5 posts tagged "London"
London is a hotbed of young talent in fashion, and the city is known for supporting the young, the wild, and the penniless like few other fashion capitals. Just in time for London fashion week, Style.com checked in with three of the city’s most exciting emerging designers. First up: Simone Rocha.
“It’s a whole other gaggle of fish!” says Irish-born designer Simone Rocha, 24, of her first solo runway show, set to take place on September 18. After graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2010, Rocha was spotted by Lulu Kennedy and, for the past two seasons, has shown her strong yet ethereal womenswear collection under the umbrella of Kennedy’s nonprofit fashion initiative, Fashion East. “I’m nervous and excited—I feel like it’s a really good time to be flying solo,” she adds about the leap. But while Rocha may be a new face, she’s no stranger to the fashion business. Thanks to her father, designer John Rocha, Simone has been around the runway since before she can remember.
For her Spring collection, Rocha builds on last season’s inspiration, the work of artist Louise Bourgeois. “I looked at her lace works and hanging garments and tried to trap them into the clothes,” she says. That spawned sheer rubber skirts, the waistbands of which are inlaid with delicate lace, as well as a range of geometric rubber handbags that are infused with a sense of nostalgia via attached vintage lace gloves. The neutral, airy collection’s feminine notes, like the frills of a shapely white lace skirt and occasional pops of pink, are balanced by the strength of a black blazer with sheer arms, as well as unexpected cutouts, a series of sharp silk crepe and stretch cotton shirts, and elevated brogues. “I’m trying to contrast modern tailoring and classic shapes with femininity,” she says. The same holds true of her upcoming Topshop capsule collection, which hits stores in New York and London on September 15.
“It’s a jungle in here.” That’s the tag for Ninivah Khomo’s new shop on Walton Street in London’s Knightsbridge. The logo is a whiskered panther; a riot of animal prints turns the place into a shrine to the feline; and Michael Roberts’ interior re-creates a sun-bleached beach hut on the rim of the rain forest in Bahia, hand-stenciled palm fronds, slatted screens, and all.
It’s been six years since Khomo last had a shop, but, in one of fashion’s curious little synchronicities, the designer is re-entering the retail fray at the same moment that graphic tropical prints, succulent color, and a forties-filtered-through-seventies silhouette (bowed necklines, ruched sleeves, and tea dresses) are major Spring trends. Add a healthy helping of leopard to those three ingredients and you’ve got Ninivah’s exotic dish in a Brazil nutshell.
Most of Khomo’s spectacular prints come from Roberts’ 1998 book The Jungle ABC. The two met when she was at Central Saint Martins in the late seventies and he was fashion editor for The Sunday Times. “Great prints, great eye, great editing,” Khomo says of her friend’s graphic skills, all of them on parade in a silk georgette tea dress in an orchidaceous pink and black pattern, or a vibrant banana print that should give Miuccia a run for her money come spring. Yesterday, Roberts was meticulously cutting out little palm fronds from a swath of green felt and arranging them on the back of a black cocoon coat, a foretaste of next fall’s offerings. Currently available, a gilded leopard gown would do full justice to a haute Hollywood goddess, Joan Crawford, say, in Jungle Red nail polish. “I was never going to be a minimalist or the kind of designer who was searching for something alternative,” the designer purrs.
If the flamingos, parrots, and palm trees are right now, Khomo’s big cats have been seducing customers for decades. “It was never ethnic,” she muses. “I just always loved Biba and 1930′s glamour and Art Deco.” Input from Khomo’s glamorously leggy daughter Delilah guarantees that everything stays on the right side of retro. Leopard shorts? No wonder equally long-limbed lovelies like Charlotte Dellal are Ninivah fans.
My week started off with a trip to London to attend a dinner hosted in my honor by Natalie Massenet and Net-a-Porter. I haven’t been to London in quite some time and was looking forward to going back. After flying overnight from New York, I was taken to Blakes, where I would be staying. I was struck by the eclectic decor; each room is an “environment” and one of a kind. I heard that Mickey Rourke frequented the hotel and wondered if I’d run into him. I loved The Wrestler! After settling in, I headed to the Net-a-Porter headquarters on the top level of the historical Whiteleys Centre, but not before spotting a waffle stand downstairs and indulging in a Nutella-covered slice—delicious. In addition to meeting many British press throughout the day, we launched my first exclusive dress for Net-a-Porter, an embroidered silk sheath done in citron and cream. I was glad to hear that the shipment had just arrived from New York, and that many dresses sold in the hours after it went live. It was back to Blakes for dinner. The restaurant is lovingly decorated in East-meets-West style but with a distinct spin by its owner/designer Anouska Hempel. A fabulous group of editors and Net-a-Porter faithfuls including Lisa Armstrong, Style.com’s Sarah Mower, Jane Bruton, Calgary Avansino, Pippa Holt, Fi Rubie, Lucy Yeomans, and Sam Conti attended and many came wearing my designs—what a lovely surprise! The next morning, before heading back to New York, I took Natalie’s advice and stopped by Notting Hill on my way to the airport to visit one of her favorite vintage shops, One. The store is a fantastic little jewel box filled with vintage treasures. I spotted a thirties beaded gown that was so fabulous; I definitely left inspired. Heading down the street I spotted Sarah Lerfel from Colette. What a coincidence! We caught up briefly before I stopped by Julie’s for a little lunch, where they serve very English dishes such as cottage pie, and Julie herself took our orders. I was happy to have a few moments to take in the city before I wrapped up my 24-hour jaunt.
“9:30, Sean coming, 11:30, workout, 5:00, David Letterman, 8:00, Showtime, 1:00, Meet Sandra.” Three guesses on whose handwritten journal this is. Well, considering the Sean is Penn and Sandra is old buddy Bernhard, you guessed right. This agenda, along with thousands of other personal effects, was brought together for a major Madonna moment—Simply Madonna: Materials from the Girl, an exhibition at The Old Truman Brewery in London. Along with notes, unknown lyrics, canceled checks, and the odd music video award, there are clothes, clothes, clothes. The pink bustier dress from the “Material Girl” video; the Jean Paul Gaultier black bustier from “Open your Heart;” the Evita wedding dress—all present and accounted for. Fans, historians, and stars—including Noel Gallagher, Vivienne Westwood, Bill Wyman, and a gaggle of Jagger offspring—packed into the Brick Lane space to soak up the Madge-factor. “It was a labor of love,” said curator Ted Owens as a Japanese viewer nearly fainted in front of the “Truth or Dare” pearls. “Of course, we would love Madonna to be here now and see this major love in, but I guess she is little busy right now with her divorce.” Yes, just a tad. All the items will be up for auction, which prompted the question: Does Mr. Owen think they’ll get the price they’d like, for, say, the “Material Girl dress? “Darling, Madonna is recession-proof.”
For your next dinner party, stick to American caviar only, please. It’s practically a steal at $49 for two ounces! We’re glad food magazines are getting real.
Now would be a good time to befriend some Russians. They like home cinemas and well-trimmed topiary, and they’re buying only the best of both all over London.