David Koma

LFW AW14: Day 4 Pt 2

Firstly I must apologise for these essay length posts, I just can’t help myself! When the shows are as stellar as so many of them were during LFW AW14 it’s hard not to go on and on… and on. Having seen three really cracking collections already by mid afternoon on day 4, I still had a fair few to go so I’m now going to render that apology redundant by describing them in detail, soz.

After leaving Burberry and very, very nearly getting trampled by paps stampeding through the park in an attempt to snap Bradley Cooper I made the attempted high speed journey to Somerset House for David Koma. I’ve long adored David, both as a person and as a designer. Many moons ago he interviewed me as a potential intern. Luckily that never happened as my lack of I probably would have been useless but every time I’ve seen him since I’ve been struck even more by David Koma’s charm, dedication and talent.  When he was announced as Artistic Director for Mugler in December (at just 28 years old!) I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who thought “about time too!” Recent seasons have seen the welcome introduction of real experimentation within Koma signature body conscious aesthetic and his AW14 offerings were an example of a designer who perfectly nails his niche without becoming imprisoned by it.

David Koma LFW 1

David Koma AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Razor sharp cuts and silhouettes almost severe in their precision were softened by glossy ponyskin and flirtatiously flared hemlines. But of course, strong shapes are what we’ve come to expect from David Koma. What really wowed me was the extreme, flawless detailing and ingenious fabric use. Leather came intricately laser cut, woven into sculptural corsetry and crafted into immaculate accordion pleats or softly falling A-line minis. The colour palette flowed seamlessly through inky noir hues and vivid purples to ice whites and dove greys before reverting to black and cobalt combinations for a fearsome finale. Whether his girl is unleashing her inner vixen in form fitting leather or embracing full skirted femininity, she’s certainly not to be messed with.

David Koma LFW 2

David Koma AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Next on my LFW day 4 agenda was a show I was VERY excited about, Peter Pilotto. Having enjoyed the week of Peter Pilotto not so long ago, I couldn’t wait to reacquaint myself with their particular brand of design brilliance. Having scooped up this year’s BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and collaborated with Target on a collection that sold out globally in seconds, Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto are undoubtedly the men of the moment and as such, their’s was a seriously hot ticket show. To be honest, it usually is, and rightly so. Basically everyone who’s anyone was in attendance, from Business of Fashion Founder, Imran Ahmed, Natalie Massenet, Ruth and Tom Chapman of Matches and basically every Editor under sun to a strictly A list line up of sartorial ‘slebs on the FROW. The venue was certainly something, black glass all around, blinking fluorescent strip lights and only two rows affording us an incredible view of the show. And this was the kind of show you wanted to get a seriously good look at.

Peter Pilotto LFW 1

Peter Pilotto AW14 (Images via Style.com)

After a bit of drama involving one of said black glass constructions almost falling on Hilary Alexander and Suzy Menkes (oops) the show began with a bang and there was a collective drawing of breath as the first models stormed out. Inspired by “hybrids and fusion”, Peter Pilotto offered up a play on contrasts and extremes to create a collection compelling in terms of both aesthetics and complexity. It was one of those collections that had me asking myself how on earth they possibly dreamed it up, let alone turned that dream into a wearable reality.

Peter Pilotto LFW 2

Peter Pilotto AW14 (Images via Style.com)

As promised, there was fusion a’plenty in the form of mesh and nylon banding, neoprene and an assortment of other tech fabrics juxtaposed with delicate head-beading, mother of pearl detailing and Linton tweed. From the contrast coloured fur trimmed knits to the kaleidoscopic cocktail dresses adorned with architectural embellishment, no surface was left unworked. Sleek silhouettes allowed for vivid pattern, abstract panorama prints in a riot of clashing brights providing a visual feast for us show goers. I think it’s safe to say that the future of De Vos and Pilotto looks even brighter than their AW14 offerings (sorry).

Very very long term LPA readers may remember, back in my early blogging days I wrote a piece on up-and-coming designers featuring the talented Michael Van der Ham. Three and a bit years on, Michael has most certainly arrived and if there remained any doubt in anyone’s minds about that fact, his AW14 collection would have put paid to it. One thing that really struck me over LFW AW14 was how so many younger designers, like Van der Ham, David Koma and Peter Pilotto to name but a few, expertly manage to convey an aesthetic that is recognisably “them” while still evolving, innovating and surprising us each season.

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Michael Van der Ham AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Establishing a trademark aesthetic while continually pushing the envelope in terms of creativity is a delicate balance but this lot nail it and produce collections that are commercially viable, it’s inspiring. Michael Van der Ham achieved this beautifully for AW14 offering an updated version of the appliquéd collage that has become his calling card on sleek separates in bright silk jacquards. Intricate lace layered over contrast coloured silks, velvet trimmed chiffon and exquisitely embroidered gauze added to the textural brilliance of it all. But for all the sophisticated fabrics and the painstaking techniques involved, Michael Van der Ham’s AW14 collection had a light, playful air and was all the more delectable for it.

MVDH LFW 2

Michael Van der Ham AW14 (Images via Style.com)

Last but not least on that very long afternoon was Giles, a seasoned LFW fixture as I’m sure you well know. He arguably provided one of the most instagrammable performances of the day, what with Cara Delevingne’s mid catwalk selfie and Kendal Jenner’s cameo. There was certainly a spot of spectacle, which I never think is a bad thing in a fashion show.

giles LFW

GILES AW14 (Images via Style.com)

As for the clothes themselves, the collection kicked off with an array of ensembles featuring a Hummingbird motif splashed across silks in a mouthwatering palette of orange, blue and grey. An array of sculptural monochrome dresses with tumbling swathes of satin were a masterful example of Giles doing what he does so well, and I have to say, Miss Jenner looked pretty hot. As for the tougher looks – low slung motorcycle pants, enormous knits and leather all over styled with wool tights and clumpy kicks – I wasn’t convinced.

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GILES AW13 (Images via Style.com)

Having since read Maya Singer’s Style.com review pretty much stating the opposite of what I’ve just said, this is no doubt reflective of my personal taste rather than any actual fault. Regardless of one’s views on grunge V gowns, combining both in one collection and doing so cohesively is no mean feat, I’ll say that much.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 1 Comment

London Fashion Week SS13: Day 4, part 1

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.

London Fashion Week

I wore…
Suit: Topshop
Shirt: Zara
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.
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Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 3 Comments

La Petite Fashion Week Diaries: London AW12, Day 5

Fashion Week

I wore… Hat: Vintage, Jacket: All Saint, Jumper: Zara, Shirt: Whistles, Boots: Hobbs, Bag: Mulberry

The last day of London Fashion Week is usually a fairly bittersweet affair. On the one hand you’re sad that the bonanza of shows, parties and endless mingling is about to be replaced with an unwelcome return to reality. On the other, your toes are swollen, limbs aching, head throbbing and the idea of spending the next few days lounging around in your pyjamas has never been so attractive. Well there was none of that for me this season as after my final London show I would be dashing home to grab my oversized suitcase and head to the airport to catch my flight to Milan. But I still had a couple of London shows to go before embarking on my Italian adventure and first up was David Koma. I’ve always been a big fan of David’s but this season he well and truly knocked it out of the park with a collection that fused his trademark bodyconscious, futuristic style with influences as diverse as ancestral portraits, 1920′s menswear and Louis Icart’s Art Deco paintings. Wool, fur and silks were combined with technical fabrics in a palette of stark monochrome shades and dark blues, olive greens and plum tones before erupting into another glittering finale. Sleek and structured silhouettes were juxtaposed with Victorian inspired ruched draping and distinctive, high collars made for fierce femininity with an androdgynous twist. The collection was less overtly sexy than David’s previous offerings but all the more alluring for it.

David Koma London Fashion Week

It is a truth universally acknowleged that fashion shows never, EVER start on time. Well by Day 5 of London Fashion Week you’re lucky if they start within 45 minutes of what it says on the schedule. After David’s show I legged it out onto The Strand in the home of dashing across town in time to attend the Anya Hindmarch presentation which was supposed to have started 15 minutes previously. Suffice to say I didn’t make it and ended up spending an hour sulking in Starbucks (every cloud, eh?) before heading back into the BFC Tent for my last show of the season, Holly Fulton. Minimalism all well and good but personally I can’t help but feel that fashion should fundamentally make you happy or quite frankly, what’s the point of it? Well it’s impossible to leave one of Holly’s shows without a grin on your face that would make the Cheshire cat look sullen and that is one of the many reasons why I adore her. It was another very late starter but I was happily ensonsced in the “blogger block” with Ella of Coco’s Tea Party, Tala of MyFashDiary and Danielle of Fashionista Barbie so didn’t mind one bit. According to the show notes Holly would be “chanelling a little bit of Lady Chatterly” for AW12 and that is precisely what she did. Think Lady of the Manor meets lady of the night with classic silhouettes in super bright shades of pink and blue featuring exotic, graphic prints and deco glam detailing. Silhouettes may have been demure, but the attitude of the show was raucous. Cute, collarless jackets, simple separates and chic cocktail dresses had been re-worked Fulton style with lashings of feathers, perspex, PVC and oodles of eye-popping embellishment. Polo necks and pencil skirts have never looked so covetable and once again I found myself declaring this to be my favourite show of the week.

Holly Fulton London Fashion Week

After that it was time to make a mad dash home to try and cram working, packing and maaaaybe catching up on an episode of Gossip Girl or two before my car arrived to whiz me off the the airport. It had been a fantastic, exhausting, exhilerating five days but fashion week certainly wasn’t over yet.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 2 Comments

BREAKING NEWS!!! BFC Announces NEWGEN Recipients for AW12

Milan may be master of luxury and Paris King of Couture but when it comes to scouting out fashion’s next-big-thing, no one does it better than London. The other week I posted the news of this years’ shortlist for the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund, but this is by no means the only scheme concocted by the British Fashion Council in order to provide talented young designers with the support they need to suceed. Back in 1993, whilst I was practically still in babygro’s, the BFC created New Generation (NEWGEN), one of the world’s most prestigious and internationally recognised talent identification programme. This ingenius initiative offers helps catwalk designers get their collections down the runway by providing them with financial support and the opportunity to use the BFC Catwalk Show Space and London Fashion Week. Others recieve sponsored presentation or exhibition space enabling them to showcase their work to some of the biggest hitters throughout the fashion world.

Given that previous recipients have included Alexander McQueen, Matthew Williamson, Christopher Kane and Erdem I think it’s safe to say that NEWGEN is one of the most-coveted prizes around. But that’s enough blurb for one post, here are the up-and-coming stars who’ve scooped up the AW12 award…

Catwalk Sponsorship: David Koma, Holly Fulton, J JS Lee, Michael Van Der Ham, J.W. Anderson and Simone Rocha

NEWGEN
From left: David Koma, Holly Fulton, Michael Van der Ham & J.W. Anderson SS12

Presentation Sponsorship: Christopher Raeburn and Thomas Tait

NEWGEN
From Left: Christopher Raeburn SS12, Thomas Tait SS12

Installation Sponsorship: Nasir Mazhar and SISTER By Sibling

Exhibition Sponsorship: Huishan Zhang, James Long, Lucas Nascimiento, Palmer/Harding, Tim Soar and all designers recieving catwalk, presentation and installation sponsorship.

NEWGEN
From left: Huishan Zhang, James Long and Lucas Nascimiento SS12

And that’s not all, this season just so happens to be the 10th Anniversary of Topshop’s sponsorship of the scheme and according to my sources there are serious festivities planned in honour of the occasion… Bring on February I say!

Love Ella. X

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La Petite Fashion Week Diaries: London SS12, Day 5

So after five long days of catwalk shows, presentations and of course, parties, London Fashion Week has finally drawn to a close. Unless of course you count menswear day which, let’s face it, just isn’t as much fun. The end of fashion week is always a rather bittersweet experience. On the one hand your sad to wave goodbye to what is always a joyous coming together of the sartorially minded. But at the same time the idea of wearing flat shoes, comfy jeans and going make up free for a few days is pretty darned attractive.

fashion week
I wore… Blazer: Zara, Top, Shorts & Bag: Whistles, Shoes: Topshop
Tights: Accessorize, Necklace: Anne Bowes Jewellery

Having danced the night away at the “This is New York” party hosted by uber bloggers Tommy Ton and Susie Bubble I was ready to hang up my heels come Tuesday morning. But there were still a few shows to go and they were simply too good to miss so I donned my final fashion week outfit and headed, ok hobbled to the tube. First up was Meadham Kirchoffat the Topshop venue. As handpicked protegee’s of Fashion East founder Lulu Kennedy, Ed Meadham and Ben Kirchoff’s designs were always going to good. But quite how successful the boys would be, even Lulu couldn’t have predicted. Known and loved for putting two fingers up at prescribed good taste, Meadham Kirchoff scooped up the prestigious “Next Young Designer” gong at this years’ the Elle Style Awards and have been praised by every fash mag worth reading from Love to Vogue and pretty much everything in between. With a FROW that included her Royal Highness, Anna Wintour, the pressure was really on this season and boy, did the designers deliver.

fashion week
Hamish Bowles & Anna Wintour at Meadham Kirchoff

The Topshop show space was decorated with balloon archways and began with a rabble of Courtney Love look-a-likes who burst onto the runway caking on red lipstick and dancing wildly. The collection that followed was an eye-popping spectacle of candy colours, sparkles, ruffles and feathers. Cartoon esque prints, pastel shades, gingham checks and fluffy marabou were applied to micro shift dresses and cropped coats with exquisite sculptured dresses in broderie anglaise. It soon became clear that the theatrics wouldn’t stop there as a troop of tweenage ballerinas twirled onto the catwalk, revealing behind them a group of models perfectly posed atop a giant cake. One by one the models took to the catwalk dressed in a dazzling array of spectacular sequinned numbers and shrunken Marie Antoinette style dresses. The collection was theatrical, indulgent and an absolute joy to behold. Several people were even reduced to tears and when their show yielded a rare smile from Anna, Meadham Kirchoff’s fate as fashion’s latest darlings was well and truly sealed.

fashion week
Meadham Kirchoff SS12
fashion week
Meadham Kirchoff SS12

After that I hot footed it back to Somerset House (fashion week is definitely the most intensive form of cardio!) for the Tata Nakapresentation. Natasha and Tamara Surguladze launched Tata Naka straight after graduating from St Martins and since then the brand has simply gone from strength to strength. The girls really pulled out all the stops this season with a collection that looked good enough to eat. Delicate summer dresses, jumpsuits and chic separates came in a mixture of exquisite floral prints, soft nudes and clashing, brights. The collection hit the perfect balance between fashion forward and wearable with quirky touches such as pleated panels, asymmetric hemlines and neat collars bringing simple shapes and delicate detailing bang up to date. Styles with floral hairpieces, flowing locks and adorable matching shoes Tata Naka’s SS12 offerings were a girly girl’s dream. All in all a fabulously feminine and utterly covetable collection that will be topping many a wish list come Spring.

fashion week
Tata Naka SS12
fashion week
Tata Naka SS12

Day 5 seemed to positively fly by (possibly due to the 2pm start) and all of a sudden I found myself with only one show left to go. Then again, David Koma is one of my favourite designers so I’d be hard pushed to think of a better show to top off a fantastic London Fashion Week. The FROW was littered with famous fashion faces and influential industry players including Harpes Bazaar Editor Kim Hersov and Grazia’s Melanie Rickey.

fashion week
Grazia’s Editor-at-Large, Melanie Rickey
at David Koma

David’s last two collections gathered unanimous rave reviews and this season saw the young designer develop his style one step further with a selection of bold looks that combined his signature body-conscious silhouette with something totally new. Figure clinging dresses in semi-sheer devore jersey were adorned with strategically placed Polynesian tribal motifs. Shapes where as sharp as ever and David kept his palette simple but striking with monochrome looks and perfectly placed bursts of flourescent brights. Fetishista’s rejoice as it looks as though bondage inspired looks will be sticking around for Spring. David’s show featured lashings of leather forming carefully constructed peplums of pleats and fringing, adding a tougher edge to barely-there dresses.

fashion week
David Komas SS12
fashion week
David Koma SS12

Tribal customs may have provided the inspiration but the collection was undeniably modern with iridescent sequins and perspex discs giving the final looks a futuristic feel. At the risk of sounding like an judge on America’s Next Top Model, the show was fierce with David’s fearless designs providing an inspiring finale to my Fashion Week Diaries.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week 4 Comments