BACKSTAGE BFW: Sustain Show***
It’s 2pm on October 10th and the buzz of adrenaline and excitement is undeniable from the moment you enter the Old Ship Hotel. Leaving the gale force winds and torrential rain behind, the atmosphere inside the hotel is something of tranquility and peace - a far cry from usual expectations at a fashion show. Backstage at Sustain is a welcoming environment, a large room filled with a rainbow of stunning colours, printed fabrics and hand embroidered designs.
Behind the scenes at Sustain were a vast number of people ensuring the event ran smoothly - cue the genius behind the models’ flawless complexion, Alessia Mancini, head of make-up during BFW14, who created her masterpieces with a talented team of fourteen. Alessia praised her team highly, and alongside Will Ackerley, Art Director of Electric Hair, the match made in heaven created the perfect high fashion, flawless look sported by models. For the Sustain show, Alessia and her team used beautiful ranges from Shu Uemura and Kiehl’s for the body and a combination of Shu Uemura and MAC for the face. Alessia described her vision for the models as: ‘a healthy look – it’s them, but it’s like an upgraded them. It’s all about the textures; nice and sheer complexion, earthy tones on the eye, little hints of metallic, buffing up to the brow and contouring with creams’.
BFW14 is supported, once again, by Electric Hair and Cove Hair Brighton. After four years working with BFW, Will reported that this year he wanted to take the idea of a ponytail and add more detail to it, ‘so we’re working with panels and folded sections – it’s still really beautiful and elegant’. He also told us; ‘quick changes are one of the big things, so we needed to be quite robust and so the products that we’re working with have been used for maximum durability’.
Moving upstairs, floating around was a very calm, beautifully dressed Natalie Courtois; she beamed: ‘I love the fact that BFW isn’t just for the fashion crowd. No matter what background you are from you can be involved’. I was intrigued to hear of her background as a Fashion Historian and Stylist, and her love for styling vintage garments together from different eras, giving it a modern contemporary fresh edge. ’For me I love to find a beautiful 1940s shirt and then pair it with skinny jeans and my Nikes – that’s British Fashion really!’ (Pssst! If you catch the fabulous Lizzy Bishop this week, she’ll be wearing Natalie Courtois Vintage all week.)
Towards the main door of the dressing room was a design duo who exuded chic - Wan and Wong, whose designs are heavily influenced by the theme of water pollution and the ocean. They told BFW of how happy they are to be here in the UK celebrating sustainable fashion; ‘in Hong Kong sustainable fashion is not very popular, people don’t really get the concept of it. Here it’s a lot freer, exciting, and alternative’.
Amongst the sea of colours: neons, brights, charcoals and pastels, there were some golden Kodak-worthy moments, like as models met their designers for the first time. Designer and owner of Knitty Gritty Clothing, Victoria George whose collection Urban Opulence, a mix of streetwear, art, textiles and graffiti, told us: ‘part of the excitement is making the collection and then seeing how people wear it. That’s what then feeds me for the next collection’. Victoria has been sponsored by Brighton favourites Dr Martens, the perfect partner for her edgy collection, which encompasses graffiti and hip hop artists, the deep purple coloured boots also add to the Egyptian influenced colour scheme of her collection.
Backstage at Sustain could only be described as one of the most colourful and creative rooms you could stand in; it was full of uniqueness, quirkiness and originality, and the atmosphere was one of encouragement and excitement. In the words of Victoria Dorey, ‘unique designs for unique minds’ sums up the afternoon and the collections extremely well.
Images: Fiona Essex & Jeta B Photography (TOP 2)