The Sunday of London Fashion Week posed a few scheduling issues due to three of my absolute favourite brands deciding to show at three different venues within the space of an hour and a half. In theory, attempting to attend them all sounds nuts but given that the labels in question were Whistles, Mulberry and Temperley, did I really have any other choice?!
I wore… Jacket: Theory, Skirt: Carven, Bag: Mulberry, Shoes: Kurt Geiger, Jumper: Mango, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery
Having managed to tear myself away from Rhi Rhi’s bash the night before (smug moi?) at a relatively reasonable hour, I trotted down to Dover Street with a spring in my step and a steaming Starbucks latte in my hand, excited to see what my beloved Whistles had in store for AW13. Given the ridiculously tight turnaround between that and my next show I felt ever-so-slightly tense but all angst faded as soon as the first look hit the runway. Jane Shepardson never ceases to amaze me with her intuitive knowledge of what women want to wear. Since she took the rains back in 2008 Whistles has gone from forgotton-by-fashion, slightly mumsy brand to purveyor of cutting edge, covetable cool. I felt that this collection, and the fact that the likes of Liberty London Girl risked missing Mulberry to see it, was a testament to the transformation it’s undergone. Camo print is proving to be a major trend for AW13 (more on that later) and the Whistles show opened with a series of army inspired looks boasting sculptural silhouettes and utility detailing. Another next season fashion obsession is leather (probably don’t need to tell you that by know) and Jane’s latest offerings included some of the most stylish skins I’ve spotted in shades of classic black, deepest navy and forest green. There were also marbled prints and chunky knits that will no doubt sell out in seconds while darkly glimmering sparkle reminded us that Whistles also caters for after dark. Overall the collection epitomised the kind of sleek femininity that feels so relevant now and best of all, provided those of us without mega bucks to buy into it.
So I mentioned in one of my New York posts that the end of a fashion show always heralds an unholy and deeply undignified stampede to leave the venue? In that respect none of those shows had anything on Whistles! The models took their final turn at approximately 10.51am, 9 minutes before Mulberry was due to start. According to my ever helpful Google Maps App the walk to Claridges was around half a mile and would take 11 minutes. While fashion shows
generally always start late, this was Mulberry and I didn’t want to take any chances. So I decided to run the entire way, wearing 6 inch heels, possibly not world’s best decision. By the time I arrived (in under the google maps advised time) I was a sweaty mess and in danger of fainting. Naturally the show started almost half an hour behind schedule but hey, at least I didn’t miss it. Mulberry always give excellent FROW and this season’s line up was suitably A List. On one side sat Anna Wintour bedecked in new season Prada, on the other were Alexa Chung, Lana Del Rey and Juno Temple.
From right: Alexa Chung, Lana del Rey & Juno Temple
I absolutely, unadulteratedly adored Mulberry’s SS13 collection so my hopes were high for this season. Luckily, and not surprisingly, I wasn’t disappointed. Inspired by rural England, Emma Hill offered up botanical prints rich shades of forest green (I spy another trend!) and navy blue. There was a homespun meets high fash air to the collection thanks to iconic checks and thick tweeds incorporated into everything from sparkle trimmed capes to sequin embellished shift dresses. Voluminous leg-of-mutton sleeves upped the catwalk anti while glossy leather skirt suits looked so buttersoft it was all I could do not to touch them. Texture is always perfectly executed at Mulberry and this season was particularly luscious with fur, shearling, angora, silk crepe, organza applique and gleaming brocade all on the table. After Cara Delevigne closed the show (natch) the models all trooped out to the rousing tune of “Rule Brittania”. The sight of HRH Anna Wintour applauding certainly made me proud to be British.
We all filed out of the Mulberry show to be greeted by hoards of photographers jostling for a shot of Alexa. Assumedly she must have slipped out the back so they had to make do wit the rest of us. I imagine that Suzy Menkes must have been spitting and the sight of such a sartorial “circus”. Next up was Temperley London at The Dorchester hotel. Queue another mad dash across Mayfair in the direction of Park Lane. Fashion Week has evidently fried my brain because despite having my invitation in hand, I turned up at The Grosvenor hotel, rather than the Dorchester. Once he’d recovered from the initial confusion of my bursting in and blabbering nonsensically about a fashion show, the congierge pointed me in the right direction. I took my seat in the venue’s magnificent ballroom and had a good old gawp at the FROW which included a myriad of major fash eds plus Natalie Massinet and Olivia Palermo. I’m always a sucker for Temperley’s deliciously feminine style and last seasons collection, aptly named, ‘Return to Elegance” left me (almost) speechless. With the AW13 show entitled “Byrds” we expected Hitchcock heroines and as always, what Alice promised, she delivered. Temperley’s latest offerings were the absolute epitome of polished femininity. Cinched waists and classic silhouettes perfectly styled with immaculate chignons, cat eye sunglasses and elbow length gloves. Fine organza, blush hued silk and neat navy ribbon trims exuded a delicate charm while strict tailoring and contrasting cobalt and navy looks hinted at darker side of the Temperley woman. From the figure clinging cashmere polonecks that came tucked into printed midi skirts to the exquisite embellishment tastefully adorning Alice’s evening gowns, everything about this collection was perfectly executed in a palette of delicate cream offset with hits of emerald and gold. I got the sense that while the Temperley woman remains timeless and tirelessly tasteful for AW13, much like the silver screen star who served as this season’s inspiration, she doesn’t take sh*t from anyone.
Temperley London AW13
I left The Dorchester exhilerated from what, I’m sure you’ll agree, was a frantic but fantastic morning of shows. During fashion week I find it hard to believe that any sort of normal life or work continues but unfortunately, it does. I had deadlines to meet and about a zillion emailed to go through so decided to head home (via itsu of course) and cram in a few hours hard graft before heading back out later on. Having completed about half of the things on my never-ending “to do” list, watched an episode of Gossip Girl and changed into my new season Whistles leopard jacquard cocktail dress (they were having a party that evening) I headed back over to Somerset House for my last show of the day, Marios Schwab. I know I say this every season but Marios’ was the first show I ever managed to wangle my way into when I attended London Fashion Week for the first time ever back in September 2010. I remember catching a glimpse of Caroline Sieber on the FROW and not being able to believe my luck at attending such a fabulous event. I’m pleased to say that six seasons, three continents and God knows how many shows on, I still have a few “pinch me I’m dreaming” moments every fashion week. This is slightly off topic I know but it’s very easy to start taking the whole thing for granted when actually being there at all is pretty extraordinary, so I just felt it needed to be said. Anyway, enough of my rambling and back to the matter at hand.
Marios Schwab AW13
After a start so delayed it put New York to shame, the show opened with a succession of sculpted micro mini shift dresses enhanced with ornate black embroidery and matching ankle length capes. There was an air of the otherworldly to them and an implied complexity, both in terms of design and inspiration. At the same time take away the cape, add a stylish starlet and you could easily imagine spotting one at a fashion party. Indeed it was a collection was full of dualities and the whole thing was slightly odd, but not in a bad way. Embroidered PVC and rich velvets in a palette of pink, burgundy, russet and brown harked back to an earlier age yet were also powerfully futuristic. Fluted sleeves and more caped dresses would have felt almost medieval were they not constructed from complex, high tech fabrics. As always, Marios delivered a few truly jaw dropping, red carpet numbers and the final look – a floor sweeping, nude gown that was almost entirely sheer save for strategically placed glimmers of silver – was nothing short of mesmerizing.
Love Ella. X