Thursday, 15 September 2011

Royal Ascot Sponsors Headonism at London Fashion Week

Ascot Racecourse is proud to be working together with the British Fashion Council (BFC) in sponsoring the BFC’s Headonism initiative during London Fashion Week on Friday 16th September. This partnership reflects the British Fashion Council’s aim to support emerging British design talent, providing an additional showcasing opportunity to an audience of racegoers from around the world. The initiative curated by Stephen Jones, celebrates the new wave of emerging London milliners. It was launched during the BFC’s 25 Year celebrations by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The four up-and-coming milliners who will be showcased are J Smith Esquire, Noel Stewart, Piers Atkinson and Charlie Le Mindu. Please see their biographies below:

Charlie Le Mindu
Born in Bergerac, France, Charlie Le Mindu was a hairstyling prodigy at the French Hair Academy, cutting and styling hair from the age of thirteen. Le Mindu ascended from boarding school disciple to a fashionable hairdresser/stylist in Berlin and is now London’s French Master of Haute-Coiffure.

In Berlin, Le Mindu established himself as Resident Hairdresser at nightclubs such as White Trash, RIO Club, and Barbie Deinhoff's. He performed "Live Cuts" in his champagne suite at countless private parties and set up several ensuite salons. He cultivated his own technique and style, known for creations ranging from classic to trashy, wearable to insane.

The French designer set up his East London flat and hairdressing residencies around the city’s nightspots and developed a regular clientele including Carrie Mundane, the B52s, Adamski, Peaches, and Jodie Harsh. Charlie Le Mindu drew inspiration from local East London personalities like Slayer, John Waters and even animals, claiming that “The hair is so much more interesting here!’”

The infamous milliner, Stephen Jones

After being featured in Vogue Russia, Elle, French Vogue and being selected as the Observer’s 22nd coolest person, Charlie decided to take hairstyling to the next level. In February 2009, Charlie launched his first wig collection at London Fashion Week, surprising London’s fashion scene with his dramatic large scale wigs.

With his fourth collection underway, The Master of Haute-Couiffure has now been featured in publications such as Vogue Italy, Vogue Hommes Japan, i-D and The Guardian. His repertoire of clients includes the likes of Lady Gaga, Kap Bambino and Ayumi Hamasaki, to name a few. Having being exhibited at the V&A in London and opening the Art Athina fair in Greece, Charlie Le Mindu’s work truly transcends the boundaries of fashion. Charlie currently hosts the hit TV Show Charlie’s Treatment on Konbini, receiving 2 million views in the first two weeks. If that wasn’t enough, his up-coming collaborations include projects with Machine-A and Disneyland Paris.

J Smith Esquire

Following a successful hairdressing career culminating in several awards and his own exclusive salon called ‘And people like Us’ J Smith Esquire began designing and making hats in 2000 while undertaking part time millinery training. In 2007 Justin completed a two-year MA in Millinery from the Royal College of Art, at which his graduate show earned critical acclaim.

Since then Justin has gone from strength to strength winning the iD styling award and the Maria Louisa award at ITS6. His first collection debuted in 2007 at London Fashion Week under the New Generation sponsorship scheme and marked the beginning of a hugely successful millinery career.

Stephen Jones's masterpieces at the
Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011

His creative eye and innovative vision knows no bounds and whilst creating his own collections seasonally he is also regularly approached to collaborate. To date, Justin has created headpieces for a number of high-end designers including Moschino, Manish Arora, (Es*) Artsinal, Aganovich, Carolyn Massey and Aminaka Wilmont.

Whilst Justin’s artistic flair is a prerequisite for designing such beautiful millinery, so too is upholding the traditions which accompany the trade. Time-honoured techniques are an integral part of the final outcome, as is using quality materials and craftmanship. After a successful time at the RCA, he has now become a respected teacher and visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art.

2010 was a particularly successful year for Justin accumulating in him being named the British Council’s Young Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year as well as being invited to showcase at Italian Vogue’s Young Talent Exhibition. This paved the way for his AltaRoma debut that took place In January 2011 which in turn led to a prominent display at the Limited/Unlimited exhibition.

Justin has numerous stockists and supporters around the world and continues to show at London, Paris and Rome Fashion week.

Noel Stewart

Noel Stewart is a London based milliner with international status. Taking inspiration from sources such as contemporary art and architecture and fusing them with historical references he modernises millinery with his fresh look at how we dress the head.

Before attending the Royal College of Art to do his masters, Noel had already worked with designers Dai Rees and Stephen Jones. This included time spent as Stephen Jones’s assistant at Christian Dior Couture.

Since establishing his own label Noel has designed hats for leading fashion designers such as Roland Mouret, Marios Schwabb, Roksanda Ilincic, Erdem, Hussein Chalayan, Diesel, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Oscar De La Renta. His continuing relationship with such designers reflects the importance of his role in the fashion world.

Stephen Jones's masterpieces at the
Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011

Off the catwalk Noel Stewart has acquired a loyal fan-base. His hats have been worn by the likes of Kiera Knightly, Lilly Allen, Kylie Minogue and Beth Ditto.

Noel receives ongoing, widespread press. His hats feature regularly in magazines such as Vogue UK, Italia, Russia, China, Japan as well as Harpers Bazaar, Dazed and Confused, ID, V Magazine, LOVE, Another and 10 Magazine.

His ability to create high quality hats that have impact has led to his creating the hats for Britney Spears’s and Kylie Minogue’s world tour.

Noel’s work has also had an important role in the Stephen Jones – anthology of hats exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum which opened to record visitors in Brisbane and is opening in New york in September. Noel Stewart Millinery is currently stocked in Barneys New York, Alan Journo - Milan, Hatwoman and IT- Hong Kong, Test –Tokyo

Piers Atkinson

Artist, illustrator, milliner, costume designer, party organiser, fashion editor, and project manager – his creative energies only seem to be matched by an insatiable curiosity.

Stephen Jones's masterpieces at the Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011

He grew up in Norfolk with three generations of women – his mother, herself a milliner; his sister Lucy, the long-suffering photographic model for his teenage reconstructions of Grace Jones and Art of Noise record covers; and his grandmother, the artist/writer/horticulturalist and illustrator Lesley Gordon, from whom he took his multi-disciplinary cue.

Piers has had many great influences down the line, from his mother the theatrical milliner Hilary Elliott, at whose knee he learned hat-making as a youngster, to Stephen Jones, who paid a brief but memorable visit to his grad show at University of Bristol, where he studied graphic design and photography.

Moving to London in 1995, he helped out at that year’s Alternative Miss World, the brainchild of artist Andrew Logan, now an occasional collaborator but constant inspiration to Piers: ‘He helped me see the rich possibilities of free-form events and a ‘just do it’ attitude.’ Much of which, it should be pointed out, could be seen in the successful Show-Off nightclub events that Piers co-created from 1999 to 2001. He also showed a range of his idiosyncratic and charmingly anachronistic character sketches in a joint exhibition, which included Logan, in 2002, and Maria Chen curated Oki-Ni exhibition in 2004.

Stephen Jones's masterpieces at the
Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011

In 1999, Piers moved in as a lodger with iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, who he assisted with art direction and in-house PR. ‘She instantly cured my captiousness with colour!’ reveals Piers. When Rhodes became a client of PR powerhouse Mandi Lennard, Piers took a post there assisting Mandi, who gave him many of her unique insights into the fashion world. After a similar stint at Blow PR, he joined Disorder Magazine as fashion editor for a shelf-full of issues. It was in this capacity that he proposed a newspaper for Graduate Fashion Week, featuring a star column by the Daily Telegraph’s fashion director, Hilary Alexander. This later led to Piers creating a daily for London Fashion Week (scouting Jenny Dyson of Teen Vogue as co-editor), a stressful but rewarding experience. One of the rewards was the small range of hats he created during this time to ‘let off steam’ – a collection that became his debut collection. He has since collaborated with Noki for his Spring/Summer ’09 presentation at Shoreditch’s White Cubicle, shown off-season at the East End’s fashion hang-out Beach Blanket Babylon and is currently in talks with designers across the pond…

Piers also works as a trend consultant with major organisations and brands, teaches Fashion PR at several universities, and continues to support new talent in the fashion industry in as many ways as he can.

London Fashion Week takes place from Friday 16th to Wednesday 21st September.

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