Friday, 30 September 2011

Vauxhall Fashion Scout: Ones To Watch SS12 x Shao Yen

During LFW AW11, I went to the Charlie Le Mindu Off-Schedule show and was shocked to see models walk down the runway starkers, only wearing overly eccentric Gaga accessories. Now, a little bit of flesh isn't such a controversy, but it makes me wonder how on earth would the average woman wear such a collection! Sometimes, fashion has to be looked at like an art form or expression and not simply as garments we clothe ourselves in - Central Saint Martins graduate, Shao Yen, fits into this category for me. 

When I first saw this collection, it evoked images of Asian fishermen. The triangular black weaved net hats, sheer satins and brushed mesh dresses inspired me to imagine a life at sea - sobre and somewhat macabre, perhaps even a shipwreck but somehow with elements of Asian culture and ancient tradition. However, when reading about Yen's actual inspiration, I couldn't have been further off the mark! It's all a matter of interpretation and to have a collection translated through another's eyes, especial through those who created it, can be fascinating. Yen's inspiration came from  images of 80s-90s street wear, punk, bondage and tribal women, but in particular, an image of some prostitutes! 

I was interesting to see how the body could be shown or exposed in a different way and the different meanings of that. For example, if it's tribal it might be for decorative reasons but the prostitute has to show their body to earn a living. So I am trying to bring those elements together and they all have the same kind of raw and rough finish. - Shao Yen

Waist high splits, chest cut-outs and mesh bodices were certainly one way to experiment how the body was put on show. Sheer fabrics and body clinging silhouettes didn't leave much to the imagination either. Leather straps across the body clearly evoked a bondage and darker side to the collection while a seasonal mustard was a refreshing splash of colour.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout: Merit Winner x Leutton Postle

Leutton Postle is a luxury knitwear label that experiments with riotous colours and surface textures, creating unusual statement patterned pieces for the daring and bold woman. Created by Saint Martin graduates Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle, the duo were the named recipients of the Vauxhall Fashion Scout SS12 Merit Winner award and I was lucky enough to attend the show. To see my coverage of backstage and pre-show going ons, click here.

Jumbo fringing, chunky crochet knit patchwork skirts, one legged trouser slips and an array of sewn geometric designs with plaited detailing - this collection is unique and pushes every boundary of fashion design. Asymmetrical shoulders and neckline cuts, intricate detailing and with loose fitting poncho silhouettes, this collection evoked images of African femininity. 

To see the full show, click here. I conveniently placed myself at the end of the runway so I was the first to see the models as they walked out, and had a good view when they headed back. At 4:27 you can actually see me on the right, telling the other photographer to get out my way! Click here to see a short video I took of the final credits. I'm fairly new to the video capacities of my camera but expect to see plenty more clips in future posts as I get the hang of it all.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Behind the Scenes: Vauxhall Fashion Scout: Merit Winner x Leutton Postle

In this industry, it not always about what you know, but more of who you know that gets you places. As I've mentioned in previous posts, my chance meeting with talented blogger Farrukh, from The Implausible Blog, completed my SS12 London Fashion Week. One stroke of luck saw me behind the scenes of Vauxhall Fashion Scouts One to Watch & Merit Winner Shows. 

This was a totally new experience for me, watching the rush before the show, even though I'm no stranger to the talents the showcase in VFS. In 2010 I did a summer internship at the leading commercial online fashion forecasting company, MPDClick/Mudpie. While dabbling in fashion forecasts for the upcoming seasons, I was also given the chance to contribute to their online monthly publication. My first effort was focused on the Merit Winner of Vauxhall Fashion Scouts at the time, Eudon Choi. To see my article click here, but I will be adding it in a later post to archive it here too.   

So before I publish my report on the actual show, I thought I'd share my backstage experience. The below pictures were all for the SS12 Merit Winner, Leutton Postle, even though I was wondering between rooms and weaving my way through models for the Ones to Watch show too. Reports for all shows will follow shortly: 

Leutton Postle is a luxury knitwear label that experiments with riotous colours and surface textures, creating unusual statement patterned pieces for the daring and bold woman. The lip make-up for this show mimicked the colours in the actual collection, with haphazard application, often uneven and spreading onto the face. 


All the models clothes were ordered, packed and labelled at the back of the room ready for when make-up and hair was complete.


If the models weren't getting their hair done, they were sat at the mercy of the make-up artists who had inspirational pictures of the desired look they had to create. With little room to maneuver, artists and models alike were working in very close proximity - I tell you, there wasn't much glamour in that! Especially when it came to the models getting changed into their designated outfit for the show...


Last minute adjustments and mends were being made all over the place!


Backstage I could get a little bit more up close and personal with the collection - just look at these shoes! So utterly random, and dare I say, not very durable, these shoes were another mimic of the whole collection with a mass of different surface textures and a mash of colour. Every pair had the be repaired before the models headed out onto the runway as the yarn kept unravelling. We also had one model face-plant in the practice walks backstage! Luckily, the final show ran perfectly.


Before the show, all the models were posing for the media. One guy asked these two models to blow a kiss - I don't know where he was from or where the picture/video of this is - but as he was taking it I swooped in and took my own sneaky pic. 


When getting in order just behind the scenes of the runway, ready for the trial walks before the audience was let in, the team was literally on their hands and knees making very last minute alterations - those shoes did not want to stay intact!


Still in their own gear, the models are waiting for the trial walk down the runway. All are wearing the shoes belonging to the collection as to get used to walking in them for the actual show. 


The venue is more or less empty as the models do their practice run. All the make-up and hair team are out front to watch, with most of the photographers already set up and waiting at the end of the runway. 

Bernard Chandran SS12

Admittedly, I hadn't really heard of a Bernard Chandran on the fashion scene before I was kindly invited to his show on September 16th. While having a Pret A Manger lunch in the rose garden in Hyde Park, I thought I'd brush up on the Malaysian designer before I scooted to my new LFW location down Grosvenor Place, at the Grand Gallery of Il Bottaccio. It was a strange location to have a runway show with models walking round corners and shabby seating arrangements, but Chandran sure seemed to attract a crowd. I spotted even spotted a few celebs, including Jay from Channel 4's Dirty Sexy Things and Sugababes Jade Ewen. 

I was quite disappointed with my photographs on first glance and was half considering dismissing publishing them at all. Most images look like the models were speeding by surrounded in some ethereal light, or that I kept dropping my camera mid-shot! Then, looking back over the collection, my first impressions were of a futuristic glamour, a new-age luxury - and suddenly, my photos actually made sense. Sheer organzas over delicate satins mimicked 50's elegance with floor sweeping prom dresses and elbow length gloves. Traditional cuts were updated with asymmetrical detailing, exaggerated bodies, side splits and mullets. The eye make-up made the whole look, as the electric blue liner, in stark contrast to the models darker skin, were meant to be an imprint of cat-eye glasses without the whole 'dated' appearance. Beginning with luxe metallics and soft champagne, pops of bright pink and turquoise shocked the audience, and trims of feathers, cut outs of lace and simple surface embellishment added interest throughout. 

All above photographs @ Natalie Green / So Totally 

I didn't get a decent shot of the designer, Bernard Chandran, as he walked round the runway with his key piece, so I borrowed one from someone who did. If you want to talk logistics, the woman in the beige and pastel green dress (bottom left) is Jade Ewen, as mentioned above, and I would be standing behind Chandrans head...One second later and I would have been in this shot!

kris atomic

Friday, 23 September 2011

Caroline Charles SS12

Caroline Charles was my first show of London Fashion Week SS12, after regrettably giving up going to Corrie Nielsen. Perched on the second row, I was in the perfect spot as the models posed in alternated coloured spotlights walking back along the runway after their strut to the heap of photographers. 

Classic glamour with an over tone of vintage 1920's Chanel-esque silhouettes, Caroline Charles is no stranger to the runway having been established for over 40 years. Twin sets, front pleated buttoned up shirts, heavily embellished bow-tie necklaces and blazers lent her SS12 collection to a conservative and mature consumer, with a touch of French Riviera and, dare I say it, a little Sex And The City! Bold flashes of colour and prints of gingham, china florals and polka dots were in contrast to a selection of monochromatic pieces, with the straw hat acting as a key accessory. Overall, an effortlessly delicate collection denoting luxury and a refined classic taste.

All photographs © Natalie Green / So_Totally

PRESS: London Fashion Week SS12 x The Implausible Blog

The success of LFW SS12 was all thanks to Farrukh, from The Implausible Blog. Watch his amazing video coverage below, and watch out for me!


Saturday, 17 September 2011

London Fashion Week SS12 Begins!!

It's that time of year again for London to host the Spring/Summer collections by renowned fashion designers from all around the globe, and of course I was there to snap everything first hand. Unfortunately, this season, the 'Press' criteria has been kicked up a notch so UK Bloggers, such as moi, are only issued with an Exhibition Pass. Don't worry, I do plan to fight my case but initially I thought my chances of sneaking into fashion shows were bust. However, while queueing for Caroline Charles, I met a follow blogger who was kind enough to invite me along to a few shows, including behind the scenes, parties and more! So apart from saving my day, Farrukh has totally made my London Fashion Week! 

Kind thanks to Farrukh for the photographs