Carol Alayne

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Archive for September, 2009

A fashion guru

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Hirofumi KurinoI had a great treat the other day.  A visit from the fashion guru Hirofumi Kurino, Creative Director of United Arrows; one of the biggest clothing retailers in Japan.  Our meeting was arranged by a mutual friend, and what made it all the more special was that he knew well this area of London, Spitalfields, where my studio is based.  So it also gave him the opportunity to visit some old haunts, and pick up some samples of richly coloured African fabrics.

It struck me during our conversation that in order to become a succesful and authentic fashion leader one needs the foresight of a soothsayer coupled with the academic rigour of a social historian.  We spent much time talking about the degree to which one has to anticipate trends and how they are often cyclical in nature,  re-emerging sometimes after years of lying dormant.   He explained how he created his long term view from watching closely the stimuli of everyday events; street culture, political influences, the emergence of new social movements.

He is also a huge music fan with a collection of over 3000 vinyl albums;  another indication of how important it is to him to preserve a solid core of authenticity.  “Fame will lose its appeal and we will be in for simpler times with less fuss” was his prediction.

One of the best three hours I have spent for a long time.

Imagine my surprise when I saw him make an appearance talking to the designer Deryck Walker as part of the superb documentatary about the current demise of the Harris Tweed industry shown recently by the BBC (Trouble Looms).  For those in the UK you may still be able to catch it on the BBC’s  iPlayer.

2 degrees East

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Yukiyo SugiyamaI said good-bye to one of my assistants this week.  Having graduated with her second degree, an MA in arts administration from Goldsmiths College, she has to fill her suitcase and return to Japan.

Yukiyo (Sugiyama) spent almost 3 years of study and work experience here in the UK during which time she immersed herself in ballet, opera, theatre, museums and galleries.  She still somehow found time to help me in my studio, and in particular with planning my own Japanese trips.  She returns to Tokyo to run the new concert hall at the Ueno Gakuen (a music university in Tokyo) which came to prominence recently when one of its students,  Nobuyuki Tsujii, won the Van Cliburn Piano Competition.

To add to her souvenirs I thought that a light weight business suit would make a welcome change from her customary jeans and t-shirt.  This charcoal grey fresco suit will be ideal for those sticky summer Tokyo days with humidity levels you could cut with a knife (‘fresco’ is a type of open weave used particularly for tropical suitings).  This particular fabric is cool to wear and also has a crease resistant quality that can withstand the most rigorous packing regimes!

Ganbatte. Good luck, Yukiyo.  We will miss you very much.


Recognised as a pioneer of bespoke tailoring for women, Carol Alayne has over 25 years experience of creating striking garments for arts, sports and media personalities and business wear for professionals and executives.



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