Saturday, 27 February 2010

Hermione de Paula in her own words

Hermione de Paula is one of my favourite designers at the moment, and was hands down my favourite collection at last season's Vauxhall Fashion Scout. So I was obviously very pleased indeed when she agreed to a little interview just in time for everyone to see her new collection. The new collection is very different to her last, her designs have became much more wearable and will appeal to a wider market. Plus I love the cheekily sexy, transparent bodices. I think if I ever wore one, people would flee...

I chat to Hermione about how she began her career, London Fashion Week and her inspiration...

Let's start at the beginning, how did you find your time at Central St Martins and how did you progress from there?
I had a fantastic time at St Martins, it’s a fun place to train and definitely a great launching pad for aspiring young designers.

Although I do think every student experience really comes down to what you make of it, if you throw yourself into your course and the busy social scene you’re bound come away better off. The social aspect was definitely key though, it’s such a cliché but in fashion you’ve got to mix the who you know in with what you know.

After graduating I moved out to work in LA for abit, it was good to experience a different life and enjoy a bit of time away from London before focusing on my own label.

Who inspired you to pursue a career in fashion?
I don’t think I could pin my ambition down to one person, I’ve always wanted to work in fashion, There wasn’t really a moment when designing suddenly hit me as a career choice, it just seemed a natural path for me as I grew up. Although once I started training I had some amazing tutors and mentors who gave great encouragement and really motivated me to follow through with my instincts.

What's the most useful thing you learnt while interning at places like McQueen and Dior?
It was just brilliant to get an insight into the different working processes for each different designer and to see how they vary. When you’re young that kind of experience is so valuable for finding your strengths and weaknesses. I’m sure I made my fair share of mistakes along the way! But they’re all important lessons to go through.

Last season your muse was Venus, what have you drawn inspiration for this season?
My inspiration for this season steams from a fantasy femme fatale character, ‘Polly Crystalline’. The collection centers around the idea of such a character being fitted into crushingly tight entrapping garments which both accentuate and celebrate the female form.

I wanted to work on the idea of such a character being frozen - an invincible, vulnerable femininity, unable to wilt or fade with time.

Your new collection is amazing, can you tell us a little about it?

I used some very different processes this season, my prints were made by freezing full bloom, beautiful flowers and entrapping them into sculptures of the female form.

I followed through with this idea of a timeless confined femininity by using metal detailing and hanging small metal keys off contour hugging dresses.

You have such an individual style in the way you dress yourself, do you only design clothes you want to wear?
Not at all, although I’m sure my own personal taste can’t help but influence my collections sometimes. I do always design for a particular woman in mind, the unique stylish girl who knows her own mind and taste, someone who likes to have fun and express themselves through what they wear.

What would an average day in the Hermione De Paula studio consist of?
Most days I’ll arrive bright early to get myself organized and switch on a few heaters so my team can avoid hyperthermia!. Then every day tends to pan out differently…sometimes it’ll be answering emails, cutting, sewing, fitting, during which I like to keep the rest of the team cheery by blasting out anything from happy hardcore to the old 80’s classics. My puppy Edward is usually prancing around somewhere, he likes to entertain the troops with his endless tricks.

Congratulations on winning the Merit Award at VFS! You must be so excited, how did you celebrate?
Thank you! I really just couldn’t believe it at first, I was so shocked I could barely speak! Once I got over that there were certainly plenty of drinks and celebrating to be done before knuckling down to the real work.

Your S/S collection has also recently been stocked in Browns Focus, was this as a result of being chosen as a 'One to Watch' at VFS last season?
It’s hard to know whether these things follow on from one another but Vauxhall Fashion Scout’s support has certainly been invaluable. Without their advice and support I wouldn’t be where I am today. Being stocked at Browns focus is also amazing, I’m so pleased to be working with them.

Would you ever try out designing menswear?
Possibly. I’m currently sharing the studio with two good friends of mine who are just launching their own exciting new menswear label ‘Braille’. I’ve found their work so inspiring and I’d love to collaborate and work on prints with them at some point. Prints are great to work with and so easily transferable.

What's your favourite part of LFW?
I’ve always loved fashion week, there’s all the excitement and anticipating build up and then those crazy few days crammed with shows and parties, what’s not to like?

And your least favourite part?

There’s so much to do and see and so little time!

Images from Dazed Digital. Many thanks to the lovely Hermione de Paula and her team, for more info check out her website. That's the last of my stock of interviews for a little while, we're in Somerset at the moment so I may get my boyfriend to take some photos of me and finally do an outfit post...

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Hervia Bazaar - Plus Henry Holland, Atalanta Weller, Michael Lewis and Hannah Martin

Hello there! Right, I am apologising now as this is another interview post but it's interesting(ish) I promise! Basically, I got asked last minute by Manchester Fashion Network to go along to the press day for Hervia Bazaar which is opening tomorrow, it sounded amazing as it stocks designers who aren't stocked anywhere in England apart from London so having them up in Manchester is a proper treat. Anyway, so here are the interviews, I was happy to see some familiar faces and pleased to meet some new ones.

Henry Holland

What do you think about fashion in Manchester?
I’ve got two different perspectives of Manchester, one from when I lived here and one from more recent times. People are really into fashion up here, as well as lifestyle and culture. There is a definite sense of style up here compared to other cities I’ve been to. This shop is long overdue, it’s about time!

What do you associate with fashion in Manchester?
Nike Air. I was totally obsessed with trainers, they were always a big thing in my circle of friends, it may have been because I worked in a shoe shop now I come to think about it… I’m still a bit obsessed with trainers now, I have about 80 pairs. I’ve got the studded Louboutins for tonight!

What do you use as inspiration?
It differs from collection to collection, it can be anything like a film, music, culture, just anything you notice as I’m out and about. Street style is a great source of inspiration. There’s a sense of individuality and creativity, unique rather than following trends. It’s very different from North to South, up here people are a lot more interested in labels as soon as you get into London there’s more vintage and DIY stuff.

Would you ever follow suit with the BBC and consider moving your business up North?
I would definitely consider it, I’ve got lots of friends and family up here. But I’ve been in London for 12 years now so I feel at home there. The logisitics of it would be tricky though, with distribution and all that. I think I’d probably spend all my time on a train to London, I’d rather spend that time in bed to be honest.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the fashion industry?
 Feel the fear and do it anyway. I started my entire company off the back of a joke, it was just something to keep me occupied on the side of my day job. It just kind of snowballed from there on, and because it was a side project I was able to have free reign and not really care about the consequences. I’m so lucky to be doing it full time now, it really is the best job in the World.
Visit his website by clicking here.

Atalanta Weller

What do you think about fashion in Manchester?
I think it’s really easy to get too focused on London, it’s great that more stores are moving up North and more designers’ work are available out of the capital, it’s nice to see people spreading out, it’s rather exciting!

What do you think is the future of fashion in Manchester?
I think there’s a lot of spending power in Manchester, there’s always so much going on and it’s good that peoples needs are being catered for now.

What do you use as inspiration?
My last collection was very graphics based, all my work is very strong and aerodynamic. I kind of design it for a really chic superhero really!

Would you ever follow suit with the BBC and consider moving your business up North?
Seeing as Britain has such a massive population for such a tiny country it’s ridiculous that fashion is all based in London. But to be honest, I’m from the South and work a in Europe a lot so I’m more likely to move abroad. I can do what I do anywhere really, it’s just personal circumstances rather than business.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the fashion industry?
Get training! Work with as many people as you can, just do it! It never gets easier though, you just have to love it.
Visit her website by clicking here.

Hannah Martin

What do you think about fashion in Manchester?
I don’t know too much about it to be honest, I’m much more about the music up here. The club and music scene is really interesting, I imagine the fashion follows suit and it’s all underground and street based.

What do you associate with fashion in Manchester?
I associate it with the music scene and the style people develop from that. Also Vivienne Westwood! I’m just really happy to be featured in this store, this is the first place to stock my pieces outside of London.

What do you use as inspiration?
Every collection is different, I like to make mens jewellery for their girlfriends to steal. I usually make up a character like a Russian gangster or a pirate and then research into them to create a story.

Would you ever follow suit with the BBC and consider moving your business up North?
I’m so in love with London! I have got family up North so never say never but at the moment I’m settled. I would like to come here more often, it’s great to be stocked up here.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the fashion industry?
Don’t do it… Only joking! You do have to work really, really hard. Just be flexible and be able to think on your feet. Nothing ever happens the way you plan it, you just have to be passionate. That’s the theory anyway!
Visit her website by clicking here.

Michael Lewis

What do you think about fashion in Manchester?
I don’t really remember actually, I used to live in Cheshire and still have family there but that was a long time ago. I’d associate it with street wear, like London but smartened up.

What do you think is the future of fashion in Manchester?
I think from meeting Oscar and Richard (the owners of Hervia Bazaar) I am so flattered to be featured in this project outside of London. People don’t really associate fashion and glamour with anywhere out of London. It’s really important to realise that there are other places that love fashion in the UK. I think it’s wrong that people don’t look further afield so it’s great to have this store, I think it will really help. We need more opportunities to get out of the box that is London!

What do you use as inspiration?
Every collection has a different theme, because I have less time and am on a budget now I use accessible things like film, art, theatres, galleries and museums for inspiration. At Louis Vuitton we used to go on extravagant research trips but we can’t really do that now. My most recent collection was inspired by 80’s car culture like the mechanics, seatbelts and leather. I’m a perfectionist really.

Would you ever follow suit with the BBC and consider moving your business up North?
Never say never! If there are opportunities in the market and my business takes off then there’s no reason why not. It’s not far to London from here anyway.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the fashion industry?
Follow your heart, anything is possible!
Visit his website by clicking here.

If you're in Manchester and need some lovely designers to look at venture over there, visit the website for more details. I only have one more interview left after this to show you and then will get back to normal ramblings.


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Illustration inspiration

I was just wandering around the internet, having a little stroll through the blogosphere when I stumbled upon Kelly Anna Sheppard's blog. The two illustrations at the top caught my eye as I instantly recognised last season Hermione de Paula in sketch form. I am pretty much smitten with anything transferred into ink form but it's even better when it's on of my favourite pieces from one of my favourite collections of last season. After a bit of a trawl through Kelly Anna's blog I found a haul of other Vauxhall Fashion Scout designer sketches, it's like a goldmine! Love the Florencia Kozuch sketch, if you remember I posted about her a couple of weeks ago here so it's very nice to see it in a different medium.

I love the way you can see that they were drawn at speed but with a lot of skill and detail, beautiful, I think you'll agree.

Kelly Anna's blog can be found here. Also, I recommend the Vauxhall Fashion Scout blog for great backstage and catwalk images.

I'm going to a screening of Spike Jonze's new film in conjunction with Absolut tonight so that should be fun!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

The people behind the perfection

Backstage at Vauxhall Fashion Scout there are lines of models being primped, preened and generally manhandled, kind of in a good way, whilst hair stylists and make up artists run around trailing hairdryers and blusher brushes wherever they go.
I managed to grab Rachel Wood, Make up artist in charge of all this mania backstage at London Fashion Week, in between shows for a quick chat about trends, travel and what it takes to become a successful make up artist.

What are the recurrent trends and themes this season?

There is a definitely a resurgence of the sort of ‘heroin chic’ that was around in the 90’s, everyone is opting for the unkempt look, there are a lot of feral eyebrows this season. We’ve kind of turned the groomed look around, with clumped mascara and basically making the models look like they’ve it themselves. I think the recession has triggered this, where no one has the money or time to do perfect make up and we’re all just kind of throwing it on!

Easily replicated then! We’ve just seen David Koma’s show which you co-ordinated the make up for, how did you achieve the look?

David was very influential in this process, he wanted them to look drowned and haunting. I used this as an opportunity to be creative, I love using lip products on the eyes and eye products on the face. We used a lot of textures for this look, mattes, crèmes, sheers, glosses all together. David did choose really great models so it made my job easier as this is a very hard look to pull off.

To recreate it, I used a little bit of Benetint lip stain on the eyes to give the reddened effect but for everyday I’d recommend a plum colour, just so you don’t get funny looks on the street! A pale lip is also a great way to emulate this look, use a dab of clear gloss in the centre to give them another dimension.

How did you become a Make up artist?

I began at stage school in the US, where I’m from, and I was always far more interested in the stage make up, I would always spend all of my time perfecting it. My tutor then took me to one side and said I should pursue this, so I came over to England to do a 6 week course and ended up staying for 14 years! I’ve now moved back to New York but come back and forth to work here too.
I assisted for MAC a lot and learnt the trade, I found my own niche and gained an insight into how other people work. I assisted at my very first New York Fashion Week this season, it was weird going back to assisting but it’s so good to learn from others. Everyone has a signature, I think mine is the way I use brushes.

What advice would you give to any budding Make up artists out there?

I would recommend training at the Academy of Freelance Make-up, there are 18 teachers there all with their own skills and techniques, it’s great to work with and learn from a variety of people so you can find your own way. You need to fully understand all of the different products, textures and what you can do with them, play around and have fun with it!
Definitely assist as much as you can, I don’t think people realise how much free and hard work you have to put in at the start of your career, you just need to a build up a portfolio and a name for yourself. It’s not a job you can just walk into, you have to have determination and drive, it’s a 24 hour job, especially around Fashion Week!

Images from Dazed Digital. Thanks to Rachel for being lovely and letting me take up some of her time to bombard her with questions! Also, a huge thank you to the lovely people at Benefit.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

LFW - Holly Fulton, Craig Lawrence and Fannie Schiavoni

Sorry about the delay between LFW and this post, but my little sister had a baby today, I now am an Auntie to lovely little Ruby, so excited! But anyway, here is the first of a few posts, sorry for them being a little haphazard, but I'm ridiculously tired and a little bit giddy...

 These are images of Holly Fulton's A/W '10 collection from her exhibition in Somerset House over London Fashion Week. This has similarities to her previous collections but is much more involved and intricate, taking the majority of her inspiration from skyscrapers and elevators. This season is also a lot more wearable than the previous one, the clothes looked much easier for any body type to pull off. I love the semi-Transformer vibe going on in this collection, they're futuristic and a bit wonderful. For more info on Holly Fulton, visit her website.

Craig Lawrence is pretty much my favourite up and coming designer at the moment, it also helps that he is an absolute delight. He is an extremely talented knitwear designer who always find new ways to create something beautiful from a material, for example, this collection boasts an incredible jacket made out of very thin, metallic wrapping paper type thing. I love the way that, depending on the light, these pieces can be very see through or appear solid.

His designs are always form fitting, eroticised and creative. He was showing his new film of his collection over in the Digital Space at Somerset House, I headed over to see it in all its' glory, Craig immediately took me into the back and furnished me with Babycham... While I was there I also met Craig's Mum and Dad who are both lovely and both insist that they are the source of his talent. Lovely times! For more info, visit his website. The film is now up on Dazed Digital along with the lovely Fred Butler and Louise Gray.

Oh Fannie Schiavoni, you never cease to amaze me. She makes such simple things so beautiful. If I was confident or thin I would wander around covered in her chains thoroughly enjoying the clanking noise I made as I went. This season has developed on from her trademark chains, including extras like metal scales and grey sheepy material. I really don't have any more to say, I just love them, end of. For more info, visit her website.

There'll be plenty more posts to come from LFW, including show reports, make up tutorials and a cheeky outfit post! I think it's bed time now...

Friday, 19 February 2010

London Fashion Week has begun!

Just a very short and sweet, pictureless post... I'll update properly over the weekend will all of the fun stuff! I've just been to The Benefit Bloggers Breakfast where we were taken through how to do the key beauty trends for this season, including a drowned look for David Koma... I also got my brows waxed and a bag of goodies to play with that I'll have to do some kind of tutorial for y'all.

I was slightly starstruck by the bloggers at benefit, the french elite were there in full force with The Cherry Blossom Girl, Le Blog de Betty, Tokyobanbhao and Pandora in attendance.

Got to run backstage, check back for pictures and reviews all next week!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Dawid Tomaszewski

And so it's straight back to the monochrome, I can't help it!
Dawid Tomaszewski's designs make me a little bit too excited about being dressed up from head to toe in sequins. He's another amazing talent from Berlin, it seems to be my city of choice recently...

The first dress is my favourite I think, it looks like some kind of magnificent flower. I also adore the styling of this shoot, the architectural backdrop suits the collection down to the ground. I especially love the way the last image is styled and the way reflections of the sequins dance across her face. 

I will do an outfit post soon I promise, I'm just so busy at the moment, will do some while I'm down at LFW as I'll be dressing up to pretend I belong there.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

London Fashion Week

From top: Satyen Kumar, Craig Lawrence, Forgotten Futures, Gemma Slack, Christopher Raeburn, Iris van Herpen, Romina Karamenea and Hermione de Paula.

As always, have previewed a selection of up and coming designers featured at this seasons' London Fashion Week. I've always been a fan of and I worked there last year, and I promise you, A LOT of work will have gone into this shoot, so congratulations to everyone involved. I still love last season's issue and shoot, but that's probably just because it has a little special place in my heart. This season, it is much more minimalist, monochrome and austere, obviously playing to the trends that will be seen next weekend.

My favourite images are the Satyen Kumar and Craig Lawrence ones, though it is nice to see Chrisopher Raeburn being himself away from Tim Soar.

There is also an film along with this issue, it's well worth a look, view it here.

I'm very much looking forward to LFW and have lots of interviews, shows and events planned which I will report on over at MFN but I'll also post here. Only thing is I'll only be able to get down to London for the Friday as it's my boyfriend's birthday celebrations over the weekend and I have to work so if anyone wants my tickets for Monday and Tuesday (I have about 5 shows worth a day...), just holla via a comment below, leave an email or some way of contacting obv!

I have had NO pancakes today, sob.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Alexandra Verschueren

I decided to bring a little splash of colour into my rather monochrome blog, sadly I only managed one bright red coat... Ah well, I can't help which collection I fall in love with.

Alexandra Verschueren creates the most intricate, slightly confusing yet beautiful pieces. Beginning her life and career in Antwerp, she has had the perfect surrounding for creating beautiful pieces, so jealous, I want to live in Antwerp! She is inspired by the beauty of everyday things, such as paper folding. I love the 3D effect that many of these pieces have, they're so tactile and fascinating with an almost sculptural end result.
(images via Spot on textiles)

This is my 100th post, isn't that fun? To be fair, I've only really properly started blogging in recent weeks so I don't feel like it counts, ah well!

Ooh! Also, for any of you lovelies around Manchester (UK) this week, the company I work for are hosting an event in The General Store which will teach you everything you need to know about Styling, it's only a cheeky £5 PLUS there's 20% off all clothing in The General Store, free drinks and a DJ. Should be lots of fun and it would be nice to meet you :)

Click here for more info and to book tickets.
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