luxury hotel bedroom
luxury hotel bedroom

One of the hotel’s garden suites

The Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a London legend, recently lovingly refurbished. In an unmatched retail location in Knightsbridge, can it regain its 1960s glamour? Darius Sanai checks in to our Hotel of the Month

It’s peak pre-Christmas shopping season and the Jumeirah Carlton Tower is a short stroll from Harrods and Harvey Nichols and basically inside the Sloane Street branch of Hermès, preferred by locals to the Bond Street boutique for its more thoughtful buying. It’s also a dash from the Hyde Park Winter Wonderland.

What’s the lowdown?

Fashion week tribes all have their favourite hotels, and it’s safe to say that until the pandemic, the Jumeirah wasn’t on their radar. It was more old-fashioned luxury where international visitors sipped tea in the lounge while their kids came back from shopping at Hermès next door. All that changed with the biggest refurbishment in the hotel’s 60 year history, which happened during the lockdowns.

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Everything from the bar, to the public areas, to the restaurant, spa and rooms, has been recreated with a contemporary eye. That in turn refocusses attention on the standout points the hotel always had, but which became lost as its original star faded. It’s in Knightsbridge, right on Sloane Street, but overlooks a peaceful garden square and has views across the city from all sides, unlike any of its competitors. It has the biggest and best indoor pool in London, and, did we mention, it’s right next to Hermès?

italian restaurant

Al Mare Restaurant

The new Italian restaurant, Al Mare, takes the superstar corner position on the angle of Sloane Street. It’s a big, light, airy, New York midtown type of space, and it’s been transformed into a casual chic venue with just the right mix of both, like a grown up Soho House. We recommend one of the booths by the window, and picking from the imaginative and light options from the menu, like tuna tartar with oscietra caviar and ponzu – though there is plenty of comfort food also (we enjoyed a rigatoni al tartufo after a long night out).

You don’t need to go out though, as the hotel’s bar has been pole-vaulted into the top tier of London bars courtesy of an all-star bartending team and some very original cocktails, and relaxed, cool decor.

Getting horizontal

Our suite had a view along the length of the garden square, where we could see locals walking their dogs and children, from a great height: and across the rooftops to the whole of London, from the Battersea Power Station to the City. Even more striking were the bespoke touches: a Berluti shoe polish kit, slippers and products all monogrammed for us, as were the pillowcases. Delightful and very relaxing.

Read more: A tasting of Dalla Valle wines with the owners

Even more relaxing were the new poolside cabanas, replete with an excellent selection of magazines (including LUX). Given the conservatory feel of this huge indoor pool, on a sunny day in February you could settle down and pretend you were, well, somewhere sunny.

hotel swimming pool

The spa and swimming pool


Staying at the Carlton Tower doesn’t have the bragging rights of nearby hotels like the Berkeley or the Lanesborough, but we feel that is going to change quite fast.

Rates: From £750 per night (approx. €900/$1,000)

Book your stay:

Darius Sanai

Reading time: 2 min
models waiting to go on the catwalk
models waiting to go on the catwalk

On Monday London bore witness to a storm of ages; and no, not Franklin, but Ozwald Boateng’s historic return to the fashion week fold after a twelve year hiatus. Fara Bashorun, one of the designer’s models and LUX contributor, shares his backstage report and photographs

One couldn’t think of a more befitting setting for Ozwald Boateng’s London Fashion Week comeback than The Savoy hotel. Upon arrival I was warmly welcomed by doormen who casually ushered me through to the ballroom, our backstage, just as if it were any other studio in Shoreditch. Catering was headed up by Açai Girls, who prepared a palatial assortment of fruit bowls, pastries and avocado toast for breakfast and an equally impressive feast for lunch.

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Starting the day with breakfast served by Açaí Girls

model photographs

Putting the finishing touches to styling

clothes rails

A tribute to Jamal Edwards

Rehearsals in the Savoy Theatre

From arrival until rehearsals at around 6pm, the hair and make-up teams did their demos while stylistic genius’ ArtComesFirst put the finishing touches to the looks and figured out the run-order. From my experience, rehearsals can be quite anxiety inducing, but the vibe from the choir’s soundcheck helped put everyone at ease while we practised navigating through the hotel’s cloisters to get from the ballroom to the Savoy Theatre where the show would eventually take place.

Devoid of divas, egos and general industry malarkey, there seemed to be a subconscious agreement that we had all come together to be a part of something truly iconic and greater than self. I’ve genuinely had greater struggles at landing a chair at Bruce’s barbers in Burnt oak than cheekily squeezing myself into the queue for the onsite barber between Pa Salieu and Goldie. A star-studded yet familial essence made up the atmosphere; the juxtaposition a true testament to Ozwald’s ability to cultivate culture.

Read more: Patrick McDowell on why sustainable fashion and social impact go hand in hand

This energy underpinned not only the show but the whole occasion right through to the night’s end. Talent was instructed to walk however we felt comfortable, a touch of class demonstrative of Ozwald’s genius. Usually high fashion can be overwhelming, with the outfits wearing the people as opposed to vice-versa. Ozwald implored us to really own the moment, understanding that you look the best when you feel the best and creating an infectious sense of pride.

My look was a phenomenal velour dinner jacket pair with flared velour trousers, black round-framed sunglasses and grey Chelsea boots. Embodying the Ozwald’s afrofuturist design language, the jacket’s elaborate print drew inspiration from the Dinka tribe of South-Sudan with classically luxurious western silhouette.

Read more: Sol Golden Sato on Art & Identity

The show was an artistic myriad of poets, brass musicians, drummers, singers and other performers, closing with Idris Elba and a choir-led grand finale. The euphoria the crowd witnessed on stage wasn’t rigidly engineering, nor mere coincidence, but artisanally intentional: the result of meticulous design.

The feelings on stage were packaged up, ubered over and reverberated through the Annabel’s hosted after-party which saw generations of creatives, their friends and family shake body to amapiano till the early hours. The DJ set played by Kim Turnbull, Places +Faces founder Ciesay and Jimmy Vivendii was the perfect end to a night that shook the paradigms of London Fashion Week and reminded us of the ingenuity it had missed for so long.

View the collection:

Backstage during rehearsals

Ozwald Boateng with one of the show’s models

My look featuring a velour jacket and trousers

Getting ready for the final performance

The after-party at Annabel’s

Reading time: 7 min
Man wearing slouchy outfit
Two models sitting on a step

Two Point Two AW20 collection

Monochrome portrait of a woman

Anvita Sharma

Anvita Sharma founded her Delhi-based fashion label Two Point Two to celebrate individuality through genderless collections that reject all forms of stereotyping and categorisation. Following the launch of the brand’s latest collection at London Fashion Week, Abigail Hodges speaks to the designer about the concept of beauty, self-expression and acceptance

1. Can you tell us about the historical events that inspired your AW20 collection?

Every collection that we have done so far has had a multicultural reference to it. Maybe it’s because I have lived in such different countries as well as among such different nationalities that amalgamation of these different/opposing or similar things comes very naturally to me. As a creative person, I try to challenge myself with every season. To do something that Two Point Two has not done before, may it be in relation to colours, silhouettes or embroideries.

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With this collection we wanted to take a step forward, and mix art and comfort. ‘The Self’ embodies a reconceptualisation of genderless clothing, aspiring to refashion a world that breaks down the boundaries of gender and illuminating the very fluidity of it. It speaks about self-confidence despite flaws and quirks. It is about finding perfection in the imperfections; about embracing one’s uniqueness and weirdness because that is what sets you apart from the rest. It is a synthesis of the masculine and feminine energies of the universe in one body which are depicted in our inspiration of the embroideries – “Ardhanareshwara”, an androgynous form of Lord Shiva and Parvati. We made our artwork using the tantric symbols of these deities mixing it with the Japanese character Enso as well as some genderless faces.

Male model on the runway

A look from ‘The Self’ collection by Two Point Two, which launched at London Fashion Week 2020. Photo by Gio Staiano

2. How is your brand philosophy reflected in the models that are chosen to showcase the pieces?

We celebrate individuality, confidence and diversity. [Our philosophy] aims to create an “agender” identity, which has characters from maybe both the binaries or maybe neither. It strongly stands against stereotyping and categorisation of anything. Two Point Two believes that beauty exists in every soul and it’s all about accepting and endorsing it as your own. We focus on the individual and not their gender, culture, race or size and support them to express their individuality through clothing even if it’s something unusual. Being ‘Typically Atypical’ is our motto. We chose models who we thought have very strong personalities and character to them. We were very pleased to have all of them in our show as each and every one of them represented Two Point Two’s brand philosophy of inclusivity and individuality to the core. As we did not have any particular category or guidelines as to what type of faces we need, we saw so many interesting people at the casting and instantly fell in love with so many of them that it became difficult to choose.

Two Point Two AW20 collection

3. Do you face any institutional obstructions when working to showcase a genderless collection?

The world has started going in a direction of all-inclusivity. It’s becoming very welcoming and embracing everyone’s individuality day by day. Self-expression is easier now than 10-20 years ago. And it’s only getting better. However, since the norms/criteria or categories still exist, there will always be stereotyping among things. Whether a particular look is too feminine or too masculine. Beauty is connected to a particular idea that the society creates. Sexiness is connected to a particular image or type of looks. Idolising that concept of beauty sometimes feels like an obstacle to who we, you and I are. The constant justification required as to why genderless fashion and people adorning it are also sexy/beautiful is something which we face and have no problem reminding everyone about it multiple times.

Read more: Founder of Nila House Lady Carole Bamford’s guide to Jaipur

I was very self-conscious about my looks while growing up. Still sometimes, very rarely, I fall in that vicious cycle of idolising the perfect beauty. So, for me, the concept of Two Point Two and the celebration of individuality and self-confidence it stands for, as well as rebelling against giving any sort of justifications for who you are, is the main goal while working on genderless collections. Also, the gender disparity and the problems the LGBTQIA community faces in India is something I strongly stand against and this is a way to support their community as well as any individual who feels that they don’t “belong”.

4. Which are your favourite pieces from this latest collection?

Oh, it’s very difficult to choose. They are so different yet so similar to each other. I poured my heart and soul to each garment and each detail. But if I have to choose I’ll have to say the monochrome olive-green look. It was very unexpected as the decision of changing its combination happened moments before the runway, so I was very pleasantly surprised by it myself. This is what fashion is to me. Fast paced, maddening and yet very satisfying.

Model wearing green outfit on runway

Anvita Sharma’s favourite look from ‘The Self’ collection by Two Point Two. Image by Gio Staiano

5. How has your design process evolved over the recent years?

I think there is a massive growth in terms of design aesthetic as well as the process that we follow. With every season, I learn from my mistakes and evolve and grow making sure that those mistakes are not repeated again. We are of course more organised and clear now as compared to our first collection. Although, our brand ethos, philosophy and belief remains as strong as when we started the brand. And, we still work on a ‘go with the flow’ basis and let the inspiration take over when it has to instead of actively looking for one. Like mentioned earlier, my favourite look was very last minute and unexpected, so these things happen very spontaneously and I strongly believe that the energies of the universe guide you and take you where you are meant to go.

6. What’s your five year vision for the brand?

I want Two Point Two to have a global audience and impact in the coming years as the brand is non-demographic and all-inclusive and can be appropriate for any market and any customer in the world. We also like to be working with more handloom and handwoven fabrics which we are already exploring and used in some collections at the moment and planning to get more involved in it. Also, we would like to support the local artisans and their dying crafts from different regions of India, so we are exploring certain tribes and clusters of various parts in India and getting to know their stories, their histories and cultures as well as helping them economically and incorporating their crafts in Two Point Two and give them an international audience in the coming season.

View the collections:

Reading time: 6 min
Models on catwalk at fashion week
Models on catwalk at fashion week

Atelier Zuhra’s latest collection “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix” showcased at London Fashion Week over the weekend. Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

Rayan Al Sulaimani is the female entrepreneur behind the growing couture fashion house Atelier Zuhra. Since its launch in 2015, Atelier Zuhra has had a growing presence on Hollywood’s red carpet. Following the launch of her latest collection at London Fashion Week, Emma Marnell speaks to the designer about fairytale dresses, timeless couture and her cultural heritage

Middle Eastern woman wearing headscarf

Rayan Al Sulaimani

1. The brand is named after your grandmother – has she always been a style inspiration for you?

My grandmother Zuhra is a strong Omani woman with a great passion for living life to the fullest. Yes indeed, she has always been a style inspiration, but eventually through the years I have also developed my own unique sense of style.

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2. What led you to focus on evening wear and specifically, show-stopping dresses?

From a young age, it has always been my dream to dress celebrities for big red-carpet events in a fairytale like Cinderella gown or to dress a bride at her wedding and help her dreams come true. Hence, from the very beginning we have always focused on creating show-stopping dresses.

Model on catwalk wearing black feathered dress

Atelier Zuhra’s LFW 2020 collection. Image by Garry Carbon @becauseimgarry

3. Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your LFW collection?

The collection is called “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix”.

In mythology the phoenix is a powerful bird which cyclically regenerates and is continually reborn over and over again in human legend and imagination. In the same way, this symbolises the beauty of ethereal everlasting couture as this immaculate bird represents the idea that the end is only ever the beginning.

Read more: Vik Muniz’s photography series for Ruinart

The LFW collection entwines beautiful tailoring with modern innovation and couture. The collection is brilliantly coloured in black and grey to represent the ashes of the phoenix. Contrastingly, its eyes are blue and shine like sapphires. Whereas the lilac and other ethereal playful colours are associated with the rising sun and fire, illuminating in the sky. Everything we have created in this collection is emphatically elegant and impeccably designed so that it looks like it would feel delightful to wear and to walk in.

backstage at a fashion show

Backstage at Atelier Zuhra’s LFW 2020 show. Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

4. How are your designs influenced by your cultural heritage?

Middle Eastern culture has definitely been a source of inspiration for all of our creations. Being born and brought up here [in Oman], I have grown up as a part of this beautiful culture, and knowingly or unknowingly it is somehow reflected in my designs. I would say the Middle Eastern influences are most recognisable in the silhouettes that we work with.

Model wearing maximalist dress on catwalk

Atelier Zuhra LFW 2020. Image by Image by Daniel John Cotton @cottonphotographer

5. When you’re dressing down, what’s your go to outfit?

My personal style is very classic and chic.

6. Who would be your dream to dress for the red carpet?

Angelina Jolie, Blake Lively, the Kardashians and Scarlett Johansson.

Discover the collections:

Reading time: 2 min
Chelsea FC football players in their blue tracksuits standing outside of a Hublot shop front with Ricardo Guadalupe
Chelsea FC football players in their blue tracksuits cutting a Hublot ribbon outside the Hublot shop front with Ricardo Guadalupe

Chelsea FC players Ross Barkley, Marcos Alonso, Olivier Giroud and David Luiz with Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe (middle) cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of Hublot’s London flagship boutique

Monday night saw the official opening of Hublot’s flagship boutique on New Bond Street

Celebrities and fashionistas lined the pavements of New Bond Street in the early evening to celebrate the opening of Hublot‘s first flagship in London and 92nd international store. The store replaces the brand’s previous shop, at the Northern end of the same street, which was run by the watchmaker’s former UK partner Time Products Luxury and owned by Marcus Margulies. Together with four Chelsea FC players, Hublot’s CEO Ricardo Guadalupe cut the ribbon.

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Guests admired the glossy interiors and Pop-Art paintings of the brand’s iconic Big Bang watches whilst Chelsea players signed an illustrated map charting the route from their Stamford Bridge stadium to the Hublot boutique – a gift to mark the extension of the club’s partnership with the brand for another three years.

Model Lara Stone poses in short red dress

British model Lara Stone

Ricardo Guadalupe and Dina Asher-Smith pose with watches on their wrists

Ricardo Guadalupe and Olympic athlete Dina Asher-Smith

Read more: Caroline Scheufele on Chopard’s gold standard

Those attending included Lara Stone, Dina Asher-Smith, Amy Jackson and English cricketer Nick Compton. Celebrations continued late into the night with a champagne reception and dinner at Beck in Brown’s Hotel.

Luxury shop interiors with arm chairs, mirrored pillars and pop art paintings

The interiors of Hublot’s New Bond Street boutique

British actress and model Amy Jackson poses in front of Hublot branded wall

Actress Amy Jackson

Football manager Gareth Southgate poses in shirt and suit

England football manager Gareth Southgate

Adam Mcnamara, Jack Lowden and Oliver Proudlock pose for a party picture

Adam Mcnamara, Jack Lowden and Oliver Proudlock

The Hublot Flagship Boutique is located on 14 New Bond Street, London W1S 3SX. For more information on the brand visit:

Reading time: 1 min
Fashion model poses in skirt and shirt leaning back on a high stool

Fashion Hong Kong’s fresh talent Maison Vermillion

Fashion Hong Kong, a series of international promotional events organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), works much like the British Fashion Council to spotlight and support local emerging design talent.  Kitty Harris speaks to four of Fashion Hong Kong’s newest and freshest talents HEAVEN PLEASE +, HOUSE OF V, Maison Vermillion and METHODOLOGY who debuted at this year’s London Fashion Week


Answered by designers Lary Cheung & Yi Chan

“The HEAVEN PLEASE+ woman might not be the most outspoken yet she is expressive in her own way with the courage and desire to pursue her dreams and communicate her personality through her personal style. She is a lover of fashion (of course!) and also has an intrinsic interest in music, art, literature, culture, etc. Most importantly, HEAVEN PLEASE+ girls love themselves and love to love!”

“We love to work with lots of different fabrics – cotton, silk, rayon, satin, water-proof and memory fabrics, etc. Choosing materials can really help stimulate and channel creativity. The bolder the better!”

“We’ve really enjoyed travelling around the globe to present on incredible international stages, so we hope to continue our adventures, building brand awareness and adding to our network!”

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Answered by Designer Vickie Au

“The HOUSE OF V woman is always in search of high quality and prefers the ‘less is more’ approach. She appreciates simplicity and functionality, with an innate androgyny. Our girl also likes to show that they are at the cutting edge of fashion, with a very modern self-confidence.”

“Quality in fabrics is super important to us; we like to think we are meticulous in our approach. We work in close collaboration with local tailors to maintain effective and efficient methods of production and have a real love of luxury materials such as cashmere, wool, silk and thick Japanese rayon”

“Our dream for the future? To continue creating clothing of a very high standard – unique,high quality and original – with our signature geometric simplicity. We want our customers to continue expressing their personal style through our quietly confident pieces”

Maison Vermillion

Answered by Designer Dora Chu

“The Maison Vermillion woman is a genuine fashion lover – pursuing something different;feminine and romantic but with an unmistakable edge.”

“I love working with super feminine fabrics that have can charm and excite – my favourites have to be lace and brocade”

“We have a great foundation in place in the Far East so I would love to grow internationally over the coming seasons. It would be great to tap into new markets overseas to spread awareness of Chinese fashion and culture all over the world.”


Answered by Designer Glori Tsui

“We like to think that our customer is romantic, ‘funky’ and independent in her fashion thinking.”

“I love to work with textiles that embody contrasting textures – particularly tweed and jacquard for heavier collections. I also have a special fondness for feathers, which tend to punctuate our apparel and accessories collections.”

“My dream for METHODOLOGY is that we can eventually become a lifestyle brand – not only offering fashion but also other lifestyle products in collaboration with likeminded brands that span other categories”

Meet more of Fashion Hong Kong’s designers:

Reading time: 4 min
Balenciaga's envelope dress changed the shape of women's fashion
Orange Balenciaga coat on display at fashion presentation in Paris in 1954

Model wearing Balenciaga orange coast as buyers inspect a dinner outfit in the background, Paris, 1954. Image by Mark Shaw

As the official London Fashion Week hotel, The May Fair has played host to some of the greatest names in fashion over the years. Now, the hotel, in partnership with the Victoria & Albert Museum, is celebrating the unique vision of the Spanish master of haute-couture, Cristóbal Balenciaga with an exclusive fashion-inspired package. Digital Editor Millie Walton is swept into a world of glamour and striking silhouettes

The May Fair is one of those hotels that Londoners trot past on their way to work, wistfully staring through the glass windows into the plush interiors that seem almost surreal in their gleam. It has a commanding kind of presence that you feel as soon as you walk in the door and stand at the desk in the wide (also gleaming) lobby, wondering how on earth you managed to sneak in and whether all of the glamorous people around you are either famous or work in fashion (they certainly look like they do).

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‘Do you work in fashion, madam?’ the receptionist asks me as he hands across my room key and a chilled glass of pineapple-infused water. I shake my head rather solemnly, but as I wait for the lift, a crisp cream envelope containing two tickets to the Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion exhibition in my hand, I could almost imagine that I do. It’s one of the most wonderful things about staying in a hotel, you step into a different world and time, albeit temporarily.

Balenciaga's envelope dress changed the shape of women's fashion

Alberta Tiburzi in ‘envelope’ dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga. Photograph by Hiro Wakabayashi for Harper’s Bazaar, June 1967.

Our room is a studio suite on the third floor. It’s a mammoth, labyrinthine building with winding corridors and some 404 rooms. The room is spacious and quite dated in design with the back wall covered in a heavily patterned fabric, but its hard not be swept up in the romance and stories of all the other feet who have walked across the carpet. Flushed fashion assistants rushing in and out with armfuls of billowing dresses, catwalk models, photographers, even Cristóbal Balenciaga himself perhaps. The huge, sleek, black walk-in wardrobe was certainly built to hold vast quantities of luxuriant fabrics.

The luxurious interiors of the May Fair hotel Amber suite seem fitting for the fashion crowd

The Amber Suite at The May Fair Hotel

The V&A is conveniently ten minutes by car or tube from the hotel; we arrive in the early afternoon on a week day when there are fewer people, and the atmosphere is more serene. It’s the first ever UK exhibition to reflect on the work and continued influence of Spanish designer, Cristóbal Balenciaga and coincides with the 80th anniversary of the opening of his fashion house in Paris. It’s a fairly compact exhibition, largely centring around the latter part of the designer’s career, in which he literally changed the shape of women’s fashion by introducing new radical cuts such as the tunic, sack, ‘baby doll’ and shift dress.

Read next: Ulysse Nardin CEO on why creativity gets results in the luxury watch market

Many of these iconic dresses are on display along with archive sketches, photographs and short films with clips of current designers such as Molly Goddard and J.W. Anderson reflecting on Balenciaga’s innovations. Most interesting, are the x-ray works by artist Nick Veasey who unveils the inner workings of some of the more complex pieces, demonstrating how the seemingly impossible shapes were created. Balenciaga’s pieces were – and still are, in many ways – strikingly modern, often ignoring the natural shape of the woman’s body to sculpt architectural type installations. The elegance of such voluminous pieces is almost inexplicable. The exhibition serves as both a beautiful homage to the fashion house and a interesting revelation into the true artistry of haute couture.

Interiors of the May Fair Kitchen, the hotel's restaurant

The May Fair Kitchen, the hotel’s in-house restaurant, serves tapas style plates in a sophisticated setting

Conversations feel more inspired that evening as we sip the sweet, pink Cristóbal cocktail at the May Fair bar. How would Balenciaga design a cocktail, we wonder, deciding that it would probably be in much larger, angular glass, but the setting is suitably elegant. For dinner, we walk across the lobby into the May Fair Kitchen; it’s a treat not to have to brave the bracing January winds and the food here is superb, taking the form of Spanish, Italian and Peruvian tapas plates. We order an indulgent selection – the risotto and squid are the stand-out dishes – and then return to the quiet of our suite to dream of ballooning skirts and unusual silhouettes.

The Balenicaga package at The May Fair Hotel includes an overnight stay with breakfast, two tickets to the exhibition at the V&A. Rates start from £285.

Reading time: 4 min
Czech fashion designer Jiri Kalfar launches honey bee collection
London fashion week show with Jiri Kalfar

Czech based desinger Jiri Kalfar on the catwalk launching his Honey Bee collection at LFW

Czech based fashion designer Jiri Kalfar is known for challenging gender stereotypes through his fluid, vibrant designs. In 2015, NYLON named him as one of the hottest emerging designers to watch and his collections frequently grace the pages of Schön!, Tank, Harpers Bazaar and, yet the young designer is more concerned with protecting our planet than his blossoming fame. Millie Walton caught up with Kalfar after his LFW show at L’escargot to talk about theatre, honey bees and the future of sustainable fashion.

Millie Walton: You trained as a ballet dancer, how does that influence your approach to design?
Jiri Kalfar: It is hard to say. I grew up in the theatre. It has been a massive part of my life and I think it actually influences me without even me thinking about it. It is part of me, and therefore part of my work and my design. It is more about a character though. When I design, I do not see the everyday woman hidden and following the crowd. Quite the opposite. I like to give a story to a person. To add to its character and a personality. I love variety and I don’t really understand minimalism. It bores me. Life is a show. Each of us is an individual character with different personal style.

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Jiri Kalfar's S/S18 collection inspired by honey bees

The Honey Bee S/S18 collection

MW: How would you describe your aesthetic?
JK: Unique. Out of the box. What I do, doesn’t really fit into any box. It is not a street-wear, not (yet) a haute couture, not office wear. Yet, you can wear it for any occasion. It is only up to you, how decide to wear it. What to add to it. What to hide. What size to choose. I like to play. And I love seeing people styling my clothes in different ways. It is the biggest satisfaction.

MW: Which fashion designers do you find most inspiring and why?
JK: There are three whose work and style I admire. Their legacy or how they are approaching fashion, On the top there would be the ultimate king, Alexander McQueen followed by Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano. Strangely they are British. Oh, and Dries Van Noten too.

Jiri Kalfar's S/S18 includes florals inspired by honey bees' habitat

The Honey Bee S/S18 collection

MW: In past interviews you’ve talked about your interest in theatre, do you think about particular characters when you’re designing? Does that change from garment to garment or collection to collection?
JK: Yes, actually. I like to create a character, a living soul. It can be anybody. But the game is to transform yourself. Into a tsarina, a king, a goddess, a pirate .. for every day or just to glam-up . But still be yourself.

We all wear costumes in some way. A costume which we would bland in into a society. And I like to do the exact opposite. A clothes which would enhance your personality. Society blends into you. Because you are confident enough. Fearless.

Read next: Burberry’s celebrates social portraiture and British spirit 

MW: Your S/S18 collection takes influence from honey bees, why bees?
JK: It is an ecological message actually. I fear what our generation does to this planet. What our legacy will be for generations to come. What will happen to the animals, to the North pole and the oceans. What will be the aftermath of our action.

I am aware I can not save the planet by doing that. I am not naïve but I believe each of us has a voice and can do something to make the world better. So the inspiration for this collection is very simple : Save The Bees! Because they are dying due to the changes of the ecosystem. And without the bees, there is no future, I am afraid.

Czech fashion designer Jiri Kalfar launches honey bee collection

Jiri Kalfar London Fashion Week 2017 exhibition at L’escargot

Millie Walton: How do you ensure that all of your clothes are manufactured sustainably?
Jiri Kalfar: All my clothes are done ethically, in my studios in Prague. We make everything there. Therefore I know we do not over-produce, which means that the pollution is absolutely minimal. And so is the waste. All my collections are generally zero-waste. Even if we don’t use all the material in one collection, I will use it in the next one or the one after. It is important to me.

Shot from LFW 2017 Jiri Kalfar catwalk show

Jiri Kalfar London Fashion Week 2017 catwalk show

MW: Do you think that the luxury world is becoming more aware of environmental concerns and what does that mean for the fashion industry?
JK: I hope so. I like to think there will be big boom of sustainable fashion soon. Same as really happened to the food industry. The luxury there is actually to grow your own food or to buy organic. No fast food but slow food. Time became important. The quality over quantity. To know where your dinner comes from. Maybe the same will happen with fashion. To know the journey of a product from the beginning to end. To understand the ethicality and importance of a truly crafted piece. Of its value. The luxury doesn’t really mean money in this case, it means knowledge and consciousness.

Reading time: 4 min
Burberry opens new London location and launches photograph exhibition

This weekend at London Fashion Week, Burberry opened the doors to Old Sessions House, the brand’s new London home, coinciding with the launch of their latest collection and a major photographic exhibition, ‘Here We Are’ curated by Burberry’s President and Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey. With work from over 30 photographers displayed over three floors, the exhibition celebrates the art of social portraiture and British spirit. LUX Digital Editor Millie Walton speaks to co-curator Lucy Moore, director of Claire de Rouen Books about the works on display and the significance of space.

Millie Walton: Why hold the exhibition now? Is the timing significant?
Lucy Moore: At a time when we all create and consume images at the fastest rate in human history, I think the works in this exhibition, mostly made in the pre-digital age, have a particular power and resonance. It’s also an interesting moment to think about ‘British-ness’ and what it might mean. I hope the exhibition offers up many possible answers.

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MW: The exhibition aims to explore the British way of life and character through photography. What time span does it cover and how important was the geographic location of the photographs to you as a curator?
LM: The earliest work is from circa 1935 and is by Bill Brandt. The historical aspect of the exhibition runs up to about the mid-1980s, with work by Tom Wood, Jo Spence and Homer Sykes, for example. There are also two presentations by contemporary photographers Alasdair McLellan and Gosha Rubchinskiy. McLellan is showing an extensive series of works and he has also shot the campaign for Burberry’s September collections. Rubchinskiy was commissioned especially by Burberry to create work for this exhibition.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee, London, England, 1977. Peter Marlow. Courtesy of Magnum Photos.

Belfast. 2005. Alasdair McLellan

MW: Do you think that the photographs lean towards a certain atmosphere or mood? How would you describe that feeling?
LM: There are quite a few moods, in my mind: bold, energetic, carefree, aspirational, creative, tender, committed, industrious.

Read next: The idyllic British country retreat in a historic manor house

MW: Did you make any intriguing or surprising discoveries when you were preparing the exhibition?
LM: I was very fortunate to have been able to view the archive of work by Shirley Baker, now looked after by her daughter Nan. It’s incredible and much of it unseen. Ken Russell’s beautiful film ‘A House in Bayswater’ was a completely new discovery, as was his series of photographs of the military horse guards at Whitehall taken in 1957. The guards were the subject of a commission called Ceremony for Arena HOMME+ magazine by Alasdair McLellan, almost exactly 50 years later, and I’m very honoured that we are showing it in ‘Here We Are’.

Millie Walton: The re-opening of the Old Sessions House ties in with the opening of the exhibition. How do the photographs and spaces interact?
Lucy Moore: In some cases there is a very strong connection – for example in the room which contains photographs that explore Britons’ relationship with weather. This has a skylight in the ceiling through which you can see, and hear, the real weather outside. Many of the rooms in the building would not have been originally intended for public visitors. They have a sense of domesticity because of this, and we have reflected this in the approach to the exhibition hang.

MW: Is there a photograph or series of photographs in the collection that you feel particularly connected to? And if so, why?
LM: There are 3 very small, but very important, photographs by the late Jo Spence in ‘Here We Are’. Her concerns were primarily sociological, historical and educational. She was a deeply intelligent, courageous artist and her work has long inspired me.

Here We Are’ runs until 1 October at Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell, London.

Reading time: 5 min
Hazel Townsend
Unique design title model of the month
british model and clown hazel townsend

British model and clown in training, Hazel Townsend. Image by Felicity Ingram

Sydney Lima

LUX contributing editor and Storm model, Sydney Lima continues her online exclusive series, interviewing her peers about modelling life and business.

THIS MONTH: Four years into a career as a successful British model Hazel Townsend, a regular face on the pages of Vogue and Elle, discovered a new passion: clowns. The 23 year-old Storm model began raising money using a crowd funder page to pay for a year of clown school at the prestigious École Philippe Gaulier, where the likes of Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter studied. During London Fashion Week, Townsend took donations to wear humorous costumes to her castings, which she documented on Instagram. This year she began her training.

Sydney Lima: When did you first get scouted?
Hazel Townsend: This is a little hazy in my memory now. I was 18 but I think I was 19 before I actively started pursuing it.

SL: What are you favourite things about working in fashion?
HT: No matter how uninterested in fashion I have pretended to be, you end up soaking up knowledge and forming your own opinions on things, getting an eye, appreciating aesthetics. I have a whole new reason for applying this since playing with theatre. Oh and the people. You meet some of the best people.

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SL: Has there been a favourite shoot to date?
HT: That’s almost too difficult to answer. Are we talking about the process? The result? Or the prestige? My favourite shoots are where I get given the opportunity to play. I did a shoot with Anya Holdstock a while back where I got to romp around the new forest where I grew up. So that was pretty special.

Hazel townsend model

Image by Nicola Collins

SL: What inspired you to go to clown school?
HT: I just slowly got absorbed into the cult. There were a couple of shows that made me piss myself laughing and I had no idea why. So I made the decision to seek out that pleasure and that beauty.

SL: Have you always been interested in theatre?
HT: No not at all! I always thought I was going to be Indiana Jones. Going out with a puppeteer sort of opened up that world for me. I had a lot of fun being a quiet observer but soon I couldn’t contain the impulse to get up and make things.

Sydney Lima: Do you see modelling as an extension of your creativity or something that exists separately?
Hazel Townsend: It has definitely been where I have learned the most about the creative process. Every shoot now feels like a small opportunity to perform now.

SL: What are your plans for the rest of the year?
HT: I am going back to school for the main clown module and then I am planning to plan some plans to unleash what I learn on the world.

Reading time: 2 min

London Fashion Week is an increasingly unmissable item on the global style calendar. With the help of Tom Ford and friends, DARIUS SANAI celebrates its unstoppable rise

For decades, it was a curious anomaly. London, the creative hub of the globe, the capital of the country that gave the world Alexander McQueen, Dizzee Rascal, The Clash, Damien Hirst, Jonathan Ive, Michael Caine, Vivienne Westwood, Anna Wintour, The Beatles, Corinne Day and Jessie J, had no fashion industry to speak of.

There were plenty of brilliant designers – who, like McQueen, were snapped up by big houses from Paris or Milan or New York, because that’s where the industry and the money was, and where the shows were. London was somewhere you went when the fashion shows were over.

Wander through the shows and the parties at London Fashion Week this February and you would be forgiven for wondering if London, not Paris or Milan, is now the engine of the global fashion industry. The shows – scattered around the centre of a city so bursting with creativity that Fashion Week is always just one of lots of things going on simultaneously – have an energy, panache and confidence that looks sharply to the future. Parties are not just attended by the requisite beautiful, glamorous and wealthy, and the nowmandatory celebs (from A to G list, depending on the party) but by aneverrotating phalanx of creative types who make their own fashion, sometimes literally. London has the buzz: Paris, immediately afterwards last September, felt a little sedate by comparison.

The numbers don’t lie and despite the tide of brands showing in London, Paris and Milan are still the fashion industry powerhouses: London is still dwarfed in terms of its commercial clout. But for creative buzz allied with a rising commercial significance, London, once ignored, is now a destination.

What catalysed the change? Alexandra Shulman, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue in the UK, tells me, “London Fashion Week is an example of how successful something can become when you can combine great talent with first rate organisation and support. British designers are currently playing a major part in the international fashion world and the collections they are showing are both inspiring and successful on a commercial level.”

Meanwhile Tom Ford, the thinking man’s style guru, and a designer who made significant waves when he decided to show in London, says, “I am so happy to be showing my menswear and womenswear collections in London. It is one of the most influential cities in the world for fashion. The design schools are exceptional, and the street style and youth culture have started some of the most important global trends ever. My design studio is based in the UK and I am pleased to help support the British fashion industry.”

But you don’t need to take their word for it: just wear it instead. London doesn’t have a constricting style; Erdem, Simone Rocha, Nicholas Kirkwood, Burberry or Tom Ford? All of them? Or get a ticket to a show or a party: at the last LFW in September, I bumped into Erin O’Connor, Poppy Delevingne, Roland Mouret, Antonio Berardi and Philip Treacy at the Claridge’s ‘preparty’, amid a buzz of anticipation rarely seen anywhere else in the world. Meanwhile at the Browns Focus party the next day, where the high-octane mood was fuelled by high-octane tequila cocktails, the guests were not famous, just brilliantly and creatively put together, a perfect walking, dancing uber-street-style Instagram. A hop and a skip away at Longchamp’s dazzling opening party, Kate Moss, Georgia May Jagger, Lily Cole, Mick Jagger and Otis Ferry created a kind of pop-up Studio 54 on Regent Street.

London has always known how to party. Now, everyone’s paying attention.

Reading time: 3 min