Thursday, 2 June 2016


Last May I went to a number of talks. I've outdone myself with panel discussions, presentations and interviews.

On Monday 16th May I checked into Fashion Street (where else!) just off Brick Lane and the Isituto Marangoni  where said fashion journalist Jessica Bumpus and international milliner, dear friend and ex flatmate  Stephen Jones held court at this rather chic Italian fashion college. Stephen has a coach load of fantastic stories to reveal, I could listen to him all night tbh. Loved hearing about his friendship with Anna Piaggi who often asked for hats at a moments notice. I credit Stephen with putting hats back on the map in the late 70s after studying fashion at St Martins when it soon became clear his forte lay in the realm of head gear. He diligently established himself as he went about reinventing jaunty angles throughout the 80s, 90s, 00s and up to the present day where he's never been busier. 

On Tuesday 20th I managed to gate crash the legendary mime, dance choreographer Linsay Kemp’s evening soirĂ©e at the Miranda in the basement of Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel. Omg! This was too much. Interviewed by Marc Almond and biographer Nicholas Pegg the 2 hour presentation consisted of rare archive film and performance but it was Lindsay Kemp’s honest accounts that had us howling with laughter as he recanted a past so astounding we audibly gasped! This talk centred around his work with David Bowie at the beginning of his career in the late 60s and 70s, how they met and their love affair. Lindsay delivered a colourful and camp line of repartee in the most adorable way. His legacy of visionary moments is as relevant today as it was back then I'm pleased to say. 

Archive photo of Lindsey Kemp by Joe Gaffney

This next excursion is a regular occurrence on my ‘go to’ calendar. Not strictly a talk as such but a presentation and one not to be missed. It's the MAC Cosmetics trend report hosted by the super charismatic and talented make up artist Terry Barber. That was on Wednesday 18th. I just can't get enough of Terry explaining the inspirations behind the looks we see on catwalks the world over. Each season Terry oversees the moods of face painting from the pallet of MAC for the season ahead. So we're looking at A/W 2016… MAC do a lot of shows and it's fascinating the way designers work with makeup artists to create a look. Guesting the brilliant Marion Newman the mother of all nail technicians. Her inventive take on nail art is a continual reinvention. Top tip... It's all about long nails and an added back of the nail embellishment this season! 

Magazine Man About Town hosted a fascinating glimpse into the archive work of punk maverick Malcom McClaren at the ICA on Friday 20th. MAT have created a beautiful spread within its pages of the latest issue with photography by Alasdair McLellan of McClaren and Westwoods early 80s collections before they went their separate ways. As the keeper of Malcom’s intellectual archive Young Kim (his partner of 12 years up until his death) introduced a series of monologues covering the continual reinvention of the Kings Road shop from Let It Rock into Sex, Seditionaires and finally Worlds End. Joining Young on the panel editor of Man About Town Ben Reardon, writer & archivist Paul Gorman and last minute addition architect Simon Withers (who replaced designer and archivist Kim Jones who as director of the ICA Gregor Muir explained was unable to make it). Simon worked closely with Mclaren and Westwood in the early 80s as they pioneered their fashion concepts. His insightful take added the missing link in the story of how their work was perceived at the time, an insiders view so to speak. Decades later we are still looking at these collections which are as relevant today as they were back then with a sense of discovery. 

A recent trip to Helsinki to DJ for a runaway show after party which took place on an actual flight runway in association with Finnair took me the next day to a great talk at Helsinki arts college on 25th May. An Aalto Fashion seminar with a panel consisting of A Magazine editor Dan Thawley, stylist and style icon Lotta Volkova, artist and model Paul Hemeline, Lou Stoppard who writes and chairs talks at ShowStudio, fashion designer Thomas Tait and book lady Lucy Moore director from Claire De Rouen. I always find chats about process fascinating and this lot certainly go about their business with an open eye within their respective areas. The fact that not only do their disciplines cross over and compliment each other but also create new platforms on how we choose to express ourselves. 

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