23 Feb 2013

belle fleurs.


22 Feb 2013

talking industry [1]

"Fashion is no longer a love affair, it's becoming a string of one night stands"

Earlier this month, Manchester Metropolitan University played host to the 'Global Futures' conference; a series of talks lead by internationally renowned individuals in fashion, as well as industry representatives. With each one unique but all as equally inspiring, we were given the opportunity of attending not one but four discussions.To us fashion is more than just the 'outfit of the day'. It's about the passion, the obsession, the business and everything else that goes with it; a feeling that was mutually felt by everyone after an hour spent listening to each speaker. 

For something a little different and in two parts; we give you an insight into the creative minds of John Walford, Adrien Parry Roberts, Thomas Brigger & Lanny Israel, four individuals who express their devotion, successions & current affairs within their own specialized role in the fashion industry.

Dressed in a modish fashion and stood with a demeanour of sophisticated suavity; John Walford was the first speaker of the day. Co-founder of graduate fashion week, Walford titles his speech 'the joys & challenges of working in fashion events abroad' or in other words the hardships of organising a fashion show when not one person speaks 'anglais'. 

Casually dropping names, John reveals that his first show was one of Vivienne Westwood's, who he now works closely alongside. Confessing to working on the runway show that infamously saw the Naomi Campbell fall; he now spends the majority of his working time abroad, more so in China, where Chinese models are fast becoming the 'flavour of the month'. 

Suggesting that it's not all high fashion & glamour behind the set, he describes his greatest ally as the 'iPad' when it comes to conquering language barriers. With fashion itself an international language; the simple use of arrows and '?' get John what he wants from his shows. Walford provides the whole package; from turning locations into runways to supplying the right models, he says his ultimate hate is the "white catwalk" and he believes at the moment its "Korea who are producing the best in Menswear". 

From a business perspective, John stresses that his job presents its challenges when working outside of the UK. Unbelievably there's no refined means of organisation abroad; China have virtually no PR source, so the majority of the time the whole process has to start from scratch with just pure government funding. We're pretty sure we had to excuse John's 'French' when he brought this up.

It's bemusing to think that this man, chatting away in front of us, rubs shoulders with the likes of Westwood and sets the stage for some of the most prestigious shows in the world. 

Svelte like in appearance, Thomas Brigger had an air of confidence when addressing the room. Dressed in one of his own bespoke suits, complete with an oversized safety pin attached to his tie, he began by telling us that fashion is his 'obsession' which in turn lead to his 'business'. That 'business' just so happening to be an extremely successful contemporary menswear brand.

Admitting to buying his first Vogue at the age of 12, Brigger gave the 'nutshell' version of his fashion infatuated lifestyle. Obsessed with using the word obsessed; he says how he began drawing his own collections at an early age, even providing the original images, describing himself as a "skater boy drawing suits". From the Swiss countryside to 90's MTV to beatniks and Jil Sander, Thomas recited every detail of his stylish youth; we of course hung onto every word.

A graduate of the Istituto Marangoni in Milan; Thomas has worked closely with the likes of Dolce & Gabbana and Sonia Rykiel. He describes his then working life as 'missing substance', in his words "producing products with no passion". So, in between a few career changes and divulging in the Parisian night life, Thomas finally put his obsession with fashion to practice and founded 'Proportio'. If we ever pictured the moment we would meet a man so passionate about creativity & fashion this was definitely it.

Suggesting that fashion is a lifestyle and not a product; Thomas stresses his most important rule when it comes to his work ethic, "don't do it because you want to make money, do it to make a change", this we agreed with completely. Brigger knows his customer inside and out and caters to their every need. Sounding like every well dressed man's dream, 'Proportio' rides on the success of Thomas and his attention to detail. 

That hour went by far too quickly for our liking; with Thomas finally rounding up by determining the highlight of his career as when he "sees strangers wearing his collections". When asked if "his house set fire which item would he save?" he eventually replied "a prototype suit I made at D&G, it doesn't fit and it's falling to pieces but it has nostalgia."

If you've made it this far down the page then clearly we're doing something right; keep your eyes peeled for when we introduce to you Adrien & Lanny. 

15 Feb 2013

here's Johnny.

Waking up this morning was decidedly quite difficult no thanks to a champagne induced hangover; there's another name for love and that's Moet & Chandon. 
Headaches aside, our motivation to finally get up came in the form of two things. Number one, today is the day London Fashion Week kicks off and we are without a doubt very eager to see what exquisite creations come strutting down the catwalk ready for a/w 13.
Number two, the second & final collection from J.W. Anderson for Topshop becomes available in stores and online today. After a quick visit in store and a good look online; we have to say we find this collection not as striking as the first.

Anderson displays his signature androgyneity throughout the collection, mixing up boyish silhouettes with feminine undertones, all the while keeping the colour pallet cool and simple with the slightest hint of vibrancy. An acquired taste for some, parts of the collection are reminiscent to Anderson's own brand design, particularly that of his a/w 13 men's.

Verity: When I went to view the collection this morning, I first noticed the neoprene crop top and frill skirt. Amazing colours, perfect for spring/summer but the skirt reminded me too much of the 'male boob tube' we saw on the runway for the a/w 13 men's collection. 

The collection is described as more 'stripped back' with a 'reduced' approach but Jonathan's flair for his use of interesting prints is what drew us to his first line with Topshop.

Scarlett: Although I love the collection I think what's missing is print. I was looking forward to seeing some new prints, yes there's the argyle knit but that's about all. What I loved about Anderson was his confidence in using unusual patterns, like the pale blue tartan and the spiders.

Don't get us wrong, the man is a creative genius and we're intent on seeing what he has in store for us on Monday during fashion week, but there's always room for constructive criticism. We were looking to get our hands on a pair of the pink and metallic moccasins but it seems they were hot property when the collection landed earlier today. 

| For the online collection click here & for the full scheduling for LFW click here |

13 Feb 2013

fashion delicacy.

Yesterday we had the absolute pleasure of attending not one but four conferences based around varied areas within the fashion industry. Without revealing too much; in an upcoming post we'll share the thoughts, experiences & ideas expressed by these four very influential speakers, from pushing the boundaries in menswear & visual merchandising to choosing the perfect runway during fashion week. 

| Scarlett - H&M Mongolian Cardigan | Zara Backless Top | Topshop Scarf Print Slip Skirt | American Apparel Opaque Hosiery | Topshop ALIBI Mid Ankle Boots | Fred Perry Bowling Bag | CIARACLARK Iridescent Perspex Cuff | Tom Binns Gold Ring |

| Verity - Topshop Checked Oversized Coat | Boutique Tee | J.W Anderson x Topshop Quilted Skirt | Topshop ANT Buckle Platform Boots | Vintage Quilted Handbag | Topshop Leather Pocketed Scarf | Vintage Semi-Precious Stone Rings | H&M Silver Ring |

MMU Business school |

As well as all these talks of fashion; we thought we'd shed some light on a new little eatery we found sitting just along Oxford Road. 'Ku Koos' streetfood' offers a colourful and delicious array of fresh Moroccan, Indian & Mediterranean foods, including our firm favourite - the falafel. Acting as an ideal alternative to the not so tempting fast food places surrounding, we'll definitely be eating here again.

10 Feb 2013


Happy Chinese New Year


6 Feb 2013

topshop X LFW

What's that day in February that comes around the same time each year?
The day where there is a sense of excitement and curiosity in the air, where divine men and women grace the streets at every turn whilst the rest of us are left feeling a slight pang of jealousy just at the sight of them?

Quite clearly we're talking about the first day of London Fashion Week.

Unless you've been left totally out of the fashion loop, you'll know that that day is almost upon us; Friday the 15th February to be exact.

The wait is almost unendurable and as Topshop have just revealed the new location for their show on Sunday the 17th February, we don't know if we can carry on containing our excitement.

The Topshop Unique AW13 collection will be showcased in none other than the Tate Modern's 'The Tanks', a backdrop of raw, majestic industrialism. 
Recently renovated, the Tanks are one of the most atmospheric show spots in London; and its not just the usual Unique collection that will grace the concrete runway. Topshop have announced that they will be supporting an impressive line-up of NewGen talent including our favourite J.W. Anderson.

LFW will take place from Friday the 15th February until Tuesday the 19th February, with designers including Vivienne Westwood, Burberry, Mulberry & Mary Katrantzou parading their AW13 collections down London's finest runways.

| Images | Topshop |

i-Do i-Do i-Do i-Do.

i-D magazine and Kate Moss celebrate their 20 year love affair in style with the model adorning not one but four covers for i-D's pre-spring 2013 issue -  'The Alphabetical Issue'.

Kate first featured on the cover back in 1993 and has barely aged a day since. She looks the epitome of style and grace in each flawless image captured by noted photographers Daniele & Iango.

From what we have seen online the issue looks set to be a definite read for February and will be available to purchase as from tomorrow.


2 Feb 2013

clued in: CIARACLARK

"CIARACLARK is an independent British jewellery designer who specialises in making statement jewellery and accessories. Always striving to produce innovative designs by constantly exploring and pushing the possibilities of the materials & concepts to create oversized but very wearable collections. Such impetuses have resulted in each collection having a distinctive theme. Although structural shape and industrial details are often present. CIARACLARK new collection introduces new current obsessions iridescence, transparent materials, the subtle contrast of matt and shiny and a new texture with pom pom and tassels."

If you didn't know her then, you are sure to know her now. As promised, we bring you the interview we carried out with the immensely talented Ciara Clark. Exclusively to Otterly Charming; here she talks inspirations, influences and gives some words of wisdom to all those other aspiring designers.

My name is... Ciara Rose Clark.

I currently live in... London.

I call home... Manchester.

My job description is... Jewellery designer/maker. I also have a huge interest in and wanting to explore, props and installation pieces. I believe a lot of the techniques I use can be applied to other big scale projects. 

I became this by... Basically, after working in uninspiring jobs for a few years, I decided to go back to school and study. It was a toss up between 3D design and midwifery. The laser cutter that was spoken about on the 3D design course, swung it for me, it sounded so cool! Glad I went the way I did now.

My inspiration to become a designer was... I guess it has always been an option for me. Since I can remember I have enjoyed designing and making things.

The best part about my job is... So many things, I love the whole process of designing, experimenting with materials and techniques, discovering and applying new technologies, trying always to produce something fresh and innovative. Most of the designs are a result of endless exploration into my favoured materials, I am always trying to develop.

My style can be described as... My personal style is quite modern and minimal but my jewellery style is bold and maximal.

The one thing I can't live without is... I would probably struggle most without music and tea & toast!

When I'm back home I like to... Hang out at my friend Mai's house.

I'm currently listening to... A fantastic band from Manchester called 'Pins'. 

My influences are... Bjork.

If you are starting a business you should... It is so important if you are a small independent business to spend enough time marketing and promoting yourself and your work. Most creative people I know, including myself, struggle with this side of things. It doesn't matter how talented you might be, if no one knows who you are or what you do, you will really struggle to succeed. 

My advice for aspiring designers is... Keep exploring, experimenting and pushing your designs and get the most from your materials but always communicate your own personal style/pov. 

Now I'm in London I like to... Meet people, get involved with interesting projects and discover a new city. I have never lived away from Manchester and feel that it's about time.

My Favourite piece from my collection is... The triple stud pom pom earrings. 

You can buy my pieces from... Currently from the Manchester Craft and Design centre and very soon from ciaraclark.co.uk

In five years time I see myself... I'm not sure at the moment and I think that's exciting!


| Follow Ciara on Tumblr here & like her on Facebook here |

| Images: Marta Julve & Ciara Clark |