I’ve had a pretty amazing week, first Chanel, then confirmation that I am a fully fledged member of Handpicked Media, and then yesterday I popped along to a house in Covent Garden to meet the finalists of this year’s Fashion Fringe: Fyodor Golan, Heidi Leung, and Nabil El-Nayal, as well as past winners Jena.Theo *check out separate post coming tomorrow*.
Along with a few bloggers I had the chance to see their SS12 collections, find out their inspirations, generally have a chat, and get super excited for the final, which takes place during London Fashion Week.
If you aren’t familiar with Fashion Fringe let me bring you up to speed, it was set up in 2004 by Colin McDowell *who I love* and IMG Fashion to support emerging talented designers in London, and since then has helped the likes of Erdem, Basso & Brooke as well as last year’s winner the amazing Corrie Nielsen.
This year’s finalists are very strong, and so, so different, it was hard for me to pick my favourite, so I can only imagine how hard the decision is going to be for judges Claudia Schiffer, Roland Mouret, Bel Jacobs from the Metro, Anna Pitcher from Selfridges, and Roy Peach, London College of Fashion.
If you are worried about spoilers don’t be, I am only going to include sneak peeks of the collections, I totally believe that these amazing designs need to be seen in all their glory on the catwalk, with their models fully made-up and the music moving their stories along, and trust me it will be worth the wait as this year’s Fashion Fringe is going to be a good one!!
First up is label Fyodor Golan, which are L-R: Golan Frydman from Israel and Fyodor Podgorny from Latvia, who were so adorable and as well as being a design team they are such a balanced couple who speak so softly and passionately about their work. They both describe their ethos as “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, and they have a no compromise policy when it comes to their design process, which they said “leads to lots of talking”. I think it is their very different backgrounds that makes this such a unique label, it mixes influences from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, as well as their shared passion for London where they met. As well as passion they both have great fashion backgrounds and between them they have worked at Alexander McQueen, Raf Simons, Issey Miyake and Richard Nicoll.
For SS12 the duo have been inspired by Charles Baudelaire poem Les Fleurs du mal, translated into English is ‘Flowers of Evil’, which is the title of their collection, combined with flowers and nature by Vincent Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo. What I loved about Fyodor Golan was the story behind their collection, “it is about a nymph that lives through a painful metamorphosis”, which is why they say they are fascinated with “spines” that shows in this dress above as it has a sheer back panel, “grasping for support from the nature around her; gradually letting it consume her. It is a contrast of mind and physical beauty”.
I can’t wait to see this collection come down the catwalk as this white laser-cut leather dress is just exquisite, the detailing of the birds is amazing, and I love the contrast of the leather against the chiffon pleated sleeves and the sheer back panel.
Syrian-born Nabil Nayal is such a gent, I loved that even though it been a long day doing his look book photo shoot before our gathering, he was still excited to talk to us about his collection. Nabil is already award-winning he has won prestigious fashion awards including the Royal Society of Arts Award, the GFW ‘Best Womenswear’ Award and the BFC MA Scholarship Award; enabling him to study at the Royal College of Art. I wonder does this make him favourite to pick up Fashion Fringe as well??
Nabil’s SS12 collection is called ’All The Riches She Deserves’, and he described it as “my clothes are for rich women, not girls”, and features flowing gowns in transparent fabrics, luxury bespoke silk jacquards and even includes the same lace used on Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress.
I think Nabil’s collection is going to be the most spectacular on the catwalk just because of his couture techniques, the use of opulent fabrics and his feminine designs, from the gorgeous gold lace floor-skimming dress that I saw, which would look amazing on the red carpet. I also loved this cropped jacket, the embroidery looks amazing and there was also a smoke print on one of the dresses, Nabil was so generous in showing his collection I am very excited to see it in full. I nearly forgot Nabil’s shoes are to-die-for as they are all Nicholas Kirkwood beauties, I spied black pointed toe heels as well as knee-high boots.
The only girl in the competition, San Francisco-born Heidi Leung is so cute and stylish, check out the jacket she is wearing I was in love as soon as I saw it, and it is made by her as well. Heidi has been in living in London for five years now and has been an intern for some of the best in British fashion including Alexander McQueen and Christopher Kane.
Her love of fashion is evident and she counts Daphne Guinness and Diana Vreelandher as two of her greatest fashion influences. Fashion also runs in the family as she was telling us that her uncle has his own tailoring business and he has helped out the collection.
Out of the three finalists Heidi’s SS12 collection are maybe more wearable with a California girl-meets-oriental influences, I saw a lot of pleats and romantic floaty designs, but what caught my eye was the embroidered detailing on the flat panels they are divine. I won’t spoil it too much but this collection features the quirkiest footwear that has to be seen to fully love.
It is on days like this that I remember why I love fashion so much, I always get chills meeting fashion designers and more so when they are emerging as their passion is intoxicating. I just want to thank Fashion Fringe for such a wonderful day and good luck to all the finalists, it is going to be a tough call on who wins but each one will go onto do amazing things as they are all so talented.
Roll on September 17, I serious can’t wait!!!