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LAUNCH: ‘ANFRAY & ANFRAY’ ARE AN ‘INSEPARABLE’ DESIGN-DUO!

As a self-confessed “wiley wordsmith”, I see the narrative in all things. Nothing being exempt, it was with deep joy that I discovered a most beautiful storyline behind the debut ring collection from esteemed jewellery design-duo, “Anfray and Anfray”.

Given that circles engender themes of a timeless and endless nature, I had already prepared to discover their inclusion in the mosaic of creative inspiration. However, what I had not prepared for, was the palpable articulation of emotional profundity, stemming from the collaborative passion of the designers, themselves. The secret? Jean-François and Alena are a couple, which gives rise to the full-force of passion being emitted though every band of deluxe rose, white and yellow gold. Thus, the choice of launching the range in the beautifully bijoux space of Mayfair’s “Wolf and Badger” boutique, was not only perfect, but perfectly complementary in, both, lighting and interior design.

Beneath the dimmed, soft-focus glow, the pieces were perched upon crystal-clear plinths, with all of the regal glamour of Hollywood starlets, ready their close-ups! For some while, I touched nothing. I merely stood, simply, quietly, deciphering the code-of-elegance which the couple had proposed. My patience was rewarded, as everso gently, the cognitive shoots of the “Anfray and Anfray” “Inseparable” concept started to spring forth. So began my mental points-of-departure, as to the “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How”, enmeshed within each, potential, ring-owner’s storyline.

I flew around upon my creative cosmic-cloud, wondering about the long-distance lovers, who might be in need of a symbol of togetherness, as a heartfelt reminder of their unique connection… Perhaps they would select a two-colour gold combination, in order to signify the neverending unison of their two entities. What of the parents, keen to commemorate a life-landmark of a precious daughter, seemingly infant-to-adult, overnight… Might the overlapping, independently-rotating elements, reassure her that, no matter how grown-up, she would always be their little girl? With every turn of tactile beading, would the distinctive song of metal-against-metal convey the message of being unconditionally loved?

Just such internal sketches were enthusiastically discussed, firstly with Zoe Hutchinson, Director of “Platform”, the outstanding PR company, responsible for unveiling this inspired collection, and, once those scenes had been set aside to mature, with Alena and Jean-François. The vibrancy with which each expressed the intent to honour the interplay of being, at once, intrinsically-linked with another, whilst also an individual, rendered it easy to understand why I sensed such an over-arching aura of emotional profundity.

Beyond the thematic concepts, the co-creators import an intense sensibility of social consciousness, with a passion, equal to that of their aesthetic awareness. Thus, not only is their collaborative ingenuity further channelled through the responsible-sourcing of all materials and the utilisation of conflict-free diamonds, but this sensitivity also perpetuates through the backstory of the ring which is acquired and/ or gifted.

Having snorkelled-up from the depths of my thoughts, I took the time to point-and press ‘last looks’ at the assembled compendium of supremely hand-crafted jewellery and to absorb the flow of electric, creative energy. I reflected upon the “Anfray and Anfray” ability to distil and impart notions and emotions into, essentially, cold matter. I connected with the fact that they display what we all possess…the ability to infuse life into that which appears to be lifeless…How, to steep the inanimate, with the animate force of love, activates earnest memories, which can reverberate through the browsing-history of time.

Jean-Francois and Alena describe it as “being bound yet free”.

I couldn’t agree more and, as I left for my next event, I realised, in a heartbeat, that a part of an undeniably stylish, undeletable evening, to launch a stunning collection of unforgettable rings,  had already come, powerfully, full-circle.

www.anfray-anfray.co.uk ~ www.platform-creative.com ~ www.wolfandbadger.com

@ANFRAYANFRAY ~ @platform_LDN ~ @wolfandbadger

©AFROW2013-2019 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

MASONBENTLEY: STYLE AND SUBSTANCE FROM A UNIQUE FASHION-DUO….

Barely have the curtains on a most resplendent London Fashion Week come down, than my head has been turned by the wondrous collection from design-duo, MasonBentley!

The brainchild of Anna Mason and Kate Bentley, the eponymous label was birthed in 2012, with the objective of ‘carefully selecting and sourcing vintage clothes to be re-loved for the modern wardrobe’*. The popularity of their brand of one-off pieces left savvy consumers wanting more and to that end, an idiosyncratic capsule collection was created in order to satisfy the rumbling style-stomachs of their ever-increasing number of supporters!

You need only peruse their blog to notice how much they are relishing every precious moment upon, what they call, ‘the journey’, as well as to quickly recognise how seamlessly their respective talents combine. Delve deeper into the collection and I’m sure you’ll agree with me that they are totally in the fast lane to exponential success!

Their design aesthetic is effortless glamour, which you can expect to see represented in timeless separates such as their ‘Harper’ blouse, alluring, both in white or black cotton-broderie anglaise fabric. Add the ‘Deneuve’ collar, for a perfect complement to the leg o’mutton-style sleeve and evoke a look with inflections of ‘elegant equestrian’. The ‘Hepburn’ skirt and ‘Audrey’ top are aptly- named, offering than a nod to the ‘Roman Holiday’-spirit of Audrey, herself (after she had the elfin cut!) and the beige/ ivory and black options make for ultimate versatility in the wardrobe of any woman.

Let it be known that MasonBentley have a delightful way with detailing but do not shy away from colour or print either! Such examples can be found in the range, from the ivory piping in the aforementioned ‘Audrey’ top and the precisely-positioned black horizontal stripes on the ‘Billie’ dress, to the ‘Dante Blouse & Belt’, the ‘Romy’ dress and the ‘Birkin’ bikini, flamboyantly adorned with ‘Royal Peacock Print’ in grey, fuschia pink and teal colourways, respectively.

A House signature must be their ‘trans-seasonal’* silk/ crepe-de-chine blouses, such as the ‘Macaroon’, available in shades of baby pink and ivory and with silhouettes suited to all body shapes, featuring flattering butterfly sleeves, as on the grey ‘Trilby’ blouse.

Prices ranging from £120** for the Deneuve collar, through to £340** for the silk/ crepe-de-chine blouses, competitvely reflect the high-quality of design and execution, however, I believe that in purchasing a garment from MasonBentley, you are getting so much more… The creative journey which we are all invited to share and to which we can all respond through their blog, and the love which clearly goes into manifesting a priceless, ‘total experience‘ are at the root of this rare gem of a design-partnership…

Long may the ever-increasing success of the MasonBentley legend continue!

©AFROW2013-2019 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

*Quotes from masonbentleystyle.com   **Prices correct at time of publication, from masonbentleystyle.com