Michael Van Der Ham

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.


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.


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.

giles 2 LFW

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

First Weekly Wish List of SS13!

SS13 may or may not have actually arrived in London and I’ve heard a few rumours of snow this weekend. But it’s MARCH and I’ll be damned if I’m going to purchase one more bloody bobble hat…

wish list SS13

1) Reiss oversized Josh Shirt, £95, click here to buy
2) Reiss Siusi printed frill skirt, £95, click here to buy
3) Chloe Susanna boots, £795, click here to buy
4) Alexander Wang Emilie tote, £813, click here to buy
5) Whistles orchid print silk bomber jacket, £155, click here to buy
6) Diane Von Furstenberg Tonda Printed Hexagon Clutch, £280, click here to buy
7) Anne Bowes Jewellery Turqouise & Green drop cluster necklace, £120, click here to buy
8) Miu Miu degrade sequinned slippers, £515, click here to buy
9) J Brand 901 skinny jeans, £230, click here to buy
10) Michael van der Ham silk & metallic boucle top, £349, click here to buy


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London Fashion Week AW13: Day 4

London Fashion Week

I wore… Jumper & Jacket: Jaeger London, Skirt: Urban Outfitters, Shoes: Isabel Marant, Shirt: Paul & Joe Sister, Bag: BoBelle London.

London Fashion Week day 5 was a very early start which, given the fact I’d had a not so early night, was more than a little bit painful. It took a LOT of effort to drag myself out of bed but I certainly wasn’t going to miss Peter Pilotto. The dynamic design duo have been a favourite of mine (and basically everyone else’s) for fair few seasons now and the fact that everyone from Leandra Medine (who apparently owns the Isabel Marant stiletto heeled cowboy boots in every colour… jel) to Natalie Massinet made it there on time was a testament to how in demand they’ve become. The collection itself was, dare I say it, one of the duo’s strongest yet. Slightly harder edged than last season’s offerings, the printmasters offered up sculptural shapes and a fiery palette that exuded in-your-face (but very stylish) attitude. Besides the cacophany of kaleidescopic prints there was embossed leather, gold embroidery and a medley of textures ranging from ponyskin to incredible, woven fabrics. Cinched waists, flared hems and svelte silhouettes were given a futuristic feel with slicked back hair while scuba detailing and sweatshirts introduced an element of atheltic chic unlike any other incarnation of “sports luxe” you or I have ever seen. All in all, it was an utterly incredible and inspiring collection from one of the most exciting labels in the business. I suspect there may be another Peter Pilotto pre-ordering “incident” on my part this season.

London Fashion Week

Peter Pilotto AW13

I felt a good deal more sprightly after leaving the show and made for the nearest Starbucks in an attempt to thaw myself out with the help of an extra hot latte. Unfortunately my time tested cold battling technique failed me on this occasion and by the time I arrived at Somerset House I felt like an icicle. But, my weather woes  were soon forgotten after taking my seat next to fellow bloggers Ella and Naomi for the Michael van der Ham show. Michael is another London designer who’s work I adore and have watched develop from the start. Having fallen hard for Van Der Ham’s past three or four collections, I was unsure whether it would actually be possible to top them this season… Well, it was. Michael’s AW13 woman might be a little more subversive than last seasons pastel clad princess but this new, moody undertone worked perfectly in combination with richly elaborate fabrics. The patchworking techniques that first captured the fashion world’s attention have come a long way and they were pretty incredible to begin with. This time around we were treated to artfully worked creations in everything from silk crepe and crisp cotton to opulent brocades and gossamer fine chiffon. A darkly seductive palette of forest green, navy, khaki and russet was enhanced with fiery red print and shimmering metallic embroidery. I don’t have the slightest clue how Michael achieved the almost burnt effect that added an air of divine decay to his rich fabrics but, like the painstaking silver embellishment of cuffs and frankly the entire collection, it was completely and utterly exquisite.

London Fashion Week

Michael Van der Ham AW13

The next show on my schedule was one of the most hotly anticipated of the week, Christopher Kane. We all piled onto the press bus and headed in the direction of Cannon Street. Or at least, we tried to. Attempting to drive through central london on a Monday is never exactly problem free but on this occasion the traffic was stationary. Eventually we decided to walk it instead and piled out of the bus and set off in a rabble of handbags and ridiculous shoes, no doubt surprising a few bankers on their lunch break. As soon as we arrived at the venue it was clear that our panic was unfounded, the venue was actually on the top floor of a very tall building and getting everyone in the lifts took almost half an hour. After much jostling we were all in our seats so the show could begin, and what a show it was! If day 4 proved anything to me is that nowhere breeds fearless fashion talent like london. The New York shows may be bigger, bolder and more impressive in terms of A List FROW factor but many collections could (and do) walk straight off the runway and into women’s closets. Not that I’m knocking this, there’s certainly nothing wrong with wearability. But watching the likes of Christopher Kane’s imaginative, innovative creations on the catwalk is really quite extraordinary.

Unless you’ve been living under a highly unfashionable rock for the past few months, you’ll be well aware that PPR, French luxury multi-holdings company  who own Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Venetta to name but a few, recently bought at 51% stake in the Chistopher Kane brand. Given the calibre of Kane’s collections as a independent (read: financially limited) designer, expectations were high now he’s joined the ranks of Stella McCartney and the late, great Alexander McQueen. With a 60 look show that elicited gasps of awe from attendees including Donatella Versace and Salma Hayeck, the talented Scotsman most certainly delivered. The collection opened with a succession of camouflage looks in shades of khaki, cobalt and burgundy (I spy a trend here!) ranging from mini kilts to dresses and coats trimmed in lashings of fur. High shine technical fabrics, sculpted silhouettes and asymmetric hemlines proved that while military chic is back in a big way for AW13 (see Prabal Gurung in New York), it comes in many different incarnations. But army cool wasn’t the only thing on the menu at Christopher Kane, not by a long way. Up next came luscious velvet ensembles deliciously deconstructed with intricate laser cut detailing. The show was truly a remarkable feat of fabric manipulation and sheer sartorial bravery. Some garments were trimmed or even entirely constructed from stiffened feathers. In other cases, semi sheer organza was fashioned origami style into corsages to create exquisitely pretty ensembles with a punky, rough edged twist. Then came an array of simple black looks enhanced with prints so vivid they made your head spin. Finally Kane turned his hand to evening wear with glittering looks covered with unidentifiable (for me anyway) but exquisite sparkling tentacle esque embellishments that gave the impression of dresses visibly crackling with electric energy.

London Fashion Week

Christopher Kane AW13

The show took us through an astonishingly broad yet utterly cohesive range of influences and techniques, truly demonstrating the skill of the designer. If anyone had any doubt that Christopher Kane belonged on PPR’s roster of international super brands then this gobsmackingly brilliant collection will surely have dealt with them.

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times already, the end of a fashion show always heralds and undignified and often frankly dangerous stampede for the exit. Well given the difficulties accessing Christopher Kane’s top floor venue, the scramble to get out was unlike any other I’ve seen. While queueing for the lifts I spied a few people slipping out of the fire exit and decided to join them. Once we reached the ground floor (which took a while… hundreds of stairs in very high heels) I found myself at the end of another queue because it transpired that the way out was through one of those alarmed, “open only in an emergency” doors. After much jostling and debate over whether or not we should just open it anyway someone decided to take the plunge and we piled out onto the street to the sound of the promised alarm wailing and suddenly I felt like a badly behaved fourteen year old skiving chapel all over again. Once again this post is starting to veer into essay territory so I think I’ll leave the rest for next time.

Love Ella. X

Posted on by Ella Catliff in Fashion Week Leave a comment

Michael Van der Ham for Brora Launch Party

Michael Van der Ham for Brora

Tuesday was certainly one hell of a busy day and after ogling the Markus Lupfer for Whistles collection I made for the Piccadilly line and headed West to check out another lovely collaboration. I posted about the Louise Gray for Brora launch party this time last year and it must have been a hit as they decided to do it again this Winter with another hotter-than-hot young designer. Ever since reading a feature on him in i-D Magazine a couple of years ago I’ve been a bit of a Michael Van der Ham fanatic. His AW12 collection was easily one of my favourites so the news that he was teaming up with the ultimate cashmere brand was music to my ears. Between that and the Markus Lupfer/Whistles situation, I thought I might actually pass out from excitement but after taking a self-imposed “time out” in Starbucks I managed to hold it together…

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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