Lucie Loves… #HandpickedScarves // Mary’s Living & Giving designer auction launch at The Mayfair Hotel, London
Last week JMG and I attended the launch of #HandpickedScarves - an exclusive event showcasing designers’ one-off, hand-painted silk scarves, to be auctioned in aid of Save the Children.
Mary Portas gave a great speech about the changing face of British charity shops and the new gen of volunteers choosing to generously offer their spare time, to be part of the ever-expanding Living & Giving family. She thanked the fabulous designers - brought together by Ali from Age of Reason - and announced that the eBay auction would go live the following evening.
FYI: The auction ends on 23 February at around 7pm GMT
Check out the #HandpickedScarves here and get bidding for your favourite!!
I was also given the opportunity to speak to fashion illustrator, artist and designer Marc McGreevy, one of the nine designers involved in creating the collection.
Across a moodily-lit table, tucked away in the corner of The Mayfair Hotel bar- the official hotel for London Fashion Week - I asked Marc to talk to me about his love of fashion, how he got involved and whether this was always the path he was going to take.
Marc explained that he was brought up in Birmingham and attended Kings Heath Boys School. People has initially suggested that he should design wedding cakes, but Marc knew he was destined for something different. Sartorially-savvy genes must run in the family; Marc told me of his father’s own flair for design and his Aunty’s experience of working in the fashion industry. His fate was sealed.
A very young Marc made the journey down to London and stepped into an in-house designer role at Marks and Spencer’s. He described sitting in front of row upon row of pattern cutters and machinists, sketching away deftly at skirt design after skirt design - sometimes 60 a day - and then handing them over for the team to breathe life into.
Over the years, Marc has worked largely with Womenswear, but also turned his hand to jewellery design and, of course, fashion illustration for large high fashion publications such as Vogue and Elle, along with bespoke commissions by The Mayfair Hotel.
As a child Marc used to visit Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and spent hours staring at pre-raphaelite paintings. He was inspired by early Christian Dior and Chanel and admires the great work that Sarah Burton has done since joining Alexander McQueen.
Marc travels frequently with his work, but is at his most comfortable at home in his converted chocolate factory up in the midlands. He enjoys the peace and tranquillity of these lush green surroundings - it is his creative space.
I asked what advice Marc had for young people thinking about a career in fashion illustration. He explained that the face of fashion has changed over the years and it’s now extremely difficult for young designers now to work as fashion illustrators. “You don’t see as many fashion illustrations gracing the pages of magazines anymore."
This made me think. What has caused the demise in and the need for professional fashion illustration? Is it that people are becoming increasingly impatient and can’t bear to wait/pay for the time and skill necessary to create such an image?
I guess this is partly due to our increasing reliance upon a social media-saturated world. The constant need for instant imagery. The fact that everyone and anyone can play ‘artist’ by adding a few filters at the touch of an iPhone button at the same time as a hashtag.
Are we trading the ability to discover original talent with the ability to discover talent right now? I can’t say. I, as much as anyone, must be grateful for the wonder of social media, but must never forget the foundations on which the word of mouth fashion industry was built. I guess this is why I will continue to buy real magazines, as well as consume them digitally. I want to do my bit to keep the publishing business alive, in the hope that creatives can continue to grace the pages and be discovered that way too.
Marc’s advice is that you must find a passion - one thing that you absolutely love - stick with it and do it well.
Thank you to Mary Portas and team for inviting us to be part of the launch and to all of the designers, especially Age of Reason, Marc McGreevy and Pam Glew for taking the time to talk to me about your work.
Photography © Lucie Kerley