Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Designers have been looking to the street for inspiration especially of late, given the explosion of street style blogs and fashion bloggers-turned-front row regulars. Having lived and worked in Shoreditch for the past 5 years, I’ve seen homegrown talent and DIY trends (it’s incredible what one can do with a handful of studs from eBay and some thrifted leather) slowly trickle their way upwards into the catwalk and then into the mainstream. The club kids, fashion stylists, and young creatives of East London have firmly established their place in high fashion, bringing the electric energy of the streets of Shoreditch to the runways at London Fashion Week.
At KTZ, a cult favourite of street wear lovers everywhere from London to Kuala Lumpur, Shoreditch cool took a decidedly luxurious spin with offerings even a prim West End girl would consider (but with each element worn individually and dressed down with Chelsea boots, of course).
Gilded in gold, dripping in metallics, swathed in decadent fur and gorgeously elaborate patterns, KTZ’s fall collection showed London Fashion Week that when it comes to inspiration and talent the streets of East London are paved with gold.
At Fashion East, Helen Lawrence and newcomer Louise Alsop put a gentler spin to the dark, moody aesthetic so often favoured by the tastemakers of Shoreditch. At Helen Lawrence, marbled-effect capes, deconstructed skirts, and dresses were softened up with touches of apple green, soft greys, and fluffy mohair. Similarly, Louise Alsop lightened the mood of her collection by adding touches of mint green and youthful accessories like a milk carton clutch to offset the monochrome dresses with ragged hems scrawled with slogans like ‘hopeless’.
London Fashion Week concluded with the KTZ after show party at The Sanderson. I saw and reconnected with a lot of familiar faces from the Shoreditch ‘club kid’ days of 2009-2011, young ones who once shared each other’s dreams and ambitions with each other and have now made it big in their chosen industry, whether as fashion stylists, models, designers, musicians, and DJs. Sipping champagne at The Sanderson and reminiscing on how far we’ve come since the days of Trailer Trash and Dalston Superstore, the scene was very symbolic of the migration and upwards trajectory of East London’s precocious young to the bright stage of London Fashion Week.
Millie Grace Horton and Mica Francis-Angel.
Nickque Patterson and Diana Lola Chire
I paired my Tresor Paris bracelets and ring with Cartier Love bracelet (not shown), Chanel ‘perfume clutch’-inspired iPhone case, and Celine Phantom,
Yours truly (Catwanged to preserve the author’s mystique or rather conceal all signs of Fashion Week fatigue) and Christopher Maul.
Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
Every fashion label keen to revisit that classic spring theme of flora and fauna runs the risk of Miranda Priestly-esque ire: “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking” (likewise, so does anybody making a Devil Wears Prada reference in a fashion week review. Meta). But Burberry Prorsum and Giles Deacon have nothing to fear, for their invigorating use of nature’s design this season is every bit as fresh as the living things they are inspired by.
Of all the collections, Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prorsum stood out as the quintessential costume de rigueur for the bohemian, the sort that exists to inspire and lives very much in a world devoted to the pursuit of pleasure, leisure, and intellectual acquisition. ”The Bloomsbury Girls”, sylph-like visions swathed in sheer lace, organdy, crepe, floated down the catwalk looking like the sort of fragile, fairy-like muse that would have captured the imagination of a twentieth-century poet or artist when she inadvertently drifted into his sight while taking an absent-minded stroll in the gardens of Bloomsbury Square.
Variations of the same style remained highly individual and wildly different with layers that offered a treasure trove of textures and colours to mix and match with. Certainly, this captures the very laissez faire essence of the bohemian muse, who dreamily rises from her repose and slips languidly into one of the many vintage dresses (passed down from her grandmother, slightly faded but nonetheless beautiful) and shawls (collected from her travels) draped around her room before flitting away to wherever her fancy takes her. I certainly see Jessa from Girls, in this collection, and while one cannot buy the inimitable spirit of la boheme one can certainly buy the look thanks to Burberry Prorsum.
While the Bloomsbury fairy is draped in Burberry’s flimsy confections of silk daubed with gentler colours, her rock-and-roll sister is moody and dark in Giles Deacon.
Giles Deacon presented a collection also inspired by God’s creatures. Less ethereal than the wood nymphs of Burberry, his recurring motifs of thorns, horn beetles, and hummingbirds were a slightly more cruel interpretation of natural beauty without deviating far from his usual dark, gothic, and macabre aesthetic.
Any lover of flora and fauna, or those seeking to wear Spring’s florals with a twist would do well to seek Burberry Prorsum’s bohemian blooms or Giles Deacon’s dark nature. Personally, I see them as two sides of the same coin, like the two faces of the moon as it shifts from light to dark.
All photos courtesy of Style.com
Monday, February 17th, 2014
The overall impression of the looks sent out on the runway yesterday was one of contrasts. Boxy, structured lines juxtaposed against soft, slouchy, curves, sometimes even within the same look.
At Vivienne Westwood there was nostalgia abound with broad shouldered power suits dominating the catwalk. One such look, a pin striped suit jacket layered under fur and teamed with sheer stockings was a throwback to the power dressing of the ’80s and ’90s.
Oversized boxy jackets were paired with slightly flared knee-length skirts that softened the overall look and prevented it from being too structured.
The standout look was a red suit with jacket lapels that formed a heart. The feminine, almost twee detail of it was the perfect foil to a collection that, peppered with postwar styling, seemed almost austere at times.
This mood of contrast was even more apparent at Topshop Unique.
Oversized coats threatened to slip off the models, seemingly held on only by belts. The largeness of it all provided a silhouette of contrasts; while the shoulders, lapels, and sleeves were undeniably chunky, the almost undulating flow of the coats were those of the joys that only those who buy outerwear several sizes larger will know (yours truly included, there is nothing so ridiculously comfortable in winter as size 16 coat on a size 8 frame).
The styling of the overlong sleeves, overlarge shoulders, really any adjective beginning with ‘over’ lent it all an unmistakable air of ‘my father’s coat’, and a very cozy one at that.
The notion of ‘comfortably oversized’ was echoed at Temperley London, where enormous scarves were layered upon coats (layered upon even more coats) in an explosion of blue florals and Byzantine mosaic patterns.
The whole effect was that of sumptuously decorated robes fit for a king’s bedtime or even an aristocratic lounge around the house. This is the sort of luxurious loungewear one dreams of wearing when they work from home, swanning from study to drawing room with mug in hand and typewriter ribbon in the other.
However if the Orientalist prints become too much, one could always turn to Preen by Thornton Bregazzi for coats and cuts just as generous but with just a little more insouciance and less old-world references, what with the sci-fi-esque graphic print and the presence of Darth Vader’s head throughout the collection.
For a more traditional take on comfort, look no further than to Pringle of Scotland for luxurious knitwear…
…or to Paul Smith, for a collection so impossibly fluid and invitingly silky that to not wear it to bed would be sinful. Not to worry, the rich jewel tones, fancy sheen, and elaborate patterns are more than likely to swing the ‘is it or isn’t it pyjamas’ whispers one gets from wearing something so polarizing and daring in public away from ‘luxe sleepwear’ to ‘style-driven comfort’.
Photos courtesy of Style.com
Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Day 2 of London Fashion Week brought us a dose of typical British insouciance and cheek. Along with the high voltage ‘Las Vegas’ dazzle of Julien Macdonald and the sheer sexiness of J.W Anderson, the unifying theme of the shows du jour seemed to be bold prints and graphics with imagery celebrating the unabashed glamour of the party girl lifestyle.
This spirit ‘a la demimonde’ was especially apparent at House Of Holland. ’HOH harlots’ strutted down the catwalk like punk-rock debutantes, opening the show with a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘Riche Bish’, a nod to the slogan tees that put Henry Holland on the fashion radar years ago.
Sequined champagne flutes, bows, lipsticks, and lobsters adorned black velvet. A feminine yet brazen celebration of all things indulgent.
Even beneath striking quilted bomber jackets embroidered with giant lipsticks, there was no ignoring the saucy Pre-Raphaealite, Marie Antoinette-esque beauties caught in flagrante, naught bits blacked out, on the tabloid covers.
Themes of conspicuous consumption, debauched PYTs, and luxe loungewear married with sumptuous douppioni silk and fur will guarantee House Of Holland’s latest collection a spot on the shopping list of every Posh, Broke (ironically, mais bien sur), & Bored heiress apparent, party girl, and rebellious high-society darlings alike.
Elsewhere, less decadent but just as stunning prints reigned supreme on the catwalk on Saturday.
The hand drawn, machine-cut graphics at Holly Fulton, pixelated portraits at Sister By Sibling, and bright, bold (yet satisfying uniform) prints at Duro Olowu were all especially appealing to an artist like yours truly. The abundance of print, colour, and bold imagery ensured that Day 2 of London Fashion Week stood out for me, like a rebel Prints Charming among a sea of sensibly clad gentry , if you will.
All images courtesy of Style.com