The bold and the downright beautiful

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the wonderful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street for the launch of the Gudrun Sjoden exhibition ‘Four Decades of Colour and Design’. I am quite ashamed to say that despite all my years of living in London (and many hours spent on Bermondsey Street) I had never actually been inside this beautiful, multi-coloured Zandra Rhodes owned tribute to fashion. But now I have and it does not disappoint. Accompanying the bold artwork, was a deliciously colourful breakfast of rainbow lattes, flower-filled granola pots and goat cheese and red pepper muffins. I mean… how can you resist when food looks this pretty?!

Breakfast is served:- Juice shots, muffins and granola from Ethos. Rainbow lattes from Black Box Coffee

Gudrun’s work will be displayed alongside the current long-standing Josef Frank exhibition. Both Swedish-based designers are renowned for their use of bold colour and print, with designs translated onto textiles and interiors, and both have a strong affection for watercolour as a medium. This pop-up exhibition celebrates Gudrun’s 40th anniversary, alongside a beautiful hard-back book detailing her years at the forefront of Swedish design. You can view her working process, her inspiration and examples of her playful, childlike prints. When I observed that her patterns are akin to childrenswear, a member of her team described Gudrun’s rhetoric as being – ‘Why stop dressing like a child once you become an adult? Everyone should enjoy colour and print no matter what their age.’

 

Some watercolour artwork and designs from the exhibition

Gudrun’s mantra remains ‘clothing for women who dare to stand out from the crowd’ and she is her own finest advocate. A cross between British fashion institutions Mary Quant and Zandra Rhodes, with a dash of Cath Kidston, she embraces colour like no other. On meeting the designer, I am drawn to her bold hues, warm smile and sunny disposition, all of which belies an incredibly strong woman who spends her weeks running the business and her weekends ‘painting til she goes to bed’.

The inspirational Gudrun poses in front of one of her prints and outside the colourful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street.

She has won several entrepreneurial awards, received a royal medal from the King of Sweden and has stores all over the world. Despite four decades in the industry she remains true to her concept of ‘comfortable, colourful clothes in natural materials with a Nordic design influence.’ The use of organic cotton and sustainable eco-friendly fabrics has always been of immense importance to Gudrun and her love of travel and exploration – such as her recent visit to India to explore traditional craft techniques – often influence her designs. Here are a few fabulous extracts from her recent book:

 

If you feel inspired and fancy a trip to the boldest museum in London to view a plethora of multi-hued textile designs you’ll need to be quick. Both shows end on 7th May, which gives your precisely 9.5 days to get yourself along to this fabulous tribute to colour and print. Just be sure to wear something yellow. Or fuchsia pink. Or cobalt blue. Who needs grey anyway? I would much rather view the world in Gudrun Sjoden and Josef Frank Technicolor!

Above: Prints from the current Josef Frank exhibition at Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF. http://www.ftmlondon.org. Ends 7th May 2017.

Open Tuesday – Saturday (11am – 6pm); late night on Thursday (until 8pm); Sunday (11am – 5pm). Closed Monday. Tickets for exhibition: £9.90 (adults), £7.70 (concessions), £6 (students). Children under 12 are free.

For more information about Gudrun and to view her collections go to http://www.gudrunsjoden.com/uk.

Main holding image: Seb Higgins

 

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Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

So it’s been a sluggish start to the New Year blogging-wise, but after a busy week of working and prepping shoots I realised that I best put pen to paper and create some copy.  And no, today’s blog is not going to be a belated synopsis of fashion in 2013 or a preview of the trends to come, but a piece about the amazing Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House, which I finally went to see with my friend Fi over the holidays.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 3 Image-Peter Macdiarmid Getty

The ‘Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!’ exhibition (Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

Isabella Blow at Somerset House 4-Mode a Paris OE 2014 Giorno 7

Isabella wearing the Lobster outfit as seen on display above

Whilst both Fi and I are huge fashion lovers, I really didn’t expect the viewing to take more than an hour – as per a previous trip to the Paul Klee show at Tate Modern.  How wrong could I be?  This exhibition (curated by Alistair O’Neill with set design by Shona Heath) is so dramatic, rich and breathtakingly beautiful that even when rushing at the end (we were over an hour late to meet another friend-apologies again Bappa) it still took 2 hours to view everything. Room after room of Isabella’s exquisite clothes, all displayed on mannequins based on the late style icon herself, allowed me to closely peruse and truly appreciate the work of the genius designers she both discovered and mentored – chiefly Alexander McQueen and Philip Treacy, but also Julien Macdonald and Hussein Chalayan.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 6

Isabella Blow at Somerset House 8

A selection of stunning Philip Treacy hats (Image 2: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty)

Alongside the stunning clothing, there is memorabilia that belonged to Isabella, including comic faxes sent at Sunday Times Style, Rolodex entries written in pink ink and a stub of her favourite Chanel Rouge lipstick. Also supplementing the garments are videos of McQueen and Treacy’s graduate collections, their first London Fashion Week shows and the piece de resistance, the McQueen tribute show to Isabella Blow shown at Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2008. With a symbolic bird theme, and entitled ‘La Dame Bleue’, the catwalk is flanked by a huge pair of illuminated wings (angel wings?), a thank-you to the person who helped him become one of the most revered designers of the 20th/21st Century.

 Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 54

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 53

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 52

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 35

Style.com McQueen SS2008 Look 45

A selection of looks taken from Alexander McQueen SS08 show ‘La Dame Bleue’ (Images:style.com)

I recommend anyone with even an iota of interest in fashion to visit this exhibition. It is stimulating, breathtaking and also hugely tragic. The late Isabella, with her dramatic hats and wonky lipstick, was a fabulous fashion director and a true eccentric style icon, without whom British fashion would be infinitely poorer. This is a stunning tribute to her work. Get down there pronto and be inspired.

 Isabella Blow at Somerset House 2

Reclining in a dramatic Philip Treacy hat

Isabella Blow at Somerset House

ISABELLA BLOW AND MAC COSMETICS 'BLOW' LIPSTICK LAUNCH PARTY AT THE BLOW DE LA BARRA GALLERY, LONDON, BRITAIN - 07 SEP 2005

Isabella Blow and Alexander McQueen, at the launch of her lipstick collaboration with Mac, 7th Sept 2005, London

‘ Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!’ runs from 20 Nov 2013 – 2 Mar 2014 at Somerset House, Strand London WC2R 1LA.

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/isabella-blow-fashion-galore

Brighten up your home

As you may or may not know I am a tad obsessed with bold prints, and my current pattern-of-choice is waxed African fabrics (as mentioned in my previous post https://stylitz.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/a-riot-of-colour/).  Following last month’s medley of international fashion shows it appears there is no abating the current trend for bold prints, with the SS14 shows illuminating the catwalk with a plethora of vivid colours.  Today’s post however is of a more homely nature, with a focus on interiors rather than attire.

Last month I styled a streetstyle campaign for Gap and was delighted to meet a number of creative and inspiring people who were used in the ads.  Each were selected for their own personal style and coaxed into Gap jeans in a ‘How do you wear yours?’ type shoot.  One such person was the lovely Yinka Ilori, a talented furniture up-cycler who customises old chairs and tables using stunning African fabrics.  A graduate from London Metropolitan University, Yinka hails from North London yet his use of colour and quirky twists on furniture are definitely inspired by warmer climes.

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Some of his delightful customised pieces

Yinka exhibits at shows both in London and internationally, including the prestigious Milan Design Week. A solo exhibition of his work can currently be seen at The Old Shoreditch Station on Kingsland Road, in collaboration with Look, Like, Love.  Entitled ‘It Started with a Parable’ he uses stories from his childhood and traditional Nigerian parables as an influence for his designs.  He also holds regular workshops for Jaguar Shoes Collaboration teaching others how to breathe new life into old unloved furniture.

yinka ilori 8

yinka ilori

Yinka inspiring others to up-cycle

Working to order from his East London studio Yinka is available for commissions, so why not be brave this autumn and bring some colour to your home with one of his unique stools or tables.  Guaranteed not to be available in Ikea.

‘It started with a Parable’ runs from 13th September – 24th November at The Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA. www.oldshoreditch.com; www.looklikelove.co.uk; www.jaguarshoes.com  

Check out Yinka’s work and more at www.yinkailori.com

Going Geometric

This week saw the online launch of the Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop jewellery range. With an MA in Constructed Textiles from the RCA and clients including Selfridges and Hussein Chalayan, Angold is a name to watch in the world of accessories. Her main range employs techniques such as laser cutting and acid etching to create unique architectural pieces, with her team utilising the finesse of watch-making to craft all the pieces from her East London studio.

Sarah Angold for Topshop 2- 25th July £52

Freedom at Topshop, £52

Angold has not compromised on quality with this diffusion range for Topshop – each item in the collection is handmade in her studio and engraved with an individual production number.  Having arrived at the Oxford Street store 2 weeks ago, fashion fans outside London can now grab a piece of the action online.  If you like your necklaces to make a statement then this is the range for you.  Bold, graphic and futuristic, these pieces are perfect for a hedonistic night in balmy Ibiza.  Or, closer to home, add one to your outfit for this weekend’s Secret Garden Party.

Sarah Angold for Freedom at Topshop. Prices range from £30-£60 http://www.topshop.com  

For her stunning main collection and lighting designs go to http://www.sarahangold.com

Sarah Angold_ Silver Stud £32

Freedom at Topshop, £32

NB.  Speaking of partying, a pair of Angold’s striking earrings wouldn’t go amiss at the V&A’s Club to Catwalk exhibition, which highlights the clothing of the crazy 80s London clubbing scene.  With a resurgence of 80s influenced garments currently in stores, and neon brights doing the fashion rounds, you can get inspired by the New Romantics or warehouse party looks of a bygone era.  Just leave the glow-stick at home.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s at the V&A London runs until 16th Feb 2014 http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/exhibition-from-club-to-catwalk-london-fashion-in-the-80s/about-the-exhibition/

Moss goss

Here at Stylitz we (ie. me) are obsessed with Kate Moss. Yes, yes she may have been surpassed of late by the ubiquitous Cara Delevigne, but there is only one Mossy and despite some drama and recent comparisons to Kathy from Eastenders, she is a fashion icon of supreme status.  At university, where I was studying fashion design, I regularly used poses from her book (pictured below) as a base for my fashion illustrations. She is a chameleon; a true model canvas that can cover every look – be it vampy, sultry, grungy, happy or fresh faced Calvin Klein simplicity.

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Cover and inside page of Kate by Kate Moss book (published by Pavilion Books in 1997)

So I was very excited to hear that this September, Christie’s is hosting an auction of some of her iconic images as shot by the likes of Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Nick Knight (main holding image) and Glen Luchford.  Curated by German art collector Gert Elfering, this lot is sure to get the fashion world buzzing.  With some images valued at £150,000, this is not for those with a Primark budget. I have 2 months to win the lottery.  Better get playing…

Kate Moss, 1994, Glen Luchford

Kate Moss, 1994, Glen Luchford

Main holding image – Kate as Aladdin Sane, 2003, Nick Knight

The sale will take place on 25th September. The public will be able to visit the collection at Christie’s, London from 21st until 24th September. http://www.christies.com