An afternoon reading Behind the curtain, wearing my AW09 Carolyn Massey knit and wool trousers from COS.
I have to confess to being a little fashioned out or at least a little overwhelmed by the all singing all dancing side of the industry. My brain has been overloaded with catwalk shows and installations in various guises and I need a little rest. If you are suffering like me then I think I have found the antidote. Before Carolyn Massey's wonderful show launched the wonders of Menswear Day, I found a bow adorned copy of Baxter and Brooks' Behind the Curtain which I flicked through before the show started and since the day has finished barely put down. Behind the Curtain aims to celebrate British Fashion whilst examining the bones of the industry, highlighting all of the hard work and determination required to make it in the industry. It exposes the traits often neglected in the fashion press and certainly in the glossy editorials that inspire and transfix so many. Through doing this, Baxter and Brooks aim to raise awareness of the fashion industry as a viable career option to undergraduates and creatives. The fashion industry and the people who make it what it is are real not fantasy, and on the most part human after all.
"People pick up Vogue magazine every day and see the glossy shimmer. That's all well and good but that is not the bones of the industry. It's a lot of people working extremely hard for what they do." Carolyn Massey.
The creative promotions partnership want to produce a collection of books exploring the field of British fashion practitioners and their dedication to the future of the fashion industry, the journey begins with Carolyn Massey. She declares, "there is absolutely no way on earth I could do this without a team and that's why London creatives support each other a lot more than anything else."
Following the introduction and chat with the designer, we are introduced to Carolyn's talented team through a series of interviews. We meet Nic Spracman who has been working with the designer since October 2008. Lynn Cockburn who is Carolyn's Knitwear consultant. Clare Armstrong who graduated from studying menswear at Bristol University in June 2008 and has been interning ever since. Masashi Nozaki who is working with Carolyn part time whilst he completes his menswear course at LCF. Last but certainly not least, we meet Colette Gielty who has known the designer since studying together at Bristol and is now the studio manager. The chats with each member of the team demonstrate how close and how hard each member works to bring together a Carolyn Massey collection.
The series of interviews took place during the set up of Massey's Reflecting Forward exhibition and analyses the dynamic of the studio and those who form it. The interviews demonstrate how close Carolyn is with her team and they all work in a friendly, supportive environment. All shared a love for working with Carolyn and for menswear design. Behind the curtain is the antithesis of the bright lights and the army make up clad models that we have all seen over the last few weeks and what we see in glossy magazines (when we can afford them) every day. For some, it might not portray the romance and other worldliness many associate with the fashion world but for me it shows the real love and passion that goes in to it and that for me, is the real romance. My only gripe with it is that I didn't think of it first.
A look inside Massey's studio
Together, Fleur Baxter and Ruth Brooks are promoting and encouraging a new generation to consider a career in fashion by showing that it is made up of (on the most part) real people who are brought together by a passion to create menswear. For those of you eager to get your hands on a copy for yourself or if you want to find out more, drop the girls an email and comment below.