The dress is not only strikingly beautiful but it has sombre undertones as well because the dress is entitled 'Widow,' it was created to be a visual representation of her grief on being widowed. The use of leather and pins serves as a way to stimulate the pain associated with grief and loss. The dress is the fourth in a series of figurative pieces and I think that the combination of using unforgiving materials such as pins and leather works beautifully in representing her loss in a unique way.

All photos taken by myself

Monday, 21 October 2013

Rianna Phillips AW13 press launch

Last week I attended a press launch event in Northern Quarter, Manchester for Rianna Phillips, who is a handbag digital print designer and her A/W 2013 collection. From what I saw the collection had an ethereal sophisticated tone with print inspired by mountain ranges and nature.

My favourite print was a clutch bag where she had photographed many different angles of raw cut crystals then fused together to create a layered textured finished effect to the bag.

To find out more about her work visit

All photos taken by myself

Sunday, 6 October 2013

London Fashion Week S/S 2014 trend report

Have a read of my top trend tips for Spring Summer 2014.

Preppy 50s


House of Holland

Ryan Lo - Fashion East

Fifties style was an inspiration seen across the catwalks with Varsity style bomber jackets seen at Richard Nicoll to prom cocktail dresses at PPQ, I especially think we will be seeing more off the shoulder dresses next Spring Summer. House of Holland showcased pretty floral open collared shirt dresses that have hints of fifties house wife style by accessorising with a large belt around the waist promoting an hour glass silhouette. Emerging designer Ryan Lo shown in collaboration with Fashion East created a retro kitsch fifties feel by combing cute dog print cardigan with demure matching skirt and vest, I think it's going to kick a trend for kitsch printed cardigans as we're already seeing slightly with slogan tees at the moment. 


Holly Fulton

Richard Nicoll


Co-ords look here to stay apart from with an advancement from the current trend of matching crop tops and bandeau skirts to a more polished elegant take by shirt trouser combos, which vary from a relaxed loose fitting as seen at Emma Farow for Unique with a slouchy shirt and wide legged hipster linen trousers. To a more Eastern inspired bold print like Holly Fulton whose silk pyjama combination of shirt, overcoat and tapered trousers I think will ignite a trend for silk suits next Spring Summer. Richard Nicoll shows how it can be redefined for an evening with a white blazer and shorts combo taking a more glossier take on the trend. 

Candy pastels colours

Burberry Prorsum

Christopher Kane

Jasper Conran

Peter Pilotto

The colour trend seen by various designers across London Fashion Week is an explosion of candy pastel colours  such as bubble gum pink, mint green, lavender, lemon and a soft blue hue it will make for a fun, flirty Summer. 

Peekaboo and Sheer

Richard Nicoll

J W Anderson

Christopher Kane

Christopher Kane



Temperley London

This trend has two distinctive looks either subtle and minimal or daring and fearless. Richard Nicoll chose the subtler option by having a sheer layer over a white skirt it creates extra movement in the skirt causing a ripple light effect that adds a lovely element to the skirt. Erdem used sheer layering over a crop collared top doubling up on the trend with a sheer floating train at the back of skirt. I think this subtler trait on the trend will transform your work wardrobe by adding a playful twist to a professional setting. 

To the more daring twist on the trend look to Christopher Kane who used petal shaped peekaboo cut outs throughout a mint green dress I loved this dress. I think it will inspire a trend for random shaped cut outs becoming a feature as it is playful yet elegant by the clever positioning of the shapes. J W Anderson used sheer in a provocative yet alluring way by creating an asymmetrical sheer top matched with a high waisted mini skirt, overlaid with a sheer longer skirt, it is simple but charming. I think we will see sheer used in this way next Spring Summer especially mini skirts overlaid with a sheer slightly longer layer giving a structured yet defined shape to a skirt.  

Sports Luxe/ Slogan Tees

Sister by Sibling

Sister by Sibling

Tom Ford

Christopher Kane


Vivienne Westwood Red Label

The trend of the moment that we're seeing all over the high street seems set to stay with sports luxe and slogan tees being a feature for next Spring Summer. Tom Ford offers a luxurious take on the trend by using tan leather in a oversized baseball jacket, whereas PPQ offer a younger twist on the trend by oversized knitted jumpers and combining a demure skirt with a varsity style jacket, I think they're perfect for cool work wear. Slogan tees have been seen at Vivienne Westwood Red Label, PPQ and Christopher Kane I think the trend will move away from text such as 'Geek' that we have at the moment to a more grown up style of images like Christopher Kane flower motifs jumpers becoming a feature.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Exhibition review: Christian Dior: Designer in focus

The Gallery of Costume situated in Rusholme, Manchester currently has an exhibition focused on Dior from early 1940s until late 1900s it is split into two distinctive sections the downstairs space shows the typical Parisian market and designs. Whilst upstairs the space is dedicated to showing how Dior changed his designs and styles to suit a more British sensibility, the exhibition being split up this way highlights the cultural differences between taste and style of the time.

The main differences between the garments displayed in the Parisian and British sections is in the use of colour, the Parisian style is more bright, extra use of taffeta in evening gowns creating elongated shape whereas in the British section there is use of more subtler darker colours such as navy in creating a structured cocktail dress with nipped in waist and ¾ sleeves compared to the more risqué Parisian black cocktail dress ‘Ligne Trompe L’Oeil.’
My favourite dress from the British section was a 1952 Cocktail dress in slate blue, silk satin printed with small black splodges all around and has a large made up bow attached to the front of skirt. It was made specifically for the British market I particularly enjoyed the use of black splodges contrasted with the oversized bow at the front of the dress it is slightly comical in its extremities.

Compared to my favourite dress from the Parisian section it is total night and day in terms of style and taste I loved the 1956 ‘Ligne Almant’ Cocktail dress, it is made from rose pink silk taffeta, it gathers into a nipped in waist with a waterfall effect of draping fabric at the front. The use of floral print, bandeau style top and layered roses gives an overall effect of elegance, refined beauty and I could see it looking centre stage in 1950s Paris.

I thought that the exhibition was well presented and suited its location perfectly especially by having the British styled designs set upstairs in a traditional Victorian setting, it was set within Deborah Worsley and John Lees (1762) dining room adjacent to the spiralling marble stair case so by the time you enter the exhibition space you have transpired into an environment emoting more grandeur already. It showed the differences between 1900 Parisian and British clientele in a subtle yet clear manner by not displaying side by side you cannot compare at first glance the garments differences so by displaying in different rooms it explores you to look further into the subtle changes.
Alongside the garments displayed were original Christian Dior sketches and illustrations, newspaper clippings from the period which allowed you to get a further context into the time period. Also one of my favourite parts of the exhibition was when original photographs such as one of the Duchess of Windsor in which she was wearing a black evening dress was displayed alongside the actual dress it was nice to see how she styled the dress in her own way.

The exhibition is defiantly worth a visit if you’re visiting Manchester not just for the Dior originals but also The Gallery of Costume, Rusholme permanent collections are also very interesting and focus on how fashion has changed throughout the twentieth century from Westwood to Christopher Kane originals.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Exhibition review: V&A From Club to Catwalk

I have been excited to visit the V&A ‘From Club to Catwalk’ exhibition ever since I heard it was on just because I have a mini obsession with Leigh Bowery so I wanted to gain a more thorough understanding of the period in which he flourished: 1980s club scene in London.

The exhibition was split into two sections the ground floor focused on catwalk trends and the first floor was dedicated to club fashion. Walking around the ground floor I saw designers who I hadn’t previously heard of such as Chrissie Walsh and Willy Brown which has made me want to research them more as I particularly loved Willy brown’s peacock eye dress, it was a structured concave dress hand painted with peacock eyes it has similar traits to Issey Miyake pleats please collection in terms of 3D structure and shape. Also in a period when most club revellers were strutting around as preened peacocks aiming to out dazzle and shine other clubbers it was a dress that oozed uniqueness and creativity.

Another stand out section from the ground floor was a display dedicated to Levis denim jackets various designers customised them this highlighted the strong DIY ethos and cut and paste aesthetic of the 80s. The stand out creations for me was the Leigh Bowery creation in which he covered whole jacket with gold hair grips it turned a functional denim jacket into its polar opposite a heavy, embellished kitsch show stopper.
Other sections from the ground floor that I was drawn towards was a Vivienne Westwood Toga dress (1982-3) it was turtle neck with Campbell soup iconography printed at the bottom it was a dress that I thought was relevant today pop art has been seen printed on many a garment lately. Also the Katharine Hamnett display with her original slogan tees wouldn’t look out of place at a festival this year as there has been a resurgence in popularity of slogan tees this summer and her display highlighted the original ethos of the slogan tee as a vehicle to react against the establishment with a message to inspire.
I enjoyed taking a minute and sitting on a bench to watch a video showing different designer’s catwalk presentation from the 80s what struck me was the difference with the catwalk collections today, then they seemed more relaxed and fun with models role playing, rolling down the catwalk, dancing along and all in all rarely a straight walk down the catwalk compared to what we see happen a lot today. It emphasised that it was a period in which designers were first starting to become internationally recognised and established as LFW only started in 80s so it was a time for experiment and creativity which can be seen in the catwalk presentations.
Going up the stairs to the ‘Club Fashion’ section of the exhibition there was a mirror reflecting image of yourself with message saying ‘Would you let you in?’ this was comical reference to the London underground clubs such as Taboo and Blitz where you had to be dressed in a provocative, daring extreme manner otherwise you would be refused entry on the basis of boredom.
Mannequins were displayed on raised platforms in clusters of different sub cultures such as Goth, High Camp, New Romantics, Fetish and Rave. Some of my favourite garments displayed were a Georgina Godley 1986 dress made out of lycra with boned hoop at the hem it was at the same time provocative in that it clings to body shape and restrictive as covered whole body.
A Leigh Bowery stretch satin body suit with a suggestive tube of fabric hanging from groin it provoked wonder in me that anybody would be daring enough to wear that in public which he did, it only served to emphasize his unabashed dedication to his art which he expressed in clothing and how clothing can be used to manipulate a body and people around you into expressing different reactions and personas. A three tongued platform trainer by Westwood was another item that was one of my favourites I would wear it today, it shows how her designs are still unique and relevant in an over saturated market of today.
Overall the expression I had when leaving the exhibition was one of inspired creativity it made me want to get out my sewing kit and DIY some of my own unique creations. The exhibition was played homage to freaks, show offs and club weirdo’s of the 80s that made London what it is today a beacon and haven for expressive fashion and the arts.
Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s is at the V&A until 16 February.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

V&A From Club to Catwalk


The V&A’s latest exhibition blockbuster is named ‘From Club to Catwalk’ it celebrates London fashion in the 1980s. The 80s isn’t the decade that is remised of fondly say compared to the 60s or more recently the 90s which has been an inspiration for many 2013 summer trends, people associate the 80s with power dressing, shoulder pads and the Fame kids so all in all not a style decade to be celebrated.

However what the V&A have done is have a concentrated delve into what was coming out of the underground London club scene. When the mass public was dressed in neon lycra or box suits there was at the same time an emerging creative talent coming out of London fashion and art colleges designers such as Galliano, Kathern Hamnett and Betty Jackson are examples of this and their early garments are displayed in the exhibition.

New clubs such as the raucous Heaven and Taboo were a mixing pit of creative types who became their own art creation, people such as Leigh Bowery and Adam Ant expressed themselves in such original and innovative garments at club nights that they still inspire celebrities stage costumes today you only need to compare Lady Gaga with Bowery to see where she takes her inspiration from. With subcultures such as New Romantics and High Camp forming British fashion was so theatrical in this period and the DIY aesthetic has never been more prominent

I am visiting London next week for a few days to stay with friend so I am planning a visit so keep an eye out for a more in depth review and hopefully some sneaky pictures. What I’m excited about seeing is Leigh Bowery originals, Hamnet slogan tees and original photographs of Taboo and Heaven club nights.

The exhibition runs until 16th Feb 2014.