British Fashion Awards for emerging talent
As the British Fashion Awards loom, a new category for emerging talent has the New Generation designers waiting with baited breath.
This year, Swarovski, is sponsoring two new award categories for New Generation designers in Ready to Wear and Accessories, and the British fashion community has never been more excited about its future. The awards recognise excellence in emerging sartorial talent, and provide financial assistance for Britain’s bright young things establishing their unique brands.
Last year’s New Generation winner, Christopher Kane, is lauded by the fashion world, both British and international, as a veritable trend setter. Kane’s awesome reputation has beset him only two years after graduating from Central St. Martin’s college, thanks to the combination of an inimitable talent and the bestowal of the prestigious award upon him. Showing for four seasons at London Fashion week and going strong, Kane has repeatedly received critical acclaim from the media worldwide. Virtually a household name for the fashion savvy, Kane is set to be a major player in the fashion industry.
This year, the ones to watch are just as formidable as the unassailable Kane. Take for instance, Ready to Wear nominee Louise Goldin, best known for her avant-garde approach to knitwear. Forget everything your mother taught you- knit one, pearl one- Goldin is bringing innovation, colour and sex to the world of wool. Having launched her namesake label in 2005, Goldin is as much about construction as she is about aesthetics, painstakingly researching and developing new technologies and techniques, blending lurex yarns and rich cashmeres to produce truly luxurious knitwear for a new generation of brave young women.
Goldin’s praises sing loudly, as do those of her contemporary and fellow nominee, Danielle Scutt who is acclaimed for creating living personas through her garments. Scutt’s inspiration is a pastiche of collages, pop art, the juxtaposition of high and low culture and power of female sexuality. Scutt describes her creations as ‘clothes you can have a fight in’, and her runway shows hark back to the power dressing of the 80s and the commitment to style of the 50s, rejecting the dystopian attitude to fashion in the 90s. Scutt embraces a Warholian attitude to style, namely that culture should be ‘popular, transient, expandable, low cost, mass produced, young, gimmicky, glamorous and big business’, which is arguably a very relevant approach to take in facing a fickle market driven by the demands of a very pedantic generation Y.
Swarovski’s final Ready to Wear nominee, Felder Felder, needs little introduction following the recently reinvented Gwyneth Paltrow’s saunter down the red carpet in a Felder Felder jacket. The Felder twins, in their third season, are heavily inspired by music, and their Spring/Summer 09 collection was born with an image of ‘Anita Pallenberg hanging with the Rolling Stones’ in mind. Felder Felder’s rock chick aesthetic is offset by a combination of soft fabrics and light colours, juxtaposing with gothic colours and silhouettes to create a look for the unpredictable woman, reminiscent of modern romance. According to the Felder twins, their current aesthetic is ‘stronger and uncompromising’, an attitude that is hardly to be reckoned with.
This year’s nominees for Accessories are by no means less talented for the smaller size of their creations as their Ready to Wear counterparts. Take for instance shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood. Heralded as the next Blahnik or Louboutin, if you haven’t heard of Kirkwood yet you need to get Googling. As a shoe fetishist, I fell in love at first sight of Kirwood’s sharp, sculptural shoe silhouettes. Creating the kind of heels you imagine twisting into the side of your fallen enemy, Kirkwood’s shoes ooze power, confidence and a very raw sexuality.
Also excelling in footwear is Charlotte Olympia. The label’s creator, Charlotte Dellal (sister to model and British ‘it’ girl Alice Dellal), fuses femininity with innovation in her designs. Dellal is inspired by old Hollywood glamour, and her shoes are characterised by their classic shapes and can be easily recognised by a signature gold spider web on the sole. Handcrafted and seen on the feet of Kate Moss and Daphne Guinness, Dellal’s creations bring true luxury and class to footwear.
Last, but by no means least, is Accessories nominee Anna Vince. After training as a saddler, Vince acquired a love for leather and fine craftsmanship which combined, create her signature style. Vince’s accessories incorporate both heritage and modernity, twisting tradition to give it a highly fashionable edge.