Shoes: Kurt Geiger
Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim
First on my LFW agenda was Zoe Jordan at Mercer Street Studios. An impressive FROW including Poppy Delevigne, Jameela Jamil, Harold Tillman, Vogue’s Sarah Harris and Grazia’s Lily Russo confirmed Zoe’s status as a British designer worth knowing. Even more impressive was the fact she had only given birth a few weeks ago!
The show opened with a sequence of girly-yet-sporty looks featuring baby pink and palest white leather pieces with cotton jersey inserts. Varsity style jackets, crop tops, caps and wet look hair upped the athletic effect. The clean lines and embellishment free aesthetic was a departure from what we’ve seen from Zoe in previous seasons and allowed for the designer to have fun with green metallic leather. Sounds dodgy but trust me, it worked. Next came abstract digital prints applied to simple shifts and loose fit trouser suits. Striped summer tailoring and an array of shimmering party-ready numbers at the end were more reminiscent of the Zoe Jordan style I personally love. Perhaps not my favourite of Zoe’s collections, but then again I’m not mad on sports luxe. All in all a good start to day 1 and it was time to make for Somerset House.
Up next was Maria Grachvogel and having been captivated by her eye-watering brights last summer and art deco glamour for AW12, I was looking forward to seeing what new delights she had in store for us. Maria’s February show was my first real front row experience and I was thrilled to be back there this season. Not least because it afforded me an unbelievable view of what was a truly beautiful collection. My fellow FROW-ers and I (smug, moi?) collectively drew breath as the first look sashayed down the runway. An ethereal vision in pure white chiffon, followed by softly tailored white shirting, underpinned by Triumph Lingerie. The rest of the show flowed as seamlessly as Maria’s signature jumpsuits with a colour palette that moved from virginal white through to soft blush tones and delicate mink hues before erupting into hand painted prints and vivid shades of sunset yellow, forest green and finally crimson. The designers masterful drapery, fluid chiffons and show stopping, red carpet worthy gowns were as perfect as ever this season and as for the surprising yet delectable skater dress that appeared draped in semi-sheer organza, well, I can’t help but feel that it has my name on it.
After a quick cigarette-and-Starbucks run it was back into the BFC tent for show number three, Corrie Nielsen. Ensconced in the front row with my pals Stylenoir Editor, James Joseph, photographer Merry Phillips, Peony Lim and newly appointed style.com Middle East fashion editor, Tala Samman I couldn’t have been happier. Much as I adored New York, it’s been lovely being back in on familiar ground and not being able to take two paces without bumping into someone I know! Anyway, enough about that and back to the matter at hand, Corrie’s collection. And what a collection it was! The designer is renowned for her avant guard, fantastic creations and this season she truly undid herself. Drawing inspiration from London’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Corrie delivered an array of sculptural concoctions in a palette of nudes, greens and palest gold hues. The show was a master class in fabric manipulation with ribbon moulded into figure-swathing petals, enhanced with organza peplums and gossamer fine trains of ivory silk. Anyone who views fashion as purely commercial need only see a Corrie Nielson show. While elegant separates had the necessary wearability factor, her blush pink and leaf-detailed dresses were undeniably works of art.
With precisely 9 minutes until my next show, I made a mad dash up to Covent Garden where Aussie brand, Willow were displaying their latest collection at the London Film Museum. Generally speaking, I try to choose as chunky a heel as possible during fashion week as the thicker the heel, the more easily you can move at speed. This time around I opted for a chic but incredibly impractical pair of pointed stilettos, shoes not made for walking but they worked so well with my outfit I had to live with it. Luckily I made it in time to take my seat (thus giving my poor tootsies a brief respite) and once the Vogue team and and singer Karin Park had taken there places on the FROW, the show could begin. This season designer Kit Willow explored the concept of dream and fantasy by way of contrasting fabrics and the illusion of transparency. Leather pieces were combined with gossamer fine wisps of semi-sheer organza in a palette of nudes and monochrome tones which evolved into rich shades of orange and crimson with bursts of aqua blue and mint green. Form fitting looks and zip detailing gave flowing drapery, soft linen and ruched chiffon were given a sharp, modern edge, offering an impressive interpretation of underwear as outerwear that oozed high fashion femme fatal.
By this point I was in dire need of caffeine so I made for the nearest Starbucks to reboot and attempt to get some work done. One hour and two large lattes later I was ready to head back into the fray for my penultimate show of the afternoon, Jean Pierre Braganza. I’ve been a big fan of Jean-Pierre (both his work and him generally)for a while now and having adored (and worn) his previous collection, I was excited to see what he’d got I store for SS13. This time around the designer teamed up with Ukranian ethno-modern artist Zinaida Liacheva to create abstract prints based on the organic slashes of deep colour that appear in her paintings. Braganza is a designer who always combines tailoring and drapery beautifully and he added a feminine edge to this seasons’ sharp shouldered jackets and sleek silhouettes with perfectly placed swathes of sensual fabric. The show opened with a series of slick, monochrome looks before moving into apocalyptic crimson and eye-watering aqua, complemented by loose French plaits and abstract stripes of eye make up in the same delectable shade of blue. All in all the collection was both directional yet wearable, with asymmetric hemlines and mesh overlays adding the trademark Braganza edge to simple shift dresses in softer hues.
After a quick trip to itsu for a much-needed salmon sushi box I was back at Somerset House for show number 6. Felder.Felder is another brand who’s dresses I’ve worn as often as I can get my hands on them and their good-girl-gone-bad aesthetic always makes for an enjoyable show. I evidently wasn’t the only person excited to see the collection and the BFC tent soon turned into utter chaos. As my friend sagely commented, the concept of politeness goes out the window during fashion week and the queue to enter the venue resembled a particularly vicious rugby scrum. Eventually we were all in our seats and the lights went up to reveal Kate Nash in a flared Felder.Felder ensemble. The stylish songstress continued to sing live throughout the show which was bursting with the flirty party dresses we all know and love. The Felder sisters always give good print and this season was no exception. First up was what appeared to be multi-coloured leopard print but on closer inspection, was actually broken butterfly wings. A glance at the show notes confirmed that “Broken Wings” provided both the collection’s inspiration and name. The looks-like-leopard ensembles were soon replaced by luscious digital prints and semi-sheer organza numbers in shades of deepest azure. Silhouettes were a little less structured than previous seasons but lashings of leather and suede injected sophisticated pieces with Felder.Felder’s signature late night edge.
Six shows down, God knows how many to go, but by the end of LFW day 1 I felt surprisingly energetic. Having refrained from champagne until this point I was in dire need of a drink so my friends and I leapt in the nearest cab (bad habit picked up in New York) and headed to the Matches party.
Love Ella. X