Vauxhall Fashion Scout February 2010. A grey, dour, rainy London day.
We'd walked, skipped puddles, run from NewGen, chattering away about the new British designers we'd met so far, the trends we'd spotted, our favourites, our definites, our maybes.
VFS was remarkably quiet so we had the entire room in view as we landed at the entrance. And there she was. Or, at least there her dresses were. On the right about half way down.
Now then, it wouldn't be fair to say that Felicity Brown was the only designer that caught our eye that day because we had the most wonderful luck in finding Charlotte Taylor, Eudon Choi and Viking Wong too. However, and I'm sure the other VFS designers won't mind me saying this, there is something very olden days Hollywood about Felicity Brown that calls out to you across a room. Crowded or not.
London born Felicity studied at the Royal College of Art and went on to design for Alberta Ferretti, Loewe, Mulbery and Lanvin. You can see her experience shining through on her first collection in her very own name. But it is not like anything else you have seen. Not ever. It is utterly unique.
For her debut Felicity has taken inspiration from Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's art. Art where women are shamelessly and provocatively in charge. Where they flounce and trounce their way through life wearing extravagant silk ruffles and absolutely revelling in the pleasure that comes with being a girl. A girl in that kind of dress...
Her dresses are created in precious silks, are highly structured and hand dyed with dipped blue, orange and canary yellow over a cream coloured base.
The inside linings recall those used by couturiers of a bygone age, including hooks to secure them at the waist. They are such sensual items to put on. They reflect the most ancient of dressing up rituals brought into the here and now in a raw and contemporary way. Tiny hooks in calico cotton fasten one by one against your skin, then the swoosh of folded, pleated silk that is vibrantly alive and kicking. Did I mention they were exquisite?
We pounced on Felicity Brown at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Two days later we were joined by Liberty, then Barneys NY and Corso Como. Of course.
At the recent British Fashion Council NewGen event models were selected to showcase each designer's clothes. The lovely Hannah was seen strutting regally around in her Felicity Brown gown, high heels and a faraway smile. She looked simply stunning and the dress would have been at home on any red carpet anywhere in the world. Everyone stood back to gaze in rapt delight at Felicity's creation.
We asked Hannah how it felt to wear a Felicity Brown. She paused and her hands fell to her hips where she lifted and clutched at the silken folds. I knew what was coming.
"It makes me feel like twirling. Around and around."
At the close of the event we saw Hannah one more time, wearing her second Felicity Brown. Her high heels had been kicked off and on her feet were battered, open, dirty white Converse. She dashed across Tom's Terrace at Somerset House with Felicity's dress leaping and dancing in the dusklight. Shamelessly, provocatively.
In charge. Felicity Brown. Talk of the town. And not just NewGen. Just you wait and see.