Last friday, Who’s Jack headed down the British Library in Kings Cross for a ‘Fashion Flashback’ event, held by Central Saint Martins. We were in for an absolute treat. Walking into the unbelievably awe-inspiring British Library main hall, we were greeted with pop up shops selling fashion themed books, a photobooth with Beyond Retro props, and an opportunity to have our portrait drawn by a Fashion Illustrator.
At 8pm, we went to see a talk with Vogue Illustrator Tanya Ling, and GQ editor Dylan Jones. The speakers were advocating the use of our libraries as a way in which to research in fashion; using the endless newspaper and magazine collections to get a feel for what fashion was like in certain era’s; but also, what else was happening in society at the time. Dylan Jones spoke of how, tactile research in a library could lead you into other areas you wouldn’t have even thought of – a book about elephants being next to a book about elegant neck ties for example. Inspiration is all around you in a library, and Tanya and Dylan argued that inspiration was more immediate and diverse than using the internet. Dylan was perhaps too persistant in his dislike of online media, stating that everyone should start in print. We did wonder, if he had to begin his journalistic career in 2013, if he would feel the same? Although, we have to say, he was willing to accept the growing importance of apps, and his allowing GQ to be available for download.
Tanya spoke about how she was inspired by environments and objects; her current inspiration being Wimbledon Common. Dylan really hammered home the fact that he wants fashion journalists to retain the use of a pen and paper, and to write long “proper” articles, not just quick blog posts.
Both speakers had a fair point, and with the back drop of the British Library, we left the talk feeling hugely inspired and eager to research!
We later watched a talk with both fashion academic Ian R Webb, and fashion author (How To Walk In High Heels) Camilla Morton. Morton was slightly away with the fairys, but this all seems to be part of her charm, as she rattled on, and on about her gallivanting around Paris with John Galliano. Morton spoke about her use of fairytales in order to bring fashion to life. Ian Webb gave, in comparison, a very regimented lecture on his use of the library and it’s endless resources. Webb put together an absorbing presentation about the process he uses (from start to finish) when creating his books. He also delved into his love for David Bowie. We loved him.
At 9pm the Saint Martin’s Fashion Print Students held a fashion show, with their models using the escalators and stairs as a vibrant catwalk. The designs were incredible, created out of paper and inspired by the British Library’s images in the Russian and Japanese collections. Hair was styled by Trevor Sorbie, and make-up was by Chantecaille.
A fantastic event, and one which we hope is repeated in the future. For only £7.00 (£5 for concessions), we had a fabulous evening of fashion, culminating in a dance floor of very stylish dancers, who had had their fair fill of Vogue inspired cocktails, and been styled by the make-over team from Chantecaille, who were inspired by Cecile Beaton for the evening.