Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Richard Shoyemi: Trends Remixed

People who criticise fashion for being a monolithic dictum of the style elite get short thrift at my door. After all, most people who call fashion followers sheep are actually still wearing this or last season's trends with a watered down high street flavour anyway. All VERY yawn inspiring...

Take a look at these snaps of music and celebrity stylist Richard Shoyemi: does he looks like a slave? A fashion clone? Have you seen a thousand people walking down the street with this look?.. Didn't think so. And yet he's rocking so many current and forward-facing trends in his look, its difficult to know where to start... biking mits, studs (ideally giant and square), sequins, chalky colours, 80s details (zips borrowed from bondage trousers), chain jewelery, Doc Martens...

The reason I keep up to speed with fashion trends is not to ape looks I see in magazines but take ideas, mix them up in my own way and experiment with them on my body. In the all-you-can-eat buffet which is our wardrobe, this season's styles are just one counter to pick from. By adding these new ingredients to other basics and our own perennial favourites it gives the overall meal a fresh flavour. When I took these photos on the day of the RCA MA graduation show, Richard took the current trends and put them through his own personal mixing desk, scratched them up and delivered a remix which is pure Richard Shoyemi. For me, this is the work of a stylist at the top of their game and something I suggest those trend cynics should take some precious inspiration from.

Richard's My Space

More reports from MAW at Bitching and Junk Food soon...

On the slate...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Blokes in Cloaks: Caped Style Crusaders

This year everyone seems to be going around town saying how exciting men's fashion is and how boring womenswear has become. Friends and bloggers have been bemoaning this in reference to both the stock in the shops and the looks on the street and in the clubs usually frequented by London's more sartorially experimental female party-goers. In response I've been countering with the argument that in recent seasons the bar has simply been so much higher for exciting womenswear with such a precident created for strange silhouettes, interesting colour combinations and experimental, hard-to-define articles that are neither entirely skirt or trouser or dress or coat. The effect that this pushing of the boundaries of experimentalism has had on us is a slow dulling of the senses, shown by the fact that we wouldn't so much as turn our heads if a lady were wearing certain items but put the same item on a bloke and suddenly a chemical reaction seems to take place when it comes into contact with his hormones and it will be lauded as fashion genius or at least worthy of note.

This peculiar characteristic of the fashion machine is particularly perverse considering menswear's scavenging habit of following womenswear and taking trends to regurgitate masculine versions of them a season or two later. In this way, just as we get bored of seeing certain looks in womenswear, time and again, the essence is pilfered by menswear designers and stylists and then praised as cutting edge and inspired by all those around. ENTER THE CAPE...About four seasons ago I read an interview with Vivienne Westwood while she was warming up to her anti-consumerist, Resistance to Propaganda period, in which she urged everyone to don home-made capes made from flags and draped fabric. At the time the comments seemed a bit bizarre; apart from the (self-conscious) irony of a fashion designer telling people to make their own clothes rather than buying them, the idea that we were about to see people wondering around wearing capes and draped sheets seemed pretty implausible. But, yet again, a combination of Westwood's amazing prescience which helps her forecast trends and at the same time her influence which molds them meant that in womenswear by last winter cloaks and capes had filtered down from the designers to high street. Sure enough, by the end of winter, we barely turned out head when passing a lady wearing a cape in the street.

Fast forward a few months and to a quiet late morning a week ago on Bermondsey Street. That's when I chanced upon the art film maker, Tristan von Christann, pictured above. Ok, so what made me stop and pap Tristan wasn't just the fact that he was wearing a cape - his striking Manish Arora shades and the intricately embroidered tabi by Ikitabi certainly took his outfit into another avant garde place that the cape alone wouldn't have done. But it's the vintage cape which first caught my eye. There's no doubt that on a girl the cape would have been far less worthy of my camera.

Above: Batwing shirt by Holly Murphy (University of Salford Graduate collection)

Alas, it won't be long before we're a whole lot more used to seeing blokes in cloaks. With Etro, Burberry, Ferregamo and Ute Ploier serving up capes on their designer racks in a couple of months time. This was something British fashion students also seem to agree will be huge with most of the London graduate catwalks this month featuring some play with the winged silhouette in menswear as well as ladieswear. On the milder side this took the form of 80s inspired batwing sleeves, then came cape shoulders with arms underneath - the commercial solution preferred by premium high street last year - and in the most extreme examples there were full on capes and cloaks with no allowance for arm access at all such as those from RCA student Jasper Sinchai Chadrapajong's shown below.

More cape-inspired pieces from the graduate shows in my earlier photo report.

Below: Cape from Jasper Sinchai Chadrapajong intelligent RCA MA graduation collection

On the slate...

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Relaxed thrift cool for a ladies(wear) man

I found this slice of style cake hanging out with his model buddies at Spitalfields. OK, so he may not be pushing the boundaries of the avant garde but I was really impressed with the subtle impact of his outfit. Son we got chatting and I was fast-forwarded to the land of the green-eyed monster when he broke down the whys and how muches:

Old lady’s jacket (£4.99, charity shop in Kilburn)
Lady’s trousers (£14.99, Zara)
Shoes (£3, charity shop in Earls Court)
T-shirt/vest distressed by Chris (under £10)
Shades (£40, Retro, Notting Hill)
Bag (£2, charity shop Kilburn)

The secrets to Chris’ bargain look are plenty of time scouting charity and vintage shops and, judging by his breakdown, not being afraid to dig around the lady’s section while he’s there. Not that you’d have guessed it from the images. Far from looking feminine or giving him an overtly gay vibe, we’re left wondering if he picks up birds while skulking around the women’s clothing racks or pulls the male punters while pulling their pints at the bar where he works. Not even Chris’ dainty pearl bracelet are enough to give his game away.

Apart from having done one single job as a model, Chris has never worked in the fashion bizz. But he does have fashion in his blood: inspiration and an appreciation of male style began early with his father who had been a member of a style group proudly called The Central Posers. Other influences include early-days Andre 300 and Stuart Leslie Goddard (aka Adam from Adam and the Ants). So, while Chris may wear his look with effortless confidence, it’s actually the result of years of learning the subtleties of composing a successful male outfit from a line of icons from his dad downwards. Most of all though Chris learnt that, despite appearances, successful men’s outfits don’t just come together. To look good us blokes need to take care and take pride while dressing and then, if possible, leave all the appearance of effort at home. As Britain’s better version of Tom Ford, Hardy Amies, once said:

‘A man should look as if he has bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care and then forgotten all about them’

In any case, as far as this self-confessed label junky blogger is concerned, the fact that Chris can pull off such an effective look for loose change lands him my ‘Envy of the Week’ award hands down.

On the slate...

Friday, 12 June 2009

Brocade: The Further Adventures of the New Romantic

Back in March I blogged about the rising trend of New Romanticism. At the time the blokes who were willing to go all out on New Rom frills were few and far between. Since then things have got more dramatic. I reckon there's probably some truth in the claim that our depressed economic state has activated our rebellious streak and the pomp and frills are largely a way of us sticking two fingers up at the doom-laden papers and TV news. Of course there would have been other non-retro ways of showing this extravagance. But the New Rom look allows us to further our current love affair with all things 80s in a way that simply buying the latest shade of Balenciaga Giant Lattice City bag wouldn't.

From Tara Farbahi's Somerset College graduation collection

Brocade has also been kicking around on the fringes for a couple of seasons but now it's getting a sudden extra lease of life by striking a deal with New Rom shapes. Check out Tara Farbahi's graduate collection, which I shot on the catwalk at Earl's Court last week. Of course these looks are really dependent on layering and as such are pretty impractical for summer clubbing. The fact that they're still growing in popularity, even as the temperature is increasing, suggests that come autumn they'll expand further, venturing out of London's more creative polysexual nights and onto the high streets and into the more straight-edged clubs.

A couple at House of Diehl's Style Wars event at Proud Galleries, Camden. http://www.houseofdiehl.com/

Rosie Borcott-Brown's collection at Alternative Fashion Week April 2009

Kashpoint party at Cable for Mark Moore and Jerry Bouthier's great new monthly/occasional night Can Can at Cable. Details at Can Can on Facebook or here http://www.cable-london.com/

Link back to the original post on New Rom:

On the slate...

RCA and Graduate Fashion Week Trend Report: Cut Leather Details and Neckpieces

A quick reax photo trend report from this week's GFW and RCA Fashion Shows and from MAW's recent London wanderings.

Above: Stephanie Butler (Northumbria University); Below: DJ Natalia Escobar at Caligula launch party, The Bathhouse, Bishopsgate

Above: Kasia Bishop (Ravensbourne); Below: Anna Ruberg (RCA)

Above: Fashion designer/blogger Victor (shot by Marion from Bitching and Junk Food at Stag and Dagger London 2009 ); Below: Nicklas Kunz, Wiltshire College, Salisbury)


On the slate...

Yet more fashion trend reports from GFW and Royal College of Art MA Fashion Graduation Shows

Thursday, 11 June 2009

RCA and Graduate Fashion Week Trend Report: Transparency and Layering, Lace, Rubber, Silk and Super Fine Knits

A quick reax photo trend report from Graduate Fashion shows at Graduate Fashion Week, today's RCA Fashion Show and from MAW's London wanderings.

Above: Sian Lendrum (Ravensbourne); Below: Uncredited 1st year RCA MA student from Swarowski/Sophie Hallette 'Transformation' project

Above: Rachel Barrett (RCA); Below: Sarah Brown (Wiltshire College, Salisbury)

Below: Fashion writer Yu Masui wearing Top Shop lace leggings and Givenchy lace shorts

Above: Sylvie Hall (Northumbria University); Below: Fiona Lewis (now one half of Edna Cole with Alison Gaukroger) Graduation 2008 collection, Frill Seekers. Shot during the Edna Cole launch shoot in Brixton May 2009. Contact: fiona@ednacole.co.uk

Above: Girl wearing lace tutu and lace panelled top at ICA event Dance School, June 2009; Below: Sally Ellis (University of Salford)

Above: Singer/songwriter Kate Daisy Grant, wears long Eley Kishimoto lace socks over red tights. Shot after her gig in Soho, April 2009. www.myspace.com/katedaisygrantmusic Below: Liam Wilfred James Catterall (University of Central Lancashire)

On the slate...

Yet more fashion trend reports from GFW and Royal College of Art MA Fashion Graduation Shows

RCA and Graduate Fashion Week Trend Report: Galliano, We Heart You!

A quick reax photo trend report on the enduring influence of John Galliano on British fashion students. Photos taken at Graduate Fashion shows at GFW and today's RCA.

Above: Simon Shilton (RCA); Below: Luis Lopez-Smith (RCA)

Above: Raine Hodgson (Edinburgh College of Art); Below: Jason Mui (Nottingham Trent University School of Art and Design)

Above: Charlotte Ross (RCA); Below: Faraz Hussain (Manchester Mentropolitan University)

Above: Jennifer Worthington (University of Central Lancashire); Below: Hannah Earnshaw (Northumbria University)

On the slate...

More fashion trend reports from GFW and Royal College of Art MA Fashion Graduation Shows