127 posts tagged "Christopher Kane"
Some of fashion’s greatest talents have been NewGen winners, from Alexander McQueen to J.W. Anderson to Christopher Kane. Today, the British Fashion Council announced its next crop of rising stars who will receive support from NewGen and Topshop to show their Spring ’15 collections at London fashion week. Who will be the next Mary Katrantzou or Nicholas Kirkwood? According to the NewGen committee, it’s Lucas Nascimento, 1205, Marques’Almeida (Fall 2014 collection, pictured, left), Ashley Williams, Danielle Romeril, Faustine Steinmetz, Ryan Lo, and Claire Borrow. (Many of them are making their return to NewGen, but Williams and Steinmetz are first-timers.)
As part of the program, each of them will present on the LFW schedule (September 12-16), and they’ll have their own showroom for four hours after their show for sales appointments with buyers.
NewGen is the BFC’s primary outlet for supporting the best of London’s up-and-coming designers. Chaired by Sarah Mower, the NewGen committee selects designers they believe have the creativity, design aesthetic, and point of difference to handle NewGen’s program. The BFC also gives each designer individualized support and access to business seminars to help them build their global brands.
Mayfair: the most expensive square on the British Monopoly board. Mount Street: fast replacing Bond Street as the place to shop for the highest of fashions in London. At Number 9 Mount Street, Roksanda Ilincic is stood outside her new, and first, store–looking very beautiful, tall and glamorous as usual, and this is a sloppy, shop-fitting day for her–she is pointing up the road. “There’s Nicholas, and this is where Christopher is going to be and here is me,” she says, counting down from one to the other, genuinely thrilled to be next door-but-one to her friends and fashion peers, Nicholas Kirkwood and Christopher Kane.
Christopher and Tammy Kane are opening their store here later this year, while Jonathan Anderson’s newly logoed Loewe stands across the road. Marking how far this peer group of designers has travelled, by making the journey from Dalston in the Far East to the most Up West location of the lot, the new fashion establishment is well and truly taking over this seemingly most chi-chi part of London. Yet, at the same time, it is also one of the most peculiarly British places in the capital; international, yet strangely traditional, there is a butcher’s shop directly across the road. “Sometimes they have four whole pigs in the window—that’s my favorite shop,” says Ilincic, genuinely impressed by the amount of pigs they can squeeze in that store front. “That and Moynat. You should see the time they take and the detail to make bags, I am obsessed,” she says somewhat more expectedly of the quietly chic, French luxury leather goods house. In her own shop window is a creation by Gary Card, the set designer, which was unveiled yesterday evening. It meets somewhat metaphorically between the two.
It is such weird contradictions that go to make up the character and career of Roksanda Ilincic; so seemingly ethereal and yet, I am told, at times swearing like a sailor when attending football matches, she is always refreshingly down to Earth and always herself. The designer has a superb eye for color and an architectural flair–she originally trained as an architect in her native Belgrade before completing her Fashion MA at London’s Central Saint Martins. Both meet in the interior of her store, designed in conjunction with the internationally renowned architect David Adjaye OBE–his largest commission is the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Needless to say, he is somewhat impressive.
“We designed elements together because I wanted it to feel like an extension of my clothing, not a regular shop,” says the designer. “I studied architecture myself, so whether it is the interior or the detail on a coat in the store, it still has that architectural experience.” Ilincic says this while shifting seamless felt covered doors in characteristic colors from past collections that make up rooms downstairs. “There’s deep purple, lime-yellow, dusty pink, and neutral beige.” The designer has never been afraid of a strong palette and has not shied away from one in the store – yet, as always, it all works.
In the Mount Street location, there will also be a made-to-measure service, specializing in event-wear and wedding dresses, hence all the privacy and secrecy of those seamless doors. This line will carry the designer’s full name. But with the launch of the store there is also an eye on the bigger global market and a slight rebranding for the rest of the ready-to-wear collections: they will now be labeled “Roksanda,” as will the store. “Well, nobody seemed to be able to pronounce Ilincic,” shrugs the designer, disarmingly honest as usual. “And it just looked better graphically.” So with the launch of the store and the single moniker, it appears that the journey from the Far East to the Far West will now be a rapidly expanding global one – coming to a chi-chi shopping street near you.
Professor Louise Wilson, the inimitable director of the MA Fashion course at Central Saint Martins, died earlier this month at age 52. Today, her family released a statement saying that there will be a private funeral for the beloved educator in Scotland, as well as a memorial in London later this year. Furthermore, the statement revealed that a fund “to honor Professor Louise Wilson’s profound belief in access to fashion education” will be established in the near future. Wilson’s fierce dedication to her pupils (including Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and more) and their success was one of her most remarkable qualities. Thus, it’s hard to imagine a more fitting tribute than one that will aid the next generation of fashion students, particularly at a time when the cost of a design education in the U.K. is becoming increasingly prohibitive.
Why I Loved Louise Wilson: Katharine K. Zarrella Remembers What It Was Like to Be Taught by the Fearsome, Brilliant, and Irreplaceable Fashion Educator-------
I woke up to a devastating e-mail from Roger Tredre, my Central Saint Martins graduate tutor, this morning. “Louise Wilson has died,” read the subject line. “This is a great shock,” the message continued. “A very sad day.” Wilson, the revered Central Saint Martins Fashion MA course director, passed away in her sleep on Friday night. She was 52.
It is a sad day. Not only for the Saint Martins students fortunate enough to have been yelled at by the at once feared and adored professor, but for the fashion industry as a whole. Wilson, who was known to have some, let’s call them “unorthodox” teaching methods (screaming profanities was the least of it), helped mold many of the most brilliant design talents of the last twenty years. Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, and more all at one point stood (and probably cried) in her whitewashed office, the walls of which were covered in thank-you notes from graduates and heavy-hitting designers like Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz. He was a friend of Wilson’s who often came to speak at the school at her request. Such was the irreplaceable educator’s influence in the industry: While she was a force to be reckoned with—and a terrifying one at that—she was beloved by alums and movers and shakers alike. No one said no to Louise Wilson—not because they were afraid to, but because they didn’t want to.
I studied on the journalism pathway of the Central Saint Martins Fashion MA from 2010 until my graduation in 2012. And while I refused to admit it at the time, I was scared shitless of Louise. I remember the first day of my two-year stint at the school, when she walked into a room filled with aspiring journalists and designers and invited them to ask her questions about the course and the industry in general. It took a good while for anyone to come forward, thanks to Wilson’s famously intimidating presence. Eventually, I sheepishly raised my hand and inquired about her thoughts on a pair of American designers who were particularly hot at the moment. She leaned on the desk, looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Not much,” before taking the next question.
That was Louise’s way, both in conversation and education. She was refreshingly blunt, funny in the borderline offensive way that only the English can be, and had the ability to teach you more about not only fashion, but life in one terse sentence than most could in a decade. All eight of the students on my course initially thought Louise hated us. And who knows, in the beginning, she may have. She told us that we were “visually blind,” that we spat out too many words without saying anything, and, as a classmate noted today, she taught us that we needed to go to the design studio, not just the classroom, to learn how to be good fashion journalists.
I’ll never forget when I walked into her office to present the first draft of our class newspaper, The Central Saint Martins Journal, which was set to be distributed during the Fall ’12 CSM graduate show at London fashion week. Needless to say, she had her reservations (we were visually blind, after all) and wanted to ensure our work was fit to sit alongside that of her designers. At first, it wasn’t. She told me that the draft looked like a “venereal disease,” and proceeded to scream about writers’ lack of attention to aesthetics and the poor state of journalism for a solid forty-five minutes before dismissing me. After weeks of deliberating and arguing, the class decided that Louise’s disapproval only made us want our paper more.
She was surprised to see us back at her office door two months later, a second draft in hand. With a little guidance, we finally got her stamp of approval (we weren’t allowed to use any images, and our cover was blank, but that’s beside the point), and the final result still sits on my bookshelf. At the CSM show’s after-party, Louise gave me a hug, put her hands on my shoulders, and said, “Did you see it? It was on the seats!” before walking up the stairs of the since-shuttered London outpost of Le Baron nightclub.
That’s another thing about Louise. She didn’t wash her hands of you after you stepped off campus. Until her death, she attended many of her students’ fashion shows—I’d always see her backstage in London offering praise and, sometimes, advice to the likes of Louise Gray, Richard Nicoll, and Simone Rocha. She may have tortured them at Saint Martins, but she was there for them until the end. “She was a truly brilliant teacher because she showed students how to make ordinary work into extraordinary work, and took them on the journey with her,” recalls Tredre. “It was tough love all the way with Louise, but that tough love was, she believed, the best preparation for the real world.”
But it wasn’t just that Louise wanted her students to be prepared for the unforgiving beast that is the fashion industry—she wanted them to put their whole selves, and their best selves, into each stitch of their designs. She hated unnecessary flash; privileged, unwarranted arrogance; and, most of all, laziness. Nothing but heartfelt, sweat-infused perfection was allowed on the CSM fashion week runway. And given the caliber of collections we’ve seen year after year, her high standards paid off.
While I wasn’t as close to Louise as her design students, I still can’t begin to list all that she taught me. We don’t have the bandwidth. One thing I will say, though, is that her approach was flawless. For instance, during my final year, I needed to interview her for a story. She thought my questions were absolute crap and, as punishment, gave me only one-word responses. (Even so, they were some of the best answers I’ve gotten in my journalistic career.) Ever since, when preparing for an interview, I think to myself, Would Louise answer this? before settling on a query.
“There’s a phrase, ‘All fur coat and no knickers,’” Louise told me during a 2011 interview for Style.com. “Saint Martins has always focused on the knickers.” With that in mind, I’d like to say thank you, Louise, for helping me, and so many others, find our knickers.
Professor Louise Wilson, the renowned Central Saint Martins Fashion MA course director who launched the careers of former students like Lee Alexander McQueen, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Richard Nicoll, and more recently Simone Rocha and Craig Green, has died. She passed away in her sleep last night while visiting her sister in Scotland. She was 52.
A Saint Martins grad herself (she was lucky enough to have Ossie Clark as her tutor in the eighties), Wilson worked at the London-based college from 1992 through her death, taking a brief hiatus in the late nineties after being headhunted by Donna Karan. She was famed for her brash, often outrageous teaching tactics and outbursts, though her dedication to her students was never questioned—Wilson would consistently go above and beyond to help them grow, succeed, and earn placements at such houses as Lanvin and Balenciaga.
Wilson had been in poor health for some time due to breast cancer. She leaves behind her partner of more than thirty years and their son. Wilson was not only a pillar of the London fashion community—she was a veritable institution and inspiration for designers and fashion lovers worldwide. Many of today’s greatest talents owe her a huge debt of gratitude. She will be sorely missed.