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VFS Exhibition: Felicity Brown, Beekay and Braille

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Next to Chelsea Rebelle, Felicity Brown was exhibiting a distinctly dichotomous collection. This is Felicity’s debut exhibition with VFS but she has an impressive CV – since graduating from the Royal College of Art six years ago, she’s worked with Alberto Ferreti, Mulberry and Loewe. For the past two years, she’s been at Lanvin, working with Alber Elbaz, and now she’s decided to strike out on her own.

The lady herself wasn’t around but her brother and business partner Henry was on hand to speak to Jack about the collection.  

“Her background is very constructive textiles – hand-pleated, hand-dyed, lots of layering of silk dresses. It’s got a very romantic feel to it. The inspiration is the French painter, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and his images of very provocative women in flowing garments.”

“In contrast, we’ve got the 23 t-shirt collection which has a neck-pieces theme. Because her work had been all three-dimensional and constructive, she tried to create that feeling on a flat garment, by printing Egyptian and tribal designs.”

Unsurprisingly, Felicity’s been attracting a lot of interest because of who she’s worked with, and Henry is hopeful that her designs will be gracing the rails of at least a couple of London boutiques in the not-too-distant future.

Contrasting sharply with Felicity’s distinctly feminine work, was a collection of menswear by Beekay.

Originally from Pakistan, Beekay graduated from the University College of Creative Arts in Kent two years ago. In 2009, he exhibited his first collection with On|Off – “mad, loud, not really wearable” was how he described it.

By contrast, his new collection is more accessible, with leather jackets and trousers and t-shirts. “This collection’s been inspired by roundness and circular objects, trees and twisted branches, which I incorporated into the design of the sleeves. It’s got a really strong dark element to it – I like the post-apocalyptic, heavy metal look. I’m combining lighter fabrics with the heavy leather to get a balance. There’s a lot of detailing – hundreds of stitches on some of the jackets.”

The zips on his showpiece jacket (right) are the result of sponsorship from YKK, the world’s largest zipper manufacturer. They complement Beekay’s signature accessory – nuts and bolts, which he uses to make necklaces and buttons. It’s a very strongly-themed look with an clear target market.  “Japan, New York, Berlin, London – all the dark, rainy places. My stuff goes well there,” he says. “I want to go for small boutiques where people can take plenty of time to look at it, try it on and see if it looks good on them.”

Finally, Jack spoke to Benjamin Vorono (left) who, together with Samuel Kientsch, formed menswear startup Braille last year. This is their debut collection, entitled ‘A Gentle Wake’.

“It’s contemporary tailoring,” Benjamin told Jack. “We’re trying to make really functional, wearable garments for guys with pretty active lives, living in the city.”

The collection has a very distinctive look which was inspired by a trip to Croatia. “It’s got a really natural, very earthy colour palette – rust, aqua and a really dark, dark blue. We’re using all natural materials with fabrics sourced from Yorkshire in the north of England.”

Unlike most of the other designers who were exhibiting, Benjamin doesn’t have a fashion background. “I was doing media research and got very bored of that. I always had an itch to do design. I took a short course in tailoring and my partner and I decided it was time to launch our own label. We’ve been working on it since summer 2009.”

Early days for all three of these designers but we like their work and we’re looking forward to monitoring their progress between now and September.

Written by Myles

February 21st, 2010 at 9:04 pm

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