LFW SS14: Day 1

LFW SS14

So after nine crazy days in New York and one distinctly less crazy day battling jet lag in my pyjamas, come Friday 13th (ominous or fabulous?) it was time for LFW to begin! Despite getting up at 6am in an unsuccessful attempt to make a dent in my to do list and not having a show until 11, I somehow managed to end up running hideously late, sprinting up the Strand Starbucks in hand and almost breaking both ankles in the process. It was also grey, drizzly and depressing weather which made me rather miss the NYC heat, despite all my whinging at the time. Still despite the stress and the miserable weather, I was excited to get cracking with the second leg of fashion month.

LFW SS14

I wore: Tibi dress, Maje jacket, Anne Bowes Jewellery necklace, Monica Vinader rings, Kurt Geiger shoes & 3.1 Phillip Lim bag
Image by Holly McGlynn

My first show of London Fashion Week SS14 was Felder Felder. The twins boast a considerable celeb following so it was no surprise to spot Dionne Bromfield, Donna Air, Yasmin Le Bon, Laura Whitmore and Kate Nash on the FROW. Once we were all in our seats the lights went up and the first model took to the catwalk in an ice white, virtually sheer jumpsuit. As you know, I’m a big Felder Felder fan and have swirled around many a dancefloor in the talented German sister act’s cocktail numbers. That said, my feelings about their latest offerings were a little mixed. In many ways it was a very brave collection indeed. Drawing inspiration from the life aquatic, Daniella and Annette Felder concocted an array of shimmering ensembles featuring expertly teased textures, frothy chiffon, translucent latex and sculpted skirts with ruffled waists reminiscent of open mouthed clams. The palette was a deep sea blend of coral, seaweed green, turquoise and pearlescent monochrome shades with fishscale motifs adapting the designers’ signature use of print to their SS14 theme. But despite the bold use of modern fabrics and clearly referenced starting point, much as I wanted to love this collection I didn’t. There were of course some incredibly covetable pieces in the mix – yes, fit n’ flare party dresses I’m talking to YOU – but for me, it didn’t have the same cohesive polish as some of Felder Felder’s previous collections. The skill, imagination and fearlessness were all there but I felt there were one or two too many looks that weren’t quite up to the standard of the others. That said, this season did demonstrate that the design duo are capable of far, far more than flirty frocks (although they continue to do them par excellence) so I can’t wait to see where they take this next season.

One of the nicest things about coming back to London Fashion Week after New York is running into friendly faces absolutely everywhere. Admittedly this can make it hard to get from show to show but five days of catwalk shows, presnetations and parties with people you know well and genuinely like a lot is always a warm and fuzzy, if bloody exhausting, experience. After spending rather too long mincing around the courtyard telling tales from the Big Apple to any poor person who’d listen I found myself appallingly late for the Ostwald Helgason presentation. Given my obsession with this particular label-of-the-moment, missing it would have resulted in a fashion week meltdown so I basically ran all the way to Soho in my pretty but painful heels, arriving at Kettners a sweaty mess and having to lurk around a corner for ten minutes to compose myself. Once inside, the collection erased all thoughts of pulverised toes, it was quite simply joyful. Susanne Ostwald and Ingvar Helgason have been making pretty major waves these past few seasons and their SS14 designs should prove beyond any shadow of doubt that these two wont be disappearing anytime soon. The punchy prints, pitch perfect colour clashing and razor sharp cuts that earned them the support of Taylor Tomasi Hill (and God knows how many other fashion forces to be reckoned with) were at their very best this season with graphic, multi coloured florals adorning neatly tailored separates in cheerfully clashing hues.

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

Perfectly pleated midi skirts with wide stripes were paired with geek chic short sleeved shirts and accessorised with pieces from the brand’s divine ALDO Rise collection. But while playful, cartoon dog motif sweaters were, like everything else, utterly wearable, that’s not to discredit Susanne and Ingvar’s innovative use of fabric. Sheer panelled sweatshirts, chiffon pleat inserts, florals peeking from behind opaque overlays, lurex tees that almost appeared to be melting all belied the designers’ formidable talent. They simply deliver their creations with a hearty dose of fun, just the way I like it.

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

LFW SS14

Ostwald Helgason SS14

After a slightly stressful hour during which I attempted to attend a lunch that was actually on a different day altogether, organise my clashing evening schedule and make a trip to Whistles to collect my outfit for their show the next day I arrived back at Somerset House for my first show of the afternoon, Christopher Raeburn. While I know Raeburn is an immensely talented designer, his utility focused designs have never really done it for me personally. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone, I’m more of a chiffon and lace than re-appropriated military fabrics kinda girl, but Christopher changed all that this season. Opening with a mesmerising fashion film, the aptly named “Mirage” collection was a shining example of a young designer branching out while staying true to their signature aesthetic. Opening with form fitted, neoprene looks in two tone black and neon blue, the show progressed into shirt dresses and sportswear inspired separated in technical fabrics featuring prints based on antique Ordinance Survey maps. The utilitarian aspect was certainly there – think drawstring waist parkas, pocketed shirt dresses and neat bombers, but the introduction of more luxurious fabrics such as quilted jacquard and rich indigo linen gave his womenswear a pulled together femininity that hasn’t been so clear to see in previous collections. In a platte of soft putty hues, navy, crisp whites and even pink with perfectly coordinating accessories Christopher Raeburn’s designs for us ladies were as strong as his menswear this season, no mean feat by any account.

LFW SS14

Christoper Raeburn SS14 (images via Style.com)

Next up was a designer who’s collection I was particularly excited to see, the lovely Eudon Choi. If you spied my LFW piece for Notion Magazine then you’ll know that Eudon rated highly on my “must see shows” and boy, did he pull out all the stops this season. In fact, I would go so far as to say that his was one of the most impressive collections I saw here in Blighty or across the pond in NYC. A magnificent mansion on Pall Mall provided the perfect setting for a collection that called to mind the delicate grace of a Japanese princess. Our seats were so close to the catwalk we could have reached out and touch the clothes, an urge I struggled not to give in too as each exquisite look glided past. Eudon has made his name through delivering peerless feminine minimalism and this seasons offerings were perhaps his most refined yet. Delicately sculpted shapes moulded asymmetric hemmed dresses, tee-and-shorts two pieces and immaculate corsetry layered over short sleeved shirts for that quintessentially Choi boyish twist. Indeed, the contrasts between fluidity and structure, girlish beauty and strong androgyny was a key theme here, articulated it perfectly by way of clean tailoring and crisp cottons paired with intricately embroidered silk and delicate, watercolour floral prints. The designer’s inspiration for SS14 was an ancient tale of a Korean Princesses loveless marriage to a Japanese King, a subject that could easily err on the side of costume or pastiche. But while the references were plain to see – oriental bloom motifs, kimono inspired pyjama silks and ornate headdresses – an underlying simplicity kept the whole thing fresh, contemporary and distinctly non contrived.

LFW SS14

Eudon Choi SS14 (images via Style.com)

The collection’s childlike, innocent beauty could have got a little too pure had it not been for the welcome addition of stripes and hits of super bright blue and pink. Of course, Eudon knew this, and kept us on our toes with the surprising and stunning addition of the aforementioned eye poppers. All in all, it was both inspiring and inspired. I’m not the first or last person to say this but pretty soon, Eudon Choi is going to be massive.

We filed out of the venue unanimously proclaiming our love for Eudon and his work. Happily, Naomi had her own car for LFW (she is the Fash Ed of a pretty major publication after all!) which naturally I hitched a ride in basically all week. If anyone fancies lending me their driving services next season there will be many a goodie bag in it for you, but enough shamelessness, and let’s crack on with day 1’s final show. Jean-Pierre Braganza is both a brilliant person and a very interesting designer. This season’s collection was particularly intriguing as it saw him trying something new. Inspired by the way his daughter and her friends wear their school uniform (cute!) Braganza opened his show with a wide striped, A Line skirt suit; perfectly insouciant, a little bit Clueless and exactly my cup of tea. Indeed the collection had a girly girl meets total badass feel with candy pinks, chiffons and silks given a dose of attitude by way of slouchy tailoring, thigh slits, biker style waistcoats and Jean-Pierre’s trademark moody red and black prints.

Braganza

Jean-Pierre Braganza SS14

I was more than a little dubious about the drop crotch city shorts and rather wish he’d forsaken the sportswear references but there were some killer looks on show and it was refreshing to see another designer with such a clearly defined aesthetic take things in a slightly different direction.

Love Ella. X

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