Throughout my six seasons of fashion week-ing I’ve been lucky enough never to go into it ill. Hungover, sure. Stressed, of course. But actually, genuinely, doctors trip worthy ill? Never. Or at least I hadn’t until LCM SS14. Somewhere between end of term deadlines, doing all the various work-y things I’d been putting off until meeting said deadlines and partying like it was 1999 purely because the sun decided to make a (very brief) appearance, my immune system failed me. As LCM approached I was a snivelling wreck with a mouth full of ulcers and a handbag full of assorted antibiotics and painkillers. But of course, the fashion calendar cares not a jot for lurgies so come Sunday morning I was clad in my Peter Pilotto pencil skirt and off to the shows. Deathly though I felt, I did get some satisfaction from the fact that unlike everyone else I was not suffering the after effects of the previous evenings opening parties, thank god for small mercies eh?
I wore: Skirt: Peter Pilotto, Jacket: Gap, T-Shirt: Zoe Karssen, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery, Bag: Mulberry, Shoes: Vince Camuto, Plasters: Corner shop
After spotting a few of my favourite fashion fellows loitering outside the Hospital Club, we all headed inside for the opening brunch hosted my Dylan Jones and Dermot O’Leary. There’s nothing like a morning mingle to lift the spirits and by the time we set off for presentation number one I felt almost human again.
John Smedley SS14
Menswear expert I’m most certainly not but I know which labels I love and John Smedley is one of them. Last seasons funky fair isle knits went straight on the wish list and the latest collection contained an endless array of striped tees in kalaidescopic colours. The models were suitably gorgeous in that wholesome, clean cut, preppy way I personally adore. Staged around retro gym equipment, the collection was a chic reimagining of old school sports gear with cute polos and two tone joggers a’plenty. There was a fair amount I fancied taking home with me, and I’m not (just) referring to the models.
John Smedley SS14
One of the nicest things about LCM is how totally relaxed it is. Much as I adore the dizzying, adrenaline pumping pace of women’s fashion month, three days of casually strolling from show to show with plenty of time to stop for coffee and gossip is a total treat. After a lunch that should have been leisurely but was in fact extremely painful thanks to my ulcer sitch, I tottered through Covent Garden to the St Martins Lane hotel. As you may remember, I adore the place and have spent many enjoyable evenings wining and dining there. For the duration of LCM the hotel had joined forces with MR PORTER to host a mini oasis of phone charging facilities and fabulousness AKA, a blogging suite. With my iPhone battery depressingly depleted I made straight for the suite and indulged in a spot of down time lounging on the king sized bed. Tempted though I was to call it a day, slip into some MR PORTER pyjamas and order room service the next show on my schedule was one I wouldn’t miss for the world, Ada + Nik.
Ada + Nik SS14
Nik Thakkar is not only a great friend of mine but one of the most multi talented, insanely driven people I know. Not content with owning his own branding consultancy, Nephew London and cult blog, KARL IS MY UNKLE as well as presenting, judging and doing about a zillion other very impressive things, Nik decided to team up with Ada Zanditon to design a menswear collection. As for the collection itself, well, Ada + Nik outdid themselves. Luxe, directional and super sexy without even hinting at tack, every luscious leather piece or slice of razor sharp tailoring was the epitome of fashion forward modernity. A while back I heard rumours that the collection would feature “ethically sourced human hair”. Naturally I’ve been pestering Nik to tell me more ever since (he didn’t) but having finally seen it adorning a jet black tee I can assure that while it may sound weird, it certainly works.
Judging from the responses I spied around the fash packed presentation, I wasn’t the only person to be seriously impressed. Huge congratulations to Nik and Ada, I predict great things ahead.
Up next was my first catwalk show of the day, MAN at the always awesome Topshop venue. For those who don’t know, MAN is the menswear equivalent of Fashion East, the emerging designer support initiative responsible for launching the careers of Jonathan Saunders, Gareth Pugh, Richard Nicoll and Simone Rocha to name but a few. As one would expect, the FROW was a veritable “who’s who” of industry insiders and I immediately spotted Paula Reed, Natalie Massenet, Dylan Jones and Caroline Rush. But my people watching was soon to be curtailed as the lights dimmed, heralding the first of this season’s chosen three, Bobby Abley. One of the many brilliant things about watching a MAN (or Fashion East) show is the experience of seeing three collections as diverse in style as they are similar in innovation. This was certainly the case with the SS14 line up. Ravensbourne graduate, Bobby Abley kicked things off with a collection that combined kitsch, cartoon prints with high tech fabrics and sportswear silhouettes. Sugary shades and teddy bear prints gave things a playful, pyjama esque feel all the while underpinned by the kind of skill that allowed gossamer fine sheer jersey to come adorned with tweetie bird motifs as if by magic.
Bobby Abley SS14
Designer number was another newcomer to the MAN catwalk, Dublin born Alan Taylor. A glance at the show notes promised an exploration of “how we perceive the world around us”, a tall order but one that Taylor was evidently more than capable of. At the LCM Opening Brunch that morning, GQ Editor Dylan Jones had described London as the “global home of menswear” and designers like Alan Taylor are proof that might bold statement might have some truth to it. The young Irishman’s SS14 offerings consisted of incredible, reworked tailoring. Classic tweeds and hand painted linens came crafted into a series of oh-so-stylish contradictions; rough hewn yet sleek, clean cut yet unfinished, traditional yet powerfully modern. Taylor’s designs were organic, imaginative and experimental but so skilfully executed it appeared effortless, any menswear designers reading should watch out for this one!
Alan Taylor SS14
Last but not least was Craig Green. I don’t know whether you remember my post on Craig’s AW13 collection back in January (how time flies!) so to recap briefly, it was bold, brave and brilliant involving sculptural and slightly scar head pieces. Based around the concept of “chaos and control”, Green’s SS14 show took things to the next level. Head dresses were bigger, colours brighter and the designer’s trademark focus on DIY had resulted in an incredible fusion of digital printed and hand-dyed fabrics. Masterful material manipulation and textural juxtaposition married with mesmerising originality. The jury’s still out on whether anyone will or indeed can wear most of it but Craig Green’s sheer talent is undeniable… Budding Gareth Pugh of menswear perhaps?
Craig Green SS14
By this point my deathly, lurgi situation had made a comeback so I headed to Boots where I demanded the strongest painkillers money could buy (they didn’t help) before making a much needed Starbucks trip. I’m also going to leave this post here in the interest of not actually boring you all to death, more show reports (and pictures of hot boys) coming your way tout suite!
Love Ella. X