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Archive for October, 2010

Knitwear: Vintage Style

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Some things never loose their fashion appeal, and I’m the very lucky caretaker of a few of those items. I say caretaker rather than owner as they have been passed on to me and I intend to pass them on to some fashion fabulous new generation at some point…

This delicious Bus Stop sweater is a perfect example. It was bought by my Mother before I was even a twinkle in her eye. I am about to dust it off again to wear for this Winter. I think it might have a certain Mark Fast lace knit appeal around the edges, the ‘vert de gris’ green is perfect and the sheerness is also right on track for this Winter.

Bus Stop was a style mecca on Kensington Church Street, alongside the perhaps better known Biba. Lee Bender, the founder, launched the store in 1969 and throughout its lifespan rolled the concept out across the country to a total of twelve stores at the height of their success.

I found this image of my Mum wearing the sweater, along with my stylish Aunt, at a family ‘do’ in the mid 70’s. Its still looking pretty damn good considering the amount of years this slip of knit has been worn for.

The original Bus Stop shop front

The "Blink" Mother in Bus Stop, on the left

vintage Bus Stop sweater

vintage Bus Stop sweater

Click here for more knitwear inspiration.

Colour Palette- Neutral meets Bright

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

I was passing by the lovely Hanina Gallery on Westbourne Grove a little while back when I spotted this painting. I just loved its energy and the combination of texture and colour. I’ve been stashing it on the back burner awaiting an opportune moment to share it with you. Its been a while since we featured an inspirational colour palette, so I decided now was the time to get this post out there.

I think its a great colour, pattern and mood inspiration for Autumn 2011. As we’re working on that season for clients this month, this has been front of mind for us. I think its the way that the artist has combined such rich neurals with those eye popping brights. But it doesn’t jar at all. It shows how you can be bold and brave, even while embracing the all important neutrals.

We have started with saturated black, followed with carbon (pantone 18-3905 TPX), noisette (18-1612 TPX), plaster (14-1310 TPX) and ivory (11-0104 TPX) to cover off the neutrals and soft tinted shades. Then add in rust (18-1250 TPX), tomato (17-1558 TPX), dark turquoise (16-4834 TPX) and cobalt (18-4148 TPX) to cater to those flashes of saturated colour.

a beautiful painting spotted in the window of the Hanina Gallery

Click here for more inspirational colour palettes.

Pattern: Get Textural

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Its a print and pattern theme that we have been enthralled by for some time, and one that shows no sign of quitting any time soon. If you haven’t yet embraced textural surface effect style prints, then do it now! Its an amazing way to add pace to your collection and excitement to your outfit.

Think macro ultra close ups that leave you wondering what the image is of- but you know somehow its something familiar. Look, with a slight squint, at a disturbed surface on a puddle, whirling smoke, screen static and action painting for your inspiration and you will surely create something wonderful!

Aminaka Wilmont

Arrogant Cat

Comptoir des Cotonniers

Damsel in a Dress

Harvey Nichols

Surface to Air

Blink Events: Super Design

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Last week, the Inn team invited me to join them at the Super Design exhibition in Victoria House, Bloomsbury. We were expecting something much more art oriented, as this was the same week as Freize was being held, but in fact this was product, lighting and furniture oriented- perhaps this would have been more at home as part of London’s Design Festival?

This was the 4th Super Design exhibition, the brainchild of gallery owner Patrick Brillet. The mission of Super Design is to bring together collections from leading international galleries and pioneering designers, featuring specially commissioned, unique and limited edition pieces from galleries including The Apartment, D&A-Lab and Vessel Gallery.

It was an intriguing selection of diverse products, styles, materials and aesthetics. We spotted things that we hadn’t previously seen from designers like Tom Dixon, as well as seeing things from designers that we hadn’t previously know, like the amazing folded paper shade from Michael Young.

Here are some of our favourite pieces. Enjoy!

Vessel Gallery, Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert 'Clouds'

D&A Lab Dimitri Vangrunderbeek 'Unit #1'

Herve van der Straeten 'Console Cristalloide no. 387'

The Apartment, Broderie Neill 'Reverb Wire Chair'

The Apartment, Marcus Tremonto with Kidrobot

Tom Dixon 'Pivot 2007'

The Apartment, Michael Young 'TST Lamp'

Knit: Donegal Divas

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We have been researching for this month’s reports and the one category that stands out head and shoulders above the others is knitwear. Designers seem to be channeling all of their creativity into this category, much as they did last Autumn. I’m sorry jersey, but you’re just not cutting the mustard. Its all about chunky, cabled variations on traditional looks created in yarns that are hairy, neppy, tweedy and textural.

Classic Aran knits in creamy colours are all delicious, but we prefer these more coloured variations on the trad theme. Click here for more knitwear coverage. Needles at the ready!


Les Petites




Blink Events: ‘Fabric for Fashion’

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

We were very kindly invited to attend the launch of  a fantastic pair of fashion books at the London College of Fashion last week. “Fabric for Fashion” by Amanda Johnston and Clive Hallett is a ‘must have’ for anyone passionate about fashion textiles and wanting to learn more. Commissioned by publisher Laurence King, the books aim to express core and creative fabric knowledge in an accessible, easily navigable and visually gorgeous format. At “Blink” we are textile obsessives so this book is like all of our Christmases come at once!

We asked Amanda what was the inspiration behind this pair of books-

“The main book is intended to be a comprehensive guide to natural fibres, but also touches on some of the synthetics. It provides the knowledge and vocabulary to allow the student, designer and product developer to make intelligent and informed choices regarding not just the aesthetic and tactile appeal of a fabric, but also to consider the provenance of raw materials and the sustainable implications of those choices.
The partnering swatch book was conceived as a partner to the main book, but may be used on its own. It contains over 100 tactile examples of the most widely recognized fabrics, to encourage a practical familiarity with different fibres, weaves and weights.”

Laurence King Publishing are offering “Blink” readers the chance to get the main book at a discount from their website. Just enter the code ‘FABRIC15’ and you’ll be able to purchase this book for £15, saving £9.95!

The 'Fabric for Fashion' books

both beautiful and informative

The silk page from the 'Fabric for Fashion' swatch book

Amanda, on the far right with her daughter, signs books at the launch

Clive signing books at the launch

Friday Fun: Pop in to the Pop Up at Liberty

Friday, October 15th, 2010

We were doing the usual retail rounds when we spotted this Roger la Borde pop up shop within the beautious Liberty store, in situ until 18th October.

This shop within shop is in celebration of this innovative publishing company’s 25th birthday. We first noticed Roger la Borde cards when they started producing delightful mini versions of Rob Ryan‘s work (a Blink favourite, in case you didn’t know). Alongside the cards by Rob Ryan there is work by  Elise Hurst, Aya Kakeda and Su Blackwell. There’s some stunning original artwork for sale too- the Rob Ryan one is from a limited edition of just 10.

To add to the celebrations Roger la Borde has launched its first ever collection of homewares, including bone china teapots, mugs, aprons, tea towels and notebooks, all featuring Victoriana inspired illustrations like the strongman clad in a flowery apron that we spotted on the window of Liberty.

Hmm, its got me thinking about Christmas gifts already…

Roger la Borde at Liberty

Blink Interviews: Gaudion Bowerbank

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

We first met Gaudion Bowerbank when attending a course on working sustainably at the brilliant Centre for Sustainable Fashion. Gaudion Bowerbank were already well progressed on their chosen path towards showcasing amazing jewellery that had been created sustainably and ethically, and we have watched their business go from strength to strength over the past year- never swerving from their mission.

In 2009 Gaudion Bowerbank was born out of the desire this duo have for creating an environment which fosters artistic freedom and creative collaboration leading to more intelligent design; a studio-boutique that would promote the behind-the-scenes craftsmanship of the best contemporary jewellery in the world. Working from small studios or their homes, the designers’ devote fine materials, years of expertise, and the physical workmanship hours needed to craft the orders by hand, one at a time.

“It was really important to Kelly and I that Gaudion Bowerbank have a point of difference, we wanted to offer our customers and designers a new retail experience, something with traditional values but with a contemporary and fresh aesthetic. Yes, on a basic level it [Gaudion Bowerbank] is a shop, but it’s a gallery too, a window into designers’ studios, and the hub of a vibrant, interactive, creative community.”
Claire Gaudion, Co-founder of Gaudion Bowerbank

Gaudion Bowerbank won designer brand of the year at London Jewellery Week in June 2010.

In addition to running Gaudion Bowerbank; Kelly Bowerbank works as a Junior Fashion Editor at Asos. Prior to that Kelly worked on the fashion desk at the Guardian for almost three years, with editors Jess Cartner-Morley and Imogen Fox. Claire Gaudion, alongside her role at Gaudion Bowerbank, also works for Edina Ronay assisting with design, buying and website development. She began this job whilst studying at London College of Fashion, which is where Claire and Kelly met.

We interviewed Kelly Bowerbank, picking her brains on her inspiration and influences. Thanks for the time you have given us Kelly!

Tell us about your current design crush
I’m really excited about a textile designer we’re launching soon. She’s a very talented weaver who makes beautiful scarves and throws. To the untrained eye her work is haphazard and geometric; but each of the patterns that make up her pieces have a secret Morse code word woven into them. My favourite is the design based on the word ‘love’, if you don’t know Morse code, then you’d never guess that’s what it said, or indeed that it said anything at all. It’s such a clever, imaginative concept, and it makes for an incredibly thoughtful gift. I will be treating the special people in my life to one of her scarves come Christmas!

Do you think that wearability is more important than creativity?
My head says yes, but my heart says no! Seriously, I think that (for me at least), it’s about balance. What I wear has to keep me from indecently exposing myself, fairly dry if it rains, and at a pleasant temperature- those are the non-negotiable ‘wearability’ factors. However, I don’t believe that creativity has to be sacrificed to tick these boxes. Even wardrobe staples: white t-shirts, navy jumpers, black trousers, can have beautiful, unexpected design details. I heard someone refer to these as ‘premium basics’ recently, which I thought was nice.

For you, what is the most important aspect of being an independent retailer?
Being able to promote emerging talent. In times of economic difficulty, the large department stores and chains are reluctant to take ‘risks’ with little-known designers. We can be much more flexible and reactive in our approach, and it means we can support new graduates and fresh talent.

Which comes first for you, personal style or trends?

I have eclectic style. One day I may be dressed in homage to Mad Men, the next could be my take on military, and another I’ll be channeling Snoop Dog (yes really). Trends don’t massively influence me, but I do nod in their direction, especially when it comes to styling my outfits. There’s been a massive shift towards minimalism recently, so I’ll be putting a lot of our designer’s simple, paired back pieces to good use this season.

Do you think that ethical and sustainable fashion can compete with main stream high-street fashion?

It has to, and it is. Today’s customers are shrewd, if ethical fashion doesn’t fulfill their requirements then they just won’t buy it. Of course, there is still room for improvement, but in recent years, the design credentials of the best ethical fashion has really improved to a point where is can easily compete with the fast fashion of the high-street

What season are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
Gaudion Bowerbank doesn’t really work on seasonal basis, we just choose designers that we love and who deserve a platform for their work. We do apply some common sense to our operational schedule though, for example we wouldn’t launch a knitwear designer in June, when what women really want is is summery dress.

What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Elsa Schiaparelli and Martin Margiela. I’m the proud owner of a Margiela jacket, the shoulders are so huge that I have to go through doorways side on when I wear it. I’ve yet to acquire any Schiaparelli, but I’m hopeful!

What’s currently inspiring you?
We visit many graduate and new designer shows each year, and there have been some great ones this summer. Seeing all of the new talent, fresh and enthusiastic, re-affirms our ethos. Creating a platform that supports emerging designers, that’s inspiring. Claire and I are both also  really looking forward to the Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion, exhibition opening soon at the Barbican Art Gallery. I’m sure I’ll come out of there energized, notepad and pencil in hand, eager to design and create!

How would you describe Gaudion Bowerbank’s fashion aesthetic?
Minimal, timeless, and beautiful. A bold design statement.

What is currently tempting you into making a purchase?

Erm, I’m a little embarrassed by this, but I’ve literally just bought some Rebecca Taylor leopard trousers, despite lots of protests from my boyfriend. After the February fashion weeks I realised there was a huge gap in my wardrobe where animal print trousers should be. Mulberry and Ungaro presented some gorgeous ones; mine are charcoal and black, they’re made of really soft wool. They’re much nicer than what you’re probably imagining! If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a sucker for fashion…

Any style secrets?
Wear at least one thing everyday that makes you smile. And wear it with confidence.

How has the ethical and sustainable fashion scene changed since you opened your business?

The awareness of ethical and sustainable fashion is growing all the time; both within the industry as more brands launch eco/organic/fairtrade lines, and with customers becoming more conscientious shoppers. Since opening the business, we’ve definitely perceived a positive shift towards sustainable fashion. A year or two ago people were engaging with ethical fashion because they felt they should, but now it’s because they actually want to- there’s been a massive change in attitude.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Seeing the craft behind the products. It’s amazing to be privy to the skill and the love that goes into creating them.

Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?
We’re focusing on two main projects at the moment, expanding our product range and re-developing the website. It’s a massive job, the revamped site will look clean and modern, and the improved functionality will make the shopping experience much smoother for customers.

Any fashion regrets?
As someone who has indulged in almost every daft trend, you’d think I’d have lots! But fashion is too much fun to have any regrets. Live, wear and learn but never regret.

Whats the best fashion advise that you’ve ever been given?

Don’t save things for ‘special’, it just means you’ll never ever wear them.

Can you share with us your most fabulous fashion moment?
I felt pretty pleased with myself (and only mildly embarrassed) when Jerry Hall had to wait to pass, while the Japarazzi took my picture at an event at London College of Fashion. She was very gracious about it, and totally stunning.

Who would you love to work with, past or present?
Working with new and relatively unknown designers is one of the best parts of this job and what drives Gaudion Bowerbank. But there are of course some iconic designers and brands that we’d love to partner with. It would be amazing to do something with Pierre Hardy, I adore his shoes. You can spot his designs from a mile away, there is something about the proportions,  classic, contemporary, simple, yet creative. Whistles is one of my favourite stores and Jane Shepherdson is exceptionally talented- the Phoebe Philo of the high street. She has a sixth sense when it comes to design, she intuitively knows what women want and she doesn’t fail when it comes to delivering it. I’d never say no to a collaboration with Whistles or her or both!

Any final word of advise?
Keep the momentum and smile even when things don’t go to plan- they have a habit of working themselves out. Make time to see your loved ones even when you’re frantically busy.

Claire and Kelly at London Jewellery Week earlier this year

designs by Simone Brewster

designs by Simone Brewster

designs bu Lua Lua

designs bu Lua Lua

Blink Inspiration: Utterly Frilling!

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

and another possible title was ‘The Hips don’t Lie!’ but we didn’t want Shakira getting litigious on our derrieres..

So, this month at retail, from high end to high street, we saw a flurry of frills, mainly focused around the hips creating a wonderfully curvaceous and voluminous silhouette. Some of the frills slipped from the hips to the hemline, and some others rose up to encompass the whole body. There were various techniques being deployed to create these tiers of fashion joy- from fur and feathers to more classic ruffles. Whether sculptural or soft, this is look we love.

Ashley Isham, Spring '11 collection

Ermanno Scervino

Harvey Nichols


Lu Flux

Shao Yen, On/Off London Fashion Week

Blink Events: Lets Make Up

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

We very lucky to have been invited to the launch party for the Session School the other week. Lucky in oh so many ways.

Firstly we got to see our very first fashion employers again- the lovely Rick and Lucille Lewin who were the founders of Whistles. It was my very first job and boy did I learn a lot as assistant to Lucille, the production manager and the designer, as well as being an occasional shopgirl! Rick and Lucille own the space that is now dedicated to the Session School, located above the Chiltern Street Studio (I can still recall sweeping that courtyard!).

Next on the lucky list is the fact that I got the meet Dani Guinsberg and the team who have founded the brilliant Session School, housed in a stunning high ceilinged and sky-lit white washed space in Marylebone. The concept is to create a school where amateurs and professionals can hone their skills in both hair and make up. The team’s feeling is that in order to be as successful as possible within the industry, you really need to be expert at both hair and make up.

Dani, a highly experienced make up artists of over 14 years experience with work published in Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, along with Sara Hill, make up artist to celebrities like Grace Jones, La Roux, Kanye West and the Sugababes, and Julie Jacobs, make up artist who has worked on catwalk shows for Miu Miu, Prada, Leowe and Louis Vuitton, are overseeing the make up training. Jennie Roberts, a highly successful hair stylist to the likes of Kate Winslet, Rihanna and Take That, alongside Ben Cooke, creator of Posh’s ‘Pob’, and Jonathan Long, one of the most sought after hairdressers and stylists of the moment, are the team sharing their incredible hair styling skills.

Finally on the lucky list is the fact that we got to meet the utterly delicious and delightful David Gandy. He’s a very close friend of Dani’s and had come along to support the launch of her new venture. One thing you don’t get to really see from that Dolce ad is the fact that he has the most incredible blue eyes (what do you mean, you weren’t looking at his eyes?). David is launching a men’s style guide iphone app. We would encourage all of you boys to download it immediately if it’ll make you look anything like the stunning Mr Gandy…

We wish Dani and the stellar team incredible success.

Click here to see more “Blink” events…

The Session School team with Lucille and Rick Lewin, Mel C and David Gandy

David Gandy with Dani Guinsberg

models with Mel C, ex Spice Girl, all styled by the Session School experts