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Stéphane Rolland: Fashion in Motion at the V&A

Words: Camilla Harrison

Set in the exquisite Raphael
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Gallery, renowned haute couture designer, Stéphane Rolland, showed his collection of garments so sublime that I, amongst many others, was truly left in awe of his talent and vision.

Rolland was not a designer I knew much about prior to the show however I was aware of his clothes being more of a modern take on Haute Couture, reinventing and questioning the traditional view of a couture collection. 
This collaboration with the V&A featured key pieces from his latest collections; each garment was a work of art in itself, but the show flowed as if one was wandering through a fairy tale. 
When I recall what my first thoughts were as the show began, two words stuck in my mind; ethereal glamour. Now these two words may seem somewhat contradictive, but I feel this is what makes Rolland such a unique designer. The models floated onto the catwalk; strong and powerful but at the same time they seemed untouchable and magical. The flowing and textural fabrics paired with ruby red lips, dark eyes and long, bouncing ringlets of hair (reminiscent of a 1970’s Jerry Hall) created an immediate sense of drama and magnificence. 
The garments all had a strong focus on structure; various elements seen were low or open backs, fishtail silhouettes, asymmetry or one sleeved dresses and jumpsuits, all with an emphasis on the form of the upper body. Certain parts of the body were exaggerated, as the eye was drawn to an exaggerated cocoon like shoulder in one dress or an oversized lapel in another. 
In retrospect, the collection had an abundance of different themes and ideas; there seemed to be military influence in one garment while another seemed to emulate the figure of a mermaid or sea creature. Exposed zips adorned dresses as well as pleating, ruching and ‘bandaged’ sleeves in others. However, the genius of Rolland’s design is that nothing looked ‘busy’ or over the top. All the garments exuded elegance, most likely due to the carefully selected colour palette. Stark whites and vampish blacks danced amongst a sea of deep blue velvets and satin nudes.  
What made the clothes even more desirable was that they featured ideas that can easily be translated into clothes worn everyday. Particular details that stood out to me were a simple yet incredibly chic leather belt; two bands of leather were knotted and tied together around the waist, and also the inclusion of jeweled leggings worn with the shorter dresses. 
This collaboration between Rolland and the V&A could not have been more successful. The museum which houses art, sculptures, artefacts (the list goes on) is how I imagine a view into Rolland’s mind would look. Packed to the brim with ideas and inspiration, but an end result that is perfectly considered and presented. 
For more information on past Fashion in Motion Events and to see what's coming up visit: The V&A
All images courtesy of: V&A Fashion In Motion Stéphane Rolland © V &A Images
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Treats, drinks and novelty cupcakes bring The Fashion Society together

Words: Kate Rintoul

Camilla from the winning team, Icon get to grips with the making round

It may have been cold and dark outside but Boadicea was warm and inviting as The Fashion Society hosted it’s first Meet and Greet this year.

The event was an opportunity for members to get to know the committee and for everyone to start putting faces to names.

It was great to see everyone chatting and there was none of that awkward forced conversation that can happen at this kind of event.

The night also included a four-round fashion quiz. Guests got in to three teams and had to make their way through a fashion news round, picture round, fashion knowledge round and making round.

As one of the writers of the quiz I was totally impressed by every teams fashion intelligence. The teams got all but a few questions right and the margins between the teams was a matter of half points- great to see how passionate our members are but next time I’m going to make it harder for sure.

For the making round teams had to create an outfit for X factor dames Cheryl and Danni, the results were great, both women would be very happy with the creative looks.

Our President, Chantelle turns quiz-master for the night

The prize for the winning team were movie-inspired cupcakes in the shape of tiny buckets of pop corn and mini hamburgers. Everyone had worked so hard and bought so much to the quiz that we thought it only fair to award a cupcake to everyone- no doubt there were plenty of sugar-fueled fashion fans making their way home that evening.

The event proved how easy it can be to strike up and get to know new people and proved a great reminder of why The Fashion Society has such an important role to play.

We’ll certainly be organising more events like this and others including gallery vists and workshops so stay posted for more information.

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Getting to know you…The Fashion Society Social

Words: Kate Rintoul

This Thursday The Fashion Society invites you to an evening of games, entertainment and good old fashioned fun at the gorgeous Queen Boadicea in Angel.

All society members will get a free welcome drink and as the evening goes on there will be plenty of opportunity to meet other members.

The night will also feature an interactive and creative fashion quiz. Don't worry it won't be anything as insider as the year of Yohji Yamamoto's debut collection but a chance to have a good laugh and look at fashion in a new way!

Over the last two years we've prided ourselves on putting on great events and many members have gone on to make lasting friends through our socials, we hope to keep this spirit going strong.

For more information and fantastic images of the venue visit Fluid Nation.

Date: Thursday 25.11.10

Time: 7.30

***F R E E*** to members, non members £2.50

Location: The Boadicea, 292 St Johns Road, EC1 4PA

Nearest Tube: Angel

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Review: Matthew Williamson at Somerset House


Words: Emma Turner

Amidst the construction of this year’s ice rink, a display of Matthew Williamson’s work is to be found at Somerset House. This free exhibition runs until 30 January, 2011 and coincides with Rizzoli’s book on the designer.

The exhibition is a photographic display of Williamson’s work, with captions from numerous fashion editors and celebratory fans.

What is immediately apparent from the photographs is the unity of style throughout his work over the years: the colour saturation and the beautiful bohemian prints influenced by his travels.  

Both the photographs and the accompanying text make it clear that Williamson knows not only his identity as a designer, but understands the style of the women he designs for. Let’s face it; there were bun fights over his collection in H&M for a reason.

A copy of the accompanying book was present in one of the exhibition rooms and is a good platform for the images which are displayed in a creative, striking way. Browsing photographs of celebrities and well known models in Williamson’s designs, you also get a sense of the real Red-Carpet glamour of his collections.

Although the photographs were beautiful, the exhibition itself had the visual impact it could have. Set within two of the Courtyard Rooms, the stark white walls, high ceilings and wooden floor served only to echo the noise of the security guard traipsing through to check I wasn’t taking photos.

It all felt a bit austere for the photographs, and much removed from the paradise-like beaches seen in several of them. Luckily if Somerset House do ever want to invest in a bit of wallpaper, a certain ‘Mancunian Pixie’ did design a fantastic range for Habitat….


Dates: Until 30 January 2011

Location: Somerset House, Courtyard Rooms


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The Fashion Society’s Naomi Cambell on Grazia TV

The Fashion Society's secretary, Naomi Cambell was one of the first in line to get her hands on the latest Kate Moss for Topshop collection. Grazia caught up with her to see what she'd been buying…

Naomi on Grazia TV at the Kate Moss Topshop launch.

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Fashioning the Decade: Designer Profile

Words: Jane Asple

Photos: Victoria Mullins

Oksana Anilionyte, originally from Lithuania moved to London two years ago to avail the opportunities London’s vast fashion capital had to offer.

Currently in her first year of Womenswear at the London College of Fashion, Oksana embodies incredible talent and determination.

In her two short years here she has interned at Alexander McQueen and is now working with Gills in Brick Lane.

Oksana has been designing since she was a child and says her inspiration comes from everyday life and art.

The dress pictured is a piece from the collection which she designed in her foundation year at LCF in Spring 2010. The dress is made of simple cotton and was inspired by simple A-symmetry and architecture.

The dresses were some of the stand-out pieces from the Fashioning the Decade show and as one of the youngest designers involved we’re certain that Oksana is set for great success in the future.



For more information or to contact Oksana about her collection:

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Cupcakes go to the dark side

Words: Kate Rintoul

So Halloween is upon us and all the frolics and wardrobe considerations it carries.

I've been left dumbfounded, realising only a couple of hours ago that the fancy dress party I'm attending tomorrow is not ghoul-themed or witch-friendly but rather 1920s-'50s Speakeasy.

Admittedly it's a much better theme but it has brought up a whole other costume conundrum. Having attended this friend's previous dress up antics I know her crowd like to make an effort.

The best commentary I've seen on the various issues of Halloween was Sloane Crosley in the NY Times, definitely worth a read if your not sure how you feel about this mid-season festivity.

Don't be surprised if you hear about a girl getting knocked over in central London tomorrow as she tried to locate the perfect cigarette holder and silk stockings!

Each year fancy Halloween seems to get bigger and bigger- this year I heard about themed parties starting on Tuesday- I mean come on, haven't these people heard of holiday apathy?

There is a trend that seems to be taking off- dark cupcakes. These aren't your usual M&S attempts 'oh aren't we dark it looks like an eyeball' but rather whole events dedicated to the darker arts of baking.

Following on from their August bank holiday success The Mad Artist Tea Party are taking over the downstairs of Maiden, 188 Shoredtich High street from Friday to Sunday.

On Halloween itself you can stuff and drink yourself one step closer to an early grave at The Last Tuesday Society.

To celebrate all Hallows Eve and the launch of her new cookery book, A Zombie Ate My Cupcake. Bakery mistress, Lilly Vanilli who's creations have seen more fashion parties than Pixie Geldof is showing off her dark wares.

As well as grotesque but tasty cakes expect to see zombie waiters in full coat and tails and plenty of others getting into the spirit of Halloween, this is the best place to party this weekend…

Also see Facebook, A Zombie ate my cupcake

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Fashioning the Decade: Phase Two

Words: Kate Rintoul

Following on from the success of the Fashioning the Decade show earlier this year we re-created some of the magic in a special exhibition at Chelsea College of Art.

Showcasing the brilliant photography of Victoria Mullins and the fashion talent of Mary Binding, Jess Harman and Oksana Anilionyte the show looked absolutely beautiful.

Though the stunning pieces are back in safe keeping the photographs will be on display until Friday 5 November, so make sure you pop by and check it out.

Also log on to read interviews with the designers and photographers and see the clothes up-close later this week.

Fashioning the Decade: Phase Two

Frame Bar, Chelsea College of Art (nearest tube: Pimlico)

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The RD Franks Magazine Club


We shelter from the cold and cuddle up with

The Gentlewoman

Words: Kate Rintoul

The first magazine club of the year was donated to The Gentlewoman and while it might not have been our busiest event at least we got some quality time to get to know the much- waited lady.

I'll admit I entered the club adoring the magazine and completely unwilling to hear a bad word spoken, but in the nature of most of our clubs, I left with a more rounded response.

While we were in no doubt that the sheer variety and depth of content of The Gentlewoman made her worthy of admiration we couldn't help but feel that was slightly inferior to her big brother, Fantastic Man.

The brainchild of Gert Jonkers & Jop van Bennekom, both magazines celebrate international men and women in an "intelligent and sartorial" way and while the duo achieve this, some readers at the club felt that more love had been put into Fantastic Man.

From basics like the lower use of use of recycled paper and serif fonts to the more telling exclusion of husbands (the leading profile interviewee,  Inez van Lamsweerde appeared with her husband and working partner in Fantastic man previously only to have him revoked to a few aside comments in this issue), it seems as though The Gentlewoman is less cared for or comfortable in her genre.

As a group we felt that the content is what makes The Gentlewoman so special but that the fashion shoots were a mix of success and failures. The Navy shoot was an all-round winner and though you can't actually see any of the clothes mentioned, the series of close-ups of Parisian's wrapping up was a favourite.

Other less fruitful shoots were 'Long Looks' in which the model appeared awkward in high-waisted pieces and 'On TV' in which Sky presenter Lukwesa Burak sauntered around the news studio in a succession of unflattering combos.

Both issues of The Gentlewoman have been met with open arms by the wider press and a younger group of aspirational fashion lovers. Magazine fanatic and LCF tutor Robert Deniet, who attended the club said that the term has been kicked off with a succession of hopeful third-years all aching to produce their version. When you get to thinking about it wave of affection from aspiring fashionistas, journos and desires is quite tremendous.

This is a magazine that is unashamedly marketed at successful woman above the age of 35. This issue saw Yoko Ono (77), Cathy Dennis (40) and Inez van Lamsweerde (46) talk about their lives and work. Most readers cannot relate to their experiences or accounts but rather than alienating it seems that youthful readers have a hunger to hear about and draw inspiration from the lives of great and good women.

Teamed with these stories are shoots featuring Chanel, Sacai, Maison Martin Margiela and masses of Céline. Never dumbed down or within an inch of anything remotely 'street' the look perpetuated but The Gentlewoman is not something that can be recreated on a basic salary or vintage shop scrummage- instead one must grow up and become equally as successful (rich).

Despite this and in the face of pure decadence the excellent editorial style and brilliant writing does not make us wince at the lives of others, instead The Gentlewoman does exactly what she set out to- celebrate generations of women that embody and define modern womanhood while inspiring the next.

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