At the end of the shows I was busy compiling my trend report as usual when the 60's trend came up on my radar. It was done best at the Parisian House of Rochas, designed by Marco Zanini, but Balenciaga, Prada and Giles had a go too. It got me to wondering what exact moment of the 1960's had inspired the look, and mulled over who the muse might be. Jean Shrimpton? Jackie Kennedy? Brigitte Bardot? None of them felt right and I couldn't pin it down. It's here I have to hand it to the British High Street design teams and buyers. They know how to spin a trend and give it the shape they want for their customer base. On the way they sometimes manage make a trend ten times better than it seemed on the catwalk.
The 60's trend is a case in point. My Eureka moment hit at Urban Outfitters when I became enthralled by their Cambridge Satchel link-up (below), the shearling lined hiking bootees, the Harris tweed satchel collaboration, and the cute way they paired flecky grandad cardigans, plaid shirts, kilts, and yet more satchels. It was then I knew who the muse was for this whole darn trend... here she is...
British Fashion lost a heartland member of its ranks on Wednesday night. Katy Baggott, 39, the agent to Phoebe Philo, Juergen Teller and Katie Hillier among others over the years, has left us. Tonight I am attending the 40th birthday party of her best friend since the age of 14, Sammi, who has told me the party will be bringing all of her friends together, and that the evening is dedicated to celebrating her life.
photo: Retna Pictures
Back in March I was fortunate to have a phone conversation with Juli Lynne Charlot, designer of 1950s decorated skirts and maker of the original poodle skirt. I've finally writtien about this great woman on my blog, The Vintage Traveler. That's Juli in the photo, posing with a replica of her 1948 poodle skirt.
Put some spring in your step, and lighten your load with vintage shoes and handbags for Spring.
Find a great vintage selection among the VFG member's offerings!
My very dear friend Yasmin Sewell has been curating the Estethica press day for a couple of years now. Last season I got there just as they were packing up. Cue guilt trip. So with my sense of journalistic duty front of mind, I skipped along to Estethica after we, (me and Yasmin, who is advising me and the g/f on our wedding looks), left the showroom of the designer who is charged with making us look amazing on the day. And no, I still have not decided on a wedding dress, though Mary has, and she looks so amazing in it. Grrr.
Brain in gear, I reacquainted myself with my thoughts on the subject. My view on ethical fashion is that something has to happen to rectify the disconnect between fashion seasons and actual seasons. Winter coats in on sale in September and bikinis on rails in March are an accepted shopping norm, but should they be? We also need to question a system that demands of designers they produce two main seasonal catwalk collections, as well as two pre-collections annually. High street stores produced a new range every six weeks. It was these points that revved the discussion into gear.
What we were all agreed on across the panel, is that awareness of ethical fashion/clothes needs to be fostered in teenagers. We also agreed that educating young consumers to develop personal style, rather than chasing fashion trends would be beneficial to everyone.
For me, what emerged from the panel discussion is that it is a darn good thing there are a bunch of people out there trying to make a difference to the way we think about and consume clothing. We need the London College of Fashion and its Centre for Sustainable Fashion. We need the British Fashion Council and Estethica. We need the designers selected for Esthetica to start making a difference, and to get recognition and exposure in the fashion press. Most especially though, we need them to make clothes that are desirable which stand up as stylish, functional, practical, beautiful - whatever they intend for them to be - but in the wider market. Not in an ethical market.
The better ethical designers get at looking as good as the rest, (like Christopher's work above), but with the added edge of green credentials, the more likely we are to see the movement growing. It is the future. Stella McCartney has shown that you don't need to use leather to create amazing accessories. Edun has shown that you can create your own supply chain by growing cotton, and educating and caring for your workforce. There are manifold ways to be ethical.
On a personal, philosophical level I don't believe in consumption for consumptions sake. I find it sinister that we should be encouraged to keep shopping (J.G Ballard's Kingdom Come anyone?) So Primark, Peacocks and Tesco clothing lines are not on my shoppping list. I only buy what I need. But I DO want to support designers who are trying to educate people by creating ethical clothing in whatever form that might come in whether it is non-chrome vegetable dyes for leather; rearing their own sheep and knitting jumpers from them; upcycling, recycling, remaking..
I do find it difficult to find amazing ethical pieces for the magazine at times, but the selection on show for AW10 gave me hope.
Baroness Young was right when she stated "when things change, the two ways need to co-exist for a while."