London's Best New Designers Open A Free Gallery Show – With A Contortionist

ASAI, Galeria Melissa x Fashion East shoot / Raphaelle Moore
Lulu Kennedy is not especially a fan of being described as 'fashion's fairy godmother'. But as the founder and director of the revered London talent incubator Fashion East, she has shepherded a Who's Who of young designers from fashion college to international acclaim. Simone Rocha, Grace Wales Bonner, Marques'Almeida, Roksanda, Martine Rose, Craig Green, J.W.Anderson, Kim Jones, Nasir Mazhar, Gareth Pugh and Gosha Rubchinskiy all passed through Fashion East's doors (and unmissable catwalk shows), followed by Ashley Williams, Claire Barrow, Astrid Andersen, Charles Jeffrey LOVERBOY, Liam Hodges, Matty Bovan, Ryan Lo and many others.
The thing is, their success wasn't created with a swish of a magic wand but by unending dedication, belief, and too many late nights to count. As well as a long list of fun opportunities and collaborations with other sections of the industry – the latest of which you can go and see for yourself.
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Free and open to the public from tomorrow (24th May) until 23rd August 2018, the current group of Fashion East womenswear designers, ASAI, Charlotte Knowles and Supriya Lele, have created a show at Galeria Melissa in Covent Garden. Bespoke garments by each designer are interwoven with specially commissioned photography by Dexter Lander (featuring a contortionist model) and DIY-style posters by Derek Hardie Martin.
A contortionist wears at Charlotte Knowles for Galeria Melissa x Fashion East / Raphaelle Moore
"We’re extremely excited to join forces with Melissa, a super progressive partner, and create our own editorial for the first time to be displayed in their London Galeria," Lulu says. "We have loved working with our brilliant designers A Sai, Supriya and Charlotte to create custom garments featuring in an editorial shot by a London talent dream team Dexter Lander, styled by Tamara Rothstein and cast by AAMO. The stretch garments and choreographic mood of the shoot, including contortionists, are our nod to the element of stretch, rubber and innovation that Melissa is so famous for."
Refinery29 caught up with the three designers ahead of the opening to find out more about their bespoke creations, quiz them on their top tips for summer in the city, and invite them to muse on a contortionist-inspired extreme talent they wish they had...
Charlotte Knowles, Galeria Melissa x Fashion East Shoot / Raphaelle Moore
Charlotte Knowles
What bespoke piece did you make?
We liked the idea of an 'activewear' slip dress. Anorak pullers; sportswear lines in a light windproof printed fabric. It still maintains the essence of lingerie but is taken outdoors. It's our interest in these two opposing worlds that continues, it seems empowering to us. We used a print from our AW18 collection modernised in a bright, sporty emerald colour. It’s comfortable to wear and adjustable with channels and elastic so can be worn at different lengths
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One of the models is a contortionist – what extreme talent do you wish you had and why?
I wish I was insanely good at ballet; I used to dance as a kid and wish I’d continued, there’s such freedom and expression in ballet and contemporary dance.
What is your top tip for the summer?
Take a road trip to the southwest coast, it’s so beautiful and cheaper than going abroad… it’s where we usually spend our summer holidays.
ASAI, Galeria Melissa x Fashion East Shoot / Raphaelle Moore
ASAI
Please describe the bespoke piece you made?
I made a tie-dye nylon patchwork jumpsuit with my signature overlocking stitch. I created this piece using colours that gave a feeling of a flame and the use of the black line to frame the body. I’ve never made a jumpsuit before and it is great to see the body in full colour.
One of the models is a contortionist – what extreme talent do you wish you had and why?
I wish I had amazing building skills so I could build my own house on a small island with a farm of animals.
What is your top tip for the summer?
Find some shade with an ice-cold beer. I love to hang out around Southbank or Greenwich, I’ve always loved being by the water in summer.
Supriya Lele, Galeria Melissa x Fashion East Shoot / Raphaelle Moore
Supriya Lele
Please describe the bespoke piece you made?
We made a bespoke dress from fluoro yellow as that encompasses the fabrics from our AW18 collection. We draped our signature dress in the yellow velvet but kept sports elements from the collection.
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One of the models is a contortionist – what extreme talent do you wish you had and why?
I would love to be a boxer – I have been boxing for a year now but sadly don’t quite have the talent to be a pro!
What is your top tip for the summer?
Rotherhithe and Surrey Quays for hot days (wear sunscreen!), and the Slade School of Art degree show – there are some amazing artists in there.
The Fashion East installation is free and open to the public 24th May-23rd August 2018 at Galeria Melissa, 43 King Street, London WC2E 8JY
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