After 5 days (and nights) in heels my feet were dying a thousand deaths so I put aside my sky scrapers and went for these rather more comfortable lace-up boots. I paired them with my trusty Marc Jacobs bag and this adorable frill collared blouse, a recent purchase and definite addition to my boyfriend’s “most hated” list. But seeing as he was lovely enough to spend hours taking all these outfit photos for me, I’ll forgive his poor judgement on this occasion. I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for this pleated chiffon mini and felt it deserved a trip to Fashion Week. However as Yvan Rodic of Facehunter kindly pointed out, the slightly bizarre print makes it look as if it’s covered with tiny “cat-monkeys”. Indeed.
First up was Christian Blanken. This talented up-and-comer’s unique take on sports luxe caught my eye in September so I was intrigued to see what Christian would produce this season. After very nearly missing the whole thing due to an incident involving an extra hot latte and a collision with a commuter I finally arrived at Somerset House and took my front row seat at the presentation.
|Christian Blanken AW 2011|
I am thrilled to report that Christian truly outdid himself this season. His trademark sportif aesthetic was still tangible but for AW 2011 the designer has added a serious dose of sophistication. The pieces still feature clean lines and minimal detailing but the introduction of carefully chosen injections of bold colours, form-fitting silhouettes and elegant evening looks give this collection a more feminine feel than the previous. Interesting textural combinations are set to be BIG news next season and Christian mixed his fabrics with the best of them. Crisp cotton, stretch jersey and fine wool was enhanced with leather, fur and even PVC.
|Christian Blanken AW 2011|
Christian’s collection is still very much influenced by the ease of sportswear and his simple zip fastenings, collarless jackets and lack of adornment reflects this sense of urban practicality. All in all I was extremely impressed with Christian’s presentation and the way he has developed his signature style to create this sleek and covetable collection definitely marks him out as one to watch over the next couple of seasons.
After that it was time for a speedy cigarette break before heading into the BFC tent for Marios Schwab. As always, Marios pulled in an impressive crowd including Elle UK Editor, Lorraine Candy, uber blogger, Susie Bubble and the ever-youthful Yasmin Le Bon looking utterly gorgous in new season Christopher Kane.
|Yasmin Le Bon at Marios Schwab|
It was clear to see that Marios has well and truly moved on from the biker chic meets boudouir aesthetic of his SS collection and his latest offerings showcased a powerful, city-slick femininity that was much more to my tastes. The catwalk was awash with figure-hugging day dresses, tailored separates and several traffic stopping gowns. In a striking palette of rich reds, inky blacks, olive greens, navy and citrus shades, Marios gave us a collection that managed to be both high impact and effortless. Detailing was kept simple, lots of leather panelling and only the subtlest of embellishment. Models pounded the catwalk sporting sculptural hair styles and minimal make-up whilst the designer toughened up his dresses with the addition of fierce black leather belts and perfectly positioned buckles.
|Marios Schwab AW 2011|
By the time Marios drew to a close, Iman and I were both feeling a bit peckish so we tottered down the strand to Itsu where we spent a happy half hour gossiping over our sushi before hopping into a cab and heading on to our next show, Roksanda Ilincic.
|Me & Iman at Roksanda Ilincic|
Held at The Institute of Directors, Roksanda’s very venue exuded elegance. With Fashion Editor of the International Herald Tribune, Suzie Menkes on the front row, the pressure was on for this young designer but she certainly rose to the challenge. To the accompaniement of a live pianist, Roksanda gave us modern Godesses clad in opulent colours and luxurious flowing silks. They don’t call her the “Queen of Party Dresses” for nothing and Roksanda really pulled out all the stops for AW 2011 offering up some the most delectable evening gowns, cocktail dresses and wide leg trousers I have ever laid eyes on.
|Roksanda Ilincic AW 2011|
Luxurious fabrics, exquisite detailing and rich jewel tones all came into play and Roksanda’s collection exuded old school glamour with a modern twist. Model’s smouldering eye make up and sleek, wavy locks combined with daring side slits and cuts that skimmed rather than clung to the figure made for seductive yet classy pieces. An opulent collection perfectly suited to it’s beautiful surroundings.
|Roksanda Ilincic AW 2011|
Unfortunately Addison Lee let us down this time so after 10 minutes of frantically searching for our errant taxi, we leapt into a black cab and made a mad dash across London to the Topshop Venue for the Meadham Kirchoff show. However we needn’t have hurried as when we arrived at the venue everyone was still tucking in to the champagne and tasty treats on offer at what may just be my new favourite venue.
|Me & Iman at Meadham Kirchoff|
After 20 minutes or so of mincing I took my 2nd row seat behind Susie Bubble and the show began. Having recently been awarded the title of “Best Young Designers” at the Elle Style Awards, Meadham Kirchoff are undeniably one of the hottest up-and-comers around. Their SS 2011 collection caused waves throughout the industry, creating a divide between the minimalists and those craving something a little more daring and today’s show was just as inspired. Models trotted the runway at high speed clad in Lederhosen, chiffon, petticoats and jaunty hats giving us an energetic and theatrical performance unlike any other.
|Meadham Kirchoff AW 2011|
When the show was over I made for the nearest Starbucks for a much-needed caffeine fix before heading back to the Topshop show space for the Fashion East show. BFC ambassador Samantha Cameron, John Rocha and every Fashion Editor in tow were present on the FROW not to mention Fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy who was knocking back the champers whilst wearing the most fabulous pair of colour-pop boots. This years talented Fashion East-ers (couldn’t resist) James Long, Elliot Atkinson and Simone Rocha truly did London proud, wowing some of Fashion’s most formidable faces with 3 very different but equally innovative collections.
Then it was time to head back to Somerset House and after a quick rendezvous in the press area, it was time for my London Fashion Week show of the season, Ashish.
|Ashish AW 2011|
The BFC tent was packed fit to burst and everyone from Liberty London Girl to Paloma Faith had turned out to see the show. Ashish did not disappoint and gave us unapologetically flashy, urban glamour as only he knows how. Tartan, stripes, distressed fabrics and clashing brights were all thrown into the mix. Every garment was bedazzled top to toe with sequins and served up with attitude.
|Ashish AW 2011|
The collection was punk rock-meets-scruffbag-meets glamour combined with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour. There’s certainly nothing tasteful about Ashish’s AW collection, but that it precisely why we love him.
So, 18 shows, 2 presentations and far too many taxi’s to count later and London Fashion Week has at long last drawn to a close. It has been an exhilerating, fabulous whilwind of parties, blogging and racing around the capital. But as much fun as I’ve had, I have to admit that I’m seriously looking forward to spending the weekend planted on the sofa indulging in a Mad Men marathon.
Love Ella. X