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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: FULL-LENGTH

‘STYLE HAPPENS SOONER, ON ‘LATER’!’

We have a lot to thank Mr Jools Holland for! Not only does he bring us the most eclectic of live, global musical offerings, from established and emerging artists, alike, but with them, come a plethora of stand-out, sartorial selections, from the style-spectrum! For instance, you’re as likely to see and hear the hauntingly melodic, ‘Amadou and Mariam’, bedecked in bold, traditional Malian dress, playing in the-round, as you are the infectiously-anthemic synth-pop of ‘M.T’, in their eponymous multi-coloured, tie-dye-tees!

Case-in-point has to be a recent episode, featuring, Goldfrapp, James Blake, Franz Ferdinand and Kanye West!

 Backlit in a pure-gold aura and engulfed, full-length, in a column of black chiffon-drapery, the ever-ethereal, Alison Goldfrapp, held the audience, spell-bound with her melifluously reed-like, vocal perfomance of ‘Annabel’. The timeless gown, simultaneously, captured her effortless, idiosyncratic grace, whilst also paying homage to SS14 runways, with its pintuck-peephole bodice.

The unnervingly-talented James Blake delivered an equally-classy rendition of the stunning ‘Retrograde’. With hair, windswept, in defiance of the stillness generated by his unfolding-wall-of sound, he was an example of understated style, surrendering to sonic substance. In a ‘1-800 Dinosaur’ T-shirt-and-jeans ensemble, Blake also seamlessly combined product-placement of his new record label and a pinpoint performance, with ease and flair.

In stark juxtaposition, was the riff and quiff-friendly, Franz Ferdinand. Already well-known for their unique fashion statements including the sharpest of Savile Row-silhouettes, the band showed that they had lost none of their couture-creativity, teaming the gusto of, lyrically, ‘right words’ with the ‘right action’ of donning fashion-forward Hawaiian-prints with rock-a-billy attitude! Very D-Squared-2!

Kanye West’s performance of ‘Bound To’, with the outstanding ‘Uncle’ Charlie (Gap Band) Wilson, more-than-referenced the fact that he had graduated, magna-cum-laude, from the School-of-FROW! The ‘College Drop-Out’ star stamped his artistic authority on the programme, with all of the swagger for which we have come to love him. Punctuating the pitch-black studio with dramatic spotlighting, which served to accente his choice of a laid-back, layering trend, a play-on-neutrals of black ribbed-tee and low-slung, loose-fit, trousers, was complemented by a three-quarter length, khaki parka and desert boots in a pop-of-camel-colour. The entire look was topped-off by the trademark, heavy-gold, diamond-set, belcher-link chain, de rigueur for ushering in SS14’s metallic forecast! Uncle Charlie was certainly in-the-house, with his own, distinguished, take on double-denim, accessorizing with shades, as blacked-out as the windows on a one-off, customised Bugatti! It was, undoubtedly, a fitting backdrop to the soaring, silky-smooth, vocal-runs and devastating musical prowess of such a living-legend of U.S Funk/R&B!

So, the next time you tune into ‘Later… with Jools Holland’, keep an eye out for a new class of ‘artist-interpretations’… I think you’ll find that, on closer inspection, they are, in fact, rather more original!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I’M A ‘FASHION-EAST-ER’!

If you went down to the London-Fashion-Week-woods on September 17th, you were in for a BIG surprise…especially if you happened to go via the ‘FashionEast’-End!

I, excitedly, took that detour, and as if I’d fallen down a man-hole on Main Street, rather than that of a Wonderland-rabbit, I found myself entering whimsical world of Hong Kong designer, Ryan Lo! It was, indeed, a cordial welcome into a rich and textural tapestry of creations, with (spoiler alert!) anthropomorphic models, made-up to appear as fairytale-foxes and princess-pussycats, to name but a few!

 A veritable treasure-trove of vintage-lace appliqué, fluttered against knee-skimming skirts, whilst also being delicately-layered, as tie-string tops, in a kaleidoscope of watercolours, such as dusky-pink, sweet-pea blue and champagne-yellow. Tulle came full-length, in a peach-blossom frock, with ballet-flounces, frothing beneath a mid-length overcoat (complete with ‘tail’), in antique-gold-on-white, and would develop into a gorgeous gilet, which undulated like the rarest, underwater coral.

The knitwear-story was akin to turning the pages of the most vibrant pop-up book, EVER!!! Bubblegum-pink party-pieces were ousted by cardigans in kiwi-green, with a ‘moo-cow’ motif and chocolate-brown, with a fantastic farmyard-scene, a fresh-and-fruity, strawberry-strewn sweater/ mauve micro-mini ensemble and (my pièce de résistance) a full-length, lime-green, crocheted-cape, bursting with sunshine-marigolds in full-bloom!

Before I knew it, the collection had come full-circle, with the finale look of a soft, baby-pink-on-white, horizontal-striped coat, in a darling ‘trapeze’ silhouette…A fond farewell was given to the animal theme, in the guise of a huge, ‘pussy-bow’ neck-fastening and although it was his last word in the show, I’m getting more- than-an-inkling that, with his highly-skilled ability to emboss his unique vision upon the runway, Ryan Lo’s superstar-story has only just begun…

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

MARIA GRACHVOGEL DESIGNS LEAVE YOU FLOATING ON AIR…

Maria Grachvogel is an utter genius when it comes to stylistic superlatives of length and volume and today’s show more than lived up to her global reputation.

Blouses were soft, sleeveless and silver-grey, trousers flowed powerfully, yet gracefully as tidal waves, jumpsuits were elegantly figure-embracing, with  ‘v’, ‘square’, and draped-necks and dresses were maxi-lengthed, columns of grace…

Any departure from her well-loved repertoire incorporated asymetry, most notably in a dazzling dress, the colours of which seemed to have been boldly applied free-hand. The relaxed mood was also illustrated by a tie-front, cross-over jacket, as well as a wonderful, grey leather blouson, masterfully cut, in defiance of the its usually, less pliable properties.

Prints, though digital, had an artisanal touch, seeing steel-grey stripes merging with oak-browns, coffee-caramels saturated into chocolate-browns and pastel-peach to add a subtle drama. A stand-out motif had the appearance of veins from the underside of a leaf and appeared upon skirt and blouse separates, as well as being echoed upon both black-on-white and sheer versions of a floor-sweeping dress.

A glorious gown of the afore-mentioned chocolate brown/ grey variety with a stunning, fishtail train was the last swathe of garment to close a show which, from start to finish, exemplified the polish, poise and versatility typical of Miss Grachvogel’s distinguished design flair and artistry.

Simply put, it was a sublime crescendo to a spectacular last day…

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED