Saturday, September 17, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

London is indisputably the home of young design talent- this is a city which, through its amazing educational institutions (Central St Martins, London College of Fashion, Royal College of Art etc.) and funding initiatives, nurtures young talent which then goes global- if Giles does end up going to Vuitton as some think may be the case now that he has ended his work with Ungaro (and if Marc goes to Dior- so many ifs!) then he will be the latest in a long line of British designers to be at the helm of major fashion houses.

The Vauxhall Fashion Scout is one of the ways that young designers are being supported. Yesterday I went along to their graduate showcase at Freemason's hall  to see whether these really could be future design stars.I have two favourites who I'll tell you about first. These are not from the main Ones to Watch show which showcased Alice Lee, Phoebe English, Shao Yen and Malene Oddershade Bach.

Manuela Dack

Manuela Dack, a graduate of Middlesex, had some beautiful sheer fabrics with beaded fringing panels. Her colour palette was a very fresh mix of mint green, cream and grey with some orange pops in the beaded bits- the sum of this was extremely wearable, beautifully ladylike pieces so I am not surprised that The Shop at Bluebird, the cool yummy-mummy department store destination on King's Road, has snapped her up. Just as important as the clothes is the personality behind them and when I met Maunela she was charming, switched-on and passionate about her collection. It is useful too for Manuela that her clothes fit the prevailing fashion mood which is chic and feminine and not too OTT.
Manuela Dack

Images from
My other top pick was Masc, the label from Duncan Shaw and Belinda Yick. The duo graduated from Nottingham Trent in 2007. Since then, Duncan has completed the Institut Francais de la Mode's Masters in Fashion Design programme in Paris. They began Masc in 2011 so have some perspective on the realities of the design world compared to those fresh from their courses which seems to me no bad thing at all.

Belinda was  a wonderful model for their collection which was inspired first of all by the wings of an aeroplane- I think one of my favourite things about fashion is learning where an idea orginates for a designer and how they progress. That industrial shape was in evidence throughout Masc's collection, whether it was a group of wing shapes combined to form a striking, angular skirt shape or a single pleat at the back of a skirt. Just as with Manuela, these guys are switched on and likeable, certainly not on an arty cloud nine. The colours were minimal to say the least, with just black and flesh on offer for the current collection so the focus really is completely upon the structure and silhouette. Their shapes are angular but still uber flattering and right for all kinds of women. I hope some canny buyers snap them up soon.

Images from Masc

Other highlights:

Stephanie Grace Foy
Stephanie Grace Foy SS12 (Styled by Lauren Eva, Model Linnea Landan, Photographer Miss Aniela, asst, Matt Lenard, MUA Rachel O'Donnell)

Yasmin Kianfar

Yasmin Kianfar

 I suppose it's the nature of young designers but it seems to me that there's not THAT much to any of these collections. There are maybe three or four beautiful pieces. So then it's all about the potential which is shown in those few examples. That's quite a lot of pressure. 

Great prints also from Anna Lee, who was inspired by Ophelia and the ocean.
Anna Lee
And from the Ones to Watch show:

Phoebe English-
Phoebe English

This coat from Shao Yen is my top overall piece from the whole exhibition. Beautiful. 
Shao Yen- Fun, playing with textures, versatile but still very elegant.