Fashion Week

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 5

London Fashion Week

I wore… Skirt Suit: Boutique by Jaeger, Poloneck: Uniqlo, Boots: Massimo Dutti, Bag: Mulberry.

After a geriatrically early 8.30pm bedtime on day 4 I awoke on the final morning of London Fashion Week feeling fresh, a fairly rare occurrence as I’m sure you can imagine. First up was Anya Hindmarch, always a pretty major highlight for me because not only do I love her handbags, the woman seriously knows how to put on a show. This season’s theme was “board games” and on each of our seats we found a personalised bracelet featuring an anagram, or rather “Anyagram” of our name. Despite only being in it’s third season, the Anya Hindmarch show is a LFW must-see and everyone from Paula Reed and Alexandra Shulman to Olivia Palermo and Caroline Sieber were on the FROW. The show was a very late started thanks to pretty much every major fash ed in town having to flog their way over from Southwark where Simone Rocha had shown at 9am. I was seated third row center next to the lovely Emily Johnston of Fashion Foie Gras, placing us in prime position for people watching and later watching the spectacle unfold… And what a spectacular spectacle it was! Eventually the lights went up and all at once, the reason behind the collection’s name “Cascade” became clear as the dominoes weaving in and out of Anya’s larger-than-life board game set began to fall revealing beautiful bags which included the most adorable domino clutches. To be honest it’s impossible to describe the show in a way that does it justice so here’s the video instead.

Having shows on the hour, every hour works brilliantly when they’re all at the same venue but rather less brilliantly when they’re scattered all over town. Next on my schedule was Roksanda Ilincic, a good few miles away at The Savoy Hotel ballroom. The idea of taking the tube didn’t massively appeal given that this was my twelth day in very high heels but luckily I bumped into the Marie Claire team who offered my a lift in their car. While kicking back in a chauffer driven Mercedes was a good deal more comfortable than the Bakerloo line, we immediately found ourselves stuck in standstill traffic and very nearly missed the show. Luckily things were running behind schedule as usual and despite not even arriving at the venue until twenty minutes later than the scheduled start we made it in time to see Roksanda’s latest creations. It’s certainly been a good few seasons for the Serbian born stunner, what with dressing the likes of Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge not to mention countless famous and non famous fashion fans all over the world. Personally what I find most impressive about Ilincic is her continued efforts to develop her aesthetic when she could quite easily just produce variations along the ever-so-elegant cocktail dress theme and do enviably well. Her last two collections began to toy with texture and proportion but this time around Roksanda really pushed the boat out with form fitting cable knit wool dresses, fine tweeds, treated patent leathers and PVC galore. A decidedly non-winter palette of powder pinks and grass greens paired with rich, chocolatey browns was a bold move that certainly paid off and somehow Roksanda made oversized, acid hued hair collars seem like a very good idea indeed. Still elegant and exquisitely crafted but with a newfound hint of punk, her AW13 collection was a testament to the fact that Roksanda Ilincic is about a lot more than just glam gowns.

London Fashion Week

Roksanda Ilincic AW13

By this point I was hankering after an salmon box badly so after grabbing a copy of the AMAZE Grazia Fashion Week issue I hit the nearest itsu for a bit of R&R. My twin cravings for sushi and gossip sated, I headed to Marylebone where Matches were hosting the “House of Grazia” at their Welbeck Street HQ. Two of my fave fashion forces teaming up to deliver a series of designer Q&A’s, talks and sartorial tutorials during London Fashion Week sounded like an absolute dream but I’d been so busy I hadn’t managed to attend anything but the final session was Jonathan Saunders in conversation with Grazia’s Editor-in-Chief, Jane Bruton and there was no way in hell I was going to miss that! Despite being visibly exhausted from the strains of his show (and no doubt wild after party) a couple of evenings previously, Jonathan was every bit as charming, sincere and impressive as I remembered from the weekend I spent with him in Doha a couple of years ago.

 London Fashion Week

Jonathan Saunders in conversation with Jane Bruton

I won’t regurgitate his answers on here because you can watch the whole thing on the Grazia website but what I found most fascinating (aside from his insanely chiselled cheekbones) was Jonathan’s attitude to the creativity V commerce debate. As far as the talented Scot is concerned, fashion design is about making and selling clothes that women want to, and do, wear rather than translating a work of art onto a dress. Tempted though I was to stick around after the talk for a latte and to just generally bask in the loveliness of 23 Welbeck Street I had precisely ten minutes to get to Soho for the Ostwald Helgason presentation. I remember seeing Susanne Ostwold and Ingvar Helgason’s designs back when I first started blogging and being seriously impressed with their work and not understanding why it never seemed to crop up again. Until now that is. After two truly terrible years during which they lost the majority of their stockists and had their request to show on the London Fashion Week schedule and their application for the NewGen sponsorship requested, Ostwold Helgason are back with a vengeance, some forty five stockists and legions of stylish devotees. Having showcased their AW13 collection in New York the previous week, the design duo brought their new season wares to Blighty where Moda Operandi’s Artistic Director Taylor Tomasi Hill was hosting a tea party-cum-presentation for them at Kettners.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

Since starting showing in the Big Apple last February, the label’s cool, covetable and ultra wearable aesthetic has really started to be recognised as the ingenius fashion formula it is. This time around they delivered an array of bold and beautifully crafted pieces that exuded a playful yet practical modernity. With its crisp collared shirt-dresses, stratement knits and eye-popping, tomboy tailoring the latest Ostwald Helgason looked a little like the love child of Carven and Opening Ceremony. Suffice to say, they’ve definitely got one more devotee in me.

Much like every other day of fashion week, I didn’t have any time to hang around on Tuesday afternoon. After grabbing a snap with star of Sh*t Fashion Girls Say, P’TRIQUE, who just so happened to walk in at that moment, I leapt in the nearest cab and made a mad dash to Somerset House for my final show of the season, Maria Grachvogel. Maria’s is another of the shows I’ve attended for a good five seasons now and it’s been really interesting to see how she repeatedly puts a fresh spin on her signature fluid drapery. This season the designer looked to “the beauty of winter decay and introspection provoked by witnessing the changing seasons” for inspiration, resulting in a collection that progressed from rich autumnal hues of mustard and white-on-black botanical prints to sombre shades of lichen, bone, oxblood (another AW13 obsession) and deepest teal. There was something beautifully melancholic about the collection, with haunting barren tree motifs barely visible on fragile chiffon creations. It was a striking departure from SS13′s pastel hued prettiness and the season before’s deco glamour. Personally what I was wowed by Maria’s introduction of a new tailored silhouette, who’d have guessed that a designer who’d spent two decades doing dreamy drapery could deliver such a fierce cinched waist peplum dress? Texture provided another point of intrigue as besides flowing fabrics such as chiffon and softest jersey the collection also featured woven jacquards, degrade wool, printed velvet and some truly excellent knitwear. But just as a shearling lined, belted coat paired with cigarette pants had me wondering whether we’d seen the last of Maria’s trademark frocks she closed the show with a billowing, ethereal floor sweeper, confirming at least in my mind that this was one of her most impressive collections yet.

London Fashion Week

Maria Grachvogel AW13

So, after God knows how many shows, presentations, Starbucks lattes and glasses of champagne, fashion week had drawn to a close. Or at least for me it had. Much as I wished I was doing Milan and Paris, at the Moda Operandi tea Caroline Issa mentioned that she would be flying out at 6am the next morning and I certainly didn’t envy her that! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my antics and never fear, I’ve got a few more exciting things to share over the next few months.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 6 Comments

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 4 Continued

With every show I attended on day 4, my love for London Fashion Week grew that little bit stronger. Few designers exemplify the creatively liberated, Central Saint Martins taught, magpie style for which British fashion is celebrated more than Louise Gray. She can always be relied on to put two fingers up at good taste and this season was no different. The collection was a cacophany of riotous colours, wildly clashing prints and assorted textures thrown together with reckless aplomb in a way that so shouldn’t work but somehow aways does. Hats may have come courtesy of Stephen Jones but they were still made out of bin bags. Commercially orientated Gray most certainly isn’t but break down the looks, lose the madcap make up and many of these pieces will no doubt find their way into fashion forward wardrobes come September.

London Fashion Week

Louise Gray AW13

By this point I was in dire need of sustainence and frankly, a bit of a breather, so I headed to The Apartment (an ingenious bloggers sanctuary where we can hang out, eat, work and meet all manner of brands, arranged by the ever impressive Abi Marvel) to regroup before my final show. After all, it wouldn’t do to be feeling (and looking) anything less than my best for Burberry.

Since attending my first Burberry show a few back in 2011, it’s always been a major London Fashion Week highlight. Every season I get a familiar butterflies in my tummy sensation as I approach the vast Hyde Park venue and see the crowds of people lined up outside. Once I’d taken my seat in between fellow bloggers Ella of Coco’s Tea Party and Emily of Fashion Foie Gras I set about people watching as Burberry always attracts an A list crowd. This time around was no different and I spied everyone from Anna Wintour and Emmanuelle Alt to Freida Pinto, Kate Beckinsale, Rita Ora, Rosie Huntington-Whitley and Tinie Tempah on the FROW.

London Fashion Week

From left: Michelle Dockerty, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Freida Pinto, Rita Ora & Kate Beckinsale

After much milling and mingling the show began and what a show it was! Burberry Prorsum SS13 was one of those collections that I liked at the time but since seeing again in September, I’ve really fallen for. As for AW13, well, it was love at first sight and appropriately so because it became clear early on that Christopher Bailey was in a romantic mood this season. Surprised though many of us were when the Yorkshire born designer cited saucy sixties showgirl, Christine Keeler as his inspiration, re-imagining the brand’s trademark trench in latex was a stroke of genius and looked oh-so-right on the runway. Then again, it’s Bailey’s knack for infusing the Burberry heritage with just the right amount of provocation that has made him such a successful Creative Director. As well as trenches, pencil skirts, shift dresses and other style staples were given a hint of kink by way of latext, leather and high shine PVC in shades of soft nude and rich oxblood. Another key and highly covetable component of the collection was print, namely cute heart motifs and naughty leopard spots. Silhouettes were kept classic and waists cinched allowing for everything from leather fringing to snakeskin and cowprint calf hair to be incorporated into the collection while shimmering stripes and luxurious knitwear provided yet more sell-out separates.

London Fashion Week

Burberry Prorsum AW13

One of my favourite things about attending the Burberry show is the inevitable element of spectacle. Who could forget Bailey quite literally making it rain for AW12? Or the kaleidescopic parade of metallic trenches for SS13? This time around he went above and beyond with a surprise that had half the guests standing up in their seats. About half way through the walls at the end of the runway parted revealing musician Tom Odell and his band who proceeded to serenade Cara, Karlie, and Jourdan strutting their stuff for the remainder of the show… As Mondays go, day 4 of London Fashion Week AW13 was certainly a good one!

Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Autumn-Winter 2013 Show Finale

Burberry Prorsum AW13 finale

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 4

London Fashion Week

I wore… Jumper & Jacket: Jaeger London, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Isabel Marant, Shirt: Paul & Joe Sister, Bag: BoBelle London.

London Fashion Week day 5 was a very early start which, given the fact I’d had a not so early night, was more than a little bit painful. It took a LOT of effort to drag myself out of bed but I certainly wasn’t going to miss Peter Pilotto. The dynamic design duo have been a favourite of mine (and basically everyone else’s) for fair few seasons now and the fact that everyone from Leandra Medine (who apparently owns the Isabel Marant stiletto heeled cowboy boots in every colour… jel) to Natalie Massinet made it there on time was a testament to how in demand they’ve become. The collection itself was, dare I say it, one of the duo’s strongest yet. Slightly harder edged than last season’s offerings, the printmasters offered up sculptural shapes and a fiery palette that exuded in-your-face (but very stylish) attitude. Besides the cacophany of kaleidescopic prints there was embossed leather, gold embroidery and a medley of textures ranging from ponyskin to incredible, woven fabrics. Cinched waists, flared hems and svelte silhouettes were given a futuristic feel with slicked back hair while scuba detailing and sweatshirts introduced an element of atheltic chic unlike any other incarnation of “sports luxe” you or I have ever seen. All in all, it was an utterly incredible and inspiring collection from one of the most exciting labels in the business. I suspect there may be another Peter Pilotto pre-ordering “incident” on my part this season.

London Fashion Week

Peter Pilotto AW13

I felt a good deal more sprightly after leaving the show and made for the nearest Starbucks in an attempt to thaw myself out with the help of an extra hot latte. Unfortunately my time tested cold battling technique failed me on this occasion and by the time I arrived at Somerset House I felt like an icicle. But, my weather woes  were soon forgotten after taking my seat next to fellow bloggers Ella and Naomi for the Michael van der Ham show. Michael is another London designer who’s work I adore and have watched develop from the start. Having fallen hard for Van Der Ham’s past three or four collections, I was unsure whether it would actually be possible to top them this season… Well, it was. Michael’s AW13 woman might be a little more subversive than last seasons pastel clad princess but this new, moody undertone worked perfectly in combination with richly elaborate fabrics. The patchworking techniques that first captured the fashion world’s attention have come a long way and they were pretty incredible to begin with. This time around we were treated to artfully worked creations in everything from silk crepe and crisp cotton to opulent brocades and gossamer fine chiffon. A darkly seductive palette of forest green, navy, khaki and russet was enhanced with fiery red print and shimmering metallic embroidery. I don’t have the slightest clue how Michael achieved the almost burnt effect that added an air of divine decay to his rich fabrics but, like the painstaking silver embellishment of cuffs and frankly the entire collection, it was completely and utterly exquisite.

London Fashion Week

Michael Van der Ham AW13

The next show on my schedule was one of the most hotly anticipated of the week, Christopher Kane. We all piled onto the press bus and headed in the direction of Cannon Street. Or at least, we tried to. Attempting to drive through central london on a Monday is never exactly problem free but on this occasion the traffic was stationary. Eventually we decided to walk it instead and piled out of the bus and set off in a rabble of handbags and ridiculous shoes, no doubt surprising a few bankers on their lunch break. As soon as we arrived at the venue it was clear that our panic was unfounded, the venue was actually on the top floor of a very tall building and getting everyone in the lifts took almost half an hour. After much jostling we were all in our seats so the show could begin, and what a show it was! If day 4 proved anything to me is that nowhere breeds fearless fashion talent like london. The New York shows may be bigger, bolder and more impressive in terms of A List FROW factor but many collections could (and do) walk straight off the runway and into women’s closets. Not that I’m knocking this, there’s certainly nothing wrong with wearability. But watching the likes of Christopher Kane’s imaginative, innovative creations on the catwalk is really quite extraordinary.

Unless you’ve been living under a highly unfashionable rock for the past few months, you’ll be well aware that PPR, French luxury multi-holdings company  who own Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Venetta to name but a few, recently bought at 51% stake in the Chistopher Kane brand. Given the calibre of Kane’s collections as a independent (read: financially limited) designer, expectations were high now he’s joined the ranks of Stella McCartney and the late, great Alexander McQueen. With a 60 look show that elicited gasps of awe from attendees including Donatella Versace and Salma Hayeck, the talented Scotsman most certainly delivered. The collection opened with a succession of camouflage looks in shades of khaki, cobalt and burgundy (I spy a trend here!) ranging from mini kilts to dresses and coats trimmed in lashings of fur. High shine technical fabrics, sculpted silhouettes and asymmetric hemlines proved that while military chic is back in a big way for AW13 (see Prabal Gurung in New York), it comes in many different incarnations. But army cool wasn’t the only thing on the menu at Christopher Kane, not by a long way. Up next came luscious velvet ensembles deliciously deconstructed with intricate laser cut detailing. The show was truly a remarkable feat of fabric manipulation and sheer sartorial bravery. Some garments were trimmed or even entirely constructed from stiffened feathers. In other cases, semi sheer organza was fashioned origami style into corsages to create exquisitely pretty ensembles with a punky, rough edged twist. Then came an array of simple black looks enhanced with prints so vivid they made your head spin. Finally Kane turned his hand to evening wear with glittering looks covered with unidentifiable (for me anyway) but exquisite sparkling tentacle esque embellishments that gave the impression of dresses visibly crackling with electric energy.

London Fashion Week

Christopher Kane AW13

The show took us through an astonishingly broad yet utterly cohesive range of influences and techniques, truly demonstrating the skill of the designer. If anyone had any doubt that Christopher Kane belonged on PPR’s roster of international super brands then this gobsmackingly brilliant collection will surely have dealt with them.

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, the end of a fashion show always heralds and undignified and often frankly dangerous stampede for the exit. Well given the difficulties accessing Christopher Kane’s top floor venue, the scramble to get out was unlike any other I’ve seen. While queueing for the lifts I spied a few people slipping out of the fire exit and decided to join them. Once we reached the ground floor (which took a while… hundreds of stairs in very high heels) I found myself at the end of another queue because it transpired that the way out was through one of those alarmed, “open only in an emergency” doors. After much jostling and debate over whether or not we should just open it anyway someone decided to take the plunge and we piled out onto the street to the sound of the promised alarm wailing and suddenly I felt like a badly behaved fourteen year old skiving chapel all over again. Once again this post is starting to veer into essay territory so I think I’ll leave the rest for next time.

Love Ella. X

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London Fashion Week AW13: Day 3

The Sunday of London Fashion Week posed a few scheduling issues due to three of my absolute favourite brands deciding to show at three different venues within the space of an hour and a half. In theory, attempting to attend them all sounds nuts but given that the labels in question were Whistles, Mulberry and Temperley, did I really have any other choice?!

London Fashion Week

I wore… Jacket: Theory, Skirt: Carven, Bag: Mulberry, Shoes: Kurt Geiger, Jumper: Mango, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery

Having managed to tear myself away from Rhi Rhi’s bash the night before (smug moi?) at a relatively reasonable hour, I trotted down to Dover Street with a spring in my step and a steaming Starbucks latte in my hand, excited to see what my beloved Whistles had in store for AW13. Given the ridiculously tight turnaround between that and my next show I felt ever-so-slightly tense but all angst faded as soon as the first look hit the runway. Jane Shepardson never ceases to amaze me with her intuitive knowledge of what women want to wear. Since she took the rains back in 2008 Whistles has gone from forgotton-by-fashion, slightly mumsy brand to purveyor of cutting edge, covetable cool. I felt that this collection, and the fact that the likes of Liberty London Girl risked missing Mulberry to see it, was a testament to the transformation it’s undergone. Camo print is proving to be a major trend for AW13 (more on that later) and the Whistles show opened with a series of army inspired looks boasting sculptural silhouettes and utility detailing. Another next season fashion obsession is leather (probably don’t need to tell you that by know) and Jane’s latest offerings included some of the most stylish skins I’ve spotted in shades of classic black, deepest navy and forest green. There were also marbled prints and chunky knits that will no doubt sell out in seconds while darkly glimmering sparkle reminded us that Whistles also caters for after dark. Overall the collection epitomised the kind of sleek femininity that feels so relevant now and best of all, provided those of us without mega bucks to buy into it.

London Fashion Week

Whistles AW13

So I mentioned in one of my New York posts that the end of a fashion show always heralds an unholy and deeply undignified stampede to leave the venue? In that respect none of those shows had anything on Whistles! The models took their final turn at approximately 10.51am, 9 minutes before Mulberry was due to start. According to my ever helpful Google Maps App the walk to Claridges was around half a mile and would take 11 minutes. While fashion shows generally always start late, this was Mulberry and I didn’t want to take any chances. So I decided to run the entire way, wearing 6 inch heels, possibly not world’s best decision. By the time I arrived (in under the google maps advised time) I was a sweaty mess and in danger of fainting. Naturally the show started almost half an hour behind schedule but hey, at least I didn’t miss it. Mulberry always give excellent FROW and this season’s line up was suitably A List. On one side sat Anna Wintour bedecked in new season Prada, on the other were Alexa Chung, Lana Del Rey and Juno Temple.

London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week

From right: Alexa Chung, Lana del Rey & Juno Temple

I absolutely, unadulteratedly adored Mulberry’s SS13 collection so my hopes were high for this season. Luckily, and not surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. Inspired by rural England, Emma Hill offered up botanical prints rich shades of forest green (I spy another trend!) and navy blue. There was a homespun meets high fash air to the collection thanks to iconic checks and thick tweeds incorporated into everything from sparkle trimmed capes to sequin embellished shift dresses. Voluminous leg-of-mutton sleeves upped the catwalk anti while glossy leather skirt suits looked so buttersoft it was all I could do not to touch them. Texture is always perfectly executed at Mulberry and this season was particularly luscious with fur, shearling, angora, silk crepe, organza applique and gleaming brocade all on the table. After Cara Delevigne closed the show (natch) the models all trooped out to the rousing tune of “Rule Brittania”. The sight of HRH Anna Wintour applauding certainly made me proud to be British.

London Fashion Week

Mulberry AW13

We all filed out of the Mulberry show to be greeted by hoards of photographers jostling for a shot of Alexa. Assumedly she must have slipped out the back so they had to make do wit the rest of us. I imagine that Suzy Menkes must have been spitting and the sight of such a sartorial “circus”. Next up was Temperley London at The Dorchester hotel. Queue another mad dash across Mayfair in the direction of Park Lane. Fashion Week has evidently fried my brain because despite having my invitation in hand, I turned up at The Grosvenor hotel, rather than the Dorchester. Once he’d recovered from the initial confusion of my bursting in and blabbering nonsensically about a fashion show, the congierge pointed me in the right direction. I took my seat in the venue’s magnificent ballroom and had a good old gawp at the FROW which included a myriad of major fash eds plus Natalie Massinet and Olivia Palermo. I’m always a sucker for Temperley’s deliciously feminine style and last seasons collection, aptly named, ‘Return to Elegance” left me (almost) speechless. With the AW13 show entitled “Byrds” we expected Hitchcock heroines and as always, what Alice promised, she delivered. Temperley’s latest offerings were the absolute epitome of polished femininity. Cinched waists and classic silhouettes perfectly styled with immaculate chignons, cat eye sunglasses and elbow length gloves. Fine organza, blush hued silk and neat navy ribbon trims exuded a delicate charm while strict tailoring and contrasting cobalt and navy looks hinted at darker side of the Temperley woman. From the figure clinging cashmere polonecks that came tucked into printed midi skirts to the exquisite embellishment tastefully adorning Alice’s evening gowns, everything about this collection was perfectly executed in a palette of delicate cream offset with hits of emerald and gold. I got the sense that while the Temperley woman remains timeless and tirelessly tasteful for AW13, much like the silver screen star who served as this season’s inspiration, she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone.

London Fashion Week

Temperley London AW13

I left The Dorchester exhilerated from what, I’m sure you’ll agree, was a frantic but fantastic morning of shows. During fashion week I find it hard to believe that any sort of normal life or work continues but unfortunately, it does. I had deadlines to meet and about a zillion emailed to go through so decided to head home (via itsu of course) and cram in a few hours hard graft before heading back out later on. Having completed about half of the things on my never-ending “to do” list, watched an episode of Gossip Girl and changed into my new season Whistles leopard jacquard cocktail dress (they were having a party that evening) I headed back over to Somerset House for my last show of the day, Marios Schwab. I know I say this every season but Marios’ was the first show I ever managed to wangle my way into when I attended London Fashion Week for the first time ever back in September 2010. I remember catching a glimpse of Caroline Sieber on the FROW and not being able to believe my luck at attending such a fabulous event. I’m pleased to say that six seasons, three continents and God knows how many shows on, I still have a few “pinch me I’m dreaming” moments every fashion week. This is slightly off topic I know but it’s very easy to start taking the whole thing for granted when actually being there at all is pretty extraordinary, so I just felt it needed to be said. Anyway, enough of my rambling and back to the matter at hand.

London Fashion Week

Marios Schwab AW13

After a start so delayed it put New York to shame, the show opened with a succession of sculpted micro mini shift dresses enhanced with ornate black embroidery and matching ankle length capes. There was an air of the otherworldly to them and an implied complexity, both in terms of design and inspiration. At the same time take away the cape, add a stylish starlet and you could easily imagine spotting one at a fashion party. Indeed it was a collection was full of dualities and the whole thing was slightly odd, but not in a bad way. Embroidered PVC and rich velvets in a palette of pink, burgundy, russet and brown harked back to an earlier age yet were also powerfully futuristic. Fluted sleeves and more caped dresses would have felt almost medieval were they not constructed from complex, high tech fabrics. As always, Marios delivered a few truly jaw dropping, red carpet numbers and the final look – a floor sweeping, nude gown that was almost entirely sheer save for strategically placed glimmers of silver – was nothing short of mesmerizing.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 5 Comments

London Fashion Week AW13: Day 2 Continued

So picking up where we left off yesterday… It’s taken me six seasons to appreciate the London Fashion Week press bus, not to mention work out where and when it leaves. I’ve now decided that its pretty much the best thing ever and seriously wish New York would consider supplying their own. We all piled out of Somerset House and onto the waiting coach (those of us without our own drivers anyway) and headed East for the Julien Macdonald show.

London Fashion Week

Julien Macdonald’s Show Venue

Few do unadulterated glamour quite like Julien and this season he really treated us to one hell of an extravaganza. An unbelievably ornate venue complete with chandeliers containing god knows how many real candles perfectly set the scene for a show that was every bit as opulent, if not more so. You can always expect a high celeb quotient at Julien Macdonald and last weekend he had The Saturdays, Pixie Lott, Mary Charteris and Jamie Winstone on his FROW.  The show notes were headed “Viva Las Vegas” and I certainly couldn’t have thought of a better summary. The collection was basically a succession of spangled, sparkly showgirl numbers with body conscious silhouettes and sheer panelling. There were no wearable separates to be found here but personally I respect Julien for that, he does decadence like no other designer and embraces it shamelessly. Morning after hair and make up added to the in-your-face sexiness of it all but felt fresher than if he’d gone for immaculate grooming.

London Fashion Week

Julien Macdonald AW13

Julien Macdonald’s dresses may have been barely there but the intricate beading on display reflect remarkable amounts of time and skill. So perhaps this collection won’t be featuring on my personal wish list but it was nonetheless pretty incredible. A finale involving glittery gold confetti erupting from the ceiling drove the point home, Julien Macdonald is London’s king of spectacle.

It pays to be on your toes at the end of that kind of show because the second it’s over, the hoards of snap hungry paps descend. Eventually I managed to wrestle my was out and promptly made for the nearest Starbucks to reboot, charge my phone and write the sentance you’re reading now. Two hours and several lattes later it was time to head back to Somerset House once again for the Issa London show. My plan to calmly glide back to the Strand failed miserably when I realised, three quarters of the way there, that I didn’t have my phone. Luckily a very kind stranger had found it in the Starbucks loos so after a panic striken dash across London, I managed to get it back. After yet another high speed, high stress tube journey I made it to the Issa show seconds before the doors closed. Issa designer Daniella Hellayel has built a solid business by delivering luxe looks for stylish but not necessarily fashion forward females however this time around she decided to branch out. Admittedly, every look still exuded glamour, but in a way that was both bolder and subtler that what we’ve seen before. Drawing inspiration from the Navajo Indians, Hellayel experimented with bold geometric prints and diverse fabrics including woven cottons, shearling, cashmere and feather jacquards in a myriad of earthy and eye-popping hues. That’s not to say the the brand’s signature, figure skimming jersey dresses didn’t make an appearence but this time they came layered over skinny ribbed poloneck jumpers for a fresh twist on the staple now synonymous with Issa.

London Fashion Week

Issa London AW13

With five shows down and two yet to go we headed towards Soho at breakneck pace (literally, those shoes!) for House of Holland. This sounds silly to say, but I cannot actually believe how much I loved this collection. After reading the show notes I was fairly dubious. I mean, “1989, acid house” doesn’t exactly sound like my cup of tea. Even when the first look came out I still had my doubts but it wasn’t long before I was completely and utterly smitten. Yes it was loud, proud and unashamedly in-your-face but do you know what? Sometimes subtlety is overrated. This was definitely one of those occasions. Henry Holland delivered a myriad of bold and often downright bizarre prints in acid bright hues, my favourite being a trouser suit covered in Martini glasses. The collection was deliciously kitsch in the best possible way with fluffy pink trims adorning denim jackets, leopard print PVC, luminous orange shearling and metallic puffball skirts. All in all I was totally bowled over by the sheer visual spectacle of House of Holland’s AW13 collection and as for fashioning a catwalk out of endearingly naff 80s carpet… genius.

London Fashion Week

House of Holland AW13

By this point I was in dire, dire need of a glass of Pinot Grigio. Luckily this was a sentiment shared by my fellow bloggers (Alex, Zahrya, Emily, Reem, Natalya and Ella) felt too so we went in search of the nearest free table for seven and to indulge in an hour of wine, cake and gossip. Our appetites sated and thirst quenched, we hit the road once again, heading in the direction of Holborn for a rather special evening engagement. Unless you’re one of those strange individuals who don’t use social media, you’ll probably know that this London Fashion Week heralded the launch of none other than Rhianna’s debut collection for River Island. Unsurprisingly by the time we arrived (fifteen minutes early I might add) the queue was around the block! Eventually we got inside and were welcomed with an oh-so-welcome glass of champagne while we waited for the show to start. I have to say, in terms of lateness Rhi Rhi put even New York designers to shame and things didn’t get going for almost an hour. Not that I was complaining though as the delay afforded us prime people watching opportunities given that everyone from x to Derek Blasberg (who I later made a right tit of myself in front of) was in attendance. Eventually the lights went up and we were treated to a complete and utter spectacle as a bevvy of the most drop-dead-freaking-hot models I’ve ever laid eyes on proceeded to move up and down a vast, scaffolding esque stage set. As for the clothes themself, I was pleasantly surprised as celeb/high street brand collabs can sometimes be a bit of a let down. It was sports luxe meets hip hop with a super sexed up edge but a lot more fashion forward than I anticipated. After Rhianna herself appeared to take her final bow it was well and truly time to party which we did, rather a lot. Several Moscow Mules in I spied Derek Blasberg and decided to go and introduce myself. Naturally this turned into a pathetic, stalkerish “ohmigod I love you” situation but given his sheer fabulousness I think I can be forgiven on this occasion.

London Fashion Week

My night in RHIAN-STAGRAMS!

Any party hosted for or by Rhianna is going to be a good one and this bash did not disappoint in the slightest. Will a will of steel I forced myself to leave at midnight (don’t I deserve a medal!?) and felt positively sprightly the next morning… Result!

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment