1. by Lou Stoppard .

    Lou Stoppard's farewell

    Today is my last day at SHOWstudio. It’s impossible to know what to write. In part, this post must be a thanks, to the many, many people who’ve helped me over my time here. In part, it’s also a reflection on 6 wonderful years, filled with challenges and highs.

    I joined SHOWstudio as Associate Editor aged 21. I was one term into an MA at Central Saint Martins and I spent the next year juggling a full time job alongside my studies. I’d spent about 6 months as an intern under the site’s then Fashion Director Alex Fury. Alex decided to leave to edit LOVE, and for a reason I will never quite understand, Nick offered me a job. I think the intention was to hire someone more senior to work alongside me - I was simply there to keep the site ticking along - but week by week, interview by interview, panel by panel, it became clear that that person was never coming and that Nick, in his signature fashion for being trusting and empowering, was going to give me a shot to prove myself. I went on to become Fashion Editor, Editor and later Editor-at-large. There are many people who owe their career in fashion to Nick - he’s kickstarted things for Penny Martin, Craig McDean, Ruth Hogben, Solve Sundsbo, Alex, and many more. I owe mine to him. 

    It was Nick who helped me find what I’m good at. There’s a line in a recent interview I did with Ellen Von Unwerth for SHOWstudio’s In Fashion series - 'really lots of people have talent but they never find it, ever. But the luck was that I found it.' I owe my current path to the opportunities I was given at SHOWstudio - the faith that was put in me to learn on the job, and to maybe fail but learn from my mistakes. It was here that I learned how much I love to interview people, and that I loved to curate, a job I didn’t even really understand before working here. It’s led to books, exhibitions and all manner of exciting things that I could never have done without the experienced gained at SHOWstudio. SHOWstudio has been like family and like education - I have learned all my most important lessons here. Thank you to Alex Fury and Amy Ireland for first hiring me. Amy - you taught me so much and I’m so glad to call you a dear friend. Thanks to all the originals, Paul Herron, Sally Northmore, Carrie Scott, Niamh White and the rest of the early crew - thanks for putting up with an inexperienced nightmare of a colleague. You all taught me so much. Special thanks to Jon Emmony - my partner in crime for all those years. You are so talented and will go so far. Thanks to all the current team for their energy and enthusiasm - it’s been exciting to watch you all grow. And thank you of course to Charlotte Knight, who has been so much more than a boss. Thank you for helping me through so many twists and turns - I often joke that I’ve given my best years to SHOWstudio, but I’m certainly the woman I am today because of you. Thanks also to the many brilliant interns who have worked with me at SHOWstudio - I have done my best to champion and support talented young women (and men) and I look forward to watching you all triumph across the industry. And of course thanks to all our amazing contributors, whose hard work and amazing talent has made the site the hub of energy it is today.

    It’s hard to write a post like this without becoming very gushy and worthy and sounding a bit like I’m giving a bad Oscars speech. So I’ll wrap up now. We have a tradition when someone leaves SHOWstudio to ask for their best and worst moments. It’s impossible to pick a highlight - perhaps my best moment was interviewing Kanye, for 2 hours, aged 25, and being faced with a glut of press after. Perhaps it was interviewing personal icons, like Wolfgang Tillmans or Glen Luchford. Perhaps it was the many kind notes I received from interviewees after, praising the team and their experience at SHOWstudio. Perhaps it was attending fashion week and being overcome by the talent of designers like Craig Green or Raf Simons. Perhaps it was sharing a cake with Nick everyday for about 3 years (I still hate your new health kick). Perhaps it was watching Nick shoot. Perhaps it was dreaming up series like Ugly, Girly, Unseen McQueen, Sportswear, Print or Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore and watching the team work together to pull them off. Perhaps it was so many other days where nothing much happened apart from the amazingness that was working at SHOWstudio each day, in this strange and beautiful studio.

    My worst moment is leaving. 

  2. by Lou Stoppard .

    Off to Florence for Gucci Cruise 18
    Lou Stoppard reviews the collection

    Alessandro Michele is a master of unity. He is a conductor - bringing together different notes and rhythms in a strange but seductive harmony. Disparate decades, cultures and genres are clashed and correlated on his runway. He designs like a DJ - sampling, referencing and paying tribute, all while offering the odd scratches and unexpected beat drops that give pace and intrigue to a great set. 

    After yesterday’s Cruise show, staged in the imposing Palatine gallery of the Palazzo Pitti in Florence, much was made of the fact that Michele really wanted to hold his runway in the Parthenon in Athens (aim big, is the Gucci motto, not only in terms of location, but also collection size - note the 115 looks). The Parthenon team seem to be the only people not currently drinking the Gucci kool-aid - they turned down the offer. No matter - the classical elements, most obvious in the gilded wreaths worn and carried by models, may have been intended to shine in a big fat Greek fashion show, but they worked just as well here in Florence. That’s because nothing really looks out of place on a Gucci runway - they are a vibrant free-for-all, a lesson in something-for-everyone. In this democratic vein, Michele nodded to the way people freely interpret brands and create their own messages and symbols based on their design heroes. He’s long had an interest in the way the internet and social media has taken the power away from brands in terms of controlling their own narrative and messages, hence why he embraced the subversive wit of meme makers, who often turn brands into jokes, for a recent watch campaign. How smart - long gone are the days where brands can dictate how their output is communicated and discussed. Dialogue now is complex, quick and audience-led. He’d nodded to this again at this show with garments emblazoned with slogans such as Guccification, Guccify Yourself and Guccy. They’ll fly off the shelves and dominate street style. But there’s more to them than surface. To misspell your own brand name is a punchy statement - one that shows supreme confidence. Gucci are the leaders of the pack at the moment, so they can afford to be so daring and tongue-in-cheek. Other brands are reaching and hoping, but Gucci are at the top looking down and playing.

    ‘Guccy’ sums up Michele’s Gucci - he’s taken what we all know, those illusive ‘codes of the house’, and messed with them, twisting them up with his own references, his keenest obsessions and the moods and ‘it’ items of the moment (see those ubiquitous and on-trend chunky dad trainers). He’s playing with fashion by playing with the house itself. It’s hard to criticise or parody his work when he’s doing it himself with such freewheeling joy and amusement. It must have been tempting, when showing in such regal settings, filled by great art from the masters, to try to elevate the collection and promote the preciousness of his pieces. He’d stayed away from any expected and stuffy fashion-as-art schtick and instead promoted the relevance and realness of his clothing. How refreshing.  

    ‘Guccy’ also suggests fakery and bootlegging. It’s a popular trend at the moment to craft items that look like they could be knock-offs - see the work of Demna Gvasalia or the much-discussed collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Supreme. After all, why let the fraudsters take the cash when you can peddle the heavy-logos and chintzy flashing looks on your own shop floor? Those eighties-esque branded leather and fur pieces made me think of Dapper Dan, who sold monogrammed statement pieces from his Harlem boutique long before brands would dare to offer such smile-raising, unsubtle items in their own stores. 

    There were lots of new trinkets and details on show to delight the magpie-like Gucci consumer - those darling pearl embellishments certainly delighting those on the front row, brandishing iPhones in the hope of posting an Instagram hit. But, to me, it was the closing look that said the most - it was a printed pleated skirt, worn with a branded knit and a good bag. It’s certainly the look Michele is most known for, one that has run through his collections since his first season and a style that has filtered down from his dazzling runway spectacles to the racks of the high-street. It’s also proof that, wherever his mind wanders or wherever he stages his show, a classic winning formula remains just that - once you’re on to a winner, keep at it. 

  3. by Lou Stoppard .

    Rest in Peace Richard Nicoll

    All of us at SHOWstudio are so saddened by the news of designer Richard Nicoll’s passing. Richard was a beautiful, bright and talented soul and such a supporter and friend to SHOWstudio over the years. In July 2009, our former fashion director Alexander Fury had the pleasure of interviewing Richard for our rolling In Fashion series. 'I think all that you need to worry about is what’s right in front of you and let destiny control the rest,’ he says, as a closing note, before smiling - that gorgeous, uplifting, infectious smile. We’ll miss you Richard and we’re so sorry for all your family and friends - our thoughts are with you.

  4. by Lou Stoppard .

    Port Eliot 2016

    A few days ago much of the SHOWstudio team headed to Cornwall for fashion’s favourite festival, Port Eliot. The event takes place on the beautiful estate of Lord and Lady St Germans and features music, reading, style and food. A whole host of our brilliant contributors were there to participant. Critic Sarah Mower was pulling together the fashion events in the lively 'Wardrobe Department', notably interviewing Chloe’s Clare Waight Keller and chairing panel discussions with the likes of hatter Stephen Jones and journalist Alexander Fury. If you couldn’t be there but love the sound of that crowd, revisit our In Fashion interview with Mower, watch Jones at work crafting a hat, or revisit this landmark series from Fury’s time as fashion director of SHOWstudio.

    Other SHOWstudio favourites in attendance included designer Charles Jeffrey and hatter Piers Atkinson. Jeffrey loves to transform, so it’s apt that he’d set up camp in the MAC tent to bring his LOVERBOY energy and make-up styles to the weekend’s procedures. He brought a similar prowess to SHOWstudio during our recent three-day, Boy Meets Wool LiveStudio - revisit the stream. Atkinson was doing a great job offering a millinery crash course to attendees. If you’re keen to learn from the master himself, revisit our LiveStudio from November 2012, during which Atkinson makes three hats live on camera.

    In the gift shop, Mower had assembled some gems - Chloe sunglasses, Claire Barrow bags (watch the designer discuss her youth and influences in our North project) and a host of vintage magazines. If you’re a Print fan, revisit our lively series.

    Out and about, guests marvelled at the elaborate sets and stages. Fact fans - they were made by Nick Knight's regular collaborator Andy Tomlinson who dreams up the props and backdrops for many of our SHOWstudio shoots and broadcasts.

    The festival not only plays host to the fashion pack, it also inspires them. Waight Keller, Chloe’s creative director since 2011, told me that the festival had inspired her S/S 16 collection, which was perfectly modelled at this year's event by five delicious Cornish sisters, the Warrens. Waight Keller has been based near Port Eliot for the last few years, and was desperate to attend after hearing glowing reviews from friends. ‘It was the spirit of it,’ she mused, when discussing her inspirations. ‘It was a festival where you learn a lot - there are amazing writers who talk about their craft, or musicians who discuss their song writing.’ To hammer home the summery, bohemian spirit of the Chloe girl, Waight Keller had staged a small but well considered exhibition in the imposing Drawing Room of the house. Dedicated to the white dress, a Chloe staple, the exhibition featured garments dating back to the sixties, seventies and eighties as well as her own more modern work. It served to highlight the many icons who have once helmed the Parisian house - aka Phoebe Philo and Karl Lagerfeld - and the seemingly unshakable durability of whimsical femininity and festival style within fashion.

  5. by Lou Stoppard .

    Liberty McAnena Tumblr Takeover
    1 - 7 June 2015

    Here at SHOWstudio, we've been thinking lots about time and the interplay between the past and the future. Tumblr's a great springboard when considering these ideas - old imagery has a new life on there and work that can feel outdated and ordinary to some is considered fresh and exciting to a whole new generation. When working on our Unseen McQueen and The London Years series, we've been struck by the enthusiasm for archive footage and the popularity of early nineties and noughties editorials on social media. We're also in the midst of preparing to launch a new series, Print, which will look at the lasting influence of certain key music and fashion magazines on creatives working today. It will consider how the success and impact of a magazine can be measured by a lot more than its print run.

    With all this in mind, it feels apt to dedicate some time to revelling in nostalgia. So, in keeping with our tradition of handing the reins of our Tumblr over to a different contributor for the first week of every month, we've asked fashion history and theory graduate and active Tumblr-er Liberty McAnena to consider that theme over on our page. You'll know McAnena from her brilliant page Witches and Slippers and Hoods, which combined archive editorial imagery with poignant film stills and photography loosely tied around themes of youth, femininity and sensuality. Head to Tumblr from 1 to 7 June to watch her take-over our page.

  6. by Lou Stoppard .

    2015's Aalto Arts Fashion Seminar

    Last weekend, I was invited to Helsinki to participate in the Aalto Arts Fashion Seminar for the second time. The discussion forms part of the Pre Helsinki program, which allows press and buyers the chance to get to know the work of Finnish creatives past and present.

    This year’s conference was titled Building Brands 3.0, following on from last year’s For Fashion’s Sake discussion, which can be watched here. It was chaired by A Magazine editor-in-chief Dan Thawley and featured fashion designer Damir Doma, consultant and fashion designer Susanne Deeken, Maria Luisa buying director Robin Schulie and consultant and SHOWstudio regular Mimma Viglezio. I also sat on the panel as co-chair.

    The talk was refreshingly honest - we debated the troubles and choices facing young fashion designers and professionals in today’s global climate, painting a realistic picture of the fashion industry as a complex mechanism, with many alternate routes to success. Specific themes discussed included the merits of international competitions like the LVMH Prize, ANDAM and Hyères Festival, ways of navigating the transition from school to internships and the problems with the current fashion show schedule and pace.

    The talk was a much-watch for young creatives, and aptly preceded the Aalto Arts 2015 graduate fashion show, which featured outstanding collections by Maria Suomalainen, Rolf Ekroth and Reea Peltola, to name a few. Us panelists were tasked with awarding the Naytos Prize, which we gave to Timo Helin for his quietly sensual collection, which perfectly united classic sports shapes with formalwear and showed off a real talent for colour. Luckily, the discussion was filmed and we’re thrilled to be able to release the footage on SHOWstudio - it will launch in the coming few days, so stay tuned. While you wait, revisit last year’s lengthy conversation featuring the likes of DJ Michel Gaubert and hatter Stephen Jones.

  7. by Lou Stoppard .

    Help Save A Piece of Photographic History

    Islington Council are trying to shut down brilliant darkroom BDI to build luxury flats. Please sign this petition to help save this small business and place of photographic history!

    BDI, located in the Redbrick Estate, is the place where Nick Knight pioneered a new form of colour photography, creating super bright images, while working on the Yohji Yamamoto catalogues back in 1985. It was only thanks to the open-mindedness of BDI's Brian Dowling that the method was ever invented and since then BDI has worked on numerous iconic fashion campaigns and editorials with photographers such as Glen Luchford, Craig McDean, Corinne Day, and Davids Sims. It's not really an overstatement to say that BDI helped change the way the world is coloured. Today BDI is still thriving despite technological and digital developments and is one of the few places where students from schools such as Central Saint Martins, the Royal College of Art and East London College can go and learn about traditional photographic hand printing. Please show your support.

    Recent comments

    1. Mariam
      08:05 1 Nov 2014
      Save the creativity
    2. Joe Stephens
      23:45 2 Nov 2014
      This is an outrage.
    3. SHOAIB bukhari
      10:29 8 Nov 2014
      Fuck flats that no one can afford. This is so much more important.
  8. by Lou Stoppard .

    The Miss Hoi Polloi Pageant

    On Tuesday night, I headed down to the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch to celebrate the close of London Fashion Week at The Miss Hoi Polloi Pageant! The whole affair was a re-enactment of scenes from the 1968 documentary The Queen, a film that put a spotlight on the drag scene long before Paris is Burning. The likes of Christopher Kane, Roksanda Ilincic, Ed Marler, Erdem, Stephen Jones, Henry Holland and Jonathan Saunders - all fresh from showing at London Fashion Week - had been recruited to judge. They crowned Miss Philadelphia aka James Davison the winner - what a beauty. The brilliant Jonny Woo was our host for the evening, dressed in head-to-toe Giles. What a glamourous evening! Review our Collections page for our coverage of London Fashion Week for more beautiful looks and catwalk turns...

  9. by Lou Stoppard .

    Gold-leafing the cove!

    What a varied job I have! Fresh from chairing this morning's live Marc Jacobs panel discussion, I got to work covering the walls of our studio with gold leaf. As you can see Charlotte Knight and I are not afraid to get our hands dirty! Tune into our broadcasts all across fashion month to see brilliant expets discuss the shows while surrounded by gold. How very Spandau Ballet of us. Or maybe Goldfinger was the refeence. Or perhaps Tutankhamun. I'll have to ask Nick Knight, it was his bright idea.

  10. by Lou Stoppard .

    A little bit of fashion history!

    The Central Saint Martins MA Fashion show at London Fashion Week has sparked so many brilliant stories and fashion legends. Remember when Isabella Blow bought Lee McQueen's collection in its entirety, saving up to buy it piece by piece and taking him with her to the cash point each week? Or how about when Mrs B bought John Galliano's graduate collection Les Incroyables (above) to put in the window of Browns? Or when Galliano himself bought all of Kim Jones' collection to put in his archive? So naturally I'm really excited that SHOWstudio is now selling one-off items from the MA 14 class. Buy some fashion history here...


    1. Merv
      15:46 1 Sep 2014
      John Galliano did a BA at saint martins, not the MA.
  11. by Lou Stoppard .

    SHOWstudio in 1 Granary

    The team at SHOWstudio have been thrilled to be involved in the making of the new issue of 1 Granary. Our own Nick Knight shot an editorial for the magazine, which is made by the students of Central Saint Martins and focuses on detailing all the exciting work that goes on at the college and the adventures of alumni. You can see all the images here.

    On a personal note - I was so pleased to be invited by the title's contributing editor Greg French to, alongside SHOWstudio's former fashion director (and my dear friend) Alex Fury, feature in the magazine. The article details Alex and my experiences of working at SHOWstudio, our outlook on working in fashion and our early influences. It was lots of fun to spend a few hours being silly with Alex and I hope our comments are both fun and informative.

    You can buy the issue here.

  12. by Lou Stoppard .

    Julie Verhoeven on show!

    Today in the studio we're shooting new product shots of Peter Saville and Julie Verhoeven's brilliant erotic wallpaper, Forget-Me-Not. The paper was commissioned as part of our SHOWstudio: Fashion Revolution exhibition at Somerset House back in 2009. It is a personal favourite of mine and I have actually bought a couple of rolls to put up in my own apartment. Where to paste it?! That's the question.

    It's apt that we're thinking about Julie today as the artist has a new exhibition opening later this week! Julie Og Jimmy Go Dogging is a collaborative project between Julie and Jimmy Merris. It was instigated by curator Lars Sture and promises to offer 'a simultaneously humorous and disturbing portrait of everyday life.' How exciting!

    If you find yourself in Bergen, Norway at any point from 29 August and 26 October 2014 be sure to drop by. Details here!

    Oh - and if you've got a few minutes it's well worth revisiting SHOWstudio graduate Penny Martin's brilliant interview with Julie, launched on the site way back when!


    1. amenart
      17:25 13 Aug 2014
      I've been playing the song on repeat since I heard it this morning!
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