There’s no point in us enthusiastic bloggers giving lots of love to fashion graduates that we have picked up on Catwalking.Com and gone ‘Oooh ooh…. that’s pretty!’.  Mainstream fashion press are slowly devoting more attention to fresh graduates.  However the real platform of exposure that graduates really want (and need!) is a retail one, a place that will take the chance on the REALLY up and coming.  Selfridges will be unveiling their 20 piece pop up shop in October that sells the best of what was seen at Graduate Fashion Week to the public with the full retail price going straight to the designer.  A big retailer like Selfridges can certainly afford to do such ventures but what of the up and coming e-boutique?

I spoke of my love for Nina & Lola, or more specifically Lola (quite possibly the coolest mannequin stalking around London!) a while back.  It seems Lola has been making her way around Graduate Fashion Week and has chosen to be seen in the works of a selection of 2007’s fashion grads.  On a serious note, Nina May, the real brains behind Nina & Lola was very keen to get some graduates onto her site and hopefully in doing so, reduce the ‘fashion-clone count’ as she puts it.  Of course graduates aren’t able to meet the demands with their solo pair of hands so every piece is made to order hence some of the sky-high prices but let’s just say if I had it… I know where I’d prefer my money to be going to if given the choice of a truly one-off outfit and a straight from the department store, much-publicised one. 

So onto the class of 2007…

William Tempest graduated from LCF and has worked for Giles Deacon and you can see the ‘couture craftsmanship’ in his work.  I love that miles of fabric were used to give a softer edge to black PVC and shocking hot pink.

From Ravensbourne, Elizabeth Gaffney presented her ‘Futurist Remnants’ collection that is all discis, sharp lines, metallic accents all combined in a balanced graphic composition.  The monotone, pieced together quality of her collection is quite stunning.

   

Helen Louise Jones snakes and knitting with metal.  So the John Cass School of Art grad has combined the two to make these pendants in 18ct gold or sterling silver, naming each necklace after a different snake. 

The one designer of the bunch that I got to try on at the press day was Melania Defelice and probably the one I’m most intrigued by.  From Central Lancashire, takes the literal slogal t-shirts ‘I am a Square’ and pairs them with origami folded skirts and jackets.  I tried on the origami folded jacket and I loved the iridescent quality of the material highlighting the puffed out folds,

It hasn’t been easy though nailing down those flight grads what with one dropping out because he decided fashion wasn’t for him and one having visa troubles.  I tried on these graduate pieces at the press day two which sadly didn’t make the final cut.

I now also know why the smart fash insiders get in on coat buying early.  When they attend press days in June and get an eyeful of coats like this one I fell in love with from Spijkers en Spijkers (Lola is most definitely outshining me here…but she didn’t get drenched in the rain… some ppl just have it all…), it just can’t be helped when you declare that you want it NOW, despite it being mid-summer.  I’m loving the palette that Spijkers have used in general – all aubergines and yellows and blacks….  vividness that isn’t in yer’ face.

Other early peeps at Nina & Lola’s AW07-8 offerings that have peaked my interest?  Volker Lang bags.  Sure everyone can see what I’m carrying but I’m not ashamed of my various gadgets, Cutie magazine and dirty make-up bag peeking through.  Also, Olanic, who got me very excited in the early days of Style Bubble is also being stocked at Nina & Lola.  Playful prings, ladylike blouses, knickerbockers and metallics?  It is odd…but in a good way…

I have laid my past aversion to LBD’s to rest.  Those past foolish thoughts of thinking ‘Urgh… little black dress?  How bland…’ are well and truly banished.  Why?  Because LBD’s have advanced beyond the confines of classic attire.  Or perhaps, they have simply left of the ‘Little’ in the acronymn and have invented their own, a braver version of the LBD.  These aren’t dresses to fall back on but to turn to in the first instance. 

Introducing the big black dress.  By big, I don’t mean size but I mean grandeur in embellishment and technique.  Helena Horstedt was a standout from Stockholm Fashion Week and it’s easy to see why.  Perhaps it’s the removed quality of Sweden that breeds designers who hone at technique the way that people like Sandra Backlund and Horstedt do.  Nonetheless, Horstedt prides herself on handcrafting her garments and even on digital image, the intricacies jump out at you.  I can’t think what it would be like in person.  These BBD’s are for people who aren’t wanting to hide and be safe by clothing themselves in black and you must be aware that there is risk involved in handling all the concertina folds and pleats.

Introducing the super black dress.  Super being what you would feel like if you were to don Hannah Marshall’s sleek dresses from her collection entitled ‘Quiet Noise’.  I’ve written about Hannah on Fashion156 before, saying that her dresses seem to have the ability to empower in a subtle way hence why the title of the collection is spot on.  The restraint is really heavily felt but the real beauty about them is the choice of materials which are carefully chosen to enhance the shapes that Hannah has chosen to use.  All the dresses below are now available online at Nina & Lola exclusively.  Super black dress wearers aren’t screaming they are super.  People are looking at them wearing the dresses, thinking they ARE super.   

Rgb I was tagged by La Primavera a while ago as a Rockin’ Girl Blogger and have been late in tagging 5 other worthy femme bloggers who I read and love and read and love…

First off, thanks to La Primavera for a) her own wonderful blog that expresses matters in fashion in ways that are eloquent and poignant… ways that I could never achieve and b) for giving me the badge. 

Now to pass the badge on…

To Disney Rollergirl (who I finally met a few weeks ago!), for representing a new wave of London-based fashion bloggers…

To Spork Fashion for her beautiful beautiful blog layout and informing me of all things undiscovered/new in LA fashion…

To EJ at Style Salvage (technically the blog is written by a guy and a girl – hence it’s directed at EJ, the girl!) for her point of view on a subject that is sorely lacking from the blogosphere; menswear…

To Painfully Hip for all the wondrous thrift finds….

To Flying Saucer (congrats to her for getting into Manchester Uni) for reminding me how great it was to be a teen…

I know I say I never set out for Style Bubble to be an information portal, a style educator because let’s face it, if I even attempted to sound like I was educating, I’d be laughed out of Typepad in a jiffy.  So jodhpurs, pants du season, the MUST-have shape, yadda yadda yadda.  Fashion folk have called Balenciaga’s jodphurs incarnations GENIUS, some bloggers have declared them a disaster, some have taken to them like a fish to water.  People, in reality will probably say ‘There is no way I can pull them off…’.  Before the informative bit comes, my personal opinion is this…. ‘What is the big kerfuffle?’

Jodhpurs of even more exaggerated proportions have been around in Japan/Hong Kong for yonks and I own some Michiko Koshino ones that came out about 5 seasons ago.  My Preen breech trousers are a next step up and I find them suprisingly easy to wear (they have been re-issued for this season as well at Two See!).  I’m not quite understanding the love/hate reaction to them unless you really have a fear of equestrian gear (at least this bit of riding gear isn’t quite as prohibitive as say Balenciaga’s riding hats from last year…). 

Despite the divided reaction, the store to tackle them is surprisingly The GapI wrote about Gap’s new European design team and presumably, them taking on the jodhpur is a message that says ‘We are on the cutting edge’.  They have been touted as the closest thing to Balenciaga you’re going to find on the high street and in colours of beige and olive, I can quite concur.  They have just rolled into UK stores and I’m guessing Euro-Gaps will have them too.  Sadly, the USA shall be missing out which I do feel is a smack in the face considering the company is American.  I won’t play a broken record but it makes no sense to me not stock ANY of the European Gap stuff over on the other side of the Atlantic…

Quick to get in on the jodhpur bandwagon, Warehouse have also come out with their side button jodhpurs in beige and black.  Sadly, the Balenciaga robo leggings of SS07 never made such an impact on the high street but it does look like that Mr Ghesqui√®re has scored a ‘trouser of the season’ accolade.    

**EDIT** Thanks to Clairebear for pointing out my silly spelling mistake what with the word jodhpur not being in my common usage at all…