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Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Designer Alert: Dean Quinn

I first met Dean Quinn, who's just won the Womenswear Award at Central St Martins' BA graduation show, last year in New York when I was visiting Threeasfour, where he was interning. Having now finished his degree, he invited me to his London studio for a closer inspection, and here's what I learned.

The circulating crests of bugle beads that's become his signature came about by happy accident from a faulty measurement when arranging them in flat lines. The flashes of light that reflect from their staggered surface was inspired by sun shining onto skin through a blind in Bladerunner. The architectural shoulder silhouette—or the "Dean Shoulder"—was designed by exposing and stacking shoulder pads. Inside the jackets of his 50% hand-sewn collection is a complex network of tape to hold each piece in place so it lies flat on the body.

Dean's first foray into fashion was making a dress for his GCSE art project, which was lost on his conservative high school. But he sought out a mentor and, at only 16, traveled from Ireland to to London to intern with Zandra Rhodes. There he was put to work painting pattern designs and found out about applying to Central St. Martins. Fast forward eight years to his win—and on his birthday, no less.

—Fred Butler

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Missing Persons

If Miss California's gay-unfriendly remarks ruffled your feathers, take a gander at London's Alternative Miss World, where imagination is encouraged and differences celebrated. Here, eccentric artist Andrew Logan, who began the event thirty-something years ago, ruled the roost Saturday night. Co-hosting with Ruby Wax, he lived up to the theme of The Elements with a Bauhaus-like outfit designed by Zandra Rhodes. Earth, air, water, fire—I was in my element! Music was supplied by The Irrepressibles, who had all been styled in cosmic costumes, à la Bladerunner meets the Triadic Ballet.

The majority of the twenty contestants had clearly spent the better part of the last few months constructing their insane outfits and choreographing their entrances and routines. It was a riot. Each one was as outrageous as the next. The size and complexity of the presentations escalated throughout the three rounds: daywear, swimwear and eveningwear. And yes, an interview, quality entertainment in the sense that none of the misses offered any kind of coherent enlightenment. Ruby showed no mercy.

By the end of the night my cheeks were hurting from smiling so much, and I can only imagine the fun that went on in the judges' huddle, which included Tim Curry, Julian Clary, Molly Parkin, Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo. But the most uplifting aspect of Alternative Miss World was the participation of so many generations. One contestant was eight months pregnant while another was probably on the the agenda from the inaugural contest in 1972.

text/photos by Fred Butler

Award Ceremony

Miss Bubbles of Hope

Miss Trailer Trash, Little Miss Sustainable

Miss No Signs of Any Civilisation Whatsoever

Judges Zandra Rhodes and Jonny Woo, Mademoiselle Sea-Sea-Sur Mer

Miss Fancy Chance (the winner)

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hat Spat

Last night at the V&A, eccentric English milliner Stephen Jones launched his solo show of 300 or so hats with a festive finale to London Fashion Week. Prop stylist Fred Butler told us she (yes, she) was in hat heaven as she breezed around the grand space, photographing guests in their feathered, furry and otherwise festooned (and mandatory) head tableaux. Legendary retailer Michael Kostiff was on hand, as was (UK) Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Lucy Yeoman, Giles Deacon and male model Callum, whose mother worked alongside Stephen in his original shop.

And then, tragedy struck. Fred, who's the loveliest of girls, collided with a less-than-charming woman and the two were inextricably entangled in a hat-lock. We don't know the ugly details, but apparently insults (and maybe a hat) were hurled, feelings were hurt and Fred, our Cinderella, fled the scene unscathed, thankfully, but before she could get her Anna Piaggi pic!...

Katie Grand & Lucy Yeoman

Erin O'Connor, Giles Deacon

Judy Blame & Philip Treacy

Namalee Bolle & Bruno Basso, Michael Kostiff

Callum & mum

Teo, set designer Simon Costin

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Monday, September 15, 2008

In Technicolor

When London calls, you hear it. At the start of London Fashion Week, we take a look back at the loudest and most colorful of recent happenings, courtesy of prop stylist and color freak Fred Butler...

Stylist & set designer Alex Cunningham's birthday party

Designer and Chloé consultant Alistair Carr
Men's designer Chris Shannon's inspiration for his MAN show

Sigur Rós drummer Orri Páll Dýrason at their London concert, in a crown I made for him

Bishi in concert at the Viktor & Rolf exhibition at Barbican Gallery
Maki Lou Lou in the studio making lantern props for a shoot

Stylist Kim Howells & photographer Fumi Nagasaka in my studio

Uniqlo flagship store installation by Andy MacGregor
Stylist & designer Nova Dando at the Jean-Charles de Castelbajac store launch

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Monday, March 31, 2008

A month of London goings-on, as seen by Fred Butler...

Feb 20: Performance artist Scottee backstage at the Brit Awards after-party
Mar 11: "Giraffe" faux-fur garment by Yang Du at the Central St Martins MA graduate static showcase

Mar 13: B Store preview of the "Previous Arrangements" exhibition by Shona Heath and Tim Gutt
Mar 15: Hair stylist Lyndell Mansfield at her fantasy fancy-dress birthday party

Mar 7: The Bloomberg building lit up for the private viewing of "Art Futures 2008"

Mar 18: Maki making cloud props in our studio for a Tim Walker photo shoot


Sunday, February 17, 2008

A selection of snapshots by Fred Butler and K A B I R, capturing the energy of London Fashion Week...

Noki and Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East (in Louise Gray) at Norton & Sons' Savile Row preview
Model backstage at Gareth Pugh, with makeup transformation by Alex Box
K A B I R and model Tallulah at the Mulberry launch party for Hadley Freeman's new book

Skin closing the Noki/NHS show wearing a crochet creation
K A B I R, fashion editor, and yours truly
Alexis Knox, fashion editor of Notion magazine and door-whore extraordinaire at Circus

Maki Lou Lou hiding in Andy Hillman's tent set for Peter Jensen's "Nuts in May"-inspired show

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