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. Onto the party! After a short walk to Burberry’s HQ and a five minute queue on the carpeted pavement, we headed to the online room where computers had been set up for live social networking. I did manage a sly tweet or two but was far too interested in the bar and canapes to spend an hour on Blogger. But I did manage to grab the PR to get the lowdown on the live-streaming initiative. As it turns out, there wasn’t a social media expert behind the curtain pulling the strings, this was simply the idea of Christopher Bailey and CEO Angela Ahrendts. Impressive. Designer whizz, interiors pro, art director extraordinaire, online embracer, the nicest man in fashion… is there anything Christopher Bailey can’t do?
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.
Commercial polish is something that our designers have pushed for several seasons now, each with their own funny little quirk but it’s safe to say I don’t think I can face another season of body-con minidresses and hobble-tastic plat-heels – change the record please now designers! Maybe we could see some casualwear next time?
There was a big collage-y, DIY story coming through from Louise Gray’s homemade shoes and spray-painted collection to the cut & paste aesthetic of Michael Van der Ham. It also made its presence felt in a couple of fashion films that were shown on menswear day at Sibling and E. Tautz. Quentin Jones who illustrated the E.Tautz film is a name to watch if you love collage and illustration.
E.Tautz 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… Topshop Unique was also uber-commercial and very derivative. I saw shades of early Luella crossed with Bananarma and Courtney Love. There were so many ideas there though – XXXXL oversize mens shirts with the sleeves sliced off and fluoro spray paint as a print. And still the mega high heels continue. At Jasmine de Milo, I liked the simplicity of a long, eau de nil long-sleeved gown and the leather cocktail dresses with pockets. Why can’t all dresses have pockets? Tomorrow, the Americans arrive (by which I mostly mean, Anna W), although one American is here already. I made friends with Britt from Fashionista, who was also filing copy for The Daily. Britt loves London, having interned for Stella McCartney back in the day. I also caught up with a record number of bloggers including Frassy, Bish Shops, Magazine Machine, That’s Not My Age, Torfrocks. Wee Birdy, Aindrea, Susie Bubble, Rebekah Roy and Discotheque Confusion. Did I forget anyone? Crikey, no wonder I’m so zonked out and my eyes are closing as I type.