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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: OPEN

MARSHALL GATHERS MOSS AT IMITATE MODERN? ‘I’M’ IN!

To many, the mere mention of Marylebone conjures up one of two things… One, being the waxworks of Madame Tussaud’s, the other, being Mr Sherlock Holmes! However, make your way, on foot, via a concentration of Oxford Street shoppers, across, oft, car-clustered roads, along a, mainly-residential, thoroughfare, in the direction of this Fitrovian district and you will soon happen upon another reason to become well-acquainted with the area. The new name to add to your cerebral rotary-filing system, is that of the “Imitate Modern” Art Gallery.

First impressions of the building are that this is not your usual exhibition space. Then again, being situated amidst some of the finest chocolate-box environs of London, you would expect nothing less! In fact, it is akin to an ‘open house’, of the most elegant, listed ilk! Modest, classic, it is a mirror of its curator, Jaqui Pittack, with a warmth and effervescenct energy, which disseminates throughout her amazing team of Imitate Modern-angels and radiates out into the ambience. That it is situated without earshot of  the blaring horn-orchestra of motor-vehicles further facilitates the pleasing exchange which stillness affords, as you take in the array of modern-artistic talent, fastidiously hung upon the walls.

I have first-hand experience of this, since I had the distinct pleasure of attending two back-to-back events last December, spanning the worlds of altruism and art-inauguration. The former, part of of the ‘Christmas Wish List’ evening, not only served to toast the season, but also helped the homeless, by auctioning an original canvas by the incredible ‘Stik’, and raising a truly healthy sum for ‘The Big Issue’. The latter, unveiled the unswervingly dynamic collaborations between urban pop-artist Rich Simmons with, both, zeitgetist power-photographer, Tyler Shields, and inspirational street-artist, ‘Parlee Erz’.

In high-spirited accompaniment, were pieces from thought-provoking, statement-artist ‘Cartrain’, the relentless, Jackson Pollock-esque abstracts by George Morton-Clark, adroitly-complemented by a witty series of signature, monochromatic works from ‘The London Police’ and skilfully-balanced by the intense, yet, uniquely delicate, sepia-toned goddesses from the accomplished hands of Rosie Emerson. Yet, this group form only a tranche of the distinguished talent comprising the Imitate Modern collective.

Little wonder, then, that with such a diverse creative roster, the gallery has consistently caught the attention of the media, including such publications as “Tatler” and “Vogue”. Even less, that it is this beautiful West-London location, which has been chosen to house the imminent arrival of its latest exhibition by gifted artist, Russell Marshall, entitled “40 A Kate Moss Retrospective”. Presented in collaboration with Urban/Contemporary Art-brand, “Beautiful Crime”, it is in dedication to and celebration of the supermodel’s 40th birthday, featuring ten screen-printed canvases, in a selection of ten hues, themselves, available in ten variant colour combinations! Sourced from Marshall’s own photographs, each canvas captures the model at differing stages of her career, from the new-face, spotted at an airport, through to her meteoric rise to entrepreneurial/iconoclastic status… and the anticipation has set the world’s media on fire!

They’re right to be excited!

Imitate Modern is the perfect backdrop in which to showcase the visual journey of Kate Moss, who  has been a fearless and bold protagonist within the Fashion Industry. Her ability to encapsulate and inspire trends has seen her career catapult her into the upper-echalons of her field, yet she has maintained an inner poise, which has infused each campaign with greater depth and authenticity. So, here’s to you at 40, Kate…and to being 25 years, strong, in the one-off world of la mode….

…..Long may your fashion-forward meteor continue to rise!

“40 A KATE MOSS RETROSPECTIVE” RUNS FROM: 17TH JANUARY > 15TH FEBRUARY 2014 AT: IMITATE MODERN, 27A DEVONSHIRE STREET, LONDON, W1G 6PN ~ MON>FRI: 10a.m > 6p.m ~ FREE!

www.imitatemodern.com ~ www.beautifulcrime.com

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

LCM: THE HEAVENS OPEN AT TOPMAN’S AW2014 SHOW!

Dark. Dank. Devoid of sound.

Booooom!!!

The edgy power of John Cooper Clarke cuts through the ether…His weighty words, doused in a Lancashire accent, darting rhythmically about like vocal strobes.

The spoken word hits a crescendo, his last line held in the air, embraced by nothingness.

Within seconds, action ensues, as mist-for-lighting announces the dawn in Topman’s LCM showspace. An industrial location is revealed, with a concrete catwalk, dressed, intermittently, in pools of water and as deep, electronica replaces the solo, the first model, with already-drenched hair, turns the corner into this brick-clad world of ‘Wuthering Heights’, breaking the modern-day barrenness with an opening AW14 look.

Black literally set the tone, represented by substantial, single-breasted, over-sized, overcoats, such as the duffel, with a popular toggle-fastening and their double-breasted counterparts in waist-hitting jackets. PVC bonded to ‘notch’-lapels, patch-pockets and block-hems, added textural impact to the round-shouldered silhouettes, which skulked the pass. ‘Wet-look’ variations-on-the-theme would be presented in high-shine, lacquered-leather separates, impressively accentuating apparel in shape, form and line, whilst also defining details through such simple, yet effective, techniques as piping. Within this section, the colour propostions mirrored the autumnal palettes of moss-meadow green and mushroom, with red-based plaid shirts and tassled jackets (echoing the cowboy-themed SS14 motif), acting as the flash of sunlight, breaking free upon the moorland.  Knitwear was rugged. At times, no-nonsense, with exaggerated, chin-cupping roll-necks, in open, cable and honeycomb weaves, resembling stylised fishing-nets…At others, given lozenge-beading and bouclé, to revisit pops-of-colour and to add surface characteristics.

Yet stronger spectral statements flooded onto sumptuous, full-length coats, in blazing orange, with matching, ‘jazzed-up’, ‘zoot-suit-style’ pants, voluminous and billowing against the strength-of-momentum with which the models strode through the venue. The pieces were also to be reprised in baby-blue pastel, a further homage to the tonal story, which has played a starring role in the sartorial spring/summer repertoire of many a design-house. The next seasonal trend-transition to be encapsulated, was the see-through mac, of long and short dimensions. Layered alongside these key advents into eye-catching shades, they complemented the story, with a revealing twist. Signature tailoring, for which the brand has become so higly-recognised and revered, featured in juxtaposed fashion to the drop-shouldered, full-pant ensembles, instead shown as straight-lined, straight-legged, suiting, in shipyard-slate and charcoal-greys, ever-echoing the ‘working-men’ of the past.

With the last look of black roll-neck, oversized, three-quarter length, matt, PVC coat and glistening liquid-look trousers, the Topman AW14 Collection had brought us to the end of our tour-of-the moors….or so it seemed…The last hurrah was an indoor downpour of rain, which fell upon the models as they walked the finale! It was an other-worldly end to a show which was typical of a collaboration, headed by the ebullient Gordon Richardson, and backed by an amazing design-team who know exactly who their ‘man’ is. To me, he’s a powerful, passionate, hardworking, salt-of-the-earth, modern-day Heathcliff and he wants his clothing to express that!

In the inimitable words of John Cooper Clark, ‘There’s apparel, Jim, but not as we know it!’* and when this distinctive collection hits the stores, you’ll see exactly what he means!

  http://www.londoncollections.co.uk/ ~ http://www.topman.com/

*Excerpt from ‘TOP MAN’ by John Cooper Clark

©AFROW2014-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

‘SPOTLIGHT ON: THE SARTORIAL RISE OF MR HUDSON’

Dearest Afrow-Family, might I prevail upon you for a moment, in order to regale you with the very happy news that Mr Hudson has returned!

Yes, he’s back on-the-‘b’-of-the-bang, with his soulful new single, ‘Fred Astaire’ suitably-paired with a couture video-clip of exquisite elegance.

We catch him in collaborative mood, with photographer-extraordinaire, Rankin, his willing creative-accomplice, and what results is a snapshot of a man-in-love, making himself ready to meet the object-of-his-affections, herself, in preparation for his arrival. It is, indeed, a  romantic narrative, but don’t think for a minute that co-created visual-art would ever remain simple, in a Rankin-Hudson world!

What ensues is a glorious homage to the entire process of manifesting such a stunning end-result. With the objective of giving status-to-the-apparatus, we, the viewers, become an invited-audience of a site-specific, behind-the-scenes, movement sequence. Thus, in one shot, we are exposed to the make-up artist, putting the final swipes of non-reflective base onto Hudson’s gossamer-skin, whilst in another, a snake of crew-members process after him as, rose-in-hand, he winds his way to his date’s door. It is, in a word, stunning and witnessing the work-in-progress would be one thing, but the merging of the emotive element is a sight to behold. The crew seem to be a support-system to Hudson’s ‘Eynesford-Hill-style’ character, in parallel to the real-time support-group of professionals whom they form, in facilitating the succesful outcome of the project.

Stylistically, the video is an undeniable tour-de-force. From the trademark black vest, at the beginning of his dressing ritual, to the crisp, clean, lightning-white shirt, razor-sharp, Hardy Amies suiting, efficiently-cut, so as to accentuate Hudson’s compact frame, to the timepiece which tantalises at the wrist and the beautiful, old-faithful brogue, constituting the Astaire-footwear, the look hails to the top-to-toe glamour of the quintessential, reel-to-reel screen-star, with an anglo-edge!

Just as our protagonist takes to the look with a cool and quiet confidence, so too, has Mr Hudson stuck his stylistic-perspective above the parapet, along his journey to greater public visibility. At times the classic country-gent, in tweed flat-cap and waistcoat, at others the ‘Singing Detective’, in a dipped trilby-and-trench ensemble, he has always held an air of wit, to match the wisdom of his open-hearted lyrics. As his career has developed, so too has his foray into the realms of the fashion-cognoscenti deepened. Courting the extremes of the on-trend, has found him ahead-of-the-game when it comes to expressing his sartorial approach. He makes no bones about having a wardrobe, which incorporates either a T-shirt with a stark, geometric design, a vibrant, primary-red two-piece suit or super ankle-skimming, tapered trousers, seemingly tailored to within-an-inch of their perambulatory efficacy! He has an innate sense of freedom-of-fashion-speech, which promotes the continuation of his brand-conversations on many levels, whether high-end, via Jil Sander, Burberry or Dior, or high street, through the likes of Top Man, and the excitement rests in the fact that he is such a chameleon…ergo his model-status with the top-tier ‘Next’ Agency!

Of late, he has been off our radars, building his production-repertoire, thus any glimpses which we have seen of him, have showcased another of his ‘go-to’ looks, of striped, loose top, rolled-up, straight-legged pants and, more often than not, his beloved brogues…without socks, mind you! However, with the release of ‘Fred Astaire’, we get to see the a man who is a symposium-on-style… On this track, we hear just how gifted a vocalist he is, with a faultless falsetto, (better than I’ve ever heard him sing before), reminiscent of the scintillating skills of Daryl Hall, and the lyrical ability to verse the vulnerability of a type of man with a ‘stiff-upper-lip’, who is courageous enough to admit he hurts but still gets out there and loves, all the same.

Mr Hudson shines in the constellation of U.K and global artists and whilst he has named David Bowie as his style icon, I believe that this troubadour-for-our-times, is fulfilling his potential of being a top man and gentleman, for generations to come.

‘Fred Astaire’ video: http://youtu.be/ikvxrC2mI1g courtesy of HungerTV! Enjoy!

©AFROW 2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Welcome to the ‘Maison Bentley Style’ Blog Party!

BLOGGERS-OF-THE-WORRRRRRLD…UNITE!!!

‘Tis the season to show the social-media-cognoscenti how to get-the-pardy-starded!

I’m AFROW:BLACK GIRL ON THE FRONT ROW…a wiley-wordsmith and ardent-aficionado of all-things creative!

A trip to my blog will find you meandering through the streets of art, fashion, music, poetry and so much more

So don’t bother about a map, because, here, it’s all about getting lost-in-lucid-lines and navigating-in-narrative, via an eternally-open-heart and the images of the inner-mind!

Have a fanTAStic time…and remember, there’s always a seat for you at AFROW’s!

Pardy-hardy kids!

xAx

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

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’