Thursday, 22 September 2011

London Fashion Week Round Up From Harvey Nichols

We report on the latest trends and backstage news from the Spring Summer 2012 shows at London Fashion Week.
Tuesday 20 September
Meadham Kirchoff

The minute we saw the pastel balloon arches on the runway we knew we were in for a treat. Meadham Kirchoff has a reputation for putting on a spectacle that out-does the previous, and this was a theatrical fantasy no one could’ve predicted.
First, a swarm of Courtney Love look-a-likes powdering their faces and applying lipstick in sync opened the show, they broke out in dance as models walk out. The real show began. Girly twin sets, ironic cartoon motifs, pastel marabou coats, broderie anglaise dresses were on everyone’s want list. Every look was pure indulgent girly perfection, and the evidence was obvious at the shows for the rest of the day, as every other person’s conversation started with, “Did you SEE the Meadham Kirchoff show?” A talking point in fashion week shows for seasons to come we’re sure.
Roksanda Ilincic

Already noted as a key trend for spring is sports couture, something that Roksanda Ilincic has already played with in her fall collection. Taking sportswear into luxury is no new concept but when well executed can be transformed into a couture piece. Aqua, mustard and fuchsia were dominant in the colour palette. Graphic silk trousers pulled together with thick rope belt, blue colour blocked crinkle cotton knotted-waist dress and a bright fuchsia puff dress were the highlight pieces of this well received collection.
Mary Katrantzou

Following interior prints from her fall collection, Mary Katrantzou has moved towards broader, more abstract strokes, a collection based on a ‘man vs. nature’ theme. The all-important prints zoomed in on nature- flowers, feathers, scales, and man-made forms-cars, metal cans and, metal flowers. Shapes include structured dresses, slim fitting trousers, biker jackets, asymmetric dresses with billowing trains.
Monday 19 September
Louise Gray

You can always rely on Scottish designer Louise Gray to shake things up at London Fashion Week. Not one to stick to the rules, Gray pushes her treatment of fabric to the max. Reverting back to some of the techniques and textures from her MA show, picking favourite items in her wardrobe, then layering up chiffon-on-chiffon. Graphic 60s and 20s prints, beading embellishment, swathes of appliqué and the odd sorbet tweed twin-set, redefine Gray’s eclectic creations. As complex as those elements sound, this collection was felt calmer, which was a natural progression for Gray apparently. There were a lot of dresses that simply slip on but still have that Louise-Gray-wow-factor!
Burberry Prorsum

As the first look goes down the runway, the unmistakable Cara Delevingne can be seen underneath a pompomed cap and wrapped up in a dress coat, and you know it’s Burberry Prorsum.
Adorning its front row of Rachel Zoe, Samantha Cameron, Emmanuelle Alt, and Kanye West, with beautiful basket weave knits, pleated front skirts (below the knee and in every colour), large geometric embellishments, bright prints and even raffia, Burberry continues the tribal theme for the season with ethnic inspired pieces
Stand out pieces were woven leather sleeve parkas in ethnic prints, striped sculptured shoulder trench, egg shell blue trench with crimped edges. With all the hype that the brand brings alongside the celebs was its usage of technology by showing the collection via twitter. Clearly the power that is Burberry continues to grow and be lusted after.

Continuing what he does best, Erdem presented beautiful floral print dresses in every form. From delicate sheer nudes to heavy graphic prints in blues and to whole garden florals covering entire garments, the only piece left untouched from a print was the classic white shirt. Highlights looks include a sky blue silk cotton trench coat with enlarged flowers and the cropped skinny trousers with a flora and fauna all over print.
Christopher Kane

One of the hottest tickets in town, Christopher Kane always has an audience to impress with the likes of Anna Wintour and Kanye West in the front row, watching intently to see what he his imagination and craftsmanship would deliver this season.
There must have been a sigh of relief for Kane’s model as they glided down the catwalk wearing flat shoes. Cricket knit jumpers, signature skirt suits, stiff fabricated silhouettes, and faded denim jeans with crystal embellished knees were all aspects of the collection.
The major continuous theme that throughout was appliquéd florals applied vigorously to many different dresses. From soft whimsical on pockets or shoulder straps to 70s bright on sheer shift dresses dazzled the eyes of the audience.

The quietly cool Antipodium has wooed us once again. Inspired by Woody Allen’s 1970s drama ‘Interiors’ creative director Geoffrey J. Finch was channelling imaginary characters living in the terraced houses of London Fields. An obscure reference actually transpired into what was a very accessible catwalk collection. The use of interesting materials kept the collection looking fresh; PVC coated cotton was used on a-line skirts and cropped jackets whilst blue rinse crochet dresses had chunky gold zipper details. Offering rigidly cut tailoring at pristine angles and buckled boyish shoes juxtaposing with abstract feminine floral prints, their Spring Summer 2012 collection was a delectable concoction indeed.
Antonio Berardi

Every woman has the possibility to be a warrior according Antonio Berardi, and his new collection continues with his beliefs. Opening with an ethereal armor plated like dress with a flowing train, which ran into ivory boleros with red embellished sleeves, and leggings covered in white and gold patterned beadwork.
Truly a master of evening dresses, the tailored pieces in soft fabrics in maroon, black, and white were equally as strong and highlighted the craftsmanship of Berardi. Although the black pieces towards the end of the collection felt about to heavy for spring summer, they were none the less desirable.
Peter Pilotto

Inspired by a recent trip to Indonesia, it seemed Peter Pilloto’s collection wouldn’t be excused from the tropic/safari trend that has been sweeping the runway. But a refreshing take on the theme was present with kaleidoscope patterns laid in directions to create illusions of movement and shone in acidic brights of lime, blue, red, against black trimmings.
Oversized and exposed zips were key in reflecting the scuba diver suits one might wear, while clothing was structure to fit as if it was from sportswear but still functioned as sexy. Figure hugging tops broke free into flowing skirts in beautiful patterns in hues of blue. Floral, fish scale like prints and fitted dresses that had all over laser cuts to keep with prints helped keep the collection fresh.
Sunday 18 September

Blocking was the key to Acne’s collection this season. Using structured and somewhat oversized pieces in solid tones or distinctive contrasts emphasized the cool factor of the Swedish brand.
Being inspired by a recent trip to Morocco, but not wanting to offer up a cliché version, designer Jonny Johansson created a colour palette to enhance his designs, using orange, candy pink, lime and soft blue against black, white and tobacco. Continuing its movement into an established fashion brand and not just denim wear, the designs have once again grown with prom style dresses, caftans, and wide leg trousers simply make the collection demand attention.
Marios Schwab

Femme fatale silhouettes came swishing down the catwalk presenting a refined feminine collection that had the audience in awe.
Fabrics were crucial for the collection s they played a major focal point, with netting used widely throughout the collection – tiny fine punctured fabrics to wider gaping nets, while high waited swimsuits were shown wrapping around the neck and exposing the stomach, balancing the fine line of sexy while being wearable. Colour palettes ran through of pastels and muted tones, while final dresses were long sleeved netted gowns with crystal bodysuits underneath to shine through.
Markus Lupfer
London Fashion Week Round Up
Set in a low key private area at St Martins Lane Hotel, Markus Lupfer showed off his new collection in a room made up like a jungle themed boudoir. To match the scene, four models sat gracefully wearing convincing animal masks, striking a pose for the cameras, playing their wildlife characters. Heavily inspired by nature, Lupfer has produced fun, wearable knitted separates and dresses with his signature sequinned motifs, this time starring tropical creatures; flamingos, baboons, elephants and parrots to name a few. There’s even some graphic prints thrown in the mix with day-glo coloured leopard print jackets with matching cardigan, and shorts. The use of black lace in skirts and dresses smartened up the quirky display.
Richard Nicoll

Sunday morning and what better way to start the day then with a calming sea of pastel blue hues at Richard Nicoll. Presented against white walls and high ceilings, Mr Nicoll led the eyes to feast on 60’s inspired tunics, shifts and baby doll dresses – all based on old patterns for young girls nighties from the era.
With the M.A.C make up team adding to the 60’s vibe by using black hospital bandage cut outs to get that perfect winged eyeliner.
Pastel pink dresses broke up the collection with the slick wet look, soft trousers swan around models legs, while a sheer black gown with frills finished the show in a modern elegance, making the collection a highlight of the week.
Saturday 17 September

Issa’s Spring Summer 2012 collection Designer Daniella Issa Helayel was inspired by her native Rio de Janeiro roots. A fun and whimsical direction for a red-carpet-dress brand we thought. Pineapple, banana and palm leaf prints on cotton mini dresses and separates were a departure from the usual jersey gowns. Similar fruity prints were also seen on swimwear and cover-ups. The perfect antidote to our blink-and-you’ll-miss-it British summers, these tropical pieces would brighten up any girl’s wardrobe, and who can say no to that?
Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders never fails to bedazzle his audience with his fine-tuned craft of print and colour. This season saw the Scottish designer divulge in the scenery of South Beach, Miami. Citrus tones of peach, fuchsia and tangerine were layered together with aquas, limes, lemon yellow, colour blocked and often ombréd tones. Picturesque references of the beach spring to mind with swimming pools, sunsets and clear blue skies. Toying with the line of ladylike and sexy, womenswear shapes varied from sundresses, negligees, vests, full fifties skirts and boyfriend jackets. Prints came in the form of faint paisleys and surf/scuba style tribal markings.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label

This season sees Westwood dominate her collection with her spin on suiting pieces; jackets, blouses, trousers were aplenty but this was no traditional tailoring here. Single elements of each garment were highlighted, playing with proportion and sculptural dimension. Highlights include the beige oversized jumpsuit with a cinched knotted sleeve and the blue suit jacket with draped lapels, both very wearable. The simplicity of the Grecian-looking silk jersey dresses stood out against this complex collection, proving Dame Westwood understands the importance of having commercial pieces in a runway piece.
Felicity Brown

After the success of her Fashion East show and now part of NEWGEN, high hopes were held on this fashion week newcomer, Felicity Brown. An exquisitely decorated private room in the Royal Opera House was a the perfect location to show what we knew was going to be breath-taking. A live pianist and violinist, wearing one of Brown’s trademark layered ruffled silk dresses, set the tone as dainty, doll like models sashayed slowly around the room. Brown has looked to the past on previous seasons, and for Spring Summer 2012 it was no different, this time with Victorian references; slim silhouette, rich regal colours; high necklines and the odd corset detail. Fabrics were ruched, draped and pleated to maximum effect, some with ombre prints, giving them a water coloured painterly effect. It was refreshing to see a couple of looks consisting of separates that retained the overall romantic influence. The collection was beautiful and the presentation was well executed from the regal atmosphere, right down to the wasps hair and minimal make up.
Emilio de la Morena

It was all about skirt at Emilio de la Morena, with a variety of different dresses to lust over they all had one thing in common – above the knee. Starting with his multi paneled dresses in whites through to fitted sweater top dresses with wispy overlay skirts in contrasting colours. Presenting his first knitwear and prints, perhaps we are about to see a lot more firsts from this talented designer as he furthers his palette.
JW Anderson Women

With an inspiration of ‘a schoolgirl raised by nuns, finally escaping the convent”, JW Anderson’s collection that modestly covered the body. Mixing mens with womens traditional pieces, gender basics were reexamined with flowing wide leg trousers, cardigans turned into dresses and button up shirts becoming jackets, each piece played on strong texture combinations and graphics. Patterns of zig zags were used against each other in a variety of widths while multi coloured shapes were replicated and layered upon each other for beautifully contrasting garments.
Friday 16 September
Christopher Raeburn
You can always rely on Christopher Raeburn to wow us with a clever and unique offering. Partnering with the Museum of London to present his latest collection, guests are faced with his giant inflatable squirrels on arrival, the same squirrels can be found at our current Christopher Raeburn Installation. Reducing waste is a key principle of the British brand, so they use any off cuts to create a different mammal every season. Walking through to the Linbury Gallery downstairs, from a distance what looked like an interactive design exhibition, was actually a brilliant display of garments, colour and sound. Based on the emotional relationship between garment and wearer, and in turn the link between colour and sound. A single touch of each jacket triggers colour on the large LED ellipse, mirrored to the garment, stimulates an associated sound in the hall. We were excited to see Raeburn’s signature parkas in an array of rainbow shades, some with colour blocked panels and in a range of styles too, from cropped to hooded to ponchos, as well as traditional longer lengths.
We caught up with blogger and fashion journalist, Susie Lau of Style Bubble, to demonstrate this wonderful experience.
Sass & Bide
London Fashion Week Round Up
Kick starting London Fashion Week’s first day with Sass & Bide was definitely a good idea. Styled by Wonderland magazine’s fashion director, Julia Sarr-Jamois, it is the perfect marriage of it-girl street style and high end fashion. This time round, designers Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton toned down the silhouettes with a collection with a streamlined aesthetic. That’s not to say it is minimal, Sass & Bide has retained it’s unique combination of texture, colour and print, but stripped it back a little. There were silver sequins, batik polka dots, bright silks and tribal beading, all mixed together in streamlined pieces with maximum effect. The show closed with a Gallery collection, a continuing affair with a more grown up aesthetic. White neoprene twisted into cocktail dresses, a modern take on the couture-inspired classic.