Saturday, January 19, 2008

London Fashion Fusion Under Grey Sulky Skies

There is never a dull moment beneath the grey sulky skies of London. As autumn reins, fashion designer s order books for spring summer 2008 are already closed. In January, the heart of winter fashion designer order books will be open for autumn winter 2008, cycle after cycle. No matter the weather, behind closed doors creative minds are hard at work to stay seasons ahead of demand. In a flurry, pattern cutters and needle crafters construct to designers specifications, always offering something different and exciting, drawing from the past and present, sometimes futuristic, naturally. The crossroads of fashion, style infusion, cultures collide as styles are born and sold to world, north, south, east and west. Style; one of Britain s most enduring exports, comedic, music, and clothing merge and emerge from the streets and pubs and make their way to designers drawing boards. An example, Charlie Chaplin, here clothing, comedic and music style emerged. It all began in the music halls of Spitalfield, which grew out of music rooms at the back of pubs. Charlie Chaplin made his first stage appearance in the now demolished Royal Cambridge Music Hall in Commercial Street. The latest trend is for galleries to spring up in cafes and bars, style evolves. Chaplin long gone but his clownish silhouette etched into the minds of millions. If you want to get an idea of what styles are heading our way, just lurk late night on the streets in Spitalfield, Chelsea etc and watch as people spill out of pubs and clubs at closing time. Take note of what they are wearing. You re at the source of style creation, this is where it starts, on the streets, an opportune time for any designer to gather ideas The impressionable Beatles did the same in 1964, with Tommy Nutter of Savile Row the military look, skinny ties, fat ties, phycadelic ties, flairs, stove pipe pants, rockers and mods, styles fanatics clashed. Glam rock and Roxy music with Brian Ferry and his dream world of visionary escapism from the dank pit village he was born to escape, Dandyism and then came the sex pistols. Vivienne Westwood emerged from the pile to become one of the most influential designers in British fashion history. The influences of style and fashion, war, the class system, immigration, wealth, poverty, anarchy, rebellion, sport, climate and agriculture, yes agriculture. Thomas Burberry noticing how local shepherds and farmers wore linen smocks, which were cool in summer and warm in the winter, he attempted to apply the same principles to other clothing. In 1879 he developed a fabric which was weatherproofed in the yarn before weaving, using a secret process and then proofed again in the piece, using the same undisclosed formula. The new material was untearable and weatherproof, whilst cool and breathable. He called the cloth gabardine and registered the word as a trademark. Thomas Burberry opened his own business in 1856 in Basingstoke, Hampshire. Ask anyone in London where is Basingstoke and they will look at you strangely with a frown, ask them who is Thomas Burberry, different story. Basingstoke was and is a back water, but it s on the map and only one and a half hours from London. And how many times since the Beatles demise has the military look been repeated, one more thing, The Trench Coat Who has never heard of Savile Row? Well then go to the back of the class. Designer jeans/dress jeans originated there, thanks to Katherine Hepburn one of many famous advocates. Katherine Hepburn, whose long-term lover Spencer Tracey was a customer of Huntsman, took the extraordinary step of ordering bespoke denim jeans from her late lover s Savile Row tailor. Hepburn s commission foreshadowed bespoke denim collections launched in 2006 by Timothy Everest and Evisu. Now what about Jaeger? Interesting migration story: Jaegers roots are planted firmly in the mid nineteenth century when a theory expounded by a professor of zoology at the Stuttgart University suggested that humans would be healthier if they dressed in clothes mode only from animal hair, principally wool and avoiding vegetable fibres like cotton and linen. The author of the work was Dr Gustav Jaeger. Dr Jaeger s book inspired a British accountant called Lewis Tomalin who translated the work into English and published it, convinced that British society should benefit from the Doctor s theories. His theories were then furthered by the opening of a shop in Fore Street London. Even the London underground is style; a safe haven during the Second World War and the subject of popular song, if you can write about, then sing about it. This is just the tip of the iceberg, it s cold outside. If you would like to learn some interesting historic anecdotes about the evolution of style and fashion follow this link if you would like to see some stunning silk ties, cufflinks, belts and wallets, follow this link

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