25 October 2017

Explore The City

If, like me, you are neither a runner, gym-goer, or active sportsperson (that is to say mildly to moderately lazy), it's all too easy to overlook how very little exercise you might be doing compared to your peers. That however changes when you start wearing a FitBit Charge 2 fitness tracker, which over the past several weeks has been wonderfully useful in informing me how relatively unfit I am. Because if anything is going to nudge me towards a more regular exercise routine and longer lunchtime walks (to the village shop and back doesn't count), it's a pedometer shamefully displaying fewer than two-thousand steps before I crawl into bed.

John Lewis | Explore The City

Of course, I could always do with extra motivation. And to that end, the clever people behind Britain's beloved department store, John Lewis, have developed an interactive tool to encourage said exercise while exploring the abundant delights of the capital. After inputting your London postcode, the tool highlights local attractions and green spaces, with the estimated number of steps one might achieve during each visit.

After investigating the Barbican Centre at the end of summer, it seemed appropriate to visit another local landmark I knew full well existed, but hadn't yet made any effort to explore. It was only a few fashion weeks ago that I realised just how close Tate Britain was to my flat, having wandered over Vauxhall Bridge to see a fashion show at the Chelsea College of Arts next door. And so it was that on a remarkably hangover-free Sunday, Maddy and I crossed the Thames for an afternoon of British art.

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For a spot on the river that appears strikingly untouristy compared to London's South Bank, Tate Britain was teeming with visitors. We all wandered about the gallery in a similarly unhurried fashion, scanning the rooms as we passed through, hovering occasionally in front a painting or sculpture that caught the eye more than others. Half the ground floor was dedicated to artwork by J.M.W. Turner, which begged the question: just how much time did a single artist have on their hands to produce several rooms' worth of near-priceless artwork?

However many thousand steps later, Maddy and I had completed our circuit of the Tate, although quite possibly having missed a dozen rooms on account of galleries and museums being built like mazes. A tad more culture in our noggins and a few more kilometres' worth of activity in our legs can never be a bad thing.

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16 October 2017

Leaf Xia SS18

The eccentric SS18 collection from Chinese designer Leaf Xia was an eruption of colour and pattern against the dark backdrop of the Freemasons' Hall. Each ensemble on the marble runway was a visual delight from head to toe, featuring block colour dresses and jackets, patchwork, pleats and ribbons. These are garments for the bold and the brave, although I honestly would be keen for a menswear collection to match.

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8 October 2017

Nicola Brindle SS18

Through the haze and pinkish hue, the Nicola Brindle discotheque had come alive. The runway was a polished dancefloor that mirrored a scene of decades past, in which ladies sporting big hairdos and 70s-esque attire threw their best shapes to a retro playlist. Framed behind them, the name of Nicola's SS18 collection, "Essex Girl", cut the air with its jagged and glittering typeface.

Nicola Brindle SS18

Upon entering The Hospital Club's makeshift dancehall, it became immediately clear to me this collection would be a fun one. I have a lot of time for designers who break from the norm of the catwalk, preferring presentations with plenty of movement, energy, and a rocking soundtrack. Nicola's was no exception; the electric atmosphere she and her team had created in such a modest show space perfectly complemented her striking SS18 collection, which seeks to reclaim the term "Essex Girl" from the grasp of its modern-day stereotype.

Feminine, 70s-inspired silhouettes are lavishly adorned with stars and lightning bolts. Denim flares and metallic pantsuits command the dancefloor, while custom No Basic Bombshell earrings swing with every spin and turn. The pictures speak for themselves - Nicola Brindle SS18 is a strong and sexy collection that is as powerful in its message as it is in appearance. Certainly, "Essex Girl" makes reference to a bygone era of disco devotion, yet it is far from a throwback. It is a reflection of the present and ongoing future of female independence.

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© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

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