New York style may be classic; Parisian style may be chic; Italian style may be glamorous, but London style will always be unique.
There has always been an undercurrent theme of subversion and rebellion to British designs- a yearning for something beyond the conventional and a demand for the fresh and the new. London as a city has always been an invaluable source of inspiration due to it's culture, architecture, history and its diverse regions which each have a characteristic style and feel. Many blogs capture the street style of worldwide cities but I find nothing as interesting or influencing than simply strolling through the streets of London and people watching.
The renowned art and design colleges of London have fostered some of the greatest fashion talents the world has yet seen; the roll-call of alumni is astounding: from Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Phoebe Philo and Stella McCartney to relative newcomers Christopher Kane, David Koma and Mary Katrantzou.
I am always intrigued by the graduates of each year and watch the MA shows with a keen eye to spot potential new talent. On a recent styling project I began to research some 2010 and 2011 graduates to see if they had any innovative designs which would fit the brief of our shoot. Whilst looking through the University of the Arts online profiles on their Showtime website I came across two footwear designers whose work really caught my eye.
Jonathan Leslie James Charlesworth produces amazing, conceptual pieces of art as footwear which are architectural and industrial. The shapes and lines are graphic, the materials (metal and rubber/PVC segments) are unusual but the overall effect is very striking and dramatic:
There is a toughness in the rigid shapes and materials of these pieces with an obvious darkly sexual undertone, but I think they are beautiful and would look incredible on a fashion shoot for a daring publication.
More details are available on Jonathan's profile here.
Chan Jung Kim also creates stunning footwear with subversive sexual undertones but with a bionic and also prehistoric influence. Kim's pieces appear to be a conceptual vision of the future but with shapes that seemingly refer to the exoskeleton of some prehistoric creature.
You can find more details on Kim's profile here.