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Black Girl on the Front Row!

Tag: RHYTHM

‘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

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’