Friday, 13 November 2009

Fashion's Most Wanted Interview - We Love Lulu Kennedy


Lulu Kennedy

Founder and Director of Fashion East


Born in Newcastle in 1969, Lulu grew up in Bristol, on a caravan on Luscombe Farm in Devon and on the hippy trail in Sicily and Ibiza.

She began her degree in Contemporary Cultural Studies at Middlesex University then transferred to ‘Instituto Orientale’ in Naples where she also organised acid house raves, booking London DJ's to come and play, including Princess Julia. One legendary rave was in a medieval castle and when the police arrived to close it down Lulu’s team just hoisted the drawbridge and carried on! After a little too much fun, Lulu decided it best to come back to London where she finished her degree and started working in contemporary art galleries and at the 333 and Bricklayers Arms in Shoreditch.

Lulu in her raving days

In 1996 the owners of the Truman Brewery spotted her and asked her to help rent out space to new fashion designers. Giles Deacon moved in, and Hussein Chalayan, Preen and House of Jazz used the Brewery’s warehouses for their shows. Realising there were so many talented designers that needed help getting funding and shows produced, Lulu decided to do something about it and in 2000 the ground-breaking Fashion East project was born.

Lulu prefers to work behind the scenes but is now referred to in the industry as ‘Fashion’s Fairy Godmother’ and has earned a reputation for spotting the brightest talent – she’s been instrumental in the careers of an amazing roll call of designers including Richard Nicoll, Marios Schwab, Louise Goldin, Meadham Kirchhoff, Gareth Pugh, House of Holland, Danielle Scutt, Louise Gray, Emma Cook, Roksanda Ilincic and Jonathan Saunders. Producing their catwalk shows and after show parties (including a very funny Slumber Party at the Electricty Showrooms and another with Elvis impersonators and topless dancers wearing just sequins and tassels at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club).

In 2005, in association with Topman, Lulu developed MAN. Putting some super talented boys on the radar - Kim Jones, Aitor Throup, Siv Stoldhal, James Long, Christopher Shannon, Deryck Walker and Cassette Playa - MAN’s subsequent success has tapped into and nurtured London’s thriving menswear scene leading to the creation of a dedicated British menswear day at Fashion Week.

Fashion East did five seasons off-schedule until the British Fashion Council asked them to join the official schedule and Top Shop became their headline sponsors. Top Shop have now sponsored Fashion East for an amazing twelve consecutive seasons

This season Fashion East show was the hottest ticket in London. Holly Fulton, Michael van der Ham and Heikki Salonen’s catwalk shows received huge acclaim from the industry, the press and Victoria Beckham who was front row.

Victoria Beckham and British Vogue Editor, Alexandra Shulman, front row at Fashion East

Aside from these projects, Lulu works as a freelance consultant and enjoys writing for publications including Vogue, Time Out, Metro, Art Review, The Observer, and sits on numerous industry panels and judging committees as well as teaching in fashion colleges.

Lulu lives in Bethnal Green, London.


In the Closet with Lulu
How do you describe your style?
Random. Basically I can't resist playing dressing up - I refuse to do that adult uniform thing where you work out what suits you then stick to it. Sometimes it works, which is great, but sometimes I have those days when I leave the house and just think um what the hell am I wearing? But those are sometimes the times when I have the most fun. Like the other night when I cut my leggings into cycling shorts...hmmm...apart from my jeep got towed, but even that was fun.

The fabulous Annabella Lwin in 1983. Image copyright Chris Walter

Who are your style icons?
Grace Jones, Terry Hall, Annabella Lwin (the lead singer of Bow Wow Wow)

Which person's wardrobe would you most like to own?
Helmut Lang's entire archive

Do you have any beauty secrets?
Nope. But I’ve worked out that sleep definitely helps, and deep tans suit me

Which beauty treatments do you have?
Massages at Cowshed

Do you exercise?
Disco dancing! And kickboxing when I can be bothered

Which products do you love?
Aesop products smell delicious and St Tropez to keep my tan going

Which make up do you love?
My warpaint is usually by Mac. I’m into hot coral 1950s lippie and matching nails at the moment which looks quite bizarre on me

Is there anything about your body you dislike?
Yes but the list would be too long and boring so let's not go there

Who does your hair?
Nobody. Well...I occasionally chop at it myself when drunk. I have the messiest hair ever. Jeanette's meant to be trimming and taming it one of these days...that'll be fun!

What is your current favourite outfit?
Brogues, a hot pink Louise Gray dress and a Marc Jacobs hair clip

Stylist Richard Sloan and Lulu

Which item do you turn to in a wardrobe crisis?
Pencil skirt with fuck off heels, or skate shorts and my falling apart Luella Vans

What is the oldest thing in your wardrobe?
An Afghani ceremonial dress covered in embroidery and millions of tiny mirrors

What is the one item of clothing you couldn't live without?
My World's End Keith Haring print bondage top

Which vintage items do you own?
Falling apart Westwood. 1950s & 1960s jewellery and one of those clutches that looks like a magazine
Louise Gray and Lulu

Who are your favourite designers?
Miuccia Prada, Helmut Lang. And the Fashion East gang of course!

What are your favourite high street shops?
Topshop, Uniqlo and Pound Shops

What is your best bargain?
There was a Margiela sample sale years ago where everything was a tenner. I went M.E.N.T.A.L.

What is your favourite handbag?
I can’t’s between a Richard Nicoll grey lizard clutch and a Marios Schwab metallic alligator clutch...they’re both edible

What are your favourite shoes?

My Nicholas Kirkwood for Louise Gray devore velvet shoes from AW09 (see picture above) and red satin Louboutin stilettos

Models backstage at Holly Fulton's show

Do you wear jewellery?
I wear a rose gold heart ring by Jordan Askill, and a Hermes double tour watch everyday. Plus Katie Hillier or Holly Fulton chunky plastic spangles for parties

What is your fashion must have this season?
The dress above. Here's me backstage lusting after this exquisite Michael van der Ham gown. He's making me one. I'm so excited. The wait is agonising

James Long SS10

James Long SS10

I loved James Long's show from start to finish. His Mum, the lovely Mrs Long is going to knit me something... but how am I meant to decide between these two incredible jumpers? they're both killer. I already have the shades and now I'm hankering after the sparkly man-clutch too. How greedy!

James Long man clutch

What are your favourite sunglasses?
Moscot Originals. I tried my friend Markus Dirtbag's on and fell in love

What would you save if your house was on fire?
A funny doodle by Damien Hirst and my super 8 films

Q and A

What's in your pocket/handbag right now?
Jeep keys, Blackberry, Carmex lip balm, Fracas and a load of parking bills I must remember to pay. Oh God!

What keeps you awake at night?
Going over and over the show budget in my mind and trying to solve a million and one boring-snoring budget related problems. Nothing artistic or transcendental Im afraid

Who or what has been the greatest influences on your life?
Hippies, punks and acid house

How did your childhood affect the person you are today?
I guess my hippy parents helped make me more into hanging out and getting stoned than material consumption or getting a career

Which famous person is your all time crush?
Jimi Hendrix

Mr Hare, Lulu and Pam Hogg at Gareth Pugh's SS10 show in Paris

What qualities do you look for in a man?
God-like qualities

What are your eating habits like?
Scatty...non PC...willful/terrible!

If you had to have one last meal what would it be?
Negroni cocktails, shepherds pie with HP sauce, and arctic roll for dessert

What are your favourite restaurants?
Bistrotheque in London and Da Michele in Naples

Rochelle Canteen, E1

What are your secret London addresses?
Rochelle Canteen, Karta Healey’s warship and Maia Norman's speedboat

What would you have on your tombstone?
Laters Alligators! x

What's your worst fear?
The afterlife is full of the boring people you've been trying to get away from all your life and your mates are nowhere to be seen and the decor is like a dentists waiting room. And there's no bar

What's your philosophy?
I love my people

Which animal would you most like to be?
A sealion basking on a sunny rock

What are your guilty pleasures?
Chips with burger sauce after the pub. Not sharing my Charbonnel et Walker chocolates

What was the last play you saw?
The Estate by my friend Jordee at the Old Vic. It was bloody amazing

What was the last album you liked?
Two Suns by Bat for Lashes and XX by The XX

What are your favourite TV shows?
I don't really watch TV, I find it's too addictive

What were the last good films you watched?
Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, Muppet Treasure Island, Gomorrah

What are your favourite books/what are you reading at the moment?
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Right now Im reading The Most Beautiful Woman in Town by Charles Bukowski

Backstage at Fashion East

Which magazines do you read?
It varies but I tend to like Another, i-D and Arena Homme+

Who are your favourite photographers?
Alasdair McLellan, Willy Vandeperre, Harley Weir

Who are your favourite models?
Diana Dondoe is timeless, and Kim McCullough opening for Marios Schwab SS10 – she was totally fierce

Kim McCullough opening for Marios Schwab SS10

What makes you laugh?
Richard Sloan and a few sherries

What makes you cry?
Most things...I cry really easily

Lulu's beloved jeep

What irritates you?
Stupid people. Slow drivers

What's your biggest indulgence?
Holidays - as many as I can get away with. And turning my Blackberry off

What has been your proudest moment so far?
Fashion East designers drunken rambling acceptance speeches when they win awards. So cute!

Who would play you in a movie of your life?
I like to think Jonny Woo might do me the amazing would that be?!

Who would be your dream dinner party guests?
All my friends who are no longer walking this planet

Tulum Beach, Cancun

If you could be anywhere on earth right now, where would it be and who would be with you?
Tulum beach in Mexico with my boyfriend, my mates, my old pirate buddy Juan and a few cases of cold beers.


Rebel Mother said...

A girl likes nothing more than a pair of 'fuck' me heels. Life's necessity!

Those pink champagne truffles look rather scrumptious.......Mmmmmm, just pinched one!!


Christina Lindsay said...

Haha! It was fuck off heels. I love shoes and chocolate. The Nicholas Kirkwood shoes Lulu's wearing are gorgeous! XX

Belle de Ville said...

Being from the small town of Los Angeles, I have no idea who this Lulu woman is. But, after your interview I kinda have a girl crush on her.
Great work Christina, more interviews please.

Christina @ Fashion's Most Wanted said...

Dear Belle, thank you so much. Isn't Lulu wonderful! I can't wait to read the Vogue piece. I should have a new interview up next week xx