Wear The Look – Lauren

Our Contemporary Classics Collection is all about stylish versatility; here’s how to wear the look casually for our Lauren pattern. To create a timeless casual look, wear the neck unbuttoned and team up with skinny jeans and pumps. This shirt is also great with three-quarter length Capri pants. 


Fashion Exhibitions


Fashion exhibitions are a great place to practise your illustration skills and learn about garment construction. I created the illustration above in response to a Christopher Kane exhibit I saw last month; more of that later.
Sadly, one of the most compelling fashion exhibition’s closed this month, the V and A’s Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition. Unsurprisingly, it became the museum’s best attended exhibition: 493,043 people visited during its 21 week run, a record breaking number of visitors. Don’t despair, there are many great fashion exhibitions that are well worth a visit.
The Museum at FIT is running Global Fashion Capitals until November 14, 2015. As the title suggests, the exhibition explores the global contribution that each fashion capital has made; how each city’s cultural identity and particular economic, political, and social circumstances combine to elevate its designers to international attention. On show are histories of the established fashion capitals—Paris, New York, Milan, and London—and the emergence of 16 new fashion cities.
Best of all, The Global Fashion Capitals exhibition features classic designers, like Christian Dior, alongside contemporary designers, like Christian Kane. If you’ve got time this summer, why not escape reality and spend the day sketching or mentally deconstructing some inspiring creations?


IMG_8061As we get older, it can be so hard to hold on to our creativity. Even those of us who are the ‘creative types’ can get stuck in our own ruts. Mine is colour, or more specifically lack of it.

Recently, Julie Burstein delivered a talk on how we can kickstart our creativity:

I was so inspired by Julie’s 4 lessons in creativity that I undertook my own creativity audit:

1) Experience: my weakest area. I’m often too busy planning ahead to experience the here and now;

2) Challenge: without poor finances in my younger years, I would never have started creating my own clothes;

3) Limitation: I’m getting better at this, I used to see my poor photographic skills as a hindrance but it’s prompted me to develop my illustrative skills instead;

4) Loss: I always used to draw and paint with my dad; only years after his death did I begin to revisit those skills.
Going forward, I intend to enjoy the creative process and life’s experiences.

Summer Reading List


One of the best aspects of being on holiday is working through your summer reading list. Now half way through mine, I simply had to share some of my favourites. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce is every bit as enchanting as her first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. When Queenie Hennessy discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note to him had explained she was dying from cancer. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write a second letter; only this time she must tell Harold the truth.
My 2015 summer reading list:

  • Anything written by Rachel Joyce
  • Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
  • Daughter, by Jane Shemilt

Feel free to share you book recommendations. Happy reading.

I Love Fashion

How can an intelligent woman love fashion? I suspect that this is a question that many of us have heard, in one guise or another, at some point in our lives. Our inquisitors wondering why we are incapable of grasping that fashion is, at best, a mere waste of time and money; at worst, a capitalist construct to subjugate women. An interest in fashion, as we all know, is something of a personality flaw. Fashion conscious women are both superficial and selfish – superficial in that they care more about appearance than character, selfish in that they’re wasting money which could serve a more worthy purpose.


For most of my life, I’ve felt rather guilty about my love of fashion. Now older, I refuse to adopt an apologetic attitude: I love fashion. Not only am I irritated, insulted and bored by the anti-fashion brigade, but I am becoming increasingly determined to challenge their obvious prejudice. Truly, it is they who are making superficial judgements.

True, fashion isn’t of paramount importance, but it represents something larger than: “does this make me look attractive?” Paradoxically, fashion’s critics acknowledge this when they complain that runways are inhabited by odd looking models, wearing weird looking clothes. Virginia Woolf is right in her observation that, “vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say, more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us.” Fashion is a visual language, hence the term fashion statement. For many of us, our clothes are part of an on-going conversation with the world about who we are. Only the culturally naïve, believe that fashion doesn’t matter.

Reinterpreting Classic Fashion

Some classic fashion is too great to forget. Strong design is strong design. I’m really inspired by the thought of reinterpreting some style staples. There’s something quite striking about adding quirky details to iconic designs. Inevitably, juxtaposing the unexpected with the expected always runs the risk of ruining a beautiful look but creativity is a process of risks.
As the Summer Ball season is almost upon us, I’ve been playing with timeless evening gowns.Classic Fashion
Starting with sketching out a classic gown length, I reworked ideas around the train. Not there yet but I’d like to create a way of shortening the gown whilst keeping the concept of a train. Obviously, we all remember Dianna’s stunning ‘Revenge Dress’ by Christina Stambolian but I wanted something a little more edgy.

Classic Fashion


Pleating a short train or having it interfaced and jutting out is probably the next step. Alternatively, the train could start at the neckline, wrap across the body and out. The ideas, the mistakes, the ‘what ifs’ are what make designing fun and frustrating, often in equal measure.