IN 2006, legendary fashion commentator Colin McDowell wooed the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Matthew Williamson and Jonathan Saunders to Edinburgh for the inaugural Edinburgh International Fashion Festival
Stars such as Sienna Miller, Cat Deeley and Tracey Emin were rumoured to be attending and it was launched with great fanfare.
But, as is so often the case with such ambitious projects, it lost a staggering amount of money and sank without trace. It took another six years before anyone else had the gumption to give it another go.
Enter statuesque Dutch model and event planner Anna Freemantle and her artist husband Jonathan (pictured with co-organisers Jaco Justice and Yelda Bayraktar), who imagined something very, very different from the traditional international fashion week for the Scottish capital. “It’s not a fashion week,” she insists. “It’s not all glitz and glamour and the usual line-up.
“We have taken more of a cultural approach. Even the runways will be very different. It can be intellectually pleasing. It can be visually pleasing. It’s a very individual response.
“We’re working with scientists and technology, the psyche, how it relates back to what we put on in the morning. We’re working with one amazing scientist, Sissel Tolaas, who works with scent. She has collaborated with Berlin fashion designer Kostas Murkudis to create a ‘dress of smell’ – whatever that means. It works with the nostalgic brain.”
Also on the programme are a talk and exhibition by Amanda Harlech, who will be bringing priceless couture pieces from her own personal collection. “A lot of people will never have heard of her but she has been the main force behind Chanel for the last 15 years,” says Freemantle. “Before that, Galliano.”
Scottish supermodel Stella Tennant is the face of the event, photographed by Marc Jacobs’s favourite snapper, Juergen Teller. Vivienne Westwood will be involved “in some capacity”, says Freemantle. “She’s still deciding if she can come up for a talk.” Then there are Hamilton and Inches, Hussein Chalayan, Bebaroque ... “They’re all donating their time,” she says. “We just get them in and pay for their accommodation.”
And while it’s a Scottish event, it doesn’t come with a big tartan ribbon. “Vivienne Westwood was honoured by Heriot Watt, there will be an interactive knitwear workshop by Eribé ... We want to keep it Scottish on some level but not in an overt way. The links are subtle.”
In fact, big Scottish names such as Christopher Kane and Holly Fulton are conspicuous by their absence. “I just think they have been chewed up a bit and are everywhere. We do have Aimee McWilliams, who was the creative director for Balmain. She hasn’t been up for a long time, so we’re more excited about that.”
Edinburgh International Fashion Festival (www.edinburgh internationalfashionfestival.com), 16-19 August, advance day tickets £45, four-day tickets £180, individual event tickets go on sale on 6 August
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West