Can fashion, the slow luxe extraordinary kind, that would make a bishop want to kick in a stained glass window, help ignite a new wave of people power environmental action? The mission? To save our oceans from pollution, over fishing and the prospect of becoming vast, empty marine deserts, where there won’t be any little fishes for tea.
Report By Editor-in-Chief Alison Jane Reid Reportage Pictures By Alexandria Hall
Watching in rapt wonder as Rose Fulbright’s dream of a sustainable, Made in Britain, silk gown billowed, fluttered and swirled down the catwalk, a mirage of colour, exotic, Alice-in-Wonderland fish and sheer imagination – I wanted to cry out ‘Yes! Yes!’
Of course! Beauty and reinvention is always, always the answer!
The highlight of March was undoubtedly Oceana’s buzzing, big night out of slow luxe fashion, philanthropy and conservation. Phillips Auction house threw open the doors of its twinkling glass HQ on Berkeley Square and turned a capacious space into a marvellous, marine inspired playground, which drew luminaries from the world of music, fashion and broadcasting – Bob Geldof, Newton Faulkner, Daisy Lowe, Nick Grimshaw and Pixie Geldof to name but a few.
For one night only, Oceana’s Junior Council, staged an affair to remember, with a dazzling, how did they do that night of art, fashion and fundraising razzmatazz, while the great, the good and the beautiful people grazed on marvellous, oceanic cocktails embellished with pearls and tiny lily pads.
There was universal admiration for Sonia Shomalzadeh’s life size charcoal drawings of the hugely persecuted hammerhead sharks, sadly hunted for its fins, and a suitably emerald chandelier fashioned from seaweed by Arthur de Borman, which didn’t smell fishy at all! All that was missing was Daryl Hannah.
While the catwalk was ablaze with the odd super model (Daisy Lowe) a modern pinup, sashaying along in Auria’s dreamy, retro inspired attire for the beach, and a brace of dashing men- Otis Ferry and Ben Goldsmith – sporting sleek, House of Flying Daggers Mao jackets, sartorial shorts and jaunty coolie hats with a decidedly east meets west sports aesthetic. It was enough to make the nightingale burst into song and spark lots of spontaneous applause from the audience!
To that you can add a covetable auction and a talk by Oceana’s CEO, Andy Sharples, on what we can all do right now to avert the global marine crisis, turning the picture into one of hope, renewed abundance and redemption, and still put fish on dinner tables from Bangkok to Bradford now and for generations to come.
The charismatic master of ceremonies for the evening was Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and his best friend, Pixie Geldolf – looking like a Gothic heroine in a hothouse, poppy print dress by luscious, sustainable London fashion marque, Beautiful Soul. Yes, sustainability and the idea of slow, conscious living is officially cool.
The undisputed highlight of the marine inspired evening was a short, sharp catwalk show featuring the new star pack of Brit fashion rebels who lead by example – offering urban, cutting edge collections born out of exciting, ethical enquiry, experiment and innovation; and what one might call a new culture of reinvention, fabric alchemy, thrift and luxury laced with authenticity.
The highlights included: Christopher Raeburn, for a perfect marriage of form, functionality and sublime luxury in the detail, which had this writer daydreaming of grand tours and foreign lands…. Juniper Lai’s evocative monochromes in a story of east meets west worker chic, Auria’s deliciously extrovert, La Dolce Vita swimwear and Rose Fulbright’s extraordinary opulent, silk loungewear, inspired by her grandmother’s drawings, which will surely be on everyone’s summer hot list.
The message was swimmingly clear. Conservation and sustainability doesn’t have to be dull or a hair shirt! It can and is daring, sexy, every changing and here to stay – the future is about making, slow, conscious decisions on how we spend and invest our money and fashion doesn’t have to be throwaway, when it is far more interesting to boast of magical stories to tell and to tap into ideas our grannies understood about creating garments to treasure or repurpose.
Unless, we are talking about fashion that can be cleverly recycled again and again, as advocated by Rapanui, with their witty, eco hip statement T-shirts in organic cotton. The Cowes based fashion warriors are working on ideas for close loop recycling, so that the age of clothes going to landfill is strictly one for the dinosaurs!
To Start Making a Difference to Our Oceans now, this is what you can do –
Reportage and Catwalk Photography By Alexandria Hall – www.a-h.photography/