Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

Osman Yousefzada is such a sweetie. I popped over to his central London shop-fronted studio last week to catch up with him in his startling progress from young dressmaker to London catwalk designer with an enviable roster of the kind of strong, elegant professional women all designers dream of dressing when they start out. These include Lady Gaga, Caroline Issa of Tank magazine, Tallulah Harlech, the architect Pernilla Ohrstedt and the influential art collector Valeria Napoleone.

Osman's AW 2012 collection, using beautiful hand-loomed Spanish brocade shown at London Fashion Week (photo:

Osman is from Birmingham and was secretly making dresses for his sister's Barbie at the age of five using offcuts of fabrics from his mother's bridal dressmaking workshop. His sister would pretend she had done the Barbie clothes, and he would pretend he had been playing football. "Ve are workers in my family. When I was ten I could plaster a wall, and cut a dress. Creativity is a middle class luxury after all, to me creativity is getting stuck in, getting work done."

Despite his openess Osman still squirms uncomfortably when talking about his personal life, which is hugely endearing. In fact, there is still something of that five year old lurking around the aura of Osman. Fashion is like his secret passion, and sometimes he finds it hard to articulate in words exactly what he is trying to say with his clothes. However, give him the opportunity to dress you up, drape some fabric, share some embroideries being completed in his basement atelier and before you know it a coat has been flourished in your direction, a trousers has been proffered (his tailored coats and trousers are his strongest seasonal offerings in my opinion) and you become his muse.
Osman's AW 2012 collection, shown at London Fashion Week (photo:

Cobalt dress from Osman's Spring collection at

When I press him to explain his passion for dressing women up in his now signature linear, modern cuts and opulent brocades, he eventually expresses the following: "I grew up watching women coming and going from my mothers workroom...I think that is why I love dressing women, and no two are the same," he says. "I know the transformative power of well cut clothes, and I guess what I do is work with my experience of women to create the right clothes for them. My method is, well...basically I will bend over backwards to help someone find the right thing. If a client comes to me " - 15% of his business is bespoke, and he has 80 global retail clients - "and needs something in two days, I will do it. I'm a worker. My motto is "I learn by client" which is something I have also heard Azzedine Alaia say, he needs to work on his women in order to keep learning. He is an inspiration to me."    
Osman (photo courtesy of the designer)

So who does Osman see as his typical customer? He laughs. "I call them 'second wife clothes': not young first wife, not mistress. She is independent, intelligent, comfortable in her skin," he says. At this stage we are upstairs in his glossy showroom, but I want to see the studio downstairs the hub of activity in any designers' domain. "Oh, you don't want to go down there," his assistant warns. "You haven't seen his desk!"

Osman beckons me downstairs and the crammed space is a cacophany of visual stimuli; indeed his desk is not just a mess, it is an avalanche waiting to happen - possibly even an archeological dig of paper, ribbon and tear sheets. Osman's work is largely inspired by the colours, fabrics and dress of ethnic cultures dovetailed with the purity of line of, say Cristobal Balenciaga whose mother was also a dressmaker. Below are images of his studio.

If you love Osman's work and want to get something from one his past collections, the designer is taking part on the British Designer Collective at Bicester Village, which launches tomorrow. I will be there from 10am with a certain Alexa Chung looking for a dress for my BIG birthday which is a week today, but being celebrated with friends this weekend. Aaaaargh! I'll be trying on an Osman that is for sure.

Images from Osman's studio walls



Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

First up this week, huge congratulations to British fashion's Fairy Godmother, Lulu Kennedy who made the trip to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE yesterday. Naturally, it was up to former Fashion East participants to dress Lulu for the occasion- it was Michael van der Ham and Roksanda Ilincic for the palace and Jonathan Saunders for the Madhatters tea party at The Sanderson. .

Lulu Kennedy at the palace (image from
Stella at yesterday's launch in her SS12 pjs, with Phillip Odowu and Jessica Ennis (image from
In other big British fashion news this week, Stella McCartney has finally unveiled the Team GB kit for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic games- the very first time that a fashion designer has had the role. This was no quiet launch either- a fashion show starring some of the UK's biggest medal hopes including Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis took place at The Tower of London. It's Stella's biggest collection yet, comprising 590 different items of kit catering for over 900 athletes and all their various sports. So far, it is Stella's reinterpretation of the Union Jack which has caused most concern. The Daily Mail reports that 'there is a worrying lack of red from the Union Jack', while Hadley Freeman at The Guardian noted 'the running pants for women with the flag in a gynaecological spot, (are) surely an offence that could result in one being sent to the tower'.

I'm quite a fan of the red trainers myself. Jessica Ennis in her Stella/ Adidas kit
Madonna by Mert and Marcus (image from

The Mantyhose in action (image from

You thought all fashion hybrids had been explored? The jegging, the tregging and the shoot (shoe boot) to name but a few. Well, this week Emilio Cavallini and Madonna brought 'mantyhose' to the world. That's 'tights for boys' to you and I. Interesting. The new invention is exhibited in the video for Girl Gone Wild, directed by Mert and Marcus. It's the second single from the forthcoming MDNA album.

Ever since Carine Roitfeld left the helm at French Vogue, it's been great fun finding out about her latest project. We loved her book, Irreverent and now it seems that September will be the next time our Carine radars go into overdrive. She told WWD this week her new magazine will be launched then. They also found out the following...

"Although she couldn’t be pressed on the name, she said it will come out twice a year and resemble a book. There will be no “front of the book” section and its emphasis will be “fashion with a lot of freedom.”

Carine at the Chanel couture in Tokyo this week (image from
Karl in the pilot's seat on the Chanel jet plane (from
Chanel has decamped to Japan this week for a series of events to big up the brand in the Far East. Remember the airplane created for the January couture show in Paris? Well, that was transported to a Tokyo park for a repeat performance. Also on the agenda was a party to launch Karl Lagerfeld's collaboration with Carine Roitfeld on a photographic exhibition entitled "The Little Black Jacket'. Sarah Jessica Parker, with son in tow, and Alice Dellal were among those who've joined Chanel for the festivities.

Grazia's Paula Reed has been in Tokyo. Here are a few of her best pics...

Karl with his right hand woman, Lady Amanda Harlech 

Clemence Poesy with the cherry blossom

A guest at the couture show in the traditional Japanese kimono (all images from Paula's instagram)
Barely a week goes by without some new comment on the photoshopping/body image debate, this week's most lovely contribution comes from The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine which has put Cate Blanchett on its cover, completely free from computer aided enhancement. Like she needed it anyway. This is what Intelligent Life editor, Tim de Lisle, had to say about the cover:

"Cate Blanchett, by contrast, appears on our cover in her working clothes, with the odd line on her face and faint bags under her eyes. She looks like what she is—a woman of 42, spending her days in an office, her evenings on stage and the rest of her time looking after three young children. We can’t be too self-righteous about it, because, like anyone else who puts her on a cover, we are benefiting from her beauty and distinction. But the shot is at least trying to reflect real life. It’s a curious sign of the times that this has become something to shout about"

Image from Intelligent Life

Image from
Tonight is Sport Relief in the UK. From a fashion perspective, that means Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and David Gandy on our screens in a special episode of Absolutely Fabulous. That has to be worth a donation, doesn't it?

I heard about the Horniman Museum's The Body Adorned exhibition earlier this week and I can't wait to go. I love walking around London, seeing what everyone is wearing and trying to identify all the style tribes. The Body Adorned looks at how Londonders have come to create their own trends and ways of standing out, as well as the history which has impacted on those decisions. Here's the trailer for the exhibition, I'll hopefully be reporting back from there sometime soon...

We can finally see series 5 of Mad Men from Tuesday on Sky Atlantic- hurrah! We love these ads from the 1960s which The New Yorker has dug up to get us even more excited about the return of Don, Joan and co. Have a wonderful sunny weekend!

What would she say about mantyhose? 

Pyjamas to rival Stella's (all ads from


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's a few weeks now since the end of Paris Fashion Week. Everyone is home and has had a few good nights of sleep. Now, the AW12 press days are upon us (I went to NINE yesterday) and we can see how the catwalk trends are being interpreted by retailers, and also how designers have channeled them into their commercial collections. It's all very fascinating but there can be a lot to take in. There can also be huge chasms between the overriding catwalk trends and what people actually want to wear. I attended a trend talk at the beginning of this week where a massive focus was placed on the fact that AW12 is all about covering up your whole body and wearing black and grey. Well, there may have been a lot of that on the catwalks but shoot me now if that's all I have to look forward to come September.

Will this really be what we're wearing in Autumn? Gucci AW12 (image from cat
We posted about EDITD last season. They analyse fashion week data from all angles. One of the best things they do is analyse social media sites , especially Twitter, to find out what fashion editors and internet spectators are really enjoying when they see the shows. Their perspective is that we have to think about how much people actually like what they see, not just how much they see it. This data can then be used by retailers to give them an idea about which trends people are likely to buy once the collections hit the shops. You can read their full reports from each fashion week here but in the mean time, here are EDITD's buzz charts from each city. These show the designers, trends and patterns which people were really taking about...

So, do you agree with the EDITD stats? Are you still massively into vintage references?Will checks be number one on your shopping list for Autumn?


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's been a beautiful, sunny week here in London. Before we hop off for hopefully more of the same (perhaps optimistically), here's our round-up of what's been happening in the world of fashion.
Stefano Pilati is mostly going on holiday in the near future, he said earlier this week (image from

A month after his swift departure from YSL, Stefano Pilati has spoken out about his future plans and career to date. He appeared at La Musee de la Mode et du Textile this week as part of their "Fashion Talks" series. Pilati spoke about his 'dramatic, tragical' start at YSL under Tom Ford. The end of Pilati's tenure was announced just days before the AW12 show. As had earlier been predicted, Hedi Slimane has come back to YSL as his replacement. With no apparent job lined up, it would be understandable if Pilati were reticent about discussing the future, but he had this to say: “I am really happy, which is something very unusual for me in a sense that I never believed that it could have been possible to feel happy, at least under these kinds of circumstances". 

Jospeh Altuzarra has collaborated on  collection with J.Crew- cannot wait (image from

I could barely contain my excitement earlier this week when I spied on Twitter that CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund winner Jospeh Altuzarra had collaborated with J.Crew. It seemed like one of those fashion rumours which maybe a little too good to be true. But then I went to the press day of Altuzarra's UK PR who confirmed that it was indeed true. Altuzarra apparently said "So we worked on collaboration which I think will be coming out in a few weeks". Now I just need to find a way to magic myself to the US or pray hard that the pieces will be available to ship to the UK. 

A look from Altuzarra AW12 which was inspired by Italian comic Corto Maltese

Claudia Schiffer's Guess ads in the late 80s are some of the most iconic from the time. They sum up the look of the moment pretty accurately. To celebrate the Guess's 30th anniversary, Schiffer has returned to become the face of the brand, recreating the images with a slightly rockier vibe. The campaign has been shot by one of Guess's original ad photographers Elle von Unwerth. Schiffer models looks from the capsule collection which has been produced to celebrate the milestone. Somehow, Claudia hasn't changed too much at all in the 23 years since the original ads.

Claudia Schiffer in a Guess ad from 1989 (image from
And 23 years later, celebrating 30 years of Guess jeans (
Another of the 80s SUPERmodels is back on our radar this week. Christy Turlington is on the cover of Tatler's May issue and wears an excellent straw boater and painted on moustache, working a kind of 30s riviera photographer look. We love.

Christy on the Tatler cover (image from
What with her constant work outs and healthy eating regimes, Gwyneth Paltrow is probably one of the last people you might think of to take up the role of Dora Maar- the woman Pablo Picasso famously painted in a particularly unflattering, if abstract, way...

Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso, 1939 (from
However, it was announced this week that Gwyneth will be playing Dora in  a new film about one of Picasso's most famous paintings Guernica. And when you see how Dora looked in real life, the Gwyneth choice makes more sense.

The real Dora Maar (image from
Rihanna was the subject of much consternation last week when she explained that she gets more body confident, the more naked she gets. "What do you know?" was the general response. Victoria Beckham has taken RiRi's "What body image planet are you on?" crown by claiming that when she tests out her designs, she says "I’m going to put it on. I stand for the general public here". As if to rub salt into the wound further, the feature in Harper's Bazaar is accompanied by a series of shots of VB in 50s style swimwear. We sort of love that she still thinks she can pull herself off as  a member of the general public. See you in Sainsburys Victoria!

VB just hanging out, being a member of the general public (images from
Who knows how she did it, but Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has written her first novel entitled Can We Still Be Friends? It will be released on April 12th and was launched this week with a party at Sothebys. The Vogue website published Shulman's great account of how she found time to write and what the book is about. I can't wait to read it.

Alex Shulman with Samantha Cameron at the book launch on Wednesday night (image from
A slightly mysterious announcement this week from H&M who say they will be launching 'a completely new store chain' next year. The new chain will apparently will modelled on Cos which is also owned by the Hennes group. Karl-Johan Persson, H&M's CEO told WWD 'Like COS, which today is very successful with good profitability, the new chain of stores will be independent and complement the other offerings from the group'. We look forward to seeing what they come up with.

Finally, video of the week goes to ASOS who have created this short film as part of their collaboration with designer of super chic sportswear, Ebru Ercon on the SS12 REVIVE collection. The video sums up perfectly the 90s rave with a modern sportswear twist  which is the ethos of the collection. Given that Ercon used to be Head Designer on Stella McCartney for Adidas, it's not surprising that she's nailed the Summer's sportswear trend. The video was styled by the very cool stylist and blogger, Madeleine Ostile and used the music videos of dance acts like Yazz and Inner City as starting points. The collection isn't available to buy until 23rd April, but you can have a sneek peek here

In the mean time, happy weekend!


 Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Lara in Vogue (by Josh Olins)

Lara Mullen has the kind of story which will have teenage supermodel wannabes everywhere turning green with envy. She has the fairytale 'normal school girl to fashion favourite' which so many now seem to wish will be their reality. For Lara, it is. A year ago she was just another Northampton girl and now she is FEAL's latest model crush- as well as a top pick for the previous two seasons of catwalk shows as well in in demand for shoots. She captures the spirit of now with her strong but still wistful, girlish and very English look.

Lara, with her mussed up hair and startled ice blue eyes, stars in April Vogue's "The White Album" shoot, styled by Lucinda Chambers,  confirming her hot new model status. Vogue clearly share our Lara love because they also tip her "soulful look" to be a key face of the future.

And it's not just  Vogue who are fuelling Laramania. This weekend, the Telegraph charted her last crazy six months flipping between fashion weeks, major shoots and hanging out in her school common room.  She also  blogged during Paris Fashion Week for about what it's like being a new model. Basically, we're all enraptured with the way she presents fashion to us as well as the tale behind the face.

Herein lies a kind of tumblr of images which sum up why we are we are majorly crushing on Miss Mullen right now...

Lara in Vogue (by Josh Olins)

Lara in Vogue (by Josh Olins)
Lara in Vogue (by Josh Olins)

Lara in Vogue (by Josh Olins)

Lara Mullen in SS12 POP
Backstage at Nina Ricci AW12
Lara walking for Jil Sander AW12 (Image from

Walking for Prada AW12 (image from
Walking for Alexander Wang SS12 (image from
Lara Mullen for Jonathan Saunders Pre-Fall SS12 (