While this might seem horribly late, I genuinely wanted to take time to reflect on all the shows I had seen at London Fashion Week. When attending Fashion Week, it sometimes seems all too easy to get caught up in the sensory excitement of some shows, yet when we step back and take a more considered look, it’s often the more pared back and less dramatic shows that leave the most lasting impression and prove to be the ones we want to import into our own wardrobes. So here is my verdict on the best of London Fashion Week Spring/Summer ’11.
THE MOST DESIRABLE:
Fashion is a cyclical beast. Though trends and whims evolve, generally the transition is an expected, if not predictable one. It’s only a few times a season that a show really takes me by surprise for being truly different, clever, or breathtakingly beautiful (and if we’re very lucky, all of those three in one). In London this season, Mary Katrantzou’s show was exactly that for me.
Inspired by vintage interiors magazines, Katrantzou translated this subject in the most literal way. Skirts were shaped as beautiful (and oddly, entirely flattering) beaded lampshades, entire rooms were digitally printed on dress panels, while trims in the form of ruffles, fringes, or contrast colour panels became tablecloths, ceiling cornices or, in the case of silk chiffon panels fluttering (as though catching the breeze of the room’s open windows) where a normal peplum waist might ordinarily sit, curtains. Accessories too had the same interior-decor whimsy: I particularly loved the golden necklaces shaped as chandeliers and positioned to sit as though hanging from the ceiling printed on the garment below. The fact that Katrantzou managed to interpret her inspiration in such a beautiful, wearable way (where, by contrast, other literal translations are often gimmicky or costumey) all in a palette of beautiful pastels is a testament to her enormous talent. I loved her more and more every season and expect great things in years to come!
Erdem Moragliou has been one of my favourites on the London fashion scene for a number of seasons now, and this show did not disappoint. I was privileged enough to see this show in person, and it was exceptionally beautiful to watch. The dresses to match were just as beautiful – a flutter of swirling spring blossoms (Erdem again demonstrating his prowess with digitally printed silks), lace in white, rouge and inky black, and embroidery inspired by the Ballet Russes (Erdem had spent the past summer behind the scenes at the V&A, rifling through the treasures of the current Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes exhibition). Also loved the floral tie-up heels by Nicholas Kirkwood.
Opulent elegance at Antonio Berardi (L) and Roksanda Ilincic (R)
Saying he wanted to explore a more romantic ideal, Beradi this time sent a slew of dresses down the runway that were a lot softer than the usually sexy looks we have come to expect from the designer. There was an abundance of of white, dove grey and cherry red, and I particularly loved the floral appliqued white (as above) and lipstick-coloured dresses – perfect for summer garden parties on a country estate. At Roksanda, it was all about lighter than air silk chiffon, 70′s headscarves, sculptural draping and pops of coral against the softest dove grey. Just beautiful.
The new romantics at Charles Anastase (L) and Richard Nicoll (R)
I love the world of Charles Anastase: it’s all dreamy Parisian ‘It’ girls who one imagines spends her summer days reading Nabokov in the Jardin de Tuilleries. This floral appliqued mesh dress, while perhaps impractical, made me gasp with it’s fun romanticism. Ditto Richard Nichol’s dreamy 70′s cape tops/dresses, in particular this blush pink iteration (above).
Elegant femininity at Peter Pilotto (L) and Matthew Williamson (R)
Peter Pilotto has mastered the dress in a way that is both extraordinarily clever and devastatingly beautiful. His show this season was a study in clever cuts and beautiful eccentric elegance. Meanwhile, the theme at Matthew Williamson might have been ‘shipwrecked’, but it was the wispy silk maxi gowns (in bright oceanic colours and muddled pastels) that I loved the most.
Ballerinas in black and white at David Koma (L) and Jonathan Saunders (R)
The ballet was a recurring theme this season (much to my pleasure!). A relative newcomer, David Koma did wonderful things with modern tutu-style cuts in shades of blush and monochrome. While Jonathan Saunders is known for his mastery of colour and print, I also loved his short, full skirts and the dancer-esque silhouettes they created.
Fun rainbow brights at Christopher Kane (L) and Holly Fulton (R)
There’s no doubt about it, shocking brights will be huge for Spring/Summer. I loved Christopher Kane’s Princess Margaret inspired-show, where he sent out conservative twin sets and twee suits reincarnated in neon yellow, orange sherbet, lime green and lolly pink. Over at Holly Fulton, she had fun with her brilliant 60′s prints and bright dresses appropriate for a grand cruise.
The whimsical urbaniter at Michael van der Ham (L) and Sass & Bide (R)
Michael van der Ham’s patchwork dresses are not for the faint hearted or the less than leggy (indeed, they’d probably look horribly frumpy on me in all honesty), but I love the quirky combination of fabrics that somehow, just seem to work. It might be Antipodean pride, but I always love Australian design duo Sass & Bide, and this season they really excelled in softer fabrics and digital prints. Pair that dress above with killer legs and a statement cuff and you’re good to go for a night of adventures!
So tell me, do you have a favourite show from London Fashion Week?
Love, Miss B xx