Saturday, 23 February 2013

#ESPspotlight Review: 'Felicities Presents...' Showcase - LONDON FASHION WEEK SPECIAL, PART TWO


We all know the saying; 'you never forget your first'.

It proved undeniably true last Sunday as I attended my very first London Fashion Week. Invited by prestigious Fashion, Music and Creative PR agency, Felicities; this lucky little wannabe fashion bunny got to enjoy the works of some truly talented artists presenting at our Capital's first major showing of 2013.


First off, I have to say that it's very rare to come across such a friendly and welcoming bunch of people! My lovely photog Allie Suwanrumpha and I were made to feel right at home from the very beginning. Even more remarkable, was how genuinely interested they were to hear our take on the works presented throughout the night. The authentic engagement with guests by the promotional company - separate to the Artistes on show - is something I've yet to experience in 14 years of event management. Thumbs were already up before I entered the grandeur of Somerset House.

The bitter, bitter (read downright evil) cold coming off the Thames on Sunday evening was forgotten as soon as I entered the beautiful foyer. Fascinated by the bold daring of true 'Fashionistas' - I've since learned this has become one of those terms, like 'Diva', that has earned a negative connotation, completely separate to it's original definition. What I saw on display was the visual meaning in it's purest form; Visionaries with the courage to go beyond the realm of normal understanding with vivacity and ingenuity.

Back to the show and the jawdropping feats of design in the magnificent Naval Staircase forewarned that we were in for something spectacular - and that was just from the decor. There was an unmistakable electricity in the air as we ascended to the Portico Room; passing one of a kind pieces adorning the oval stairway, works of art were literally suspended in space and time, making you want to hush as you spoke, and that was really only if you absolutely felt the need to speak at all...

The Nelson Stair in Somerset House's West Wing. Lushness at it's ACTUAL finest...

Short film collections from each of the four designers showing kicked things of; looped in two seated corners throughout the night, so guests had the choice of browsing the collection rails hanging in the front and meeting the designers first, or watching their creations in the modern daystorybook settings they visualised on screen...




Expecting catwalks and lots of flashing cameras, I was only half-right as the show got underway. Clearly a popular group; the crowd doubled in the time it took me to cross the gallery and make a beeline for the screens. I did my best to ignore the rich, sumptuous shapes I had to pass en route...those models were a sight to behold and boy did they know how to work a creation! Reminded of my talk with the one and only Caryn Franklin MBE last week, it dawned on me at that moment that I had forgotten the basic, most fundamental part of any Fashion Week. First and foremost, it's about presenting new art - which is why the 'live art' treatment, where you literally felt as though living, breathing pieces, had been taken down from the gallery walls for the sole purpose of captivating you was so fitting - and such a big hit with Yours Truly. Think 'Night at the Museum' without a statue in sight; more beautiful people leading you astray, less animals and guns at the OK Corral...

From Veronica Basharatyan's AW13 'Broken Angel' collection
The video for BasharatyanV's Broken Angel collection was first. Shot against a backdrop of raw elements; the simple, wispy lines and occasionally stark colours were a mesh of two ideals in my untrained interpretation. The more I looked at the film and live examples, the more I saw the Russian Royal Family in a Dostoyevksyian twist, from this Vogue International and Harpers Bazaar favourite. Hey, some 8-year-olds liked a little Russian Lit alongside their Enid Blyton and Virginia Andrews, thank you very much - how do you think I got so wordy? Rich and regal in textural choicecolours and jewelled embellishments, there really wasn't much to find fault with on the entire rail. I'm definitely a fan.

As I watched designer Nicole Woods' film for her I love ladybirds collection, I felt that you could sum up her entire body of work in two simple words that carry a lot of weight in their connotation: 'Quintessentially English'. I loved the Summer Country House backdrop for the story that unfolded. A fierce lover of butterflies myself, I loved the natural inclusion of the only other kind of 'Earthy wildlife' that doesn't make me leap on furniture in screaming fits accompanied by the occasional anxiety attack (bug-size dependent). There was a feeling of 'eternal youth' throughout, but (thankfully) not in a creepyDeath Becomes Her kind of way. The film told the beautifully heartfelt story of teens whiling away a Summer afternoon in the family flower garden. When I spoke with Nicole briefly afterwards (who also just happens to be one of the loveliest, most warm people you can hope to meet); I learned that the entire, mostly floral collection was a tribute to her favourite childhood memories with a particular family member, that I will hopefully be telling you more about in the coming weeks (wink, wink)...

The overwhelming message in NeobotanicFashion's Neon collection was shapes. You had to love the way that founder and designer Olga Ankudinova played with the simplest of lines versus concave symmetry.




Blending a subtle sense of Sixties fashion with unusual prints on eyepopping colours; NeobotanicFashion took a design risk in some cases that purely in my opinion, would be hard to translate to everyday wear. In others however, the 'walking art' that were the beautiful models demonstrating in the live setting, you couldn't help but be taken with Ankudinova's brave creativity.


One of the MANY works of art by designer Vita Gottlieb
It would be utterly impossible not to guess my favourite collection of the night. Mainly because I think I dribbled on some of it. Sorry about that Vita - I know a great dry cleaners if it helps...From the dramatic film short for Without Doubt - depicting battling banshees tortured by a mischievous 'Id' / Devil's Advocate character, taunting the pair with Mr. Rochester (post Thornfield fire-inspired) Freudian slips...to the lush level of design that left decadence in the dust - the only critique my unworthy eye could offer, was that I don't know how anyone of a standard dress size - the real kind, not the 'Fashion Week norm', could possibly fit into the absolutely devastating designs without ruining the symmetry. Just thinking back to holding the pieces in my hands sends me right back to Dribbleville. Blacks, golds, oranges, greens, sequins, patterns, SHINE. Vita Gottlieb, I adore your creativity and your boots on the night, that almost upstaged your own collection...Almost.

Alas, the throng of fashion fans petered out and after some networking with amazing talents left in the room, it was time to either vacate the building of my own free will, or be forcibly removed (from Vita's rail) by Security...

Each of these talented artists can be found on the Felicities website - the home of them all. The one thing I am qualified to advise you on is to go and bathe yourself in the goodness of their offerings immediately - I believe you deserve it.

You can also follow the works of Felicities PR via their Social Media Catalogue:


For visuals from the show, please take yourself over to the ESP Facebook Page and feast on the sumptuous works of the supremely talented Allie Suwanrumpha - this lady and her camera are a force to be reckoned with! Visit her website directly for more examples of her work and to contact for bookings.

The 'Arrows' Headpiece by Culietta faced my  first 'B.A.R.T'
(Brand Ambassador Road Test) at this event...



Want to know more about the 'Arrows' Headpiece I'm sporting in the pictures from the event? Then read my first Review as Brand Ambassador for e-commerce boutique, My Flash Trash! The stunning piece caught the eye of a number of designers and members of the Felicities team on the night - take a closer look at what caught their fancy...





Come back tomorrow for the third and final part of my London Fashion Week Series; never did I feel closer to a 'Tyra Top Model Moment' than at my very first Catwalk show...

Nitey-Nite!
ES ;)