On Tuesday 19th, The National Portrait Gallery welcomed another art form to stand alongside their historical collection.
Tata Naka designers, Tamara and Natasha Surguladze, presented their vintage-inspired SS18 womenswear collection on the third floor of The National Portrait Gallery; a presentation which sat easily amongst the grandeur of its setting.
The Tata Naka SS18 collection saw seasonal summer stripes and vintage florals in contrasting aubergine and daffodil hues; high-waisted tailoring and wide collars gave the collection a retro-feel while the addition of side slits and bare-shoulder necklines remained in-keeping with forecast Spring/Summer trends.
The styling was done to artistic perfection. Dark lipstick and a reflective sheen to the contouring, giving the models an artificial quality - real-life portraits of modern-vintage dress.
Just like butterflies emerge from their cocoons, we too emerge from our winter coats into the bright days of Spring and Summer ever year. While the butterfly is usually interpreted as a symbol of fragile beauty, Rocky Star's SS18 collection has stated thoughtfully that it is actually the new motif for confidence, fearlessness and more than ever, individuality in style. It was an ever-present reminder of the nature of the new season as it also flowed through each piece, appearing within the stunning prints and helping to inspire strong silhouettes.
Statement sleeves have been at the height of our wardrobes for the past season and Star makes the successful bid for them to be an even bigger part of our style in SS18. Voluminous angular sleeves are juxtaposed by delicate ruffling and layering that becomes reminiscent of exquisitely graceful yet tough wings.
The stunning Indian influences that Rocky Star has signed throughout his previous collections this time come in the form of intricate patterns and gorgeous head-pieces.
Boho style pieces featuring pretty floral appliques are given an added sparkle to truly channel the nature meets City vibe. Flowing dresses channel a timeless elegance while shorter hemlines and edgy cutouts breathe a contemporary party soul vibe. It is these contrasts that let's Star expertly crave his signature styles into his collections, while still catering to different women, with different attitudes towards fashion and life.
The natural colour schemes of greens, browns and reds are enhanced by vivid blues and pinks. Likewise it is the clever direction of the neon blue eye-shadow that ties in the idea of not being afraid to try bold colours.
While some pieces may be slightly more red-carpet ready than others, Rocky Star has shown that everyone can and should be experimentally incorporating colour, pattern and sparkle into their new season style. The talented designer has created a collection of contrasts that social butterflies will love as they step into the next exciting new chapter.
Images: Mel Williams| Fashion Week Photographer| @mvwphotographer
Phoebe English is first and foremost a craftsman within her trade. Just by looking at her men's and women's collections, it is always clear to see that her ethos is to not only create art but to engineer every aspect of it. The young designer is also a passionate advocate of underappreciated and sometimes even lost construction techniques. So it is always a fascinating experience to be able to learn about these processes that take place very often away from prying public eyes.
For SS18 English presented a collection that works closely with another long-standing craft: Puppets.
With models lining the room in English's visions for SS18, standing along side them were puppets (also named marionettes) hanging from strings and wearing miniature versions of each piece. In a theatrical sense, this setting was reminiscent of a Tim Burton film with dark romantic undertones cutting through. The faceless puppets mimicking their human twins were charming and yet hauntingly striking. The lighting, which created shadows throughout the room, heightened the dramatic air and drew attention to the careful construction of each piece.
Marionettes were not only used for dramatic effect, their entry into the SS18 collection was whole-heartedly a way for English to show the foundations of her craft and pay homage to the past techniques of design. It is this simplicity of her silhouettes, cuts and monochromatic colour palette that lets the eye see past whatever may be on the surface and truly look to the finer details. Details such as the careful draping of fabrics and textured knots of black bra- like tops, on top of clean-cut white shirts.
Muslin and poplin materials are overlayed with mesh and tulle that give textured feel, making the clothes unreservedly wearable but gives them that stand-out quality.
It was this clever decision to duplicate the designs which show just how adaptable fashion can be. Be it on the smaller scale, on a puppet for a showcase with an edgy punch. Or the life-sized version that will be worn by people within their daily lives over the coming season.
English pulled the strings behind-the-scenes to showcase her dark fairy-tale at London Fashion Week. Like all good fairy-tales its important to look to the message beneath the surface. In this case English's message is simple: We should all take the time to admire the methods that go into creating our favourite styles. After all fashion is above all else an enduring craft.
On Saturday 3rd June, Mathew Carver will be will be gathering together street food friends from across the capital for an afternoon of London brews, live music and of course the best grilled cheese in town to see in the summer months at Archie’s newly launched terrace.
Situated in the grade 2 listed Victorian railway arches of Deptford’s Market Yard, Archie’s is the South East outpost of The Cheese Bar and Cheese Truck, just a stone’s throw away from Deptford station. Archie’s carefully source British and London-made cheeses for a menu that has the grilled cheese sandwich at it’s heart, including the Rosary Goat’s cheese, walnut and honey and queso Chihuahua with chorizo. Whilst tucking into their signature sandwiches, guests will also be able to enjoy brews from Archie’s all new range of craft beer including new tipples from London’s Gipsy Hill Brewery, Deptford’s own Villages Brewery and Bermondsey Legends Kernel Brewery.
Joining Mathew and the Archie’s team will be London’s newest sorbet maestros, Sloshed, who will be plying guests with their signature boozy gin sorbets made with all-natural fruit and East London Liquor company gin, Kernel brewery, pairing their Table Beer with Archie’s classic grilled cheese sandwich. Alfie, the van himself, will also be in attendance before hitting the road on his summer tour which will see him pull up at Glastonbury, Festival No.6, Wilderness and many more festivals across the country.
“After a busy few months and with summer fast approaching we decided it was time to have a little party and christen the new terrace at our bar in Deptford,” said Mathew Carver founder of Archie’s and The Cheese Bar. “We’re invited our Cheese Truck family along to help us celebrate and can’t wait for an afternoon in the sun with some great music, great food and excellent craft beers”
Deptford Market Yard