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.
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.
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.
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