1. by Alexander Fury .

    Fashion In Film Festival: If Looks Could Kill

    Trekking between shows, press-days and shoots, it’s perhaps hackneyed (not to mention a little complacent) to complain that fashion is murder. However, under the bannerhead If Looks Could Kill: Cinema’s Images of Fashion, Crime and Violence, this year's Fashion in Film festival explores this idea in a rather darker vein. The bi-annual event programme curated by Marketa Uhlirova and associate Christel Tsillbaris focuses on themes of violence, felony and transgression in all shapes, sizes and guises as represented through cinema. Work ranges widely, showcasing a range of iconic classics, rare archival pieces and several London and UK premieres, from Italian Horror maestro Dario Argento’s Giallo thriller ‘The Bird with the Crystal Plumage’, to the 1945 Noirish melodrama ‘Leave Her to Heaven’, to Czech silent ‘The Kidnapping of Fux Banker’ (featuring a cameo by couturier Paul Poiret himself). Unusually, this festival kicks-off with newly-commissioned pieces: curated by Louise Clark and Laura McLean-Ferris and showcased at the Tate Modern, ‘Co-Conspirators’ features work from eight artists who have collaborated with the Festival to create new work exploring the themes raised by the existing films within.

    Far from merely focussing on the ‘fashion’ film, “If Looks Could Kill” explores the manner in which fashion and clothing is utilised by an enormous range of film to underline and accent themes of violence and misdemeanour - often subtle, sometimes literal, and occasionally plunging the viewer into glorious cinematic excess. From 10-31 May 2008, “If Looks Could Kill” will be showcased at a variety of venues across London.

    Recent comments

    1. KirstyAlsoppFanclub
      15:59 6 May 2008
      The programme looks stupendous but I can't find a link to book tickets. Is there one?
    2. joanneK
      18:52 6 May 2008
      There's no centralised booking - you have to book with the specific venue.
    3. PennyMartin
      13:24 7 May 2008
      What you booked for Joanne? Let me guess...Desire? Office Killer?
  2. by Alexander Fury .

    Marketa Uhlirova on the Fashion In Film Festival

    As our own Political Fashion season draws to a close, another examination of fashion through the moving image is just about to begin (there must be something in the air). The second Fashion in Film festival kicks off this Saturday, and therefore the time seemed right to speak with programme curator Marketa Uhlirova about the ideas both behind and within If Looks Could Kill: Cinema’s Images of Fashion, Crime and Violence.

    Recent comments

    1. GalileosUniverse
      08:24 9 May 2008
      I enjoyed that interview ! ...'Blood and Black Lace' definitely a great feast to the eye ( as in fashion ) ... immaculate ... the scene where the bag is waiting to be taken and building up the suspense is just absolutely perfect ! ... a great inspiration for a Prada-add-bag ... perhaps ? :)
    2. michellemarion
      13:01 10 May 2008
      The movie did not work.
  3. by Alexander Fury .


    As a self-confessed Dietrich groupie, the highlight of the fashion in festival for me was always going to be the 1936 comedy 'Desire', especially when set within the Deco confines of the Ciné Lumière in Kensington. Décor aside, the legendary, lovely Marlene never fails to please. 'Desire' was the first film made following the acrimonious split between Dietrich and Blue Angel director (and some say svengali) Josef von Sternberg after a tangled working relationship spanning seven Paramount pictures in the early thirties.

    Perhaps in contrast with Von Sternberg's artistic, histrionic output, 'Desire' is as light and frothy as a soufflé. Dietrich and Gary Cooper are somewhat typecast: Cooper as Tom Bradley, a hard-working, square-jawed all-American engineer, and Dietrich as Madeleine de Beaupre, a jewel thief of ill-defined yet exotically European nationality. The plot, on the whole, is as flimsy as Marlene's many many mousseline negligees: Madeleine filches a priceless string of pearls from a Parisian jeweller, hiding them on Tom's person to evade customs while escaping to Spain. The trouble then, of course, is getting the pearls back - complicated by the fact that Madeleine and Tom manage to fall in love along the way (naturally enough). All the while, Dietrich seems to reason that the best way to evade the authorities is, in the words of the late great Isabella Blow, "to flummox them with a look". How else to account for costume designer Travis Banton's luxurious creations? Dietrich flees dripping in bias chiffon and throttled with fox as thick as clotted cream topped with equally sublime millinery: not to mention Madeleine's egret-feather sleeves as she tinkles away at the piano for her 'Awake In A Dream' number (whatever happened to Hollywood's compulsory musical aside I wonder?). All exquisite, glossy and highly implausible: but they didn't call it the dream factory for nothing. Sit back, suspend your disbelief, and revel in all the glamour of Hollywood’s true Golden Age.


    1. Zafer
      04:48 21 Oct 2012
      She is no Marlene Dietrich. She is Beyonce, an icon in her own right. She has proven hleersf in her craft as a person who did it and mastered it. So put her on the same list as Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Dandridge, etc.; but although she makes the list, she also stands alone.
  4. by Alexander Fury .

    Hot under the collar at Swarovski 'Runway Rocks'

    'Hot' was very much the buzz word word for last night's Swarovski 'Runway Rocks', held at the Phillips de Pury gallery in Victoria (most recently the frenzied scene of that Dover Street Market Super-Sale), as dodgy air-con sent temperatures soaring in the packed show and ice was hastily added to every drink.

    Glassy-eyed and shiny-faced as we were by the time the show began, the crystal-strewn offerings were fair distraction from the adverse weather conditions. Swarovski's intention in staging these shows is to showcase both the variety of their products, and the constant innovation in their application by a wide range of designers - and last night it worked. Fashion designers, jewellers and even architects came together under the Swarovski banner to reinterpret the company's wares in pieces that blurred the line between jewellery, fashion and art installation (of sorts).

    By and large, the traditional Swarovski brilliant-cut white crystal was in scant supply - as trimming to Erickson Beamon and Mr Peal's respective showgirl corsets, perhaps, or strapped over Christopher Kane's flesh lace minidress - leaving it to King of Bling Julien Macdonald to give it a typically dazzling workout in a crystal mesh flapper dress. Elsewhere, creations were somewhat more esoteric: jeweller Shaun Leane silver-plated cherry-blossom twigs and encrusted them with crystal flowers; Hussein Chalayan's 'Readings' laser dress uses faceted crystals to refract LED beams; and Marios Schwab's creation combined the attenuated silhouette of his 2008 winter collection with spring's antomical harnessing, trussing a model in amethyst pearls.

    Sending glittering models spinning like cabochons in a jewel-box, the rotating platforms set into the runway underlined the fact that this show was of course far removed from fashion. 'Runway Rocks' was a spectacle, just as much about showcasing Swarovski's wares as those revolving lead-crystal swans in Swarovski boutiques (but, of course, far far chicer). What is interesting about this show, and the accompanying exhibition, is how through close collaboration with generations of new fashion talent, the once-staid brand has managed to cleverly reposition itself at the very cutting edge of fashion.

    Swarovski's 'Runway Rocks' exhibition, part of Coutts London Jewellery Week, opens to the public on 12 June 2008 at Phillips de Pury Gallery, SW1

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    The Generation Game

    Cristobal Balenciaga retired from fashion with the immortal refrain 'it was a dog's life.' Forty years later, the business of being a young - or not-so-young - fashion upstart is still by no means easy, regardless of talent. Now in it's (slightly staggering) 14th season, the British Fashion Council's NewGen scheme offers many a fledgling designer the support they need to fly solo. With Cum Laude alumni including weighty luminaries like Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and more recent recipients Christopher Kane and Marios Schwab, NewGen counters an oft-bemoaned surfeit of talent and lack of cash in British Fashion, providing valuable sponsorship and in turn helping to maintain London's reputation of consistent creativity.

    Each season, catwalk sponsorship goes to five - for Spring, the recipients are Louise Goldin, Danielle Scutt, MeadhamKirchhoff, House of Holland and Peter Pilotto. Amongst those receiving exhibition support, it was great to see two 2008 MA graduates - Mary Katrantzou and Simone Shailes - whose arresting collections caught our ever-roving eyes back in London Fashion Week. Elsewhere, accessory designer Nasir Mazhar (another early SHOWstudio spot ) will be holding an as-yet-unidentified magical mystery millinery 'happening' at Dover Street Market. Watch this space...


    1. JoshBaker
      20:00 18 Jun 2008
      It's fantastic to see such good support for those breaking into the industry.
  6. Recent comments

    1. BabyAnne
      14:47 11 Jul 2008
      I salute with you, The Wild Beasts are AMAZING!
    2. la
      22:08 16 Jul 2008
      I would second that. The lead singers voice is beautifully haunting.
      I am sure this band will be huge.
  7. by Alexander Fury .

    Jason Evan's Wild Beasts

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    Great Evans!

    As if filling the studio with oddly-outfitted creatures wasn't enough, Jason Evans has literally invited The Wild Beasts in (the band, obviously) to perform a live set for us. Just in case you were curious, those fetching (and very YSL) leopard-n-zebra bodysuits come direct from Japan. We'll take one in every big-cat print you've got.

  8. by Alexander Fury .

    Send in Michael Clark

    If you were listening to the link provided by Penny and I, you may not make the immediate connection with Michael's current airplay. But fear not - this is merely the audio warm-up accompanying the stretch and flex of his corps de ballet. The above image gives a hint of what is to come - as the dancers strike fourth, fifth and sixth positions, the London Symphony Orchestra play Michael's particular musical obsession - Sondheim's 1973 ballad 'Send In the Clowns' from the musical 'A Little Night Music'. In a similar fashion, we've dimmed the lights here at Abbey Road, and will be bringing you their live performance very very soon...

  9. by Alexander Fury .

    Back to Katy's

    Through Gideon Ponte's ever-changing set, Penny and I caught a glimpse of Katy England's front room, recreated with no expense spared in Studio 1 at Abbey Road. Her hour or so at the mic, titled 'Back to Mine' and with a gaggle of friends to boot, is coming up next!

  10. by Alexander Fury .

    A bientôt Monsieur Pugh!

    In the midst of our Future Tense project celebrating new fashion talent, it seems apt to bid farewell (or rather bon voyage) to one of London's brightest stars of recent years. On Sunday night, our own Fashion DJs fave Richard Mortimer played host to Gareth Pugh's goodbye bash at his monthly Ponystep party. Pugh, London's favourite enfant terrible, agent provocateur and a whole host of excessive fashion Franglais all translating as exciting new talent, is upping sticks and skipping across le manche to show in Paris from S/S 2009. After the sophisticated polish of his last show it was only a matter of time, although the not-insignificant cash injection offered by his recent ANDAM win certainly hurried along matters. Pugh was in jubliant mood, spinning a rather unique selection along with a little help from his friends (Hanna Hanra and Matthew Stone, that is) into the wee small hours. We wait with breath that is baited for Paris Fashion Week, and for quite what Gareth will do next...


    1. GalileosUniverse
      12:27 28 Aug 2008
      And let's hope they won't tame such energetic and beautifully fantastic creativity !
  11. by Alexander Fury .

    ...pour celles qui s'adonnent à Yves Saint Laurent

    There are increasingly few things that will drag me onto the cold wet streets of London on a Saturday morning - but Yves Saint Laurent is an exception to every rule. Today, YSL's latest 'Manifesto', featuring Inez and Vinoodh's acclaimed campaign for the esteemed house starring the no-less venerated Ms Naomi Campbell, was distributed to over half-a-million enthusiasts across Paris, New York, London, Milan, Tokyo and Hong Kong. But, for the third season of YSL's 'hands-on' approach to advertising, there's an added bonus: the first five thousand passers-by in each city received their Manifesto suitably attired in a cotton tote with an inverted print of the house's iconic Cassandre logo (devised by Mr Stefano Pilati himself).

    If you didn't get out of bed early enough to snag your own, a behind-the-scenes film of the campaign and the Manifesto images themselves are on now.

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    Many apologies...

    No, those are not my real eyes reduced to mere pinpricks through the fatigue of London Fashion Week, but the googly-eyed invite to Giles' outstanding show earlier this evening. Due to a couple of teething problems with our new and rather snazzy cameraphone, our runway coverage has been delayed. But with God as my witness I will get it up before the day is out!

  13. by Alexander Fury .

    The Walk Through at Aquascutum

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    Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Or rather, everything blue. That was evidently the message Aquascutum decided simply screamed 2009. The old is the label, the new is the design team, and the borrowed is, ironically, the blue - borrowed from Rothko's abstractions. However, the ubiquity of this particularly colour on the runway suggested more Yves Klein's use of his own eponymous hue, a searing shade that did pop up (and pop out my contact) for a single-shouldered slinky sheath. The show began with a clutch of white outfits, then a white coat siffused from the hem up with blue, like paint applied to a canvas. From then on it was every shade from cerulean through cobalt to indigo - a somewhat oppressive shade for summer, which unfortunately made up the vast majority of the outfits. Other painterly effects could be seen in a toying with perspective, and in abstract ruffles applied like brush-strokes in planes along silk trench-coats or dresses. More pedestrian were narrow accordian-pleats and periwinkle floral embroidery, all too reminiscent of provincial needlepoint classes. In these times of hyper-speed change of theme and focus within single collections, never mind season to season, it was kind of refreshing to see one idea followed through so thoroughly. But just as Picasso's blue period reflected a time of profound depression, so this show hit the same baleful note of woe.


    1. Carlos
      20:37 7 Apr 2013
      I just couldn't reisst this little giveaway and had to leave a few words.I've gone ahead and gotten some brightly colored tights to pair with darling dresses for the chilly season to come and can't help but think that this scarf would be the perfect last addition to my winter wardrobe (and I LOVE the turquoise color!) Brilliant and beautiful wrapped (hopefully around my neck) in one!Thank you and have a wonderful weekend! :)
  14. by Alexander Fury .

    The Walk Through at Eley Kishimoto

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    In Baudelaire's words, genius is childhood recovered at will. Eley Kishimoto certainly thought so, basing their entire spring show around childish wonderlands, fairytale characters and the monsters and ghouls of toddlers' imaginations. All provided ample inspiration for their prints - always "kawaii," but this season even more than usual. Rainbows were etched with butterflies, lizards creepy-crawled across crepe dresses and a series of shifts resembled childrenswear endearingly knocked up, Von Trapp-style, from seventies caravan curtains (albeit rather chicer). The riot of print extended to hats, tights and even crash-helmets, sometimes matching, sometimes clashing. And so it should be. Print is always their overwhelming strength and focus and the Eley Kishimoto team otherwise wisely keep lines clean and simple: a touch of playful trompe l'oeil, a few sequins and a zingy colour palette of satsuma, lemon and grape let the patterns do the talking. Recently handed the reigns of French pret-a-porter bastion Cacharel, their unerring graphic eye is even more in demand than usual. Luckily this show proved that Eley Kishimoto have more than enough ideas and vitality to split across two fashion capitals.

  15. by Alexander Fury .

    The Walk Through at Christopher Kane

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    "Wilma Flintstone" were genuinely the first words that fell out of my mouth at Christopher Kane's opening outfit, an oddly-cutworked skirt and leopard-knit sweater in primary red and yellow. And indeed, The Flinstones were his inspiration, evidenced in the tough, prehistoric hoof-like shoes, animal prints and, most consistently, in Stegarausus-eque semi-circular protrusions that jutted in wobbly ridges from arms, dripped from hems, outlined back seams... you get the idea. This season, Wilma was dressed by Pierre Cardin, or perhaps Roberto Capucci, during their sixties heydays: how else to account for the undulating layers of organza petals on sweater-dresses and high-waisted, rounded skirts in those oh-so-Space Age shades of apple-green, orange and white? These are, coincidentally, the saturated mid-century hues of technicolor (just like those cartoony big-cat prints) so maybe that was part of the Hanna-Barbera point. Tugging in some references to Planet of The Apes - gorilla imagery, pleated gladiator skirts and some decidedly dodge motheaten marabou trims - and you have the play between stone-age and space-age that was pretty much the whole story for S/S 2009. Kane's collections often riff on one or two key visuals - neon-elastic and lace, velvet and leather, denim and snakeskin - but this time it seemed to be riffing a single, discordant note. The leopard cashmeres were nice, but disappeared quickly. Later, when the stiff geometry softened and the infuriating dinosaur lumps reduced in size and frequency, they kind of worked as decorative device on chiffony tea-dresses pulled closer to the body in styles similar to last season. Marabou-trimmed negligees were also offered as alternative evening attire, although their similarity to cheap and sleazy nightgowns proffered as limp aids to flagging libidos and marital trouble-and-strife was too blatant to be ignored. Kane has shown he can pump out ideas that set the world alight. He has proved he isn't a one-trick pony. He's proved he can do slick and commercial, alongside joyously crass clothes just the right side of bad taste to be instant must-haves. What he was trying to prove in this show remains a mystery - but it's almost certain he missed the mark by a long shot.

  16. by Alexander Fury .

    The Walk Through at Louise Goldin

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    If Christopher Kane was inspired by The Flintstones, Louise Goldin took Judy Jetson as her heroine, spinning us on a breathtaking, awe-inspiring journey into outer space. Inspired by satellite views of the earth through remote sensing (that old chestnut), Goldin's research pushed her aesthetic towards NASA-esque shapes that abstract away from the body and an icy palette of clinical white, NHS blue and the palest hint of fleshy pink. A development from last season's Neo-Nanook eskimos, Goldin again looked forwards to a Brave New (fashion) World that for once seemed all of that without lapsing into the unbelieavably (and unwearably) conceptual. Her spikey paler-than-pale disco-futurism may have had roots in the sixties (apparently a major theme this season), but her interpretation was completely contemporary and even visionary. The technique required to make these clothes was extraordinary, as were the visual effects she achieved: her own description of Swarovski-crystal strewn patterns casting a 'phosphorescent light' over fleshy bodysuits was ample summary for the eerie vision of models glowing with a light that truly seemed otherworldly. Her use of print was also incredible: two layers of clinical organza printed with satellitte-derived images of earth managed to move and morph across the body, creating a cataract-blurred, maleable vision of a landscape in fluctuating orbit. Sometimes, it doesn't feel as if Louise Goldin gets her fair dues. Perhaps this is connected with knitwear, oft-perceived as the knit-one purl-one pursuit of bedridden grandmothers rather than a unique fashion technique offering designer the almost-unique opportunity to craft the very textile their clothes are constructed from. Last season, her show was stand-out, This season, it was sensational. Her talent is huge and hopefully she's about to go deservedly stellar.


    1. la
      18:47 25 Oct 2008
      In my opinion Louise Goldin is creating some of the most exciting knitwear around at the moment.
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