There is always one day of London Fashion Week so intense, just looking at the schedule makes your feet hurt. This season, the day in question was Monday. With shows on the hour every hour from 9am sharp, it was going to be a long one, but luckily the designer line up was so spectacular that the inevitable bruised toes and aching limbs we’d all be suffering from by the evening paled in comparison to the sartorial delights in store.
Shoes: Massimo Dutti
Bag: Anya Hindmarch
Having spent the previous evening sipping, ok guzzling, champagne and the Whistles & TANK Magazine cocktail party before heading to Mahiki for an event hosted by Phil Oh, Derek Blasberg and Alexa Chung I wasn’t feeling at my most sprightly as I made my way to the Topshop Show Space, located in the beautiful Bedford Square. However my morning-after daze was soon obliterated by the kaleidescopic creations offered up by dynamic design duo, Peter Pilotto. You can keep your triple shot lattes and berocca, for a pick-me-up that packs a punch, PP style sensory sensations are where it’s at.
This season the designers delivered a delectable mash up of their signature digital prints encompassing everything from geometric checks and abstract shapes to abstract florals and undulating patterns inspired by Florentine frescoes. Flashes of neon, svelte shapes and high tech fabrics retained the element of athleticism we’ve come to associate with the brand while ruffled hemlines, polished peplums and sculpted silhouettes gave eye-popping hues, wildly clashing patterns and head-to-toe mirrored embellishmed an elegant, grown up twist.
Invigorated though I was by the Peter Pilotto show, I thought a Starbucks trip might be wise, just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately I ever-so-slightly miscalculated how long it would take me to walk across to Soho in highly impractical footwear so arrived at the NCP car park venue panting, panicked and covered in spilt latte. Inevitably, it was at this moment Olivia Palermo pitched up, looking just about as polished and coffee-stain-free as it’s possible for a person to be. I just about managed to recover my dignity and take my seat in time for the start of show number two, Antonio Berardi. Having returned to London three years ago after a period of showing in Milan, the designer soon re-established himself as one of the city’s hottest talents and as such, his FROW boasted a healthy spattering of industry big hitters including Lorraine Candy, Alexandra Shluman and Natalie Massinet. Few do high fashion, night time glamour better than Berardi so I was a little taken aback to read that his SS13 collection was sportswear influenced. But of course I should have realised that regardless of the designer’s new found source of inspiration, the hourglass silhouettes and air of sophisticated seductiveness we’ve come to expect from his work wouldn’t have disappeared. Racer backs, airtex panelling, bold colour blocking and performace fabrics made a nod to athletic pursuits while flowing layers over second-skin skirts, winged blouses and cropped separates further enhanced the collection’s daytime appropriate feel. Die hard Berardi fans may, at this point, be mourning this apparent change of direction but fear not, the designer renowned for providing Red Carpet ready ensembles hasn’t suddenly come over all casual. As the show continued we were treated to an array of shimmering, va-va-voom numbers embellished with lashings of holographic and carbon fibre beading. I may not be the biggest fan of sports luxe, but sports luxe with added sparkle? That I can learn to love.
Like I said, day 4 was pretty awesome and up next was another designer who’s collections I always adore, Michael Van Der Ham. Long before I ever dreamed of actually attending one of his shows I wrote a post about Michael, back when I’d only been blogging for a couple of months and he had just burst on to the scene as one of the “new names to know”. Four seasons on the Dutch designer is an established fash pack favourite with numerous stellar collections, international stockists and a topshop collaboration under his belt. But does the talented MVDH rest on his laurels? I think not. This season the designer drew inspiration from the work of surrealist artist, Joan Miro and Malian photographer Malick Sidibe, who’s bold and expressive styles provided the perfect starting point for a collection that was both painstakingly created and visually arresting. Further developing the patchworked style we’ve come to know and covet, the designer offered up alchemical blends of disparate fabrics and textures. Silk organza and crepe marocain prints were combined with pastic-mix raffia boucle in expressive, brightly coloured, brush stoke prints. Exquisite screen printed jacquards, hand-painted devore, semi sheer chiffons and pastel lace were all thrown into the mix, pulled together by way of cinched waists, full skirts and peplums to create a playful, visual sensation with a sophisticated edge.
After that we all piled on the the LFW press bus (absolute life/ankle saver for those of us not quite important enough to have a driver) and headed across town to Somerset House for show number four, David Koma. David is another designer who cropped up in one of my early “designers-to-know” blog posts so it’s always a bit of a thrill to attend his shows. He also just so happens to be one of the loveliest fellows in the industry and I always look forward to seeing what he’ll come up with next. Body conscious silhouettes and fierce femininity have always been the designer’s calling card and this season he looked to female tennis stars such as Suzanne Lenglen, Gussie Moran and Lea Pericoli for inspiration. The result, a collection that offered a novel and original take on the athletic aesthetic still dominating the runway, infused with the confident sex appeal always inherent in Koma’s creations. Form fitting dresses were given a court-ready spin by way of drop waists and pleated skirts in a palette of black, white and bold, block hues kicking off with astroturf green before moving on to sporting shades of neon orange and royal blue. Figure clinging numbers were layered under semi-sheer, oversized tops with sleeves pushed up and tennis nets prints just visible for peek-a-boo sauciness with a powerful, go-anywhere attitude.
Four shows down, four more to go… Christopher Kane, Burberry and more will be coming your way soon but I think I’ll leave it here for now!
Love Ella. X