Tuesday, November 27, 2012

London Fashion Week: Where New Fashion is Born

Coffee or tea? It’s always a hard choice, as each one satisfies a very different need. Transpose that to fashion and you will find the dilemma editors and fashionistas have to face every season: New York or London.
Schedules make it almost impossible to cover both (you would have to fly from New York at night on the 13th after the Calvin Klein show and wake up at 7 AM in London to attend the Antoni & Alison opening show at the Somerset House).
Some do manage it (Anna Wintour, Tim Blanks or Hilary Alexander what is usually referred to as biannual “fashion tour”), but unless you’re a superhero, you still probably have to choose, and you’d better choose well if you don’t want to regret it for the rest of the week.
This season though, it seemed quite easy to pick one of those destinations.
Certainly New York Fashion Week is the place where big labels show, but we all know the future of fashion comes from young designers, and when it comes to up-and–coming talents, London is surely the #1 platform.
According to Chelo Martinez, a marketing director at the show: “Fashion season kicked off in August for the team with Copenhagen Fashion Week, followed by fashion week in Madrid then Valencia and now London. We scout for the best emerging talents to sell their collections on our platform (picked by UK newspaper The Independent as one of the 50 best online clothing shops) and LFW is undoubtedly the biggest event on the world’s creative stage.”
Added journalist Lara Antonioni: “You always discover new aspects of fashion during LFW.”
From day 1 it was easy to see that even the most traditional labels featured original elements in their collections, probably giving rise to the strength of LFW.
Caroline Charles‘ Polynesian-inspired collection was classic in cuts and yet so fancy and daring in prints (especially those Caribbean fish print), while Unconditional’s back transparent strips used on colorful androgynous looks totally seduced us.
Sass & Bide brought a bit of Australia to London with their origami-based dresses and skirts which soon transformed into neon and sequined pants and dresses, all of this perfectly accessorized with glamorous golden jewelry.
KTZ closed this first day with a show that only London can offer: baroque-inspired platforms teamed with white lace overalls, black shiny plastic pants and skirts: pieces fashion editors will be delighted to feature in futuristic editorials.
Sportswear has been at the heart of trends for a couple of seasons, and two brands were here to remind us of it.
The first one made his models follow a yellow neon tape line on the floor of an immaculate white studio while the second one introduced his collection offering the audience tennis ball shaped chewing gums. As everyone had understood by the beginning of the show, David Koma found his creativity in tennis, and the pleated skirts teamed with net-inspired tops confirmed the ability of the designer to come up with elegant and sporty pieces.
As for Richard Nicoll, he mainly proposed for his SS13 zipper skirts and dresses made of cotton or plastic, along with oversized jumper for a sports and casual look.
Highly eccentric shows were also presented this week, among which five drew our attention!
Louise Gray’s Barbie-inspired collection was so haut-en-couleur it would almost be impossible to give an exhaustive list of all the tones she used, though there is something we are quite sure of: fashion lovers will kill for those pied-de-poule yellow wedge shoes and graphic print knitted cardigans.
Corrie Nielsen‘s futuristic silhouettes were absolutely breathtaking while Meadham Kirchhoof 18th century set transformed the circular neon-lit Topshop venue into a reduced-size Versailles salon.
Holly Fulton let’s-go-to-the-beach collection was lively, colorful and the prints used represented one of the most sophisticated patterns seen this week!
Last season they had used human cell prints on skirts, this season the duo Maki Aminaka and Marcus Wilmont proposed striped print inspired by salmon skins, used on masterly tailored dresses and skirts.
Some designers like to take risks, all the while keeping it under control and still assuring the commercial success of their collections.
It was the case of JW Anderson, whose collection featured fabric superposition and pure lines, as well as Simone Rocha’s, who played the originality card with her plastic platform shoes teamed with flower lace dresses and delicate coats.
Nicole Farhi stuck to the brand’s DNA with a minimalistic collection which included a beautiful autumn leaves print used on a voluminous skirt and incredible pleats covered with cream leather on the reverse: exquisite detailing.
Hearts were everywhere in Osman’s collection, though surely the most impressive piece was this fuchsia large trench coat worn with electric blue mid-calf pants for a color blocking look!
Topshop Unique‘s design proved to be highly efficient with simple cuts and bright prints, a collection which will surely be a hit in stores.
And then there are fashion shows that cannot even be referred to as runway shows, but simply shows, with a capital S.
Philip Treacy was one of them: it was 9:30 at the Royal Court of Justice when Lady Gaga dressed in a fuchsia full cape opened the show, letting it an army of Michael Jackson inspired models, each of them wearing architectural hats, releasing on their way an incredibly amount of positive energy.
“It’s fundamental to work on contrast: it’s all about finding the right balance between simplicity and complexity,” said Marcus Wilmont during an interview held just after the end of his show, closing this edition of LFW.
And maybe this is what really makes LFW so powerful: the fact that in the same day Burberry will gather 1500 guests in Hyde Park for a lamé and wide-shouldered coats collection, while small labels such as Math or Lucas Nascimento with incredible potential also get the chance to present their collections in front of international press and buyers.

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