If you didn't follow my advice recently and sign up for this year's Fashion Fringe, sadly you're too late. Last night Christopher Bailey, the initiative's new chair, announced the ten semi-finalists that are in the running to be part of the final three who will show their collections at London Fashion Week in September.
'It has been truly inspiring to review the work of these incredibly bright and creative entrants – each and every one of them with such a strong expression and point of view,' Bailey said. 'The submissions that we have seen today reinforce the amazing talent, energy and creativity that run through the UK and I am so proud to be able to help nurture the next generation of visionaries who will be shaping the world of design in the future.'
As London Fashion Week goes, Fashion Fringe has always been a firm favourite on the show schedule. The competition, founded by Colin McDowell, has gained a reputation for finding and nurturing the best young talent the country has to offer. The list of former winners, which includes Basso & Brooke and MObama favourite Erdem, is evidence of that. In only three days submissions will close and the shortlist of ten designers will be chosen, which will then be narrowed down to three finalists who will get the chance to show their collections at fashion week.
If you're thinking of signing up, this is definitely the year to do it. The general prize includes a runway show and an £100,000 prize to go towards establishing a label. What makes this year special, though, is that Christopher Bailey is joining the panel as the initiative's new chair so along with selecting the final three, Bailey will also mentor the winner over the course of a two year development period. The Burberry designer needs no introduction so it's safe to say that his industry insight and support will prove invaluable to any new designer.
To qualify the minimum you need is a UK working visa and formal design qualifications are not necessary. So what are you waiting for? Make sure to send your application off by April 26th.
To insert Bill Gaytten — an undisputedly brilliant technician, but not a designer — into the gap at Dior can be nothing but a temporary solution. It’s high time this gap was closed. But why not with somebody young and untested, as Yves Saint Laurent was when he took over the reins at Dior at the tender age of twenty-one and went on to revolutionise women’s clothes? I still believe that designers with genius and courage, traits which are invariably independent of age, are more likely to thrive at a grand Paris label.
He wrote in his column in the Business of Fashion
Margaret Howell and Colin McDowell have undoubtedly made a considerable contribution to fashion, particularly in London, and now their achievements are being recognised. This Friday the University of the Arts London will honour the pair in the Royal Festival Hall alongside the university's graduation ceremony.
Both will become Honorary Doctors for their outstanding contribution to fashion adding them to the likes of Alexander McQueen, Mario Testino, John Galliano and Giorgio Armani who have also been given the same award.
Nurturing the best in up and coming design talent, Fashion Fringe is taking on a change of direction for 2010, focusing on "encouraging the spirit of extreme imagination, adventure and experimental beauty that London is historically known for". It comes as incredibly good timing then, that John Galliano is to take over from Donatella Versace as honorary chairperson for the contest, with his extravagant aesthetic and exquisite eye for detail.
'I am hoping we find a rebel genius’ says Galliano ‘I will look for someone who reminds me of me when I was starting out - someone original, unique, who has their own style and handwriting and isn't afraid to try something new. Fashion sometimes gets scared and plays it too safe - but I want to push boundaries'. Becoming chairperson of the exciting initiative is a prestigious position to be in, with Tom Ford holding the position prior to Versace, however all designers undertaking the role work for free, taking time out often from their busy schedules and being actively involved with the entrants throughout the year of the contest.
On Monday night, Selfridges paid host to none other than the current golden boy of fashion, Alexander Wang. The 25 year old had touched down at the ultra hip department store not only to check out his new pop-up store, but also to be interviewed live by Colin McDowell for the Sunday Times Style's 'In Conversation With' series. With an existing army of fans consisting of teens, young 20 something and upwards, the predominantly Wang-attired teenage audience was a surprise turnout. He spoke about his signature 'model off duty' look which he confirmed were indeed inspired by Erin Wasson but insists that "Erin is more of a friend than a muse- I think that word is out-dated, and I never use it myself."
We all love Selfridges, not just because it's among the most forward thinking department stores in London, but also because it has offered the most up-to-the-minute designer collaborations over the years. Now we hear that Alexander Wang will be gracing the 3rd floor of Selfridges, '3rd Central' space, not only to check in on his store-in-store but also to witness the unveiling of his new capsule collection to be stocked at the department store as of next week Tuesday.
Die-hard fans will now have somewhere to pick up instant wardrobe hits including the must-have racer back vests (which seem to go with any and everything), micro mini-skirts, luxe blazers and lots more that our fashion friends stateside will not be privy to. If that's not enough, Wang will also be on hand between 5.30 and 6.15pm on the 13th October to chat to his legions of fans or simply to be oggled at before he makes an appearance at the 'In Conversation' event with Colin McDowell for Sunday Style.
Fashion journalist Helen McDermott has what most people would call a pretty covetable job. Working with Colin McDowell's magazine Distill, she files through gorgeous photographs, goes to her pick of parties and (when she's lucky) bumps into male D&G models. Helen gives The Fash Pack a look at the inner workings of one of the mag world's freshest titles.
Designer muses? Not for Giles Deacon. The designer opened up to Colin McDowell last night at the latest instalment of The Sunday Times Style's In Conversation With series and revealed that there's no one woman whose style does it for him. "I think that's too spooky, having just one," he said.
Giles admits, though, that if Lauren Bacall came calling, he'd have no problem whipping up a wardrobe.