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LFW & YolanDa Brown Celebration

It was an amazing first day of London Fashion Week, with the inaugural speech by Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council celebrating that 'there is no better city in the world for fashion and no better place to see the breadth of British and global fashion talent than here, at London Fashion Week. We have new data – we are worth £32 billion in GDP to the British economy, that’s 5.4% growth against the economy’s 1.7%, representing 890,000 jobs, again an increase of 1.8%, again outstripping national growth figures – so some really good news stories for our industry. But of course people come to London to see our breadth of talent, and whilst there will be a lot of excitement around Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Jenny Packham and Alexa Chung as well as a season of anniversary celebrations, our international audience are here to see all of our brilliant designers.'. The first fashion show of C-POP in the BFC show space showcased the Chinese fashion designers, Mukzin, Bailey, A life on the left and Kisscat, and introduced as the first Chinese Ecommerce partner. I enjoyed the shows by Jamie Wei Huang at Somerset House, J.JS LEE in the BFC space, Xu Zhi at Temple and Dr Pam Hogg in the Freemason's Hall. The diversity in choice of models, fabrics, styles and colours was quite extraordinary, but I was especially interested in the subtleties of choice of venue, ambiance and music. Last night in the luxurious presentation of AISSO at the Royal Academy of Arts I was charmed by the welcoming, family atmosphere; the models engaging, connecting, chatting and naturally interacting with the guests. Whereas today in the performance of the works by Xu Zhi, the models were restrained, reserved, refined, observed and fundamentally disconnected from the viewers. The concept of the collection was founded on the American poet Emily Dickinson, who is described in the press release as 'who like many remarkable creative talents, only found fame after her death'. The collection was beautifully designed and reflected 'Dickinson's rich inner world and determination to dedicate herself to it - as well as her passion for nature... The poet's lifelong love of flowers was epitomised by her perfectly organised, leather-bound herbarium. In the collection, flowers inspired by those she carefully pressed and categorised appear as embroidery, adding depth, texture, and form to the collection. The result is romantic but without cliché, sensual but strong.' The invitation consisted of a beautifully embroidered outline of a flower, and the queue extended around the corner. I was drawn to the history of the setting, with fantastic stained glass windows and ornate carpentry, and most importantly the ambiance.

Photographs above and below: Johnston's of Elgin

I dashed to the presentation of 'Johnston's of Elgin' in the stunning surroundings of the Palm Court at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, which was accompanied by a live piano performance which subtly complimented and significantly enhanced my appreciation of the presentation. A few of the fashion shows I attended today had quite overwhelming music, overly loud and competing for attention rather than complimenting the collection, demonstrating a distinct disconnection between the choice of music and the collection being presented.

It was wonderful to be introduced to a moment of calm during the hectic LFW schedule.

The first day of London Fashion week culminated for me in having the good fortune to attend a celebratory concert at the Royal Festival Hall of YolanDa Brown, the award-winning British saxophonist and broadcaster, known for her delicious fusion of Reggae, Jazz and Soul. YolanDa has toured with Diana Krall, The Temptations, Snarky Puppy’s Bill Laurance, Bob Marley's son Julian and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra. She has just had her own BBC TV series commissioned for CBeebies called “YolanDa’s Band Jam” and she has been announced as a co-presenter on BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends with Clive Anderson. Therefore, she had a lot to celebrate during her 10 year anniversary of being in the music business.

“My journey in music has been the most amazing rollercoaster! I have travelled the world, met the most amazing audiences at my concerts. We have laughed, cried, danced and hugged each other. Being an independent artist, I am grateful for the hard work my team have put in over the years and the love from everyone that has bought a ticket for a concert, downloaded an album, every interview by a journalist and every message of encouragement on my social networks”. YolanDa Brown

YolanDa's stunning album entitled Love Politics War was released to critical acclaim in 2017 and went straight to No.1 in the UK Jazz Charts, and YolanDa commented that “I wanted to create an album that reflected the current state of the world with its political tensions and its numerous uprisings and protests - with the underlying message that love conquers all.” As a compliment to the music, she talked during the performance to express her positive approach to life, encouraging the audience to believe in the seemingly impossible, embrace the possibility of transformation, change and realising dreams, such as her dream come true wish to perform in her own show at the Royal Festival Hall. With a British and Jamaican flag draped over the microphone stand, she talked about the importance of her heritage and celebrated her Jamaican roots and her love of reggae.

She describes her current album as Posh Reggae, was invited to meet the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace and explained during the concert that she always invites the Queen to her shows, and is always thrilled to receive a reply from her secretary saying that she has a prior engagement, but hopes their paths cross again in the future. She looked spectacular in her fantastically coordinated outfit consisting of a sparkling, bright top, co-ordinated with golden high heeled shoes, catching the light and the interest of the engaged crowd.

YolanDa Brown expressed her passion for fashion and her choice of clothes for the show, thanking the designer Bunmi ( for designing clothes that allow her the freedom of movement to play the saxophone whilst dancing energetically, and at times jumping whilst performing!

Love Politics War follows the success of her debut album April Showers and May Flowers, which also debuted at No.1 on the Jazz charts. YolanDa has been selected as a celebrity ambassador for many charities including the Prince’s Trust and Children and the Arts and in January 2018 she was appointed Chair of Trustees of “Youth Music”.

For more details on YolanDa Brown including dates and tickets for her National tour, please check out her website

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