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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: London

‘SPOTLIGHT ON: THE WALKING-WORKS-OF-ART OF ‘KWEKU CLOTHING’!’

…So, by now, you might have detected that I am, somewhat of, a voracious Creative-Arts-lover…and that I am especially passionate about using my own platform to promote the excting results of multidisciplinary cross-fertilisation.

Well, fresh from my EC1 and 2 jaunts and the social-media coverage, thereof, I have noticed that I am being ‘followed’…. by a steady stream of funky, new designers on the fashion-block! The most recent label to become a member of the fashion-fabulous Afrow-Family, is that of ‘Kweku (pronounced Kwayku!) Clothing’. The eponymous clothing-line of Ghanaian-born, London-raised, Goldsmith’s graduate, Kweku Quagraine, this is a brand which majors on making purse-friendly, wallet-welcoming pieces of boldly artistic sartorial statements, yet, without the merest mention of a word! So, naturally, yours truly has seized-the-day and taken up the mantle to spread it for him!

At first glance, his menswear and womenswear pieces are striking! Heavy with symbolism, Quagraine thrives on incorporating his Socio-Political scholastic background into his craft and excels in channelling these influences through the joint-conduits of art and fashion-design. For example, the ‘Trigon’ signature, is a triangular motif, in reference to the map of Africa and in deference to his native roots, whilst ‘The Krypt’ is an intriguing metaphor alluding to the differing perspectives, regarding regional identities. His distinctive flair for originality also comes to the fore in the ‘Tribal’ print, in which heritage-patterns from the Ghanaian Ashanti and Ancient Mayan traditions are beautifully-balanced to produce a new KC hallmark. The geometric ‘Colour’ graphic displays a fearless and insistent use of the spectrum, which draws inspiration from unity-in-diversity, as manifested in the London Olympics of 2012. However, Quagraine finds the Natural World as much of a catalyst as that of the Human, evidenced in ‘The Hive’ honeycomb-logo, itself, a nod to such solidarity and unity, in bees.

It is this effortless meandering through parallel universes, which sets Kweku Clothing apart from many others of its emerging counterparts. Will you find such on-trend silhouettes as the ‘body-con’ dress in midi/maxi-lengths? Undoubtedly. Is there a broad choice of sweatshirts, t-shirts, crop tops and vest-tops? Absolutely! But you’d be hard-pressed to find the same capability for siphoning so many global topics into the fashion-world, in such modern, affordable and accessible ways and furthermore, to do so with such a Fine-Art sensibility!

For all of theses reasons and more, am I championing Kweku Quagraine and urging you to WAKE-UP TO ‘KWEKU CLOTHING’….STANDARD!

www.kwekuclothing.com ~ www.facebook.com/KwekuClothing

©AFROW 2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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TWITTER-TESTIMONIAL FROM KWEKU CLOTHING (@KwekuClothing)!

‘…Thanks very much for such an eloquent and flattering write-up!!’

Creative Arts go OFF-the-BEAT-en track!

All roads led to ‘The Oval Space’, in Bethnal Green, last night, for one of the most anticipated of multi-media mash-ups on the Creative-Arts Calendar, namely, ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show 2013’! You might remember that I was more-than-a-tad excited at the prospect of attending the event, which was presented by ‘öffbeat’, the Arts lifestyle brand… Well, it was, indeed, an extraordinary display of, what I happen to believe, makes the power of creative-collaboration so undeniably potent.

The moment I entered into the behemoth of this, formerly-derelict, space, pregnant with potential, I immediately sensed a synchronicity between the throbbing baseline, which was disseminating through my central nervous system and the  contractions of imminent, fashion-brand-births! I also found myself marvelling at just how perfectly-balanced a venue it was, being, at once, expansive, with enough room in which to throw and catch shapes, a-plenty, whilst also intimate enough to accommodate the collective energy of a collaborative congregation.

The vibe was rich and distinct. People from all walks-of-life rubbed shoulders, as they shook to the dynamic DJ-grooves and pressed palms with artists and designers, alike, in congratulatory exuberance. However, just like the beats, the meet-and-greets didn’t stop, for these everday-people embraced one another, as well as opportunities to form newfound fashion-friendships.

Co-existing under this banner of ’emergent ambience’ were starkly-contrasting Art-forms. In one corner was housed a formidable frieze of stylised character-outlines, created by self-confessed Narnia-resident, Dom&Ink! These especially-conceived, ebullient images were oft-surrounded by admirers, yet, things took a definite turn, when the quiff-sporting illustrator, and author of ‘Map Of My Heart’, appeared, and encouraged the observers to colour them in! Around the corner, more exceptional Art took my breath away. Wandering guests were bathed in diffused, iridescent light, emitted from the impressive installations, at floor and eye-levels, of SunYin Xiaowen and Aphra Shezma. Others stood, face-to-face, with equally-stunning, Fine Art offerings from Linda Cieniawska, Charlotte Osbourne and Gwyneth Fugard. As I passed by the intermittent onlookers, it was as if their inner energies were mirrored by the pieces, in such a way as to become ‘human glowsticks’ and ‘living wallpaper’ and I recall feeling truly priveleged, not only to witness the effect of such private moments, being experienced in public, but to also be an integral part of appreciating the exquisite talent.

As time grew nearer to the presentation of fashion, which was so on-edge, it felt as if someone were scraping their fingernails down a blackboard, excitement was fuelled by singing sensation, Vince Kidd. All but prowling-the-platform, he delivered Otis-Redding-raw vocals, with a similarly-seasoned prowess, speaking-to-the-deeps with his soul-inspired spin, on life, love and all that lies between. After taking the audience upon a heartfelt journey, Kidd made his exit, stage left, to whoops of delight and enthusiastic applause, leaving the see-through screen to became the backdrop behind which each model would wait, before taking to the runway.

In a bid to further immerse myself into the experience, yours truly took to her second home (for which I didn’t need to find five percent!), the Frow! Suddenly, silhouettes of each collection were backlit-to-perfection, establishing the effect of a ‘fashion-fourth-wall’, as well as indicating that, tonight, something was coming, which was better than good! However, this separation was soon to be aurally removed by bespoke, live collaborations with up-and-coming musicians who, from the stature of their performances, are bound to make increasingly influential impacts in each of their respective genres. First-up, was the amazing singer, Lydia Baylis, who tore-away-the-veil, with a unique set of beautifully-accompanied, sultry, acoustic-folk. Hot-on-her-heels, and before anyone had time to settle into the still, harmonic haze, ‘Kill It Kid’ stepped up and totally smashed the divide, juxtaposing the, previously, gentle mood, with an awesome repertoire of sonic explosions! Both styles brilliantly served to complement the essence of each designer-aesthetic and we were treated to a creative-clash which would put the SS14 ‘print-clash’ trend of any well-known fashion-house to shame!

Models with raked-back, ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ Batiste-hair and fashion-forward, metallic make-up were bedecked in sublime, sheer pieces from the avant-garde world of Marcelo Yarussi, the deftest of twists on masterful, digitally-printed garments, designed by Nicolas Wirth and the cool creations of blank-canvas-white, high-end futurism of London College of Fashion Graduate, Isabell Yalda Hellysaz. The fêted, power-house-of-a design institution was also showcased via the stand-out, all-black, structural apparel from Maria Zhminko, the intriguing, open-weave, cage-like, riffs on body-con from design-duo, Rebecca Morter and Gemma Vanson and the decadent columns-of-kaftans, with concentrated print-formations, from the joint-genius-pairing of Christina Tiran and Victoria Rowley.

As the showlights faded, such superstar-DJ names as the irrepressible ‘Bill & Will’, ‘Shivas Regal’, the A&R-astute founder of Tigermilk Recordings, and idiosyncratic rhythm-maker, ‘Mculo’, were heralded to take-to-the-decks and storm-the soundsystem! With a two-step, here, and a head-nod, there, (but, sadly, before the anticipated arrival of the superb Rufio Summers), I was ready to bow-out gracefully and wind my way through a London-town which, once again, felt like a haven for burgeoning, undiscovered artistry. In fact, I can’t remember a night where so many apparent-strangers were apt-for-sharing, participating and co-creating such a ‘moment’ in time.. It just goes to show that there is a real fashion-fellowship, of sorts, doing-away with the out-dated image of an industry which is, supposedly, replete with back-biting, where only the strong survive, and is redefining it, as one filled with opportunities to go beyond disciplines or regions and traverse brand new terrain! Of course, no industry is perfect, but the ethos behind such events as ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’, promotes the commercial as a facilitative route and supportsystem to creativity, whilst maintaining, without compromise, the core integrity of the energy-source from which successful collaboration grows.

So, my deepest gratitude goes out to öffbeat, for providing me with with the chance to be part of such a unique vibe. Further congratulations go out to all other sponsors/ affiliates, both front and back-of-house, involved in delivering this fantastic gathering. Last night was everything it promised to be, an interactive celebration of multi-media expression, par excellence, filled with extraordinary and inspiring examples of Creative-Arts-at-their-best and I cannot recommend ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’ to you, highly enough! Neither can I wait to see how öffbeat and partners focus-pull their combined-skills to shine new lights on rising-stars of parallel creative-platforms in 2014!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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TWITTER-TESTIMONIALS FROM ‘VIVID FASHION GROUP’ (@VIVIDFashionGrp)

‘One of the most descriptive and all together best blogs we have read!! @A_F_R_O_W please review all our events!’

‘…just re-read your blog on the show, it’s such an honour that what we created came across to you. Thank you for your words x’

SPOTLIGHT ON: THE SHOREDITCH FASHION SHOW 2013!

I love fashion, I love music, I love art and I love it LIVE!

So, imagine my utter bliss at having discovered ‘The Shoreditch Fashion Show’, a multidisciplinary smörgåsbord of emerging creative talent, which takes place this Saturday 12th October, from 7pm to 1am, at The Oval Space in Bethnal Green, EC2.

Imagine my excitement, then, when, courtesy of the organiser, breakthrough Creative Arts lifestyle-brand ‘öffbeat’, yours truly was provided with a guest pass!

Presented, in association with ‘Batiste’ and in partnership with such top industry names as Julien Macdonald, Fashion TV, Artlyst, London College of Fashion, Serge De Nimes, to name but a few, the evening represents the best of the U.K’s next-generation Creatives, and promises to be an immersive experience, rather than just a show.

The music line-up has been confirmed to include the likes of the brilliant Rufio Summers, Kill It Kid, Vince Kidd and Linda Bayliss, whilst the unique perspectives of artists Sunyin Xiaowen, Linda Cieniawska, Aphra Shemza, Gwyneth Fugard and Charlotte Osbourne will be showcased in a specially-curated exhibition, under the intriguing title of ‘Through the dark, light shall appear’.

Add to this a number of pop-ups, live graffiti, some mouthwatering gastronomic offerings and an exclusive runway show (with designers to-be-revealed on-the-night!) and it’s easy to see why this is going to be both the hottest and coolest site-specific, creative-arts ticket in town!

 See you there!

For more information visit www.theshoreditchfashionshow.com ..but hurry up because, after the success of the the event’s first outing in April of this year, this is sure to be a sell-out!

©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

LFW: SIMONE ROCHA…TOTALLY TONGUE-IN-CHIC!!!!

Ahh Miss Rocha, with your style, you are really spoiling us!!!

Now before you tell me… I know it’s Roch-a as in ‘Ma-MA‘, not Roch-a as in, well, Rocher, but I couldn’t resist it! Nor could I take my eyes off this collection, which was, at once, stunning, as well as scintillating!

First impressions?

The ‘Simone Rocha-girl’ is the ‘Chanel-girl’s’ naughty little sister!!! The opening black ensemble of a sleeveless top with pearl-embellished neckline, which delicately surfed the stomach, a knee-skimming skirt, sheer popsocks, and a twist on the quintessential ballet flat, again, accentuated with pearls, nigh-on shouted LOOK AT ME..NOW!’, on its way down the catwalk!

What followed was an edgy, yet, romantically-inspired journey, which would incorporate glistening, black, texturised jackets and trousers, adding depth and balance to the strength of looks. A semi-tonal shift to grey, facilitated floral motifs to shine upon knee-length dresses, with the gradual movement through the neutral palette made complete by a welcome blast of lightning-white. Models resembled paper dolls in dresses, the material of which, appeared to be the most delicately-crushed, lily-white petals. As if to conclude the theme, Miss Rocha stripped away any tonal suggestions whatsoever, presenting us with her take on the see-through mac, choosing, instead, to use a doily/ crochet motif as the point-of-interest. However, the colourful introduction of a luxurious moss green, three-quarter length, leather coat, reminded us not to be deceived by the apparent fragility of the looks which had gone before!

With the optical amuse-bouche delivered, the journey meandered through variations, on a brocade theme. Top-to-toe separates which glimmered beneath the lights, as sunrays settling upon the fresh, morning dew, were quickly followed by pieces which saw a reprise of pearls, unexpectedly outlining single-slash cut-outs. This surprise adornment soon took a more recognisable format, with golden pearls being applied around the neckline of a fabulous white coat.

The finale was a breathtaking way to end the tour, with the last three models wrapped in peach-hued, gossamer-like material, featuring pearl-encrusted cut-outs and pop-socks…It was as if they had just been taken down from the shelves of a high-end fabric shop, ready to be unfurled, or were fairy-tale brides, ensconced beneath the most ethereal wedding veils!

What we had here, ladies and gentlemen, was a masterclass in meekness… In other words, power under control, which, I believe, not only befits the ‘Simone Rocha aesthetic’, but also extends to her ability to harness her unique talent. A talent which she deftly uses to deliver gifts of exquisite designs, complemented by an irrepresible measure of wit, that can only be described as truly tongue-in-chic!

~

SIMONE ROCHA.COM ~ @Simone_Rocha_

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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A TWITTER-FAVOURITE WITH CAROLINE RUSH (CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL)!

AFROW’S IN THE HOUSE (FASHION, THAT IS)!

Great mor-ning to all of you a-mazingly fashion-forward people out there!

If, like me, you’ve barely slept in anticipation of the designer going’s-on in this sprawling London metropolis, then congrats for being awake!

Well, my friends, it is with a heavy sigh and quite a hint of a pout, worthy of yesterday’s child dropping that ’99’, that I announce this to be the last day of London Fashion Week….BOOOOOOO!!!!

HOWEVER, there are still some BIG HITTERS, fixing to notch up hip ‘n’ happenin’ home-runs a-plenty…..YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!

For starters, Simone Rocha is totally going to prove in her own inimitable style that the fashion-fruit doesn’t fall far from the Rocha-family talent-tree!  Then we have the exciting new names of Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo, as presented by Fashion East. Meadham Kirchhoff creations will also take to the runway, as will those of Emilio de la Morena, Lucas Nascimento, Haizhen Wang and the one and only, Maria Grachvogel! Look out for Stella McCartney, who will be serving up her vision on behalf of Adidas, as well as Tata-Naka and the fabulous Anya Hindmarch, who promises to give us an experience which will be out of this world!

You see, Afrow told you the day was stacked!

There’s something to satisfy even the most ravenous of all of you glorious couture cognoscenti, so go on, get your plates ready for a pick ‘n’ mix fashion-fest, like no other! Oh and don’t worry if you haven’t got your cutlery or your serviette…seriously, who has time to wipe a face when there are so many mouth-watering ‘maisons’ on the menu?!! I’ll certainly be using my fingers!!!

Bon appetit!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

MINE’S A 99, AT THE BURBERRY SS 14 LFW SHOW!

Watching the Burberry SS14 catwalk show reminded me of running after the ice-cream van as a child, in the heat of the summer-holiday sun (which really did shine for at least six weeks…honestly!), desperate for a ’99’… which was a traditional cone filled with vanilla ice-cream and a chocolate flake…!

So what had me reminiscing? Well, a palette of gorgeous lemon-ice, mint-green and  watermelon-pink sorbet shades, which were colourwashed onto relaxed, yet totally ‘put-together’ looks. Think Audrey Hepburn in ‘Funny Face’, for the tucked-in formality, except loosened-up with sheer-to-the-bone skirts, figure-hugging laser-cut dresses and structured skirts with daring splits, to show just enough leg to suggest that a Sophia Loren-like siren ripples beneath the surface! Standing out amongst the plethora of stylistic delights, were coats encrusted with dazzling crystals in dynamic flower motifs, which were re-visited upon skirts, for that extra edge and with a deconstructed clutch in a myriad of tones as a signature bag, the collection was complete!

Not to be outdone in either sartorial or colour stakes were the men, who were suitably attired in pink patterned shirts, sky-blue shoes, navy trousers which were blunt-cut at the ankles and camel-coloured coats, to name but a few items. Think along the lines of  Mr Hudson, the musician, on a day off and you’re pretty much there!

Once again, as London Fashion Week continues to build momentum, the House of Burberry has most definitely quickened the pace…. I, for one, am truly looking forward to seeing their fantastic SS2014 runway looks translated to the London thoroughfares…I’d swop my 99 ice-cream for a Burberry pink-sorbet number any day!!!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

DAKS THE WAY I LIKE IT!

….and like it, I did!

From sumptuous butterscotch-leather boyfriend coats and kilts, to slices of skin revealed in crisp white shirts and billowing peach flares,  every model seemed to float down the runway, in complete tandem with the effortless grace of each outfit.

As ever, the simple elegance and riviera-chic of the Daks SS14 collection was undeniable. The clean-line aesthetic was accentuated by finely -tailored jackets and suiting which skimmed the silhouette, whilst a selection of creations in Daks house-check, including sassy separates such as shorts, balconette-bustiers, a thoroughly modern signature-mac and a fabulous floor-length gown, positively demanded attention! Even neutral black became more vivid, due to the fluid movement of sleeveless sweaters and low-slung trousers.

All-in-all, every look was a modern-day classic from this most historic British heritage brand and for aficionados of easy elegance or movie siren-style, Spring/Summer 2014 has the Daks signature written all over it!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED