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September 2 2014

styledotcom Designers give a sneak peek of what we'll see at their Spring shows: stylem.ag/1nSb0c1 @dkny pic.twitter.com/C3raT8rn6m

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3 posts tagged "London College of Fashion"

Haute for Teacher: Students Get an Inside Look at Dior Couture

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Students in the Dior Atelier

The official Haute Couture calendar published by the Chambre Syndicale had listed two Dior shows: one for press and a second for clients. But at 6 p.m. on Monday, a third show took place to accommodate a particularly special group of attendees.

Over the weekend, nearly eighty students from sixteen of the leading fashion schools around the world arrived in Paris for an immersive Dior experience. They visited the maison’s ateliers on Avenue Montaigne, participated in a conference with designers from across LVMH, and attended the Spring 2014 runway show.

“It’s good to see this world from the inside,” said 23-year-old Flora Miranda Seierl, who is in her final year at Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. “Today we heard from people who went to our schools who actually work at LVMH. You never think of it like this, but it’s real people doing real jobs. And so you realize that it’s not unreachable.”

Following the show, held on the grounds of the Musée Rodin, the group went somewhere usually reserved for VIPs: backstage.

“It’s like waiting for Madonna,” gushed Central Saint Martins fashion knitwear student Matty Bovan, as Dior creative director Raf Simons posed for photos and signed program notes.

“For me, in my position at this moment, it’s wonderful to connect with students and the atelier people who don’t get to see the show,” said the designer moments later.

Simons noted that an experience like this affords students some perspective—namely, to place personal goals ahead of commercial ones. “You shouldn’t think about the system, but just what you really, really believe in. And then in the beginning, you reach out to other people who believe in it, rather than those who are in control,” he said.

student dior show

Designer Walter Van Beirendonck, who showed his men’s collection in Paris last week and still teaches at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, said the access was invaluable to his students. “It’s a place that you don’t usually enter, and for students to see that and learn about this story and how it all works, it’s very amazing.”

The Antwerp connection was not by coincidence. Back when he was studying industrial design, Simons applied for an internship with Van Beirendonck, who accepted the graduate despite his lack of fashion experience.

But savoir faire is savoir faire, no matter the medium. Just ask Jo Miller, who is studying to be a milliner at the London’s Royal College of Art. “This will completely change how I feel about my own designs. It’s a completely different world and could only enrich my work.”

Or, as her teacher, hat designer Flora McLean, put it, “My students need to learn very specific technologies for how to make shoes and hats and handbags. I think there was more for them than anybody else because it’s both the technology and the dreamy parts.”

That dream, which ends today, extended beyond European institutions: Parsons The New School for Design and Pratt Institute in New York, as well as China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and Tokyo’s Bunka Fashion College, were among the invited schools.

When the idea was suggested to Simons that there should be a check-in five years later to see where the students landed, he smiled. “They will probably kick me out,” mused the designer. “But that’s how it should be. That’s the cycle.”

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Face Time With Coco Chanel

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Marion Pike and Coco Chanel leaning on the artist's portrait of the designer

On September 5, the London College of Fashion’s Fashion Space Gallery will unveil a new exhibition dedicated to Mademoiselle Coco Chanel. Curated by LCF professor Amy de la Haye, the show will feature portraits of the designer by the late California artist Marion Pike.

According to the painter’s obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle, Chanel allegedly “refused” to sit for portraits by such luminaries as Pablo Picasso but willingly obliged for her friend Pike. The five canvases on display depict both Chanel’s impeccable taste and tacit intelligence—there’s a sharpness in those eyes, even though the designer first posed for Pike at the age of 84. Chanel also invited Pike to spend seven months observing her work in Paris. Afterward, the artist told the Los Angeles Times, “The atmosphere was frayed nerves, excitement, enthusiasm, frustration, gloom, and energy. It was watching the creation of art in its purest sense.” In her career, Pike also painted Ronald Reagan (that piece made the cover of Time in 1966) and Pope John Paul II.

A number of Chanel-designed couture pieces will complement the expo, courtesy of Pike’s daughter, Jeffie Pike Durham. The show will run until November 16.

Fashion Space Gallery is located at 20 John Princes Street in London.

Photo: Courtesy of Fashion Space Gallery

Gwendoline Christie: Glamazon Warrior

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Most know Gwendoline Christie for her role as the armor-clad Brienne of Tarth on HBO’s fantasy smash Game of Thrones (get ready, the new season kicks off March 31). But when Ms. Christie’s not running through a Westeros battlefield, she’s a full-fledged member of London’s tight-knit fashion pack. You might find her cheering (and we mean cheering) at a good LFW show, squeezed into the front row between Princess Julia and Lulu Kennedy (Christie never misses the runways of close friends like Roksanda Ilincic, Louise Gray, Giles Deacon, and Henry Holland, just to name a few), and the bulk of her GOT press wardrobe was courtesy of pal Richard Nicoll. The six-foot, three-inch actress actually got her start modeling in student shows at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. “I feel quite passionately about London Fashion,” Christie told Style.com. “I think some of the most creative and interesting and brilliant people I know are involved in fashion, and I’m lucky enough that they’re my friends.”

Naturally, however, playing a die-hard warrior will have an effect on one’s look. “I had to cut my hair for Game of Thrones, which I found really hard. I find it quite embarrassing to admit that, but I think a lot of a woman’s femininity is tied up with her hair. Afterward, I had quite a big style overhaul,” says the actress, noting she used to study film-noir stars and covet a “sex bomb” Marilyn Monroe aesthetic. “Now, I look to people like Jean Shrimpton, Katharine Hepburn, Twiggy, and Greta Garbo in her more masculine stage.” Christie’s since embraced her ultra-androgynous makeover (pretty on trend, if we do say). “I think that’s more interesting—like a modern reimagining of femininity.” Continue Reading “Gwendoline Christie: Glamazon Warrior” »