Search Results for “london fashion week

Editor’s survival kit: London Fashion Week

Last Updated on 19th October 2013 As New York kicked off the month-long fashion processions last week, so London Fashion Week falls this Friday. We should be prepared, given that it only happens twice a year, but somehow it always manages to spring round the corner quicker than summer can stick around. And so, I find myself in the same situation every season. What the hell do I wear? What bag do I take to carry all my stuff? What shoes will I wear to combat the cobbles (and which flats should I take as precaution?)? While I’ve yet to answer any of those questions, there are a few things I know I’ll need: my can’t-survive-without-them essentials. From moisturiser to mints, these are things that litter my bag, without fail, every fashion week; the things that help me function; the things that help me breathe a little easier: my survival kit. So yes, while I do risk tripping over the dirt track due to some poorly-conceived heels, at least I’ll have hydrated skin. When I get stressed, so does my skin. I always keep a hand-sized tube of moisturiser in my bag to banish any dry spots inbetween shows – plus, it’s great for faking a dewy complexion pre-party (just press the palms of your hands gently onto your face as a final touch). Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream intensive daily moisturiser, £28 £25.20, available at Debenhams. From pre-party to post, I never leave the house without YSL’s Touche Eclat – it hides all signs of the night before’s bash (because though I might be feeling the effects of two hours sleep and too much champagne, nobody else need know!). Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat, £24.50 £22.05, available at Debenhams. When my skin’s looking lack-luster and lifeless after a long […]

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WATCH: We talk London Fashion Week with Lavazza

Last Updated on 19th October 2013 In between shows, interviews and backstage videos at February’s London Fashion Week, official LFW sponsors Lavazza interviewed our own editor-in-chief, Emily O’Brien, to get the low-down on London’s hottest looks on and off the runway and to find out what it’s like being a blogger at the capital’s most important fashion date in the calendar. See what happened when we met up with our friends at Lavazza on London’s cobbles to talk catwalks, careers and, of course, coffee.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Matthew Williamson

Last Updated on 25th February 2011 Who: Matthew Williamson What: An infusion of native American prints combined with the chicness of an inner city socialite. Thoughts: We always expect great things from Matthew Williamson, and despite other critics’ uncertainty, next season’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is no exception for us. Hailing prints found in Red Indian tribes, the British designer’s latest offering had an ethnic-inspired feel that bonds well with his boho aesthetic and use of statement colour. Combining pretty prints with signature haute hippie styling, tailored loose-fit pants and shift dresses came alive with a modern infused twist. Alongside oversized knitted ponchos, Icelandic fur on stoles or gillets and slim sheer shirts, shaggy coats and thigh-flashing skirts were thrown in for naughty but nice seasonal wear. Anyone else kinda itching for autumn to come quickly back around? [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Osman

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Osman What: Stylish monochrome delights with the subtle neon leather separates thrown in for good measure. Thoughts: We love a bit of black and white – after all, nothing screams high end sophistication more than monochrome – and this was, thankfully, something Osman’s autumn/winter 2011 collection has in abundance. With pieces in a predominantly black and white palette, pencil knee-length dresses, sharply tailored flared trousers, sleeveless second-skin tops and loose, languid silhouettes are worked into this classic contrast of colours. But that’s not to say the London designer didn’t experiment with crayola colours, too. Too add a punch of pizazz, neon orange, green, blue and pink leather trims, fur sleeves or visible linings were boldly thrown into the bag, looking especially effective in paired minimalist separates and colour blocking stripes. Overall, an intriguing yet utterly wearable collection for autumn.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Jonathan Saunders

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Jonathan Saunders What: A classic collection of chic Forties pencil dresses, made contemporary by vibrant tropical prints. Thoughts: Beautifully tailored to complement the feminine form, straight Forties pencil dresses rule the runway at Jonathan Saunders next season, some simple sheaths, some with splits and some with shirt-like upper halves in block colours and print that trick the eye into thinking they’re two pieces. Setting them all apart is the mish-mash of dark autumnal tones – navys, blacks, forest greens and plums – against the larish multicoloured tropical prints that were cleverly used to create the illusion of division and separation Retro but refined, Jonathan has created a collection perfectly fit for the contemporary lady next autumn – there’s not a hemline above the knee in sight – but to sex it up he’s added slits, plunging necklines seductive peep-toe platforms to complete this beautiful marriage of colour and print.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Burberry

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Burberry Prorsum What: Fur, coats and capes in an earthy palette with punches of pop colour. Thoughts: Like the rest of the fash pack without a ticket, we headed to London’s Piccadilly Circus to watch Burberry Prorsum stream its autumn/winter 2011 collection live on the advertising screen, keen to witness a fashion moment in the making. It didn’t prove quite the poignant spectacle we’d hoped for, shown on the smallest segment without sound but with enough screen freezes and TFL ad interruptions to send us to an early grave, but a second screening at our desks provided all the captive atmosphere we missed first time around. Leather may have defined Burberry and its bikers for the past two seasons, but for autumn/winter 2011 the power house is hailing hair. On sleeves of tops, stoles on jackets, forming sumptuous coats or cuffing and hemming others, fur is Bailey’s fabric of choice next season, and he’s using it decadently. Leather still makes an appearance, though, in piping on padded macs, across skinny bow belts or on the trim of a dress. Chic wool coats in vibrant checks, bright block colours or earthy tones provide extra warmth, while wool-fleck matching separates and long-sleeved shift dresses with balloon skirts see ready-to-wear looking weather-appropriate, too. Worried about your fur getting wet? In a spectacular finale, Burberry’s got your back as models unite on the runway wearing matching black-trimmed clear Perspex capes over their cold-ready coats as a flurry of snow falls onto the catwalk – now that’s a moment. It’s not quite as exciting as in previous seasons, but Burberry’s latest collection is contemporary and commercial nonetheless (with a more sensual slant over the usually sexy aesthetic), and simple, sumptuous elements still leaves us impressed – as they […]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Amanda Wakeley

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Amanda Wakeley What: Power-dressing, body-con and luxurious fur. Thoughts: Opening with a model wearing the sleekest of ponytails and a long, black, belted coat that was trimmed with opulent fur, the overall feel of the Amanda Wakeley collection was clear – luxe, power-dressing for the no-fuss female. Body-con black dresses with graphic cut-outs and stiff-peplum skirts screamed sophistication as did the leather belts that cinched in the waists of almost every look. White played a big a part in the collection and the funnel-necked coats went straight to the top of our winter wishlist, whilst the use of bronze and camel shades together with a mix of leather and fur made one of the most luxurious looks we’ve seen this season. There were softer elements, though – draped dresses and some shorter flared skirts meant there was room for girlyness amongst the other hard lines. There was a fantastic use of chainmail on a very feminine skirt and as detailing on several of the gowns, and sheer panels were draped over cocktail dresses, lengthening the sillohuettes and softening the peplum skirts. The Amanda Wakeley autumn/winter 2011 collection is for the fiercest woman who knows what she wants and when she wants it. Glossy and groomed to perfection, this is the sort of women we all, at some point, wish we could be.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Emilio de la Morena

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Emilio de la Morena What: Sheer panels, high necks and bold colours Thoughts: With below-the-knee skirts and high-collared shirts you’d be safe to assume that Emilio de la Morena’s collection was conservative and prim. But whilst there was a Victorian element in his autumn/winter 2011 collection (just as there was with Temperley, definitely an emerging trend) in the long sleeves and the ladylike lengths, he kept dresses body-conscious, adding sheer panels and inserts with blocks of zesty colour to make every look a clever blend of subtle and sexy. A genius mix of colours – a neutral pallette of black and blush tones combined with a good dose of reds and oranges – tiers added interest to pencil skirts which were paired with Victorian tops to make feminine two-pieces, whilst satin was a prominent fabric in the evening looks.  The bright orange long-sleeved dress was the stand-out piece for us and one that will hopefully be worn on the red carpet soon. A fantastic progression from his girly looks from last season, the lady wearing Emilio de la Morena next autumn is feminine and sophisticated – a brilliantly polished collection.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Roksanda Ilincic

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Roksanda Ilincic What: Shiny satin, dramatic draping and pure glamour. Thoughts: Roksanda Ilincic said she was inspired by birds for her latest collection and that was evident in the feather-trimmed pieces and paradise-inspired colours that worked around a pallette of white, peacock blues, burnt oranges, reds and silver embellishments. Clever draping in the knee-length dresses created the sexiest of shapes that every woman will be desperate to wear next season. There was an unexpected androgynous edge with oversized coats and tops teamed with girly seperates creating the most glamourous form of grunge, and she added huge drama with the accessories – fur shawls, elbow-length gloves, hats and jewel-coloured satin Nicolas Kirkwood shoes. But the most breathtaking of the whole collection were the final dresses to shimmy down the runway. In the most dazzling shades of the brightest sunset you can imagine, the billowing satin creations were finished with opposing bright sashes tying at the waist. Roksanda Ilincic’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is the sort of collection that will have women clamouring to wear it first – beautiful, feminine and utterly astonishing.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Mary Katrantzou

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Mary Katrantzou What: Electrifying prints, structured skirts and separates. Thoughts: Mary Katrantzou received rave reviews last season so she was under a lot of pressure to deliver with her latest offering. She needn’t have worried, though, because once again her beautiful use of prints came up trumps.  In rich, jewel shades with patterns ranging from birds to florals to mosaics she threw caution to the wind, adorning everything from slim trousers to pencil skirts in exquisite detail. Although she reissued the structured lampshade and peplum skirts she’s becoming synonymous with, she compounded her collection for autumn/winter 2011 and made it more wearable than in previous seasons by introducing separates. Sleek, knee-length skirts, trousers and leggings were all key parts of Katrantzou’s look, mixing and matching them her eye-catching prints. Surprisingly, the collection finished with an entirely different angle – floor-length dresses with loose billowing silhouettes introduced a more feminine, if utterly regal, side. Not for the faint-hearted but if you want to stand out, Mary Katrantzou’s got the wow factor.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Erdem

Last Updated on 24th February 2011 Who: Erdem What: Signature painterly-prints, floor-length gowns and sophisticated separates Thoughts: Erdem’s painterly prints are his signature playing card, but for autumn/winter 2011, he’s taken his trademark literally, looking to Monet as inspiration for watercolour washes. In deep jewel tones of varying blues, blacks, oranges and reds, Erdem mixes delicate, digitalised floral prints with paint splashes for seizure-like effect next season, showing that though his girl’s pretty, she’s sophisticated and, perhaps, a little erratic. Elegant pencil dresses cut to fit and flatter come sleek in printed black or plum, signature floor-length gowns glide in multi-coloured silk and slim sheer shirts are buttoned to the top with sharp collars – but, save for a dress here and an overlay there, the London designer’s left lace alone this season in favour of a richer texture: velvet. Worked across long-sleeved flare skirt dresses, black splattered trousers and selected shapes in patterns for a 3D effect, the fabric adds a new depth to Erdem’s sexy, sophisticated collection for autumn, whilst jewel embellishments and sheen finishes give a glam polish. We may have seen some of it before, but fans will love his latest offering – and we, for one, seriously dig his darker, edgier prints. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Christopher Kane

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Christopher Kane What: Crochet-printed leather, minimalist tailoring and colourful, squidgy, touchable shapes. Thoughts: We just can’t guess what’s coming from Kane – season after season he delivers something strange but exciting, and autumn/winter 2011 is no different. Your grandma may not be your first stop for sartorial inspiration, but her earnest companion will have you seeing her in a whole new light next season as Christopher takes the coloured crochet blanket centre stage, printing it on black leather T-shirts and jackets, pencil skirts, dresses and cardigans. The result, of course, is incredibly cool and offers a need-to-touch textured illusion whilst remaining remarkably sleek amidst his minimalist silhouette. But naturally, he ups the ante. Where tailoring is perfectly cut and simplistic – a black collarless coat is the ultimate in understated luxury – details become wonderfully wacky with plastic liquid-filled elements reminiscent of heyday pencil cases or those miracle headache pads that don’t actually work. Cut into squiggly shapes in vivid colours, they become necklines on dresses, collars, trims of pockets, panels or tops in their own right in blues and greens for a sea-like semblance or pinky-reds and yellows like spiritual sunsets. It may mean every piece isn’t as wearable as previous seasons’, but Kane’s exquisite cut and inclination for crazy is as exciting as ever.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Felder Felder

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Felder Felder What: Signature rock ‘n’ roll, second-skin leather and flurries of fur. Thoughts: Felder Felder have returned to their signature rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic for autumn/winter 2011 where, after last season’s unsually colourful collection, jet blacks and inky blues predominate the palette. From suede skinnies to spray-on leather, trousers are tight, but skater skirts and silk draping work to soften the edge the Felder Felder girl wears next season. Form-fitting bodices, some studded with silver embellishment, sit alongside loose cowel-necked tops for a paradoxical variation, whilst coats come boxy in leather or sharp in tailored wool, often with feather trims – and if they don’t, be sure to find a feathered necklace or cuff elsewear. Blacks and blues provide a daring dark base for Felder Felder’s latest offering, interspersed with grainy green water-like prints – a reference to stormy seas, we presume – across gathered dresses and slouched silk tops, but there’s room for calm after this storm. Ice whites and space-like silvers – look to the white mohair-skirted coat with silver star embellishment as a key piece – offer a more refined direction for the designer duo, working to soften the harshness of tougher, grungy pieces with a simple, futuristic feel. It’s cleaner than previous seasons, but it’s just as cool, and we expect existing fans will lap it up as much as new followers.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Peter Pilotto

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Peter Pillotto What: Twisting and draping, tough tailoring and graphic prints. Thoughts: A tougher and sharper take on their sporty looks from last season, Christopher De Vos and Peter Pilotto unveiled a new angle for their autumn/winter 2011 collection. In a striking pallette of black, white, red, yellow and blue, the floor-length dresses and sleek seperates had a harder edge.  The duo provided an elegant mix of the clever twisting and draping they’ve become known for on maxi dresses, which were then sharply opposed by the tough tailoring and military coats that came on top. With most of the hems hitting the floor, the collection showed these anti-mini lengths have certainly got some staying power, but peep-hole gaps and splits add an exciting element, whilst the chain print checks and stark colour pallette tied all the looks together. Making a wool cardigan seem like a fresh, original piece takes some doing, but Peter Pilotto pulled it off with these punky wearable designs – refinement and evolution.

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London Fashion Week AW11: House of Holland

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: House of Holland What: Pastel separates, sweet tailoring and Seventies-inspired patchwork prints. Thoughts: House of Holland’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is nothing shy of colour, and quite frankly, we love it – the clothes were fun and, as always, Henry isn’t taking fashion too seriously. With sweetly tailored separates in pastel pink, lemon yellow, powder blue and pale purple, quirky orange striped calf-length socks, sharp coats and two-piece wool suits, the House of Holland girl looks to have grown up a little next season, but she’s still got her playful edge. A recurring Seventies-inspired patchwork pattern crops up on over-sized chunky knit scarves, tights, skirts and cute camisole tops to add a retro rainbow of colour, and typically cheeky symbols – a suggestive finger in hole here and a ‘hawt couture’ slogan there – are thrown in for good measure. With miniature pom poms on the sleeves of sweatres and oversized beading forming corset-style cupping on strappy dresses or on clustered together on the shoulders and hem of a shift, House of Holland’s latest offering is an absolute eye pleaser.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Issa

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Issa London What: All things animalistic and tangarine separates. Thoughts: Undeniably well crafted, Issa’s autumn/winter collection is decidedly Seventies-inspired. With stunning peacock print maxi dresses and others with a retro coloured chain print, daring splashes of vivid colour – aqua and tangerine, in particular, appearing on fluid floor-length dresses and a princess coat – made a striking statement on the runway. Signature draping, pencil skirts, leather gloves and even a Robin Hood-inspired cap with a structured feather-shaped adornment that became a dominant accessory throughout the collection added a chic and utterly feminine edge. Capturing the true spirit of season-appropriate Seventies glam – helped by guest appearances from Yasmin Le Bon in a curve-hugging silk pencil skirt and Andrea Dellal in a statement tomato dress – we’re particularly fond of the warm cranberry and leafy green colour palette and bold Brazilian brights Daniella Helayel’s offering for autumn. Though it’s not among our favourites, it’s a strong collection from Issa nonetheless – but we know what you’re all wondering, and no, she didn’t turn up. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Temperley London

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Temperley London What: Luxe fabrics, formal gowns and grown-up glamour Thoughts: After two years in New York, Temperley returned to London with a bang. Set in the British Museum, the collection was a large leap away from the boho styles that she was originally famed for, instead showing a selection of romantic dresses and gowns influenced by the prim girliness of the Victorian era but still remaining sexy and exuberant with sheer panels and embroided lace.  On a muted pallette of blush and monochrome with the occassional dash of red, her dramatic designs are set on luxe fabrics for autumn/winter 2011 showing a maturity and progression into lady-like glamour, but Temperley’s impeccable attention to detail is still evident in the scattered glitter and tulle frills.  It wasn’t all gowns and dresses, though – the Victorian element was again incorporated into high-necked blouses teamed with smart structured jackets and satin high-waisted trousers. Even more low-key looks like a grey frilled knit still had sex appeal as they paraded down the runway teamed with high-shine leather trousers and sky-high heels from Charlotte Olympia. A beautiful collection for any woman confident enough to wear the fiercest of glamour, we’re in no doubt we’ll be seeing these looks on the red carpet very soon.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Ashish

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Ashish What: Scottish punks, tartan, safety pins and sequins Thoughts: Reading Ashish’s show notes is almost as fun as watching his autumn/winter 2011 show. A trip through the Scottish highlands via British punk and pot holes, the London-based India-born designer brought London Fashion Week’s womenswear collections to a sensationally-sparkling close with his playful and patriotic offering for autumn. Dresses – some falling to the knee but mini for the most part – came colourful and shining, with a patchwork of yellow, red, blue, green and purple sequins sewed into tartan prints. Two-pieces reinterpret Chanel’s famous sets but come sequinned, naturally, and ripped or torn with frayed edges and missing pearl buttons, while Union Jacks appear across sweats, T-shirts and boxer shorts for an especially fun edge. Knitwear is slouchy and oversized, often falling off the shoulder, and looks like it’s made a moth’s meal with enough holes to fill a pot with, and a cropped cardigan in a rusty shade of orange is held together with safety pins for punk spirit – a particular highlight for us. Also slouchy and low-slung are trousers in sequinned tartan, and cobweb-knee tights, brothel creepers and the occasional skeleton print add attitude and an I don’t care air to Ashish’s autumn collection – it’s one of our favourites of his to date.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Maria Francesca Pepe

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Maria Francesca Pepe What: Avant garde statement amulets, delicate and feminine jewellery. Thoughts: There was an air of surrealism that clung to Maria Francesca Pepe’s autumn/winter 2011 exhibition. It felt as though we’d stepped into another time somewhat and not just off a drizzling London street. Tribal, medieval and edgy punk elements all co-existed in a collection that was harmoniously bold and delicate. Models were draped over plinth-like blocks and adorned chunky helmets and shields emblazoned with gems and crystals. Chains linking delicate pearls hung from hips and luxurious shawls were given a brash pizazz with safety pin brooches spelling FEAR. Heels were attached side spikes, bondage masks were studded with steel and ring sets were attributed either a dangling YES or NO – worn, we guess, according to mood or perhaps indecisiveness. The tough and the glamorous cohesively danced together in tribal necklaces, anklets and bracelets in leather and silver. Horns with spiked domes were not the most wearable (well, depending on who you are) but definitely the most eye catching. Pepe’s most original component is her jewellery-wear, where the boundaries between clothing and accessories become hazy whilst retaining a modern adaptability – a niche not fully explored so it’s exciting to see development in this genre.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Meadham Kirchhoff

Last Updated on 23rd February 2011 Who: Meadham Kirchhoff What: Eerie Pagan school girls, shrines, and sinister dark layers Thoughts: We’re not sure if what we witnessed was a runway show or a ritualistic march at Meadham Kirchhoff yesterday, but we’re rather fond of what we saw. Starting with a finale, the designer duo put on what must be a record short show of about four minutes with all models storming the catwalk at once in army-like precision – they appeared again, briefly, before Ben Meadham and Edward Kirchhoff popped out with a thanking wave, alerting the audience they should’ve clapped at the second stomping. It was actually very effective, and very clever. With shrines to the designers in the centre of the runway and a piercing Psycho soundtrack, the label’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is signature-sinister with models that look part Pagan, part peasant, part school girl hitting the ground in heavily layered looks. Black pinafores were layered over white ruffled shirts and smocks were worn with white collars tied with black velvet ribbon; peasant blouses had ethnic-looking embroidery, exaggerated puff sleeves and frayed, fringed edges; demure white lace dresses peered out of black slit coats or were layered over black versions. Vibrant red interjected the macabre monochrome palette in little woollen jackets, shapely smocks, knits and hits of lace. Long-hanging crucifix necklaces on black and white beads added to the religious-like effect, while models’ hair, coiled into two bunch-like halves, came tied with black lace or velvet bows. It was dark, decadent and, to be honest a little confusing, but its shell-shock factor is a resounding success, especially at second glance.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Aquascutum

Last Updated on 22nd February 2011 Who: Aquascutum What: Modern minimalism, clean lines and colour pops Thoughts: Aquascutum’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is the first under Joanna Sykes’ creative direction, and what a path she’s paved. Combining her signature clean cuts with the label’s rich British heritage, English Icons feels like a fresh approach for Aquascutum, but it’s all the better for it. Outerwear is key, of course, taking traditional winter staples like the trench, field jacket and pea coat and translating them into something altogether more contemporary with tonal colour blocking, exaggerated proportions and a playful mix of textures – English tweeds, mohair, leather, suede, shearling. They’re sleek, but the occasional slouchy parker or puff jacket give an air of relaxed Nineties nonchalance. Traditional tailoring is given a new lease of life with clean cuts and matching separates worn together for a powerful statement, especially when injected with splashes of vivid orange and electric blue in gentle geometry. But amidst the modern minimalism there’s femininity, too, best seen in loose, long silk dresses and jumpsuits in soft slate shades and midnight blue, or sheer chiffon blouses in blush. And making a debut appearance, there’s accessories to boot – quite literally. Structured, pared-down ankle or knee-high boots with subtle coloured panels in a mix of suede, deerskins and tough saddle leather and grown-up, sophisticated bags with charming hardware form the perfect finish to this incredibly wearable-but-cool collection. Keeping Aquascutum’s roots but reinterpreting them into something very clever, Sykes’ inaugral collection for the British heritage label is nothing short of amazing – and we want it all. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Holly Fulton

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Holly Fulton What: A geometric delight in tropical brights topped off with a trimming of black fur. Thoughts: Holly Fulton’s autumn/winter 2011 runway show at Somerset House this morning was, unsurprisingly, a lot more colourful than the monochromatic collections we’ve been seeing so far this season – so much so, in fact, it could’ve passed for a spring line. Packed to the brim with the likes of Daphne Guinness, Samantha Cameron and Hilary Alexander, the BFC Show Space played host to a truly fantastic show with neon yellow geo-tastic shift dresses, black and white futuristic prints and fluffy pom pom skirts that bounced to the beat of the music. Silk Japanese-inspired maxi dresses had vivid digital prints, textured wool shifts have nude patent leather trimmings – some with sharp gold studs for added edge or decadent mohair skirts – whilst azure separates, splashes of yellow and leather accents match the Sixties-inspired PVC mini frocks, making one heck of a tropic-packed treat for autumn. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Vivienne Westwood Red Label What: AW11 Red Label collection, filled to the brim with Vivienne’s signature colourful quirky style. Thoughts: After an agonising wait, it was time to catch a first hand glimpse into one of the Britain’s most extravagant runway shows. We have to admit, we truly adore Vivienne Westwood, so when the time came to take our place inside the Royal Court of Justice at London’s Strand, our hearts were beating a little frantically with excitement. And what a show it was – wacky, crazy, colourful and eccentric are just a few adjectives that spring to mind. The collection was undeniably stunning, with oversized spray-painted hair, gold leaf face paint, statement plush red crown hats (some of which were made out of hair) and multicoloured oversized circus shawls. Makeup was clown-inspired, tailored black velvet suits were sharp and, naturally, her trademark check and tartan strip was out in full force, making way for a truly out of this world show – and one we’d gladly relive. Our highlight was catching a sneaky glimpse of one of Westwood’s Red Nose Day Shakespeare T-shirts peering through a grey shirt and blue-orange tartan two-piece, as well as seeing British model Daisy Lowe strutting her stuff down the runway – nice touch, Viv.

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London Fashion Week AW11: David Koma

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: David Koma What: Circles, spots, signature structure and fun, fluffy pom poms. Thoughts: For a name synonymous with sculptural shapes and spikes, there was very little to scratch yourself with at Koma next season, but we’re rather fond of the fun embellishment that takes their place. True to his signature form-fitting designs, all-black body-con dresses with circular patent patches came trimmed with sumptuous fur shoulders or cuffs and multi-coloured fur pom poms – a theme inspired by Japanese avant garde artist Yayoi Kusama. Spots were reinterpreted as laser-cut disks on leather capes and skirts and in print form where structured monochrome shifts were dotted in uniform shapely lines or had larger holographic-esque faces emerged in digital 3D-like fashion. Colour pops came from bold, bright fur pom poms in cool cobalt blue, neon yellow and rusty orange, adorning fitted dresses and separates with structured flare and strictly-slim Fifties waists. Fun, futuristic and wearable – yes, even the heel-less wedges by Alain Quilici – Koma’s got it spot on for autumn. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Unique

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Topshop Unique What: Dalmation spots, polka dots and a Thirties Cruella De Ville. Thoughts: It’s cool to be cruel – or Cruella, more specifically – according to Unique next season. With dalmation spots and dog barks, the British brand’s autumn/winter 2011 collection takes inspiration from 1930’s America, where elegance is exuberant, refined but ultra-modern, too. Surprisingly – and unlike previous seasons – its also incredibly wearable. Prints are big and bold – especially dog prints seen on clutches and clasps of belts or automobiles on shoes – and structure adds an architectural feel reminiscent of the Art Deco era, whether in stiff and twisted dresses, refined tailoring or sky-scraper prints on blouses. Fur forms a sumptuous strong point, seen on oversized monochrome coats, hems of dresses and oversized collars for De Ville-like depth and impact. Dresses for the most part fall mid-length and flowing – save for a structured sweetheart mini covered in jet black glitter – and trousers come loosely tailored or slouchy and pyjama-like. But among the decadence, Unique’s collection has room for softness too, with pretty-printed sheer chiffon blouses, crushed velvet, lurex and hints of tobacco. Elegant it is, but it’s also laced with fun – models’ hair is shaped into Minnie Mouse style ears and some wear black-tipped noses. Especially strong in a finale where all models storm the runway at once, Unique’s collection for autumn/winter 2011 is among our favourites to date from the label – ask Anna Wintour, sitting front row – helped by Katie Grand’s spot-on styling.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Charlie Le Mindu

Last Updated on 27th June 2016 Who: Charlie Le Mindu What: Squealing pigs, blood, PVC and lace Thoughts: Nudity, blood, PVC and gas masks – what a show – once again Charlie Le Mindu produced a collection so full of extravagance and sheer shock that it’s destined to be as talked about as his exhibitionist SS11 production. Piercing electronica set the scene for the confronting entrance of the first model – naked, dripping in blood red paint and with a VIOLENCE head piece. The crowd’s attention was grabbed, held and not released until the squealing of pigs indicated the show’s end. A slaughter house seemed the venue, but alleged inspiration was a Berlin wartime brothel where upon the French Haute Coiffeur was apparently exploring the extremes of femininity and sodomy. Gaga wigs, eagle headdresses and cigarette nail addendums were theatrically striking and like last season’s show nudity was the norm – conveyed unaccompanied or through transparent PVC – but this time is was more expected so was given a vexing edge: gore. Decadent lace, elegant pearls and fine feathers embellished dresses, jackets and ankle cuffs and played the stark antithesis to spray-painted mohicans and disturbing gas masks with goatie-like hair extensions.  The collection was as much an art exhibition as a fashion collection where numerous conflicting parodies were out to play – heaven and hell, pleasure and pain, love and torture and the delicate versus the horrific.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Margaret Howell

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Margaret Howell What: Androgynous designs out for a country walk. Thoughts: The refined call of the violin followed by delicate piano notes created a befitting ambience for Margaret Howell’s autumn/winter 2011 catwalk show. Androgyny has become synonymous with the British label and loose fitted and well-tailored pieces once again permeated the collection. The authenticity of nature is a reoccurring inspiration for Howell and this shone through not only the in the garments but also in the unfussy natural make-up and hair in low knots with cashmere headbands. Like others gone before, this collection was assured, natural and unpretentious. Quintessentially British tweed double breasted jackets and trench coats combined with out-back hats just needed a notebook and a mission to channel Inspector Gadget. Corduroy was the fabric of choice for tan oversized suits, midnight blue jackets and crimson skirts complete with matching lower leather hemming. Pinafore dresses and white blouses with white back bows conjured the Victorian peasant, and sheer pleated midi skirts subtracted weight from a show that was somewhat bulky in nature. Howell has been a quiet but robust force in the fashion industry for over four decades and her designs in essence haven’t wavered from the threads of British tradition. We see this collection as being comparable to a stately country home – grand yet understated, with a comfortable nonchalance that front row’s Alexa Chung would no doubt be proud of. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Mulberry

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Mulberry What: Quintessentially English countryside meets grown-up glamour with signature Mulberry quirk sprinkled amidst a friendly forest of woodland creatures. Thoughts: If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a nice surprise. Much like it’s pre-fall collection, Mulberry’s offering for autumn/winter 2011 is a woodland-inspired wonderland, full of fantastical furry creatures and clothes to match. Opening with An English Country Garden and a reading from Road Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox, Mulberry transformed Claridges’ Ballroom once again into a magical wild wonderland, this time smothered in pretty moss foliage, birds on branches, furry animals and overhead tweeting. A rich colour palette of new-season neutrals and autumnal earthy shades – try fox brown, conker, dark heather, red onion and winter white – are accented with intense pops of colour – cabbage, hedgehog bronze, foxglove pink and lavender – for an eccentric walk on the wild side next autumn. Longer lengths and sumptuous textures see oversized coats layered with delicate silk dresses and chunky knit cardigans flung over full-lengths – the Mulberry girl may have gone a little glam next season, but she’s prim, proper and patriotic, too. Coats are cosy and practical – quilted macs, trench coats, boyfriend jackets, nostalgic duffles and oversized poacher jackets – whilst knits are super soft and super sized, seeing signature checked scarves in sumptuous angora casually wrapped around necks for a simple but striking statement. Dresses are designed for statement, with strong, structured shapes or soft ethereal floor-sweepers with delicously delicate details. Some come cool – a bronze lurex maxi or a phesant green Sixties mid-length – and some come classic – a romantic full pleated shirt dress, but all are effortlessly contemporary. Onto the bags, the Bayswater’s been given poacher-style straps and stud closures to […]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Bryce Aime

Last Updated on 21st February 2011 Who: Bryce Aime What: Signature architectural designs, stand-out show pieces, perspex and digital prints. Thoughts: Sitting front row at Bryce Aime gives you time to really appreciate the intricate work of this emerging designer. Going back to his design roots to present a signature avant garde collection, Militarium, this time Bryce takes inspiration from the military – a Northern military, like Poland or Russia, he told us several weeks ago – but his interpretation is subtle and ever-creative. With strong, structured silhouettes and distinctive digital prints in grey, black, blue and silver, jersey, silk and wool bring an added depth for autumn. Architectural angluar pieces work against softer classically-cut dresses and tailoring to balance harsh edges as Bryce takes androgyny to the extreme this season with masculine shapes and the odd male model thrown in for good measure. Showpieces are truly statement, with a sharp-angled printed perpex dress jutting out from a models’ body and similar creations cleverly places around faces. Exciting still, this season marks Bryce Aime’s first foray into accessories via a collaboration with acclaimed bag designer Bracher Emden, resulting in elegantly edgy embellished suede envelope styles and structured slim backpacks. But what we will say is this – we’re not fond of sub size zero models; baggy crotches on the tightest of leggings isn’t best becoming. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: John Rocha

Last Updated on 20th February 2011 Who: John Rocha What: Decadently dark texture in black and nude, balancing strong structure with soft silhouettes and dramatic headwear. Thoughts: It may be black and nude only – save for a sparse splash of orange-red – but John Rocha’s autumn/winter 2011 collection is far from limiting. Texture-heavy and inspired by everything from Pierre Soulages’ paintings to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon and the harsh Icelandic landscapes, extravagant tinseled yarns, twisted and knotted intricately to hang like decadent fringing, opened the show in black – a cape with a fur collar, the skirt of a mid-length embellished dress, a cropped bubble coat. Structure works with volumious shapes to create stiff, sculpted coats and bell-bottom dresses, where again rich texture takes centre stage in elegant lace applique, looped yarn, sheer chiffon and tufts of threads. Silhouettes are softly draped, often falling asymmetrically with air-like lightness, and are paired with hand-crocheted separates, lambskin leathers, angoras and shearling to stop it all becoming too heavy – dramatic entangled pieces with sheer under layers; structured dresses with tumbling crochet. Milk and blush shades worked well to soften against the dark decadence, as did the occasional pops of orange-red seen in loose sheer trousers and a ponyskin coat, again emphasising Rocha’s exceptional talent for balancing strength and tenderness. He’s brought a new elegance to his signature designs this season, and a cool, contemporary edge, too.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Jaeger

Last Updated on 20th February 2011 Who: Jaeger London What: British elegance in bright block colours, colonial references, relaxed tailoring and classic signatures with a contemporary edge. Thoughts: Among the dark collections we’ve seen so far, Jaeger offers a bright breath of air next season. Nude and blacks are still dominant in the luxury label’s autumn/winter 2011 collection, but they’re offset against bright pops of crayloa colours. A jewelled blue dress here and a fuschia shirt there is teamed with black for the ultimate colour contrast, while camel separates are injected with flashes of scarlett red for an especially contemporary take on classic designs. The winter coat – a Jaeger signature – plays a pivotal role for autumn, appearing in dramatic maxi lengths, sleeveless clean cuts, exaggerated capes and cropped shapes in rich textures. Detail is key here – oversized lapels, buckles and collars lined with fur or shearling. Dogstooth prints proudly reflect the label’s British heritage, as do Prince of Wales checks and sumptuous wools – an extravagance that leads into eveningwear with jewel silk dresses, colour-shock chiffon blouses and sleek jet blacks. Knitwear adds a rich texture to Jaeger’s autumn collection, appearing in mohair, cashmere and sculpted wool jerseys in neutral blushes and punchy earthy tones – shapes are oversized, falling just above the knee with ribbed cuffs or finish loosely at the hip. Bags remain classic but are finished with feather straps, textured panels, buckles and padlocks whilst shoes take on a simplistic yet contemporary approach – strapped sandals with wide leather cuffs have contrasting coloured heels, knee-high boots fall wide and textured and ankle boots come bright and patent. Our favourite part? Black socks with contrasting colour pop toes and heels – an especially fun touch to this directional collection.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Georgia Hardinge

Last Updated on 20th February 2011 Who: Georgia Hardinge What: signature architectural shapes, spine structuring and skeletal prints Thoughts: Heralded as ‘one to watch’ last season, yesterday saw Georgia Hardinge showcase her first stand-alone runway show at Vauxhall Fashion Scout to astounding success with the likes of Nicola Roberts sat front row. Inspired by the unorthodox photography of Joel Peter Witkin, Georgia combines concepts of death, destruction and disfiguration with anatomy, and the results are surprisingly wearable. Digital skeletal prints in monochromatic blacks and greys are reworked across second-skin leggings, bodies, long-line skirts and mini dresses in simple, streamlined silhouettes. Signature sculpted, contoured creations – more directional in design – followed in buttermilk, bone and blush shades with spinal leather or wool folds standing stiff along the backs and arms of structured jackets and leggings. Dark though her concepts may be, Georgia’s eerie prints are softened with sheer chiffon shirts in black and others in ivory – particularly effective paired with spinal leggings and a shapely sharp-shouldered jacket – and grey leather separates. With a collection as powerful as this, we suggest you remember Georgia Hardinge’s name – she’s set for the big time.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Fyodor Golan

Who: Fyodor Golan What: Contemporary tribal meets Greek goddess Thoughts: Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman – the designers behind the Fyoder Golan label  – created a collection which drew inspiration from the Renaissance and Regency periods titled ‘Pagan Poetry’. It was teaming with bold African tribal influences and the charming splendour of the Greek goddess. Soft leather was attributed symbolic scarring like that of various tribal customs for beauty, status and decoration. Using goats skin, the designers were able to manipulate the leather to create a textured pattern that was both interesting and becoming. Feather bodices were paired with high-waisted trousers with additional leather flay at the side and front, adding volume to a conventional straight leg. Ruched nude sheer mesh instilled a sexy panache and many dresses combined stiff cut-out hard lines in the bodice with soft silk maxi flow from the hip. There was a vast amount of detail creating linear patterns but it was all in a rather confined palette of navy, nude and brown – that is, apart from the one and only electric blue number with sultry sky high slits. Opulence was conveyed in the fabric, luxury in the extensive workmanship and raw expression in the metaphoric symbolism. A wealth of elongated silhouettes worked to enhance the theme – the  powerful, striking and well-respected woman.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Una Burke

Who: Una Burke What: Sculptured leather accessories and an experimental vexing film. Thoughts: The Una Burke exhibition was dramatically compelling and fascinating in terms of craftsmanship. The mood was set with a red tinge and with spotlights that highlighted Burke’s leather creations – a collection inspired by the physical alterations and social impact of prosthetic limbs and medical braces; and how the cumbersome nature of which affects self image and has the potential for social reticence. Upon entering a short film began rolling which is many ways could be a Saw sequel – leather domed, buckled and strappy accessories covered both body and face. The actor was conveyed in broken movement, escaping entrapment and finding her way in her new world with appendages and all the while shedding skin and looking completely terrorised. There were bracelets, neck pieces and restrictive full body armour for those so inclined – an interesting theme, radically portrayed and imaginatively followed through to her leather handiwork. Commendable for throwing light on the sometimes confining nature of adjustment, but without background some of her pieces maybe misconstrued as bondage attire.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Bernard Chandran

Who: Bernard Chandran What: Block pop colours, feathers, directional peplums Thoughts: Malaysian born designer Bernard Chandran seems to be rising in popularity. With queues at Northumberland House bigger than Felder Felder and supportive celebrities Diana Vickers and Keisha Buchanan, we were expecting something spectacular. Bold and confident, the colour palette consisted of strong orange, red and pink, offsetting more classic hues of deep, velvety navy and black. Though if you favoured one of these colours, you were having the whole look in that hue – coat, dress, tights and shoes (who were designed by shoe maestro Giuseppe Zanotti, FYI). The chosen shades were even streaked through the models’ bed-head plaited hair. Known for his sharp cuts and innovative silhouettes, we see new refinements in the cut. The silhouettes are structured, with nipped-in waistlines and sleeves clearly inspired by sportswear. The abundance of fabrics including leather, lace, jersey, silk and velvet created quirky crossover patterns and texturised panelling. Sheer floor length lace dresses were broken up with industrial zips and skinny black belts. Main features included part-peplum dresses that gave the illusion of half of another garment to the bold coloured cocktail dresses underneath. The feathered pieces whipped the audience into a frenzy as they floated down in bright fuchsia pinks and solid blacks. With rumour that Bernard Chandran will be moving to the main schedule next season, we’re looking forward to see what he has to offer next.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Estethica

Who: Estethica What: British Fashion Council ethical fashion initiative, featuring over 20 eco-emerging designers. Thoughts: Treated to a champagne brunch at the Estethica showroom, we sipped bubbles as we marvelled at up-and-coming ethical designers’ collections. Estethica is now in its 10th season and is all about promoting eco-sustainability and supporting those designers who have admirably chosen to go down a greener path. The crowd was a-buzz with excitement of discovery and innovation. While fruit skewers and bloody marys were polished off, we chose our favourites out of more than 20 featured designers for the AW11 Estethica collective, which were splayed across two floors of Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries. A treasure trove of jewels is what first caught our eye at the Little Glass Clementine stall. Bird skulls, bath plugs, pocket watches, and love notes were all emblazoned in gem stones, broken china and gold antiques – all recycled, all artful, and all quirkily chic. Selfridges have even advocated Clementine as one of the UK’s top 20 up and coming designers of the year – a definite one to watch. Next we stumbled across Goodone, an independent fashion label that uses recycled fabrics for its collections and asserts itself as being reflective of contemporary London. The garments were uber modern with panelling an outstanding feature in body-con dresses and cropped cashmere jumpers. A mustard and sunflower tonal knitted shift dress and a blanket coat in cream wool were both noticeably striking, as was the use of on-trend block colouring in vivid red or subtle mauve. The label aims to prove that sustainability and high-end luxury are not mutually exclusive and are on track in terms of eclectic wearability and lavishness to boot. There were so many astounding pieces to ogle over and designers to talk to – overall it was a […]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Danielle Scutt AW11

Who: Danielle Scutt What: 80’s power dressing, crushed velvet, fishnet cutouts Thoughts: After a short time away from the circuit, Danielle Scutt made a triumphant return on day two of London Fashion Week at the Old Sorting Office. Her muse still remains the same, a self-confident, trashy-glam power woman. Piled on heavy gold jewellery in shapes of lipsticks and other questionable emblems were found everywhere – necks, ears, waists and wrists. All black ensembles featured sharply tailored double breasted jackets and were paired with swinging box pleated skirts and body-con jersey all-in-ones. Fishnet and geometric lattice cut-outs were seen in loose tailoring, oversized silk crepe shirts and below the knee dresses which featured Eighties-inspired dramatic puff sleeves in schiaparelli pink. Continuing the Eighties vibe were crushed velvet off-the-shoulder dresses in shades of plum and silver, twisted and knotted. Pieces softened towards the end with a tan textured cocooned blazer, khaki skin tight trousers and jersey twisted bra tops. However, Scutt returned to visual assault to make up for it on her last look with a gold foil asymmetrical top with an emphasised shoulder that would look have sat well with a perm 30 years ago. Whilst these trashy references should be unappealing, we can’t help but love the overall garish attack of detail. Welcome back Danielle Scutt.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Sass & Bide

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: Sass & Bide What: bold pop colours, silk draped feather print dresses and enamel necklaces. Thoughts: The first line of the show notes read, “inspired by an energetic collision of colour, texture and cultures,” which couldn’t have rounded it off any better. Generic autumnal shades were ditched in favour of vivid magenta, pop red and tangerine, and not only in the clothes – long strips of fluorescent yellow were painted onto the forearms of the models, too. To start, designer duo Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton sent out silk feather print draped dresses in monotone shades and suede fringed hems, teamed with the neon-tipped enamel feather necklaces. Pop coloured separates featured rope piping details that hung from the necklines and swung down by the shoulders. Multi-crayon coloured scalloped pieces formed a dress, zipped entirely down the centre, crop top and mini. Draped coats and dresses plummeted to the floor in brick and rust coloured suede with weaving detailing on waistbands, cuffs and sleeve heads. Cigarette cut trousers and jacket panels were covered with glittered sequins adding to the bright extravagance. Collision of cultures came in the form of silk taffeta ikats and hand-painted tie-dye wraps and shots of plaid – maybe it didn’t depict the usual traits of an autumn/winter collection, but when you’re mind is transported to a more tropical place in time, we don’t mind one bit.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Ashley Isham

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: Ashley Isham What: dramatic glamour, soft draping, vivid colours and, of course, dresses. Thoughts: World renowned Singaporean designer Ashley Isham is enthusiastic about opulence, and is apparently a great admirer of Galliano’s sense of the theatrical. His autumn/winter collection definitely encompasses the ostentatious and the dramatic, presenting a show that was both contemporary and glamorous. Queues down the street and around the corner proved he has a wealth of admirers and having to stand to see the show didn’t put a damper on it. New Wave drum and base with an airy female vocalist ran at parallel to the collection’s strong tailoring and signature soft draping. First we were treated to summer garden florals in fishtail gowns, the short and the fitting, and cut-out numbers all in a surprising yet lovable fabric – flannel. The palette was eclectic but the use of silks and metallic embellishment created an overall glossy finish. Emerald green and royal blue off-the shoulder evening dresses were attributed floaty sashes or finished with vivacious beaded bordering. Asian inspired head pieces made of chopsticks, flowers and mesh were decidedly playful and extravagant and worked to tie the collection together under a theme of elegant Asian fusion, whereby both head-wear and enveloping draping were comparable to the elongated and delicate crane. Isham thrives on creating “works of desire that women can actually wear,” and this collection was no exception.

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London Fashion Week AW11: PPQ

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: PPQ What: eclectic, regal and dress-dominant with signature structured headgear. Thoughts: When you have a name for yourself as cool as PPQ, everyone wants to go – and that includes the guys with counterfeit tickets. In fairness (and despite the chaos), much of its autumn/winter 2011 show last night lived up to its reputation. The coolest people – Jo Wood, Jaime Winstone, Paloma Faith – and the coolest hip-hop; it’s only a shame the collection didn’t quite meet the marker. Dress dominant, you’ll struggle to find many separates from PPQ this season, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for diversity; black heavy with glimpses of grey and moments of bright, bold colour, the London label’s gone eclectic for autumn, but it’s refined and regal in places, too. With short hemlines and frilled ruffles aplomb, its a collection rich in texture with a particular penchant for velvet, whether on ribbon trims, heart-shaped patterns or dresses in their own right. A vibrant orange, yellow and purple print across a thigh-skimming smock and again on the collar of a black velvet dress does well to break up the black, and simple relaxed tailoring livened up with the odd ribbon here or frilled lace cuff there is a highlight. But on the whole the collection leave us wanting more – cool though PPQ may be, its latest offering feels a little average, livened up by prarie plaits and directional feline headwear. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Aminaka Wilmont

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: Aminaka Wilmont What: an abundance of signature digital prints, patent leather separates and socks. Thoughts: Aminaka Wilmont’s latest collection was a vision of black knee-high socks, rocking leather pieces and signature blurred digital prints – some dotted with snakeskin, others with softer, blown-out florals – in a monochrome palette. Silhouettes were slim – Wilmont’s trademark body-con designs haven’t gone anywhere for autumn, fans will be pleased to hear – and short, but were layered with draped fabrics or leather jackets and to add a directional shape and texture. Although the black-white-grey colour scheme was limiting and grinded slightly towards the end of the show, key pieces like the sheepskin-trimmed waterfall jacket and multi-layered biker bomber coat definitely realed back the limelight for this winter line. Image credit

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London Fashion Week AW11: Bora Aksu

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: Bora Aksu What: Traditional tailoring in modern materials, masculine separates and signature cocktail dresses. Thoughts: There was a lot of love in the room for Bora Aksu last night, and a starry front row with the likes of Twiggy and Jodie Harsh showing their support for this young designer, but his collection left little to lust-after. Playing on the contrasts of proper and improper – like that of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he says – Aksu’s autumn collection is heavily focused on tailoring with traditional masculine-Victorian jackets, capes and bow ties set against feminine pleats and cocktail dresses, a combination which, for us, fell short for feeling awkward. Perhaps its his move towards including more separates this season – the likes of short jackets, shirts and trousers that take on an adrogynous aesthetic – but the signature cocktail dresses Bora fans know and love are still there, if in less capacity that previously. Smokey greys and stark blacks are predominant to reflect the streets of London in the late 18th century, but are broken up with the odd flash of emerald green. Creating volume and texture, leather is key to Aksu’s autumn collection, seen on piping and dresses in its own right, as well as plastic to play contrast against silks and traditional tweed. We’re not entirely convinced, but on reading the show notes, Bora’s fixture on dual identity has been used with function too – three-quarter length coats can be unfastened to become cropped jackets, details which can’t be ascertained to the eye from the runway. If this was his intention (and we’re assured it is to reinforce unseen conflicts), perhaps this is a collection that needs to be seen up close and personal. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Krystof Strozyna

Who: Krystof Stronzyna What: Futuristic party dresses, graphic prints, neon colour-blocking and a cool, contemporary aesthetic. Thoughts: Krystof Strozyna has become famous for his party dresses (he was recently praised by Elle UK) and even the odd celebrity or two have jumped aboard the designer’s bandwagon. His autumn/winter 2011 show again stuck with this successful mantra to produce a collection that was exciting but a little type-cast. What started off with futuristic elements like resplendent mini dresses cinched at the waist and silver wrist and ankle cuffs, morphed into more of a multicoloured affair with fiery graphic prints and neon block colouring. Signature panelling in sassy brights were this time in pleated aqua and tangerine and spruced up stiff tan. The plain black shift dresses were primed with the pizzazz of hot pink sashes and silver sequined sleeves and etching-style red and yellow prints marched out before a techni-colour one sided draping. High collared shirts added another variable and were highlighter blue or sprinkled with hot orange embroidery. It was a sandwich of metallic dramatics at the beginning and end with a rather plain yet tasty filling. The collection seemed to stick within the realms of comfort zone – nothing too extravagant, but everything very pretty and extremely easy to wear. Girls Aloud’s Kimberley Walsh stole the photographic thunder, whilst Strozyna did a hasty shuffle and wave before shyly departing.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Jean-Pierre Braganza

Who: Jean-Pierre Braganza What: Structured asymmetrical tailoring, signature prints, tough leather separates and splashes of red. Thoughts: Jean-Pierre Braganza kicked off the shows at Northumberland House by sending out sharply constructed grey tailoring – asymmetrical cuts in the lapels and openings. Paired with fur collars and dramatic old school halfway poses from the models, the show started off with a gentle air, however, the clues were in the high sculpted ponytails and red blushed makeup for the dark and forbidding garments next in line. Sculpted leather dresses, skirts and cut-away jackets fixed together with rivets paired with black suede knee high boots and ribbed jersey detailing were added to oversized bombers. Blood red was introduced into the collection via a wool mini skirt and set the way for block red coats and suits. Reds then spiralled into signature prints on silk dresses and drop crotched jumpsuits. Overall, we felt as it looked a little bit like a collection we may have seen before from Jean-Pierre Braganza, but whilst it would’ve been nice to see a newer statement from him, it was a good start to the week nonetheless. [Images]

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London Fashion Week AW11: Fulguni & Shane Peacock

Who: Fulguni & Shane Peacock What: Glam-goth, bondage tendancies, leather and decadent gold embellishment Thoughts: The party week really got started at the Fulguni & Shane Peacock autumn/winter show, where punk rockers and gothics alike were taken out clubbing to grind to dirty house. Bondage elements were carried over from last season’s collection, with prominent leather piping and biker jackets with leafy gold embellishment taking centre stage. Craftsmanship was rife in all of the garments – red and black graphic prints were layered with both crochet and mesh, creating a messy yet uncomplicated feel. Models conveyed an edgy and angst-ridden demeanour and, adorned in ripped fishnets, metal spike bracelets and towering domed platforms, they looked every bit the provocative part. Appliqués, rivets and sequins brought fitting mini dresses to life and the use of the odd feather helped retain a slice of the sweet. Favourites would have to be a billowing teal blue mullet dress complete with body con upper sparkle; a nude voluminous gown with textured gathering, structural shoulder and hip add-ons and an elegant mesh trail; and the devilish soft jumpsuit, hardened by a splash of metallic baroque. Atmospheric excitement resonated at the end of yesterday’s show with a crowd left ready to take on the world sporting kinky knee high leather boots and saucy red eye shadow.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Maria Grachvogel

Last Updated on 19th February 2011 Who: Maria Grachvogel What: signature draping, relaxed tailoring, specially-crafted prints and a soft colour palette Thoughts: Perhaps the setting of the Savoy’s Lancaster Ballroom was an early sign of how decadent Grachvogel’s show would be – but it’s Maria’s subtlety that really makes this collection sing. Abstract and ethereal but never unreachable, Maria Grochvogel’s autumn offering packs an earthy punch with its references to both nature and fantasy – inspired by everything from tribal to Brothers Grimm, we’re told. Using individually engineered artwork prints, a trademark of the London-based designer’s, her unique technique is worked across easy day dresses and printed wool trousers in steel and subtle jewel shades next season. Of course, there’s plenty of her signature draping, too, seen on dresses, jumpsuits and cleverly-cut pants, but a stand-out for us is a full-length camel coat with intricate folds of fabric and another in bone with an oversized collar – available with a shearling trim, if you’re feeling lucky. With new-season neutrals taking centre stage is as many differing varyations of ivory as you can recall – try ebony, bone, buttermilk and winter white – delicate blushes soften harsher, darker silhouettes whilst a pop of tangerine orange interspersed sparsely adds an almost tangible zingyness and works well against jewel prints. Silks, lace, wool, tweed and cashmere, Maria’s autumn collection is sumptuous and extravagant in texture, but her clean and contemporary silhouette offers some great examples of effortless daywear.

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London Fashion Week AW11: Ada Zanditon

Who: Ada Zanditon What: Ice-inspired geometric prints, structural shapes and contemporary tailoring. Thoughts: Submerged in the Ada Zanditon crowds today at her Fashion Week exhibition played a stark contrast to the inspiration for her show – the extreme climate of the arctic – where life forms and nature are scarce but beauty is abundant. The portrayal of this theme was enhanced by the rolling film and title of her collection – The CRYOFLUX – which depicted models with electric icy blue makeup wearing her structural geometric pieces, engendering a sense of winter wonder that’s so prevalent in natural arctic formations. Trance was the befitting music for this exhibition and as minimal beats permeated the room we were left to gaze at fabric encased in ice sculptures and to fight for space to drool over her collection. There was a range of fluent dresses – some in a plain palette of navy and marine but always well tailored and bejewelled with necklaces in chunky silver or soft leather. The architectural elements of her garments were highlights; blood orange blazers were spruced with squidgy constructural arms and puffy jackets were created in the same manner but in blue-grey and azure. The most commendable characteristic of Ada’s collection is that it’s all made from sustainable fabrics. Eco-friendly fashion has been her trademark since conception and this season it’ll go a fair way to convincing you green is good.

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