Last Saturday I trotted over to the McManus gallery and museum in Dundee, where the Scottish Fashion Award’s Young Scottish Designer of the Year Hayley Scanlan launched her new diffusion line, HS, with an invitation-only catwalk show presenting HS’s first collection, Velvet Venom.
Having arrived uncharacteristically early, I was kept entertained in the chilly queue outside the venue by admiring the other attendees: everyone looked super stylish, with many choosing to wear Hayley Scanlan’s designs, their body-con silhouettes and studded embellishments being instantly recognisable to anyone who’s looked at Hayley’s work before. Vertiginous heels, sparkly dresses and fabulous fur coats were being snapped at by Dundee’s answer to The Sartorialist, Delta Street Style.
Guests were delighted by the prospect of free drinks (mojitos or champagne – brilliant) to get the party started in the candle-lit and fairy-light-strewn reception area, whilst the mingling of excited conversations and the music’s pounding beats added to the anticipation.
After a short wait we found ourselves ushered upstairs to the gallery space where the fashion photography exhibition Selling Dreams: 100 Years of Fashion is currently on display – the perfect backdrop to Hayley’s launch (read The Saint’s review here). There were so many attendees that we couldn’t all fit in the exhibition room, so we filtered out into the corridor. It was testament to Hayley’s popularity and contagious enthusiasm that the whole upper floor was filled with cheering and whooping friends and fans. As the music blared out from the speakers, the first model walked out to generous applause from the audience – though the loudest cheers by far were deservedly saved for Hayley herself, who nervously followed her models’ final walk wearing one of her own designs.
Hayley is known for her work in print – she interned as a print designer with the inimitable Jeremy Scott – as well as her tight body-con silhouettes, both features which appeared heavily in this collection. We saw bright yellow snakeskin patterns, black mock croc, heavy black and white stripes all worked into thigh-skimming mini dresses, maxi skirts, crop tops and dresses which hit just below the knee. There seemed to be a sporty influence behind some of the pieces, with loose vest dresses and almost racer back necklines, whilst others featured cut-out shoulders and scoop backs. The colour palette was minimal: mainly black with splashes of yellow and red. This, along with the simple silhouettes and the regularly occurring studded embellishments, lent a cohesion to the contemporary collection.
The diffusion line HS was conceived as a more accessible and commercial version of the main label for fans who want a piece of Hayley’s unique style but can’t necessarily afford the designer price tag. The collection is inspired by the looks of the main line, but made with more affordable fabrics
Hayley had her first taste of stardom when supermodel extraordinaire Erin O’Connor commissioned a studded leather jacket from Hayley’s graduate collection, New Frontiers, and pop superstars such as Marina Diamandis and Jessie J have been spotted in Hayley Scanlan designs. From the looks of this collection, it’s only a matter of time before we see a piece by Hayley in the wardrobe of every fashionista.
All the pieces from the Velvet Venom collection are available to view online at http://www.hayleyscanlan.com/
- This article was updated on November 6 to correct the spelling of Erin O’Connor’s name and her nationality