In between debating whether or not it would be better to get out and run (it wouldn’t have been) and berating Christopher’s choice of venue (Marble Arch, really?) we somehow managed to make it just in the nick of time. A few minutes later all previous angst vanished on account of the vast, minimalist space in which we found ourselves, a skyline oasis boasting spectacular views of the city and instantly made the designer’s choice of location make perfect sense. Of course, we didn’t have long to marvel at our surroundings as they were soon overshadowed by what was on the catwalk.
Kane’s intelligent and unexpected reinterpretations of particular staples or inspirations (remember those neon lace twinsets?) makes his one of the most hotly anticipated on the LFW schedule and after last Summer’s shimmering brocade’s and AW12′s sinister romanticism, my fellow attendees and I were on tenterhooks to see what he would come up with next. The show opened with a sequence of sculptural, minimalist looks in shades of stark white which echoed the sleek modernity of the venue. For a scary second, I feared that this might be a colour-free collection but of course, Christopher’s much too clever for that. The palette soon moved into baby pinks, lemon yellows and delicate dove greys but don’t get any ideas about sweet, Summer dresses. The designer kept things striking, original and ever-so-slightly clinical (in a good way) with distorted proportions, painstakingly manipulated folds of fabric and plastic wing nut fastenings which, I later learned, reflected Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, who provided the inspiration behind the collection. Ever the innovator, Kane’s unusual and, in some cases, downright bizarre fabric choices included everything from injection-moulded rubber to ruched plastic combined with candy colours, prim pencil skirts and bows galore made for ensembles that offered exquisite prettiness in a deliciously subversive form. And as if we weren’t head-over-heels for Christopher’s ingeniously offbeat aesthetic already, a sequence of organza dresses with crystal and lace embellishment attached by haphazardly placed black gaffa tape really brought the point home.
The year that played host to the Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics may be coming to an end, but day 4 of London Fashion Week proved that there’s still plenty of reason to be proud to be British. Next up was Louise Gray, another homegrown designer who’s latest offerings demonstrated just why London remains the place to look for exciting and innovative fashion talent. For SS13 Louise delivered an array of looks that displayed her uncanny knack for pattern clashing and textural mash-up at its’ most mesmerizing. Graffiti prints, abstract colour shashes and mix-and-match geometric shapes were thrown together with recklass aplomb in an array of eye-watering brights and glimmering metallics. Chiffon, silk, sequins and all manner of other unidenfiable fabrics were brought together and worked to within an inch of their life, making for a collection that oozed playful, madcap girlishness underpinned by skilled craftsmanship that couldn’t fail to impress.
As you may have gathered, Monday left precious little time for Starbucks breaks and the second Louise finished taking her bow, it was time grab a cab and head on to our next show. But given that the show in question was Burberry, I wasn’t overly fussed about having to miss my afternoon latte. This was the third season I’d snagged a Burberry invitation but having visited their magnificent Hyde Park venue twice before certainly didn’t diminish my excitement this time around. Forget the international fashion elite. Burberry’s FROW was a veritable “who’s who” of anyone who’s anyone full stop. Think Mario Testino, Dita Von Teese, Harry Styles, Victoria Pendleton, Andy Murray, Emmanuelle Alt, Samantha Cameron and HRH Anna Wintour to name but a few.
Christopher Bailey may be a down-to-earth Yorkshireman at heart but he sure as hell knows how to put on a show. From our invitations – 3D cut-outs London, hand delivered to every lucky attendee – to the matching cityscape projection above the entrance to the catwalk, the scene was set for a sartorial spectacle of epic proportion. Given the sheer gorgeousness of AW12′s collection, not to mention the fact that the show would be streamed to hundreds of thousands all over the world, the pressure was on for Bailey this season and boy, did he deliver. How many times can you re-work a trench coat? The answer: endless. For SS13 Burberry’s signature staple came in everything from purest white cotton to dip-died fuschia, luxurious lace and top-to-toe feathers before culminating in a finale of mouth-watering metallics in sugar shades. Where AW12′s offerings payed homage to English country pursuits, this season’s collection reflected the unadulterated glamour of 1940′s screen sirens. Albeit, with a distinctly high tech twist. As well as the trusty trench, capes, bodies and pencil skirts had been reimagined in delicate nudes, boudoir silks, high shine technical fabrics and opulent jewel tones. It was a collection that moved almost into the realms of fashion fantasy, while providing pieces that, off the catwalk, could conceivably be worn by anyone with good taste and a large buget around town.
Every season I leave the Burberry show feeling happily overwhelmed and this time around was no different. But much as I’d have loved to reflect on the collection I’d just seen (preferably in a nearby Starbucks) there was no time to linger as I had precisely fifteen minutes to get back to Somerset House for the final designer on my day 4 schedule, Mark Fast. The best thing about seeing eight different shows in one day, is the contrast between the different designers respective styles. Well, it would have been hard to find two more opposite collections than those of Burberry and Mark Fast.
For SS13 Fast delivered the body conscious silhouettes and barely-there knitted confections adored by the likes of Pixie Lott, Nicola Roberts and Daisy Lowe (all of whom were present at the show) with a 90′s inspired, hip hop twist. Salt n’ Pepa provided the sountrack and models were styled with tightly permed hair, lacquered lips, Christian Louboutin mesh booties and lashings of gold jewellery. Tassled capes in shades hot pink and lilac upped the in-your-face anti and there was possibly even more skin than usual on show. While I can’t see myself slipping into a curve clinging Mark Fast ensemble anytime soon, the whooping on his FROW demonstrated that there are plenty of people who will.
Love Ella. X