Designers

The Convenience Store




No sooner has one caught one’s breath after the razzmatazz of fashion weeks left, right and centre does launch season begin with a zillion different shop openings, high summer previews and A/W press days. In the fortnight ahead I have another Joseph shop relaunch to attend (poor me), press days for Harvey Nichols, Paul Smith, Lulu Guinness, Swarovski, Blow PR and so on and so forth. That’s not including the flood of invitations set to arrive next week for the rest of the press days or the Fashion Business Club talk with Alexandra Shulman I’m attending on 26th March.

On Thursday night it all kicked off with the launch of the clever new pop-up shop by The Convenience Store. The Convenience Store is taking a three-week sabbatical from its home in West London (next door neighbours to Rellik vintage store to be exact) and has taken up residence in the chi-chi environs of the St Martins Lane hotel.

What caught my eye? Ooh, where to start? Wonderful shoes by Camilla Skovgaard (those are her legs and sexy shoes below. If you think they look hot, you should see her face!), raunchy Pam Hogg catsuits, T-shirts and credit-crunch-friendly mugs, sequinny sportswear by Sophie Hulme, lots of lovely Ann-Sofie Back and A.F Vandevorst and plenty of Gareth Pugh including a ventilated armour dress which one commentator was overheard unkindly referring to as looking ‘like an airconditioning unit’, meow!

Everyone was networking like crazy – I have never been given so many business cards – and bemoaning the state of the industry. It was quite nice in a way as everyone is in the same boat and not bothering to hide it. There was a good flow of champagne, much gossip and laughter and a great procession of fashiony characters including Fred Butler, a rosy vision in head-to-toe pink, Pam Hogg, Steven Rellik, various mums-of-designers and handsome blogger Pelayo with the most perfect quiff ever. Topics of conversation: Blogging, men in skirts, Twilight the movie, Starlight Express the musical, soulful house clubs, street parties, press day goody bags and the price of toothpaste. You can’t buy toothpaste at The Convenience Store but you’re in for a treat if you’re after cutting edge, collectable fashion.

The Convenience Store is at the Front Room at The St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martin’s Lane, WC2 from March 19th-April 9th

www.theconveniencestorefashion.co.uk










Dashing Tweeds




Oh how I love a good coincidence. When I was doing my reporter’s stint at London Fashion Week, I happened upon a jazzily outfitted dandy-type outside the mens shows. He let me take his photo and we got chatting. It turns out this tweed-attired fellow was a photographer and our paths had in fact crossed briefly before. He told me he was now dabbling in design and handed me his business card. “Dashing Tweeds?!” I exclaimed (as that was the name of his business), “No way!” My boyfriend D is a big fan of Dashing Tweeds and we’re both regular visitors to the blog, we just didn’t realise who was behind it.

Dashing Tweeds is a brilliantly innovative modern tweed company which was set up by Guy Hills (he of the dandyish attire) and RCA graduate Kirsty McDougall. Hills wanted to do something new and interesting with tweed and discovered textile designer McDougall while visiting the RCA. A keen cyclist, one of Hills’ innovations is a reflective tweed called Lumatwill that means you can cycle to work in a suit without having to grapple with reflective jackets, tabards or sashes. Another is the tweed cycling trouser that has adjustable hems and another is my favourite – the teflon-coated tweed tailored cape, as modelled below by Iris Palmer. Dashing Tweeds is starting to get a lot of recognition but Hills is extremely low key. Despite having created that purple tartan for Henry Holland last autumn and Dashing Tweeds’ suits being sold in Savile Row, there is no hint of ego or arrogance in this affable character.

An ecommerce site is currently under construction so I predict we will be hearing a lot more about Dashing Tweeds. In the meantime, check out the blog, it’s brilliant!








Lovin’ it: Yang Du




As much I appreciate our excellent designers for their new-found commerciality, I still get a frisson when I see something truly madcap, yet in a fun way.

When I first clocked Yang Du’s wonderfully witty knitwear I just thought, I need to know more about her. What kind of a person dreams up giant animal-shaped jumpers in shaggy fun-furry textures? As Yang doesn’t have a website, Susie Bubble gave me her email address so I made contact that way. I was hoping she would show at London Fashion Week but it wasn’t meant to be, however the next best thing is Yang sent me these new pics of her A/W 09 collection entitled “Buda and Pest”, photographed by Bella Howard. Forget bodycon dresses and eighties rehashed power-dressing, who wouldn’t want to wear a strawberry-shaped hat or knitted flowers?








Diesel/Christies SOUL i-D party



Lots of fun was had at last night’s SOUL i-D party to celebrate the launch of the SOUL i-D book. Everywhere I looked was a member of the i-D ‘family’, from eighties icons Caryn Franklin, Philip Sallon and Pam Hogg to Simon Foxton and his gorgeous gaggle of faithful followers.











I was mighty impressed with the PR’s tactics to ensure attendance at the bash – namely emailing not only a list of ‘confirmed celebrities’ (as is now the norm) but also a sneak peak at the menu. Now if there’s one way to drag me to an event it’s to entice me with some fancy canapes. Here you go:

CANAPE MENU
Parmesan shortbread with roasted cherry tomato, goats cheese & pesto

Black olive biscotti with aioli, tomato confit & tapenade

Fontina & prosciutto di san daniele with purple figs

Burnt mushrooms, shallots, & red wine drizzle on toasted brioche

Crab lemongrass & cilantro salad on brioche – topped with mango & red onion marmalade with beetroot cress

Beetroot cured salmon with crème fraiche & wasabi caviar on lightly toasted blinis

DESSERT
Raspberry, elderflower & champagne jelly on baby shortbread rounds (orange zest to finish)

DRINKS MENU

Champagne
De Nauroy Brut NV, France, Reims

Wine
San Rafael Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Chile, San Rafael

Libertad Red Malbec/Shiraz 2007, Argentina, Mendoza

Cocktails
Asian Tonic
Lychee Belvedere cocktail

Soft Drinks
Cucumber, lemon & ginger cooler
Strained cucumber with fresh lemon & topped with ginger beer

Rhubarb & apple
Muddled rhubarb & vanilla served tall with cloudy apple

Ty Nant still and sparkling water

Delicious!