Clements Ribeiro kicked off Edinburgh International Fashion Festival in style with a stunning catwalk presentation and gala party at Mansfield Traquair. Take a wee peep at what went on behind the scenes…
This month sees the second edition of Edinburgh International Fashion Festival (EIFF) take the Scottish capital by storm. With catwalk shows, exhibitions, talks and workshops held in some of the city’s most unique spaces over two weekends in July, EIFF brings together local fashion talent and international names, encouraging dialogue across different areas of fashion and engaging with Edinburgh as a creative space in innovative new ways.
The ambitious calendar of events is testament to the creative vision of EIFF’s founders – model Anna Freemantle and husband, artist Jonathan Freemantle, who both call Edinburgh their home. The stylish duo are harnessing the city’s creative energy and have constructed a platform that showcases some of the inspiring fashion talent from north of the border and beyond. I was lucky enough to be invited along to all the events during the fashion festival and will be blogging as I go – hope you enjoy.
First up was the Clements Ribeiro runway show and gala event, with an appropriately Caledonian-inspired collection. ‘When we were asked to come here we just thought it was a perfect collection with all the tartan, but also with the kilts and cashmere,’ joked designer Suzanne Clements. If ever a collection could have been designed with an event or moment in time in mind, it was this one. The show was held in one of the city’s most prestigious venues: Mansfield Traquair, pictured above. Here’s what it looked like inside…
Edinburgh spoils us, but Mansfield Traquair is just something else. It was the first time I had been and a truly memorable one at that – you couldn’t ask for a grander, more hauntingly beautiful location for a fashion show. Here are a few shots I took behind the scenes…
I was lucky enough to see the Clements Ribeiro AW13 show at London Fashion Week back in February, and I was excited and intrigued to experience it again in a very different location. It was fantastic to see the detail of the catwalk looks up close and personal backstage and during the run-through, such as the beautiful embellished collars (which were attached to the dresses), gorgeously soft Scottish cashmere knitwear and punkish buckled boots.
EIFF co-founder Anna Freemantle took to the catwalk as well – here she is pictured in one of my favourite looks from the collection.
I loved Clements Ribeiro’s playful take on punk for AW13 (which I discussed at length here), which Inacio Ribeiro described as ‘mixing something rebellious with something really feminine.’ Clashing colours and geometric prints were paired with beautiful oriental flower prints and gold embellishment inspired by the designers’ travels around India and Brazil.
My favourite thing about the husband and wife duo’s designs is the vibrancy and sense of fun they exude – you just have to look at the ‘things we like’ page on their website to see the eclectic inspirations they find all around. Patriotic patterns aside, it was a great way to kick off EIFF, as it summed up the festival’s ethos of embracing creativity and the inspiration in our surroundings it encourages us to nurture.
I spoke to the designers ahead of the show about their inspirations and materials, and what they thought of the Scottish fashion scene. ‘There’s a huge crop of Scottish designers now – you’ve got to add them up! Christopher Kane is great and must be such an inspiration to everyone up here. He’s an incredible talent, and such a nice guy as well,’ said Inacio Ribeiro.
Suzanne Clements compared the designer’s influence to that of Lee McQueen. ‘Sometimes it takes just one person that inspires a generation – with our generation it was McQueen. Then suddenly you’ve got tonnes of shops and people appearing from nowhere.’
There was such a relaxed vibe backstage, and the models were clearly loving their outfits, taking pictures of each other on their iPads. Serious outfit envy here – my favourite looks, all in one picture:
Then it was time for the audience to arrive. The team drew back this colossal curtain to a stampede of excited fashion fans. So much so that we didn’t get a seat – instead snapping away from the side of the stage.
There was a real buzz of anticipation – as the first model took to the catwalk to the dramatic sounds of the live band I felt the hairs on my arms stand on end.
The audience appeared spellbound as the tartan-clad models sashayed down the catwalk and suddenly the whole thing came together as one: venue, clothes, music, choreography, models, lighting, audience.
Then – in familiar catwalk fashion – it was all over almost as soon as it had begun and the designers took their bow to woops of appreciation from the crowd. The atmosphere and anticipation at EIFF were just incredible. It’s certainly not every Friday night you get to see the work of international fashion designers showcased in a spectacular old church.
Then it was time for the afterparty. It was so great to meet familiar faces from the industry and Scottish (and international) blogging scene – designer Jacob Birge, photographer Philip Dickson, Wendy from ThankFiFi, Claire from Bee Waits for No One, Sheri from Betty Swollocks – far too many to mention! I was particularly excited to finally meet Scottish/Paris-based fashion designer and blogger Natalie from Living in Clips in person – having spoken so much on twitter it was like we already knew each other.
It was so great to see everyone get behind the event, a palpable buzz filled Mansfield Traquair all night. Just think what we could do, Scotland…
Thanks for having me EIFF and Clements Ribeiro.