Wearing Club Monaco jacket (c/o), French Connection jumper, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Erdem at THE OUTNET skirt (available here), Nicholas Kirkwood for Erdem shoes (sample sale purchase) & Anya Hindmarch bag (sample)
Image by Holly McGlynn
Last season, by LFW day 5 I felt like a dead person walking. Ten plus days and nights of NYFW madness followed by four in london had, unsurprisingly, rather knocked the stuffing out of me. This time however, I felt energised to the point of being really quite irritating. The fact that the lovely folk at Birchbox had given me one of their fabulous taxis for the whole day only added to my smugness. I must say, having the use of my own car (with the bonus of world’s most charming driver and Birchbox beauty treats inside) was absolutely amazing, oh if only this could become a fashion week habit, here’s hoping. My look for the day felt very AW14 in the fact that it revolved around the colour blue which, as had definitely been established by this point, is set to be the hottest hue (or “warmest colour” one might say… Sorry) come autumn.
First on the agenda was Anya Hindmarch, a show I always look forward to. How Anya creates quite such catwalk spectacle to display her handbags is a true testament to the creative flair that keeps her global brand at the top of the accessories tree. Last season saw models suspended from zip wires, floating among an outer space installation, the season before an animatronic extravaganza based around board games. Yet, despite all that awesomeness, I strongly suspected Anya Hindmarch wasn’t about to rest on her laurels. And of course, she didn’t. A glance at the show notes revealed that AW14 would be all about elevating the ordinary, something Anya is undoubtedly adept at. This is a woman who sends the notoriously hard to wow fash pack into a frenzy over coin purses and phone cases after all.
Anya Hindmarch AW14
As a smile inducing soundtrack struck up the runway, painted to resemble a bar code, began to move and out came models clad in ice white mini dresses clutching accessories which sent us into paroxysms of over excitement. Along Anya’s supermarket conveyor belt came clutches bearing all manner of would-be mundane motifs from Daz’s to Kellogs by way of Swan cigarettes. Hindmarch’s classic Bathurst bag saw the addition of Tony the Tiger and I reckon the Coco pops box clutch will be next season’s instagrammable “it” piece. With playful, pop culture references in flawlessly high quality leathers and the retro mood kept modern with clean lines and understated styling, the show exemplified Anya’s knack of fusing cuteness and craftsmanship to make luxury a whole lot of fun. As a troop of braces clad male dancers performed a choreographed finale, there wasn’t a sombre face in the house.
I left the venue with a spring in my step, regardless of the truly agonising footwear I was rocking (the old adage that expensive heels hurt less? Absolute rubbish), leapt in my waiting Birchbox car and sped across town to Somerset House for OSMAN. Through a combination of back to back scheduling and personal incompetence I’ve managed to miss OSMAN show for several seasons in unfortunately succession. Well, I cannot tell you how happy I am to have made this one. It was utterly sublime. The show notes informed me that Mr Yousefzada would be introducing a “jet-set Bohemian” for AW14 I was a little dubious, after all, you know how I usually feel about all things boho. But this, my friends, was a million miles from the peasant skirts and hempy tops that make me want to spend the rest of my days clad head-to-toe in black leather in protest.
OSMAN AW14 (Images via Style.com)
The immaculately precise cuts, bold colour blocking and city chic sophistication that constitute OSMAN’s calling card were all in place but, as promised, they had been given a joyful, jet set twist inspired by the travels of Talitha Getty. Shimmering floral brocades came combined with super bright separates in cobalt blue and sunshine yellow, further enhanced by equally eye popping fur scarves, intricate beading, Ottoman tile brocades, clutch bags with pop art hand motifs and playful fringing. As the show progressed, the palette did too, into delectable blush pinks, rich grey velvets and burnished golds culminating in a Red Carpet ready finale of sleekly tailored ensembles adorned with embellished cobweb esque overlays. Razor sharp asymmetric hemlines and one shoulder tops and dresses drummed home the message, OSMAN may be feeling footloose and fancy free this season but his articulation has lost none of its covetable crispness.
OSMAN AW14 (Images via Style.com)
For the last day of LFW, this was rather a busy one, and the second OSMAN took his bow I had to leg it if I wanted any hope of making Fashion East. Going to completely the wrong place put a spanner in the works (entirely my own fault, I was to busy Instagramming to pay any attention) but I made it just in the nick of time and was rather pleased to find myself on the FROW. This season’s all female line up kicked off with the debut collection from recent Westminster graduate, Louise Alsop. Between the grungy layering, mega frayed hems and plimsols plus shredded socks styling, this was certainly not a collection for girly girls and Kate Spade aficionados. That said, Alsop pulled off this moody, rebellious aesthetic perfectly but her punkish attitude had an underlying technical precision. Louise Alsop’s frayed edges were underpinned by sharp cuts and those minty pastel greens were as alluring as they were badass. These were thoughtfully crafted clothes for the girl who parties hard, refuses to wear heels and definitely couldn’t care less about ripped stockings.
Louise Alsop AW14 (Images via Style.com)
Next up came Central Saint Martins alum and Craig Green collaborator, Helen Lawrence. Lawrence’s AW14 offerings were as avant guard as one would expect, think thick wools sculpted into extraordinary, oversized shapes and natural fabrics distressed, deconstructed and reworked almost unrecognisable from their former selves. High shine PVC, neoprene and vinyl in an urban palette were softened with shades of powder pink and jean blue, further adding to Helen Lawrence’s fascinatingly contradictory aesthetic.
Helen Lawrence AW14 (Images via Style.com)
Last but most certainly not least was Ashley Williams. An A-list fave already and, I have to admit, her work couldn’t be more up my street. Inspired by “Mississippi country girls, Calamity Jane and trouble in Prairie Land” Williams delivered an unashamedly, deliciously fun collection that bypassed bad taste by the skin of its teeth and I wish could have landed straight in my wardrobe. There were patchworked jeans, scaredy cat motifs, fabulously tongue-in-cheek horse detail leathers and fringing in neon brights and space age metallics. This was Little House on the Prairie on an acid trip, in the best way imaginable. It may have been tongue-in-cheek but there was mastery behind the mischief and an excellent array of fabric combinations including sumptuous silks juxtaposed with rawhide leathers, metallics and snakeskin.
Ashley Williams AW14 (Images via Style.com)
Bright, punchy, patterned and kitcsh underpinned by remarkable technical talent, Ashley Williams deserves all the hype she gets and more. Oh those pig shaped clutches! I’d pair them with Sophia Webster pom pom heels and non-fashion folk would think I was completely unhinged!
My penultimate engagement of LFW day 5, after a much needed itsu pitstop, was Tata Naka. As a lover of all things involving lashings of print and colour, it’s probably not a shocker that I heart this label. Inspired by interior designer, the Surguladze twins’ latest offerings boasted prints and appliqué in rainbow shades paying homage to the paintings of Matisse, Persian rugs, Aubusson carpets, hand-painted wall papers, ceramic tiles and porcelain china.
Tata Naka AW14
Fabrics were a carefully crafted and wonderfully sumptuous combination of georgette, silk crepe de chine and luxurious wool crepe given an edge by the introduction bonded silk neoprene. As always, there was a lot going on visually, but the elegant modernity of Tata Naka’s silhouettes renders AW14 another beautifully wearable collection.
Meadham Kirchoff invitation
What better way to bid LFW adieu than with a show from Meadham Kirchoff? I certainly can’t think of one, so it was a treat to see off another season with another of their riotous catwalk extravaganzas. Having produced umpteen critically acclaimed collections in a row, released a sell out Topshop collection and more recently, a fragrance with Penhaligons, Edward Meadham and Ben Kirchoff are undoubtedly on something for a roll. Judging by their AW14 offerings, this roll looks set to continue for the forseeable future, if not forever. A catwalk decorated with supersized hearts and metallic streamers played host to a collection that was both wonderfully pretty and a true testament to the designer’s technical prowess. There were pinks, purples and sparkles a’plenty but those sugar sweet boucle and scarlet check skirt suits came fully hand embroidered.
Meadham Kirchoff AW14
Frothy tiered dresses in delicate French lace and semi sheer chiffon, luxurious crystal trimmed velvets, midnight dévoré and painstaking hand-embellishment all added to the sense that things may have looked like sweetness and light but there was some formidable craftsmanship behind it. As always with Meadham Kirchoff, there remained a hint of saccharine subversion, this time around in the form of a fucked up Park Avenue Princess vibe. That said, it was a rather more wearable take than in previous seasons and I suspect those graphic patterned velvet numbers will fly off the shelves. God knows if I can get my grubby mitts on any of it, I most definitely will.
Meadham Kirchoff AW14
So there we have it, another LFW over and out! I hope you’ve enjoyed my daily diaries. Until September…
Love Ella. X