On the front row at Brighton Fashion Week

Vanessa Austin Locke, Editor of the Brighton Fashion Week blog and social media, gives us a round up of an unforgettable week.

I can’t believe it’s over. I am thoroughly looking forward to having a cup of tea and reading a novel. But before I do, let me tell you all about it…Brighton Fashion Week began with a VIP launch party at The Hilton Metropole hosted by Director Lizzy Bishop and Daniel Lismore.On Wednesday a gig in aid of charity War Child saw a killer line up including La Shark, The Agitator and Dark Horses shake the Concorde 2. Outrageously dressed models posed as instillations and mingled with the crowd while the bands played.The Brighton Frocks Show opened with a live ballet performance before the designers sent their work down the runway. Highlights included Bugsy Pants and their wonderfully fun pastiche of the British seaside. Katie Newsham’s collection had us lost in a frightening, colourful carnival and The Secret Apple Yard by Charlotte Appleby was a dramatic, futuristic light display. Briar-Rose Kelleher produced an exceptional collection inspired by Marie Antoinette and drew a few gasps as the models turned at the end of the runway to reveal their bottoms through corseted lacing. The beautiful St Martin’s church could not have been a more perfect venue for this event and there wasn’t a spare seat in the house. Our thanks go to all at St Martin’s for allowing us naughty fashion folk our heads in terms of production.If we thought the church was full on Thursday, nothing could have prepared us for Friday night. We had to lay on extra seating to fit everyone in for The Couture Show. I suddenly remembered why it is I give up so much of my time for BFW, and I must confess my eyes began to tear up a little as the talent and hard work was recognised in the exquisite display put on by our designers. Tim Rhys-Evans, one of my personal favourites, opened the show with some elongated shapes, built-up necklines and legs right up to heaven. Millie Betito presented an impeccably elegant and well-constructed collection with heavy pleating. Alexei Izmaylov’s collection in grey with pops of colour provided by the scarves the designer is famed for, grew stronger and stronger with each garment. The smooth ascension of expert design and tempered flamboyance finally had us on our feet for the first standing ovation of the evening.Jess Eaton’s controversial collection, Roadkill Couture, was  preceded by a few words from the designer regarding her intention to honour animals that have died of natural causes and whose remains would otherwise be discarded, by creating something beautiful from them. She clearly stated that no animals were killed for her collection. She drew cheers and a second standing ovation from the crown as pieces including a rat-skin coat, a huge pheasant mohawk and a hat made from a horse head walked down the runway. Finally, Edward Finney presented an exceptionally well-crafted collection in brocade and tweed. Edward, who was an assistant to Alexander McQueen for four years and John Galliano for another four, finished up his collection with a white gown which began to bleed blue ink at the end of the runway, drawing yet another standing ovation. Saturday saw the Ready to Wear Show kick off at The Corn Exchange, Brighton, with shows throughout the day, make-up demonstrations from Jemma Kidd and scouting by Premier Model Management. The winner of the Global Fashion Management mentoring prize, worth �5000, was announced. Alexei Ismaylov was first runner up, and will receive a training course in fashion management, as will Bugsy Pants who came in second. Edward Finney walked away with a full mentoring programme, which we very much hope will help him establish himself as a top designer. We are going to be working year-round to bring you fresh and fabulous fashion content from Brighton and beyond and pop-up events along the way. So keep an eye on www.brightonfashionweek.com or even better, come and get involved.

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