I had the answers but now they mean nothing

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Happy Sunday! It feels like I've been off school forever, so the thought of going back tomorrow is painfully daunting, especially as on Friday I have my second university interview. I'm excited to just see what happens now, though - I loved the last one I visited, and already love the one I'm going to on Friday, so I hope at least one likes my work and is willing to take me on for a foundation course. It'll be so nice to get to focus just on art/fashion for an entire year, and work out what my style and preferred techniques are. Anyway, after my ridiculously busy week I spent two days working and recovering from home, celebrated my friend's birthday, and then took the morning off today to visit a nearby vintage fair (I haven't been to one in ages and couldn't resist a browse). I wore a slight variation of an outfit I wore on Friday to go out...I am deeply sorry to my friends who had their pretty image slightly disrupted by the presence of a small ginger, wearing self-ripped jeans under a kilt. There's so much fun in wearing odd combinations.

I wore a vintage sparkley shirt under a silver vest (I cut it down to make it into a tie-front crop top - I get so much more wear out of it now I don't have loads of spare fabric to tuck in) with a huge crescent moon brooch to keep it in place as the shirt has no top buttons. The leopard jacket is also vintage, the jeans demolished at 3am a few weeks ago by yours truly; the skirt from Beyond Retro, shoes from Monki, and bag by The Whitepepper. I adore their cute accessories and felt this little pal was perfect vintage fair attire.

 I'm not 100% sure what inspired me to cut my jeans so much - I know it was at least partially (ok almost fully) down to Shinee's Key and Red Velvet...I cut the knees out before getting my ear pierced in september, as I needed some kind of new look to give me enough of a boost to get myself to the shop without chickening out...then before fashion week cut the whole thighs out and added some odd little squares at the ankles for no apparent reason. I just liked the thought of deconstructing something so common, and reducing it down to simply shreds of fabric that start to raise the question of whether they still count as jeans or not.

The fair itself was really good - a huge selection of amazing vintage jewellery and clothes, all displayed in a beautiful church in Hampstead. I hadn't been to a fair for ages and had forgotten just how much I love rummaging through and finding pieces, meeting interesting stall owners and getting distracted by everything shiny (I am a huge magpie when it comes to vintage jewellery, especially since I've been working at Hirst for over a year now). It wasn't the cheapest I've been to but that is also just because I am exceptionally tight with my money at the moment and refuse to buy anything that isn't a good deal...helpful, as I'm trying to save money for a summer holiday, but painful when you can't bring yourself to fork out for amazing items. I did buy a few really nice things though as I found a really well-priced stall or two. I'm sure you could have bartered the others down but I rarely do that...I feel like "I'm a student," isn't really a good enough excuse to ask for a discount at a fair unless in exceptional cases.

Yes that is a long red leather jacket...possibly the best purchase of my entire life. I couldn't resist the glittery resin earrings and the ring matched the coat...if you've been reading my blog for a while you probably already know just how much I ADORE matching.
Anyway, on a little side note, and a flashback to fashion week...I work at a vintage jewellery shop, and one of my bosses, Shirley Hirst, designs and makes jewellery by hand, including this pair that I wore to LFW back in 2014. They are absolutely fascinating and unique, and Joseph bought some, along with a selection of our vintage Lea Stein brooches, for their London Fashion Week A/W16 show! I'm really excited about it just as their are so many amazing pieces in our shop and Shirley's designs deserve so much recognition as they are so intricate and fascinating...here are a few photos from the Joseph show, with our jewellery being used!

It was such a shock of a collection - I always have associated Joseph with a sleek, stylish look, often monochromatic, with a play on silhouette as it's main feature (see: A/W14-15) however this season saw a collection of asymmetrically buttoned jackets, vibrant colours, stripes, checks, patterns, huge knits and loose threads, all bundled onto the models but somehow in a very interesting and well-composed way. The collection was centred around the theme of celebrating individuality, and not only was this evident, but also a real compliment to Shirley as I felt her pieces suited the concept so well, as they are such unique pieces created by a fascinating individual. I hope to see more of her work getting the recognition they deserve!  (show photos from Vogue.com)
I hope you all have a lovely week!

London Fashion Week A/W16 Day 5 - Ashley Williams and Xiao Li

Thursday, 25 February 2016

What an insane week - four out of five days at LFW, two working backstage, my first fashion party (and a few too many mini bottles of prosecco) our jewellery from Hirst Antiques being borrowed for the Joseph runway show, and then straight after my first University interview. I feel absolutely exhausted but in a good way - there's some comfort in feeling tired for a real reason, as you feel like you've earned a rest, instead of feeling lazy for having a bit longer in bed or taking it easy for a day or two.
On Tuesday it was the last day of LFW, with two shows at the BFC showspace that we were helping prepare for. Mona worked with us backstage and we ended up having several photos taken before our day started as we had accidentally matched in red and black outfits. My jumper is from Beyond Retro, necklace from Tatty Devine, socks from Monki, shoes from Underground and Mona's trousers are The Whitepepper.

 Our steaming was needed to help iron and prepare the Ashley Williams collection for the catwalk show - it was my first experience actually working hands-on with a designer's garments, and it was appropriately terrifying. A designer's whole career and work is in your hands; the fear of burning or damaging was huge but you just have to do it as quickly and perfectly as you can, being more careful than you have with anything previously in your life. It wasn't easy - some creases just did not want to come out, and I felt like I was probably more in the way than I was helping but it was really worthwhile being able to watch clothes we had worked on be presented to the world on the runway afterwards.

The collection was really great - my photos were on my phone again as we came straight from working, so I included some from Vogue.com as you need to see just how cool some of the pieces were. The concept was fantastic - I'm a sucker for a theme, and Ashley Williams' 'powergirl', a suited, business-woman boss with a hint of artful androgyny, a tazer in her pocket, and a sassy neon minidress completely swept me away. Trousers were pierced in a similar way to R. Shemiste's baseball caps, and crystal chokers and earrings added an element of sass to even the smartest of workwear. Williams described the collection as less "about gender fluidity, as [it is] about inner confidence," which to me accurately explained the way the clothes surpassed ideas of gender entirely, being more about individuals dressing with power and pride, irrelevent of their own gender or the socially defined gender of the garment worn. It was a highly modern and current theme and the clothes did not disappoint, with deconstructed suits, strong silhouettes and eye-catching prints making it one to remember. 

After a quick lunch it was back to work for the final show of the season: the much-anticipated Xiao Li, a show that for me, solidified Li's place as one of the finest designers of our current time. Instead of looking outward, Li chose this season to look back at her own work, and think about the way her designs have progressed whilst developing her place as an emerging talent. She asked herself, "where has the time gone?" and began to develop a collection based upon the idea of time, drawing inspiration from artists such as Salvador Dali, and considering concepts such as recycling wasted time. The theme remains wonderfully strong and consistent throughout the pieces; bags moulded into the shape of ticking clocks, time emblems and "no time" motifs decorate shoes and garments, pieces remaining deconstructed to suggest that there was not enough time to finish them. Stepped hems and flowing shapes imply a sense of movement, with the clothes appearing as if the wearer is running with the material flying out around and behind them. The true artistic concept to the work is so layered and contains so much depth; when paired with Li's incredible skill with tailoring and fabric construction, it creates an unrivalled combination that leaves you on the edge of your seat, excited to see what Xiao Li pulls out of the bag next time around. Improving from this collection seems almost impossible, but if anyone can do it, she can.

 The shapes were simply enthralling...to see them move was phenomenal, and I highly recommend you watch a video of the show as it really shows the pieces in the best light. This one by the British Fashion Council is HD and really captures the movement of the work.
 After the show we helped pack up a little before heading home for the last time this season...it has been the best LFW for me so far and I'm excited to see what the next one brings. I went home and worked on a few last bits and bobs for my portfolio, as I had an interview the very next day for an art foundation course at University...coincidentally, the very uni that both Annaliese and Eddie (who I worked on the steam team with) attend!

I travelled to the interview with my HUGE portfolio by myself, which involved aching shoulders (I'm too short to hold it by the handle - it just drags on the floor!) a few wrong buses and panicked phone calls to my dad, but I made it in time (genuinely took me from 9.30am to 12.30 to get there...fingers crossed if I get in I get a little better at navigating hehe!). I fell very much in love with the uni..the interview wasn't too bad as my group was lovely (and everyone's work so fascinating!) and Annaliese very kindly met me for the BEST katsu curry lunch afterwards. It was a lovely end to a tiring week, and I am very much enjoying my recovery pyjama day today! I hope you all had a great week!