Art Design Fashion Luxury People

Brenda Emmanus + Mary Martin London

An Infinite Pool of Talent

Broadcaster and journalist Brenda Emmanus OBE was the BBC’s Arts, Culture and Entertainment Correspondent for 18 years. Right now, she’s busy working on a range of projects including an ITV documentary to mark the late Princess Diana’s birthday. Brenda is a friend and client of Mary Martin. “I can’t remember exactly when I met Mary. I knew her on the scene, the celebrity community of people in my life network. Mary just appears in your life! Once she’s in she makes an impression. She’s a generous friend, an open person.”

They share a major interest in common: a passion for fashion. “As a child I cut out dolls from magazines and dressed them up. I’ve very eclectic taste. My work in the newsroom is quite formal but my role allows me to be much freer to wear more what I like. I’m mainly a lover of dresses although I do love trousers – the androgynous look – too. I love dramatic dresses that really embrace fashion. I’m up for drama on stage but go casual at the weekend. I’m stimulated by the visual, beauty and art.”

“I love the childlike quality to Mary’s apparel,” reveals Brenda. “She doesn’t use design patterns; she just creates from the heart. Mary’s impulsive – she likes to try things like a child with paints. She’s passionate and curious about everything: Pop Art, the Renaissance, music. She works as an experimental artist. Like most geniuses she’s not afraid to try and fail. She takes you out of your comfort zone. Mary allows me to pull out my inner diva, to go wholly out: she’s all bells and whistles! She’s fearless with high drama and that’s what makes her fun, mad fun!”

Brenda explains, “I host a lot of awards and red carpets. Two days before one of my events I needed something… and a ballgown appeared from nowhere! That’s what’s amazing about Mary, creating an outfit from scratch within a day or two. Thanks to her I looked great on stage presenting the Screen Nation Awards. Mary makes you try stuff you probably wouldn’t think of trying. She’s like a motor. But she values my opinion – we have an exchange of ideas.”

Mary is not a wallflower,” smiles the broadcaster and journalist. “She’s a whirlwind; you know when she’s present. I learned that Mary studied really late overcoming a challenging childhood through dreams and ambition. She’s found herself. She has a clear vision of what she is as a designer. Mary has a rightful place in the world of fashion. What she’s achieved in such a short time, going international! She sees joy in everything. A crazy but extraordinary woman! She’s very resilient. Self triumph over adversity.”

Like Mary, Brenda acknowledges her own spirituality. “Experience higher being,” she recommends. “I have learnt to trust my inner voice, my intuition. Media is so impressed by the outer world but the inner one is so important. Life is a journey. Be true to your own spirituality. Surrender to the path the universe has mapped out for you. I meditate a lot for calm and peace. Be still – there’s so much to learn. Reset who you are. Value art, love, people, creativity. We’re not on this planet for a very long time.”

Design Fashion Luxury People

Mary Martin London + Silhouette

She Who Dares Wins

Fashion over adversity. This season is all about silhouette. Nobody – and we mean nobody – does silhouette better than Mary Martin London. Especially when montaged against the shape of history. This lady’s for turning – heads. Form doesn’t always follow function when it’s following a flight of fancy. Headdresses are a necessary accessory when it comes to haute – and we mean haute – couture. University of fashion.

Art Fashion

Mary Martin London + Maryland

The Free State | Her Bright Materials

Mary Martin Fashion Designer © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Over numerous cups of coffee in her first floor kitchen, much laughter, and more than a few facetime calls with her numerous celebrity pals (putting the M into M People), the award winning fashion designer and creative extraordinaire shares her innermost thoughts with Lavender’s Blue.

Mary Martin at BFI Film Awards © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“I’m Mary Martin London. Welcome to Maryland. My work is like an image of myself: a bit eccentric, a bit crazy, but sophisticated. It’s me, it’s my personality, it’s what I feel inside. A lot of passion goes into what I’m doing. I inhabit a world called Maryland. My inspiration is God. You know, my mother and father were ministers and I thought to myself: the first thing I learnt in the church was in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and basically God made us in his image. So I figured if God is the creator of heaven and earth, and he’s made us in his image, I am a creator as well. God is my creator and my inspiration.

Lavender's Blue Set © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Now my latest collection which I’ve done is called Blood Sweat and Tears and it’s really been blood sweat and tears and I wanted to dedicate this collection to the slaves because they worked hard for us to be here now. And you know you have to give a salute to those slaves who worked and were beaten and killed. You know we are still fighting the racism and everything else so I think to myself – I always have to remember where I came from: my ancestors were from Africa. This men’s collection is actually a salute! I did a screen print for my men’s collection called Slaves in the Field. You see the eyes coming through the trees. People are looking for them so I put the army print on the back.

Mary Martin London Bomber Jacket © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Reclaiming Urban Jungle is one of my fabric patterns. It is inspired by the Amazon Rainforests. In current times we have become more aware of the effects of fast fashion on climate change. The beauty of nature of this print takes the form of abstract art in nature and surrealism. Reclaiming Urban Jungle represents the marriage of surrealism and the tropical rainforest. The lion is the King of the Jungle but in the jungle there are no crowns so the lion has a crown of bananas. I built up the leaves drawing them in layers and used special paint for screen printing.

Mary Martin London Jacket © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

The first collection I actually put together which was called the Fairytale Collection was big fluffy dresses. I did it all by hand couture. The reason I did it by hand was it was very therapeutic. So basically, I was working with my hands and it was helping me get through things. It was really really helping me and I thought, ok, make it the Fairytale Collection! I actually went to Ghana to do the Mercedes Fashion Week. I did the show over there and it was like – wow! – everybody was so in shock at the clothes I had brought, and that was the start. That was the key for me.

My favourite colour is actually blue. My mum’s favourite colour was blue because she always loved The Queen and The Queen’s mother and she always used to wear a lot of blue and that’s the reason I like blue. It was the only colour I used to see growing up. My mother and father came over to England in the Fifties and basically my mother wanted to be an actress and my father was an antiques dealer and he used to go around and come back with old clothes. We had a 10 bedroom house on the river and in the top of the attic my mother had a room full of beautiful dresses. I used to love the clothes up there. Me and my sister – we used to jump up and down for joy! It was like an in-house fashion show up in the attic.

Nobody knew me and my sister used to go up there and try on all the clothes and all the shoes. We loved dressing up; we loved glamour. They were big for us but we loved the clothes, the shoes. And that’s when I fell in love with fashion! Next year, now that I’m graduated, I want to celebrate and you know I really want to show people what I care about inside me. I want to show people what a show is all about. Just look out for the Mary Martin London brand!

Maryland © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Melba Moore is my favourite singer in the whole world.”

Mary Martin London Men's Collection © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

A few days later, over smashed avo at BFI Bar + Kitchen on London’s Southbank, following the première of her friend Director Stephan Pierre Mitchell’s film Deleted, Mary Martin shares more of her innermost thoughts with Lavender’s Blue. The fashion designer is cutting a dash rocking head-to-toe military combo gear complemented by one of her own tops. Working the asymmetric for sure.

Mary Martin London Fabrics © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

“I just made this top this morning. It has a mustard coloured velvet sleeve and a khaki lurex sleeve. The sleeves contrast with the gold and black stretch cotton bodice. I work with the fabric – I create and just surprise myself! I see myself as a fashion artist. I’m gearing up for a solo exhibition and a catwalk show. I’m seeing tulle hanging from the ceiling and my screen prints framed as art on the walls. I’ll do my collections the way they should be. And I’ve dreamt of the dress of all dresses. All the lights will be on it. This dress is going to be magnificent!”

Mary Martin London Dresses © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Art Country Houses Design Fashion Luxury People

Mary Martin London + MML + The Green Dress

The Balm of Gilead

Art Country Houses Design Fashion Luxury

Mary Martin Fashion Designer + The Green Dress

Destiny Hall

Every occasion is an haute couture one. Especially when you know Scotland’s International Awards Best Fashion Designer Mary Martin.

Art Fashion Luxury People

Mary Martin London + Fashion

The Collaboration

It’s Friday evening and Lavender’s Blue HQ is bursting at the seams: there’s a makeup artist sorting out an assortment of overflowing MML branded bags and suitcases, a stylist hanging dresses and accessories on the resident tailor’s dummy, a photographer testing lighting and changing lenses, a cat meowing and meandering her way through the mayhem, and in the midst of this pandemonium at its epicentre is the crowned Queen of Fashion herself Mary Martin holding court, giving directions and orders and making jokes and exclamations, the sound of laughter mingling with the beat of the background music. The occasion? Shoot prep. All that’s needed now is an haute couture model and a photogenic château. In the meantime, there are always some closeups of the wealth of material to be photographed.

Design Luxury People

Lavender’s Blue +

The Anticipation

Off the red eye from Barcelona, Mary Martin’s on her way. Full entourage alert! In the top London fashion designer’s own catchphrase, “This will be amazing!”

Art Fashion Luxury People

Mary Martin Fashion Designer + MML

The In Crowd

In haute couture it is called “le mouvement”. In Afrobeats it is called “workin it”. Combine the two and what do you get? A piece of Mary Martin London. Everyone wants a piece of Mary these days. Heather Small, yeah lead singer of M People, got more than a piece when she posed in an MML powder blue puff ball skirt and skin tight power purple top. Yeah baby! Take a Mary Martin Fashion Show. Take two. Take it or love it. For a moment, a golden moment, a catwalk moment, fashion is frozen by the blinking shutter of a lens. Then the model more than struts her stuff. She dances. Rhythm has a dancer designer. It’s not a boast when Mary declares, “I’m a fashion artist!” There are more shades on a Mary Martin London front row than brise soleil on a Ralph Erskine development.

“Amazing! I love the articles and the images are fab! Thank you so much for all of you* coming down to the shows. We like to have fun and it’s such a celebration of African fashion, so thank you for your kind words. Come again next year!” So says Anna Marie Benedict, Press Director of Africa Fashion Week London. Yeah but what about the designer? “Mary is such a credit to her creative inspirations. She’s an amazing designer and we love having her every year.” Pieces of the present.

*Lavender’s Blue – we like to work it