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