>> I'm slowly initiating Steve into the Lau clan, one Lau femme at a time, easing him into the harem lest he runs away screaming with terror.  In a weird gene strand accident, my father together with his four brothers have all sprogged a bevy of female Lau's (just as an example, I have three younger sisters) that all seem to be curiously drawn to creative fields in a collected defiance against yer' usual engineering, medicine and law careers that yer' usual Chinese parents get a leeeetle bit too excited over.  Perhaps we all sub-consciously looked at my cousin Elizabeth Lau, the eldest of our generation and realised balancing accounts books need not form our career paths. 

Elizabeth has been pleasing gals all over with her dream girl clothes that make people describe you with phrases such as "cute-as-a-button" – a mysterious choice of words seeing as a button all by itself doesn't look particularly cute and it would of course depend on the button in question.  The point is, Elizabeth is doing very well for herself and for a month she's got herself a Ganton Street pop-up store in the runup to Christmas for people to get gift happy.  Elizabeth's clothes happen to be pretty gift advantageous as guesstimation sizing is a doddle and buying a sweater with a smiley girl with a bob is probably infinitely easier than say a corseted bandage dress.






The shop is also framing/selling a few jewellery designers such as Jessica de Lotz's jewellery based on found objects and personal histories…

IMG_0234 DSC_2469

… as well as jewellery and these collars by Elizabeth's friend Gemma Lister


I'll be making some of my other fellow femme Laus happy with Elizabeth's wares but first up – some self-satisfaction – the treat you buy for yourself to pat yourself on the back for getting some Christmas shopping done.  Whaaaa?  You mean, that's pointless and counter-productive?  But it's a cashmere soft blazer that correlates perfectly with all the multi-directional Breton-esque striping that I have going on…

Elizabeth Lau's pop-up shop will be at 2 Ganton Street W1F 7QL until Christmas Eve.


(Worn with Monki striped jumper, sheer dress, Makin Jan Ma striped leggings, Topshop belt, Anastasia Radevich furry ankle boots)


I may have taken the lazy way out last night by running home like a wussy baby to central heating and duvets and therefore missing the opening bash of Fleet Ilya's Restraint exhibition and pop-up shop in Dalston last night but I scurried up there today to make up for it, observing the scene of hungover aftermath.  All the better to snap things without knocking people's drinks over. 

The immediate thing that struck me when I got inside the 5 storey warren was that I'm grateful to furniture/location/props hire company Castle Gibson, owner of the venue for providing this London-based leather husband and wife (Ilya Fleet and Resha Sharma) leather craftsmanship duo, with a pretty rid-onck-ulous venue for showcasing his work and vision as well as by all accounts, an awesome party venue for the night.  The ground floor is playing host to Fleet Ilya's pop-up shop with winding stairs leading to exhibition floors as well as a secret room where a bed and balloons made some bangin' noise last night.  Less said about that the better…

Only a fraction of you will probably be able to make it over to 76 Stoke Newington Road as the pop-up shop actually is only open for one more day tomorrow before it comes to an end.  It's interesting that it's been a good two years since I last wrote about Fleet Ilya when leather harnesses, cinch belts and bondage-inspired design elicited comments such as "Oooh…err..that's a bit RACY!".  Since then, harnesses have been rife in the portfolios of Etsy/extended accessories designers and Fleet Ilya has erased the need to make distinctions between different strands of his work, blending their leather harnesses, belts, jewellery along with his burgeoning bags line all synced with a way of leather working, that is uniquely their own made distinct by the choice of leather as well as the rivet work bonding pattern pieces together…

Cutesey rabbit ears take on a different context in Fleet Ilya's aesthetic…

IMG_0242 IMG_0243



The bags seem to have grown in numbers, successfully transferring the harness styling to various functional shapes…





I also love these cuffs in this shade/finish of leather (raw nude?)…


IMG_0270 IMG_0271

Go up the stairs and Fleet Ilya's world unwinds on each floor in the form of this leather light centrepiece…


…and the pi√®ce de r√©sistance, an amazingly constructed horse (a reference to Ilya Fleet's origins as a saddler perhaps?) that was created for Dover Street Market earlier in the year.  It's the first I've ever seen it and it dominated the room in the only way that a horse constructed with a gazillion of leather pieces like a complicated jigsaw 3-D puzzle can do…




Further up and the title of the exhibition reveals itself through a collaboration with photographer Rankin as well as two willing models (and couple me thinks?) – Sophie Willing (geddit?!) and Jethro Cave.  You can't see but the projections are actually 'rocking' images – sort of like a stuttered image combined with video. 




It's probably a bit pointless giving a heads up about the pop-up shop now with one day left but fear not as Darkroom and Opening Ceremony also stock Fleet Ilya's A/W 10-11 styles…

Seeing the house of Restraint in its five storey glory, also reminded me to check out Fleet Ilya's S/S 11 collection which takes a lighter turn for the season with an introduction of colour through shades of peppermint green and a delicate coral.  The colours creep in where necessary to soften the harness and belt shapes and dominate in sharp bursts in the bags, clutches and belted pouches.  Weirdly enough, me thinks you can't get go wrong with two shades of pastel/brights that have been on rotation on my nails… just need a belt or a bag now to match them in that slightly hideous/tacky way that I secretly dig…


Fleet2 Fleet3





>> Along with the rest of the coo-ing fashion blogosphere, I swooned over LCF graduate's Sarah Williams' BEAUTIFUL luggage that defied all logic and instead took pride in applying historical craftsmanship to the most mind-bending shapes that are out there.  She subsequently went on to win the award in the accessories category at the ITS9 competition in Trieste.  That said, I think she's taking baby steps in getting her luggage to the stage where us mere mortals might have an ickle chance of buying one because for now, everything is made-to-order.

Williams has left a taste for unconventionally shaped luggage in my mouth and so I turn to Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair who came up trumps with the most delightful Liberty print covered trunk that winged home with me from Stockholm Fashion Week in August.  Once again, they've collaborated with Swedish luggage maker Alstermo Bruk and have come up with two new case shapes – 'Typewriter' and 'Skew', titled aptly.  I particularly like how the 'Skew' case has the right amount of wonkiness in it, looking like a 'proper' case whilst possessing the dimensions of a warped rectangle that would turn heads on any train platform (for some reason I can only associate pretty hard cases with train travel and soft, crappy functional ones with flying).   




On a completely unrelated note, these junior baggy trousers, a miniature version of Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair's adult ones are ridiculously cute.  Or ridiculously cute on this particular child here… any tot-tot and said tot-tot's parents would appreciate sturdy trews like these…



>> It's another round of delving into Fashion Pioneers and once again, I except that Imran Amed of Business of Fashion will be probing all the right things from his subject and thus giving us a video streamed interview of substance rather than fluff.  The subject this time is of course Nick Knight who needs no introductions but if you must, he's the founder of SHOWstudio and all-round award-winning influential image maker whose work is nothing short of iconic.  I'll be there taking notes and quite excited to be listening to the man speak at length about what he has done for spurring on the presence of fashion on the internet.  Let's remember that SHOWstudio, is now 10 years old, older than any fashion blog and has a lot to answer for the way fashion is communicated via the internet. 

Everyone can get in on the fun though by watching the live stream below…

Date and Time: Friday 26th November.  6.30pm London time.  7.30 pm in Paris and Berlin.  1.30pm New York and Toronto.

If you're on Twitter you can also send Imran questions to ask Nick Knight using the following hashtag Twitter hashtag – #BoFlive and the handle for Business of Fashion is  @_bof_