4 posts tagged "BFC"
Given that the Olympics are under way, why not incorporate that competitive spirit into fashion? That was Anna Orsini’s thought process when organizing the British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase 2014—a ten-day event that kicks off on February 13 at 180 The Strand. The initiative is a joint effort between the BFC and the British Council that will allow about 150 designers from twenty-five countries to present their Fall ’14 collections. In order to participate, designers had to be nominated by their country’s embassy or cultural attaché. The designers also must work with a “fashion authority”—e.g., a council, a shop, an individual, or a society. The competitive aspect is not so much cutthroat as convivial. “Given that it is an Olympic year, our aims were to take the spirit of competiveness and blend it with concepts of fraternity and excellence,” Orsini told Style.com.
“A whole group of international buyers and press comes to London fashion week, so the idea was to give these designers from places like Estonia and the Philippines not only a platform to show their skills, but also to encourage creative output at the highest level, knowing that they are going to be scrutinized by judges, press, and buyers alike,” she explained. “We decided to award prizes at the end because, sometimes, it takes competitiveness to bring out the very best, to really get those creative juices flowing.” At the end, the thirteen-member jury (which includes Sarah Mower, Susie Lau, and an elite grouping from the V&A Museum and Central Saint Martins) will vote for three winners in different categories. In lieu of medals, the champions will each receive a gong designed by Husam El Odeh. Who will take the podium is anyone’s guess, but the U.N. might want to pay attention. There’s no telling what new heights of international diplomacy might be reached once the fash pack gets involved.
Now in its fourth year, the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announced its shortlist of nominees today. Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, and Emillia Wickstead are all up for the £200,000 prize, which was won in previous years by Erdem, Christopher Kane, and Jonathan Saunders. The winner will be named on January 29 after the designers present their collections to a panel of industry professionals that includes British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, the BFC’s Caroline Rush, Lisa Armstrong, Browns’ Joan Burnstein, and more. An intimidating bunch? Sure. But with a career-boosting 200 grand on the line, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
London’s menswear shows may be just around the corner, but today, the spotlight is on the city’s womenswear designers, as the British Fashion Council announced the 14 up-and-comers who have won NEWGEN sponsorship for Fall 2013. Joining alumni like Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou, and Jonathan Saunders, the recipients include Simone Rocha—who broke out as a star last season with her plastic lace and neon collection—and, not surprisingly, J.W. Anderson, who, as was announced last month, will be designing a capsule collection for Versus in addition to his eponymous line. Knitwear designer Lucas Nascimento and the eco-chic Christopher Raeburn also made the list, along with accessories designer Sophia Webster. The former assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood, Webster put forth a range of bright, graphic heels for her debut collection last season and has emerged as one to watch in the quirky-cool world of London fashion. To see the full list of winners, visit the BFC’s Web site.
Some arena-playing rock bands travel less than young London’s designers. Those blessed by the British Fashion Council as part of the roving London Showrooms coterie have been on a whistle-stop world tour of late, hitting Paris, Hong Kong, L.A., and now, finally, New York, where they set up shop this morning to show their Spring wares to U.S.-based editors and buyers. To judge from the group assembled—including James Long, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, Holly Fulton, Louise Gray, Marios Schwab, and milliner Nasir Mazhar—the journey may have tired them, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Almost every designer queried revealed he or she had picked up international stockists along the way; among the city’s reigning favorites, Long and Anderson drew the most attention, but even the youngest in the crowd can now boast increased U.S. visibility. Central Saint Martins grad Simone Rocha, who showed her first solo outing this Spring after a few seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, now sells her vintage-lace dresses, fluoro tulle sheer layering skirts, and plastic raincoats at Opening Ceremony. Craig Lawrence, a 2011 NEWGEN winner who showed loose-weave knits and cropped, elasticized jumpers, is at several Henry Beguelin locations. Interested buyers were swarming, suggesting more reach is at hand for many present.
New categories and techniques were on display, too. Jeweler and sculptor Jordan Askill introduced pieces with ethical amethyst, sourced from a mine in Zambia, which he worked into silver pieces with his trademark swallows (below left). (A giant swallow cuff, which opened to reveal a hidden compartment, blurred the line between his two pursuits.) Also in the new collection were his first fine-jewelry pieces, with tiny diamonds surrounding a faceted, hand-carved swallow pendant. Holly Fulton had begun working with mother-of-pearl for accessories and real seashells for statement-making jackets; the trick, she confided, is finding shells of uniform shape. Tait, whose finely wrought, voluminous pieces suggest Couture shapes, had a surprising new footwear collaboration: a set of crisscrossed trainers he designed with Nike. (He was wearing a pair himself, as was a model; he had no plans to produce them, he revealed, but persistent interest on the part of buyers may change all that.) And Sibling’s Cozette McCreery was on hand to show off her knitwear label’s first official women’s line, Sister by Sibling. Women had been ordering small men’s sizes for so long, she said, that she and her co-designers, Sid Bryan and Joe Bates, decided finally to cut and knit for them. They were cropped neon and sequin leopard tops (left) and two complementary, sweatshirt-style sweaters emblazoned with the words LOVE and HATE. They’d sold, she said, about evenly, though she expected more interest in LOVE. Call it a knitted insight into the human race.