Wearing Whistles Jacket, Skirt & Jumper, Sophia Webster shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs bag, Anne Bowes Jewellery Necklace & AllSaints Scarf
Image by Holly McGlynn
Here we have LFW AW14 Day 4, and only a casual fortnight late, result! Let’s ignore my tardiness and crack on with the matter at hand… the shows. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that LFW day 4 is “the big one”. We’re talking big shows, back to back, non stop from 9am. This season it was also the day that I had to submit my thesis 2nd draft (always during bloody fashion week, I swear they do it on purpose!) and I may have spent the previous night dancing until the wee hours at Matthew Williamson and Jonathan Saunders’ after parties, which made the 7am thesis editing particularly unpleasant. My spirits were soon lifted though as, triple shot (caffeine was much needed) Starbucks skinny latte in hand I leapt on the Piccadilly Line and headed to my first show of the day, Roksanda Ilincic.
Roksanda’s collections have been stellar since her LFW debut back in 2005 yet somehow, she manages to outdo herself time and again. AW14 proved this. The past couple of years have seen the designer moving away from the covetable, easy-to-wear cocktail dresses with which she first made her name. Don’t get me wrong, Roksanda Ilincic still does dresses and seriously great ones at that but she’s not afraid to challenge both herself and her customer. The fact she manages to do so while still creating pieces compelling enough to entice everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to Lily Allen is a true testament to her talent.
Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)
AW14 saw Roksanda building on the artistic inspiration which underpinned her also awesome SS14 collection, offering up sculpted felted wool confections with abstract patterns in wrong-yet-right contrasting colour combinations. Making pointedly uneven hemlines appear the height of sophistication is no mean feat by any account yet in Ilincic’s capable hands, lopsided skirting smoothly bypassed bizarre and simply felt elegantly unusual. The same goes for her colour palette; neutrals, burgundy, plum, orange, cobalt and ice blue all thrown together amid , surely that should be a disaster? Yet, it works, brilliantly. As for the textures, Roksanda really pulled the stops out here. Having begun her experiment with off kilter fabrics some time around AW13, the designer’s latest concoctions involved intricate PVC woven with tartan and 3D plastic embellishment, perfectly counterbalanced by luscious furs, shearlings and lambswools.
Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (Images via Style.com)
Buoyed up by Roksanda’s show I trotted off up Tottenham Court Road for a presentation I was very, very excited. You’ve guessed it, Whistles. Holding a presentation in a stunningly elegant townhouse on Fitzroy Square is to some degree a risky move, especially for what is technically speaking a high street (albeit very high end high street) brand. Didn’t Jane Shepardson worry that the understated expensiveness of the surroundings might detract from collection itself? Not a bit of it, and with good reason. For AW14 Whistles delivered an array of ensembles so exquisitely perfect in their simple chicness one would have been forgiven for assuming they were the wincingly pricey produce of a bonafide luxury label. This is not to say, of course, that the pieces on show were flash. In fact they were the antithesis of bling and that was what made them so incredibly impressive. It’s easy to distract from non-designer-brand fabrics and imperfect cuts with oodles of colour and prints, but Whistles AW14 was a masterclass in polish. Delectably enveloping overcoats in tactile wools, soft shades and oversized checks tempted you to snuggle stylishly inside them. Whistles always gives good knits and this seasons jumpers came roll necked and ribbed, tucked into simple black midi skirts, worn loose over wide leg tailored trousers, and with lashings of nonchalant slouch.
After marvelling at the precision with which they had cut their pleats (seriously, it was mind boggling) I found my way into the eveningwear room and that, my friends, was the moment I knew I was done for. Thick pelted faux furs, delicately embellished tunics and peek-a-boo jumpsuits all in the most delectable shade of lilac! As for the off the shoulder, almost Dior esque sculpted co-ords and glossy navy satins… I fell hard and mentally kissed goodbye to financial solvency come August. This season Whistles had the exact same effect on me as every Phillip Lim show I attend inevitably does; it made me want a whole new wardrobe.
After the joy of seeing two excellent collections all thoughts of “headaches” were long forgotten as I loitered in itsu, munching on salmon sushi while hating myself for wishing next Autumn would just hurry up and get here until it was time to head West for Burberry. I will be forever grateful to the generous folk at Burbs for giving me the benefit of the doubt back in 2011 and inviting me to their shows ever since. It’s always one of my major fashion month highlights and I suspect that will remain the case for as long as I’m in the biz. This season was no different and from my usual seat next to Reem Kanj of Five Five Fabulous and Emily Johnstone of Fashion Foie Gras I witnessed a whole lotta spectacle. First up, there was the thoroughly enjoyable experience of watching Anna Wintour and Bradley Cooper lolling on the FROW. Far from seeming traumatised her unplanned trip to Newcastle, La Wintour was positively beaming every time I saw her! The mind boggles… But anyway, let’s talk clothes.
Anna Wintour & Bradley Cooper
From left: Felicity Jones, Naomi Harris, Tini Tempah, Harry Styles, Alison Mossheart & Mario Testino
As Ed Sheeran’s melodious tones filled the venue (live, no soundtracks here, obvs) the first tousle haired, fair skinned model took to the catwalk adorned in a captivating abstraction. How many variations can one man conjure up based on the classic trench? In the case of Christopher Bailey, it appears the answer to that is infinite. Deconstructed, loosely flung over shoulders and adorned with painterly florals I’m not even sure you could call the latest coverups “trench coats”, they were almost too bohemian for that.
Flowing, barely-there silk and chiffon ensembles evoked images of carefree yet cultivated beauties, just as Bailey’s show notes citing the “Bloomsbury Girls” as his latest inspiration suggested. Silhouettes came far softer than recent seasons (remember last Autumn’s foxy homage to Christine Keeler?!) with teddy bear textures and slouchy shearling adding a sense of warmth to flimsy slips and delicately ruched evening dresses.
Admittedly, it was less up my sartorial street than Spring/Summer’s cinched waists and sweet pastels but that didn’t stop the show, the collection and the entire experience being anything less than magical. The ever impressive final saw Paloma Faith serenade the cast of supermodels all clad in personalised blanket coats drumming home the message that Christopher Bailey had in one full swoop delivered both his most daring, and his softest collection for Burberry yet. No one marries creativity and commercial viability quite like he does.
More from day 4 coming your way soon! For now, I’d love to hear what you think of these collections?
Love Ella. X