Menswear isn’t usually my forte but I love to look at it to see what elements I can steal for myself. From Katy Eary I would take the furry jackets, from Martine Rose these colour-block patchwork shirts with panels of pinks, greys and black-and-white polka dots.
Casely-Hayford’s Kings of the Kingsland collection was meticulously styled and cast. His different take on tailoring with elastic hem trousers, neckscarves, Crombies, trenchcoats and lounge slippers all caught my eye.
Marc Hare from Mr Hare has one of my favourite menswear blogs and his shoe collection brought a steady stream of eager onlookers. All his shoes were original and brilliant but especially this flat slipper-like slip-on.
As I’ve said before, menswear design always seems so much more functional than womenswear. If only we could have a womenswear take on H by Harris’s quilted leather jacket with its zip-on-zip-off backpack.
[Shoe pic by Mr Hare]
The twinset also appeared at menswear label Sibling’s presentation (below). As designer Joe Bates admitted, “it’s me needing a twinset that started the whole thing off”. Actually, it’s the idea of a twinset as menswear that I really love. I’d wear one with mannish cigarette pants and my Maxmara-from-Bicester-Village brothel creepers to give it a non-prim twist.
On Monday evening I was invited to the Kitsuné pop-up shop party at The Shop at Bluebird. While the Kitsuné shop was indeed lovely and I do have my eye on their perfect-cut shirts, I was super-excited to be able to take photos of the rest of the shop. It sells furniture, books, clothes and music but for me the excitement comes from the merchandising. An always-interesting retail space, it’s a bit far down the King’s Road but worth the trip.
What is there left to say about the Burberry Prorsum show? Quite a lot actually. For me it was a weird one as I was caught between the professional ‘journalist’ me and the bloggy fan-girl me. After entering what felt like a movie premiere rather than a fashion show, it was funny to find myself in the back row with fellow bloggers and the publishers of Glamour and Another Magazine – like, shouldn’t they be at the front? On one side of me I had Discotheque Confusion so we played spot the idol; “OMG there’s Carine!”, “Ooh, is that Joe McKenna?”, “Do you think Bruce Weber will let me have my photo taken with him?” while on the other side I had a big name menswear stylist so felt I’d better put my professional head on and tone down my excitement.
Anyway, to the show. Even Burberry has channeled the sculptural shoulder with practically all its trenchcoats boasting huge knotty or ruchy shoulders. The ruching and draping continued throughout the collection with swaggy folds adding interest to pastel-hued skinny trousers, tulle dresses and even bags. The Times had tweeted earlier that Victoria Beckham would be in attendance and might this be a clue that she was being courted as the face of Burberry. Please God, no, I thought but looking at the models in their silver Spandex leggings I had to concede that that might be a possibility. Yikes. I was actually more taken with the menswear than the womenswear – so many lovely quilted jackets and three-quarter length coats – although a pair of loose lemon silk pants got my vote.
Post-show we could see that it would take some time to exit the building so what did we do? Pick over the seat cards of course! Discotheque Confusion pocketed Carine Roitfeld and Coco’s Tea Party nabbed Mary-Kate Olsen while I was happy with Michael Roberts and er, Lorraine Kelly.
If you thought jewellery was big now, you’d better wait til next season. Jewellery is bigger, heavier and more fantastical than ever. At the LFW stands, I was scared to pick up Mary Katrantzou’s glass bracelets for fear of dropping them, so chunky and unwieldy they were. Fred Butler’s rainbow creations (above) were part jewellery-part art pieces with her trademark rainbow palette making them seem larger than life. Maria Francesca Pepe also showed gigantic 3-D sculptural jewels as did House of Flora with colossal hunks of clear perspex while Burberry Prorsum gave its approval with oversized perspex bangles. Why the big jewels now? House of Flora designer Flora McLean explained the theory to me, “it’s quite simple really, it’s all to do with the recession. People wear bigger jewellery when they’re feeling insecure. It’s a proven fact.”
I think we can agree that this season’s London Fashion Week was a huge eff-off success. We got the name designers, we got the Americans, we even got a pretty good helping of blog-loving as me, Discotheque Confusion, Coco’s Tea Party and I Luw Fashion all received the golden ticket to the gates of the Burberry show and after-party.
In terms of trends, it’s not easy to make bold proclamations quite yet, but filtering through are Dorothy-from-Kansas checks (at Christopher Kane and Peter Jensen – above), metallics and sequins (on the fashion press mostly but also at Sass & Bide and Ashish – duh), lots of white (at Eun Jeong and Osman) and more digital prints than you can shake a USB stick at. ‘Sculptural’ was a word I wrote down at nearly every show whether that came from undulating frills and pleats or a harder-edged aesthetic as seen on robo jackets and jutting-out heels at Basso & Brooke.
I liked the ‘modern British’ trend emerging at Aquascutum and Paul Smith. Aquascutum’s Michael Herz told me that he was inspired by taking multicultural elements of Britishness and playing with them so a sari border was blown up into an oversized print and African beading was used as a trim. He was also influenced by the photographs of Malick Sidibé whose work I absolutely love, I was so glad when he told me that. I didn’t see the Paul Smith show – I was too busy ogling Scott Schuman and Garance Dore signing books at Liberty – but the pictures (below) showed a similar celebration of international Britishness with masculine shirting, African prints and layered dresses.
Another day of running around and hitting the shows to ‘hoover up’ stories for The Daily. Betty Jackson was first where I snapped some cute little almost-flat shoes with fabric pompoms and tried not to stare at Peter Blake and Tracey Emin (two of my favourite artists). Mulberry at Claridges was a very classy affair but tempered with candy-coloured balloons to make it less formal and more fun. Clothes-wise is was very commercial. I’d say it’s all about those fringy boots…
It’s day two of LFW and I’m already dead beat. Someone get me a stamina sandwich please! The good news is that there is a fantastic optimistic atmosphere. Whether it’s due to the weather or the new venue, everyone is in upbeat mode! Day one saw Joan Collins pitching up bright and early, obviously loving all the shoulder pad action going down in the collections. I was thrilled to see Yang Du (below) finally show on a catwalk – her cartoon stripy T-shirt dresses and knitted tiger bags were so graphic and poppy. I must say, it was bloody hard watching shows, getting designer quotes and filing copy for The Daily (practically all at the same time) but I managed to pull it off by the skin of my teeth.
The Kinder Aggugini show was the big WOW. I earwigged on a post-show conversation with Hilary Alexander and set-designer Michael Howells as they each took turns to say an exclamatory line.
The Week Of Fashion has arrived (ish) and from tomorrow I may be blogging sporadically here but you are more likely to find me guest blogging for The Daily and The Daily Rubbish as well as penning the odd report for London Fashion Week’s official newspaper, The Daily.