Yesterday was my favourite LFW day in terms of the designers I love. Preen, Toga, Topshop and Margaret Howell all rank high on my radar.
Preen veered off on an ultra-bright tangent compared to the monochrome minimalism of some of the shows we’ve seen so far. I liked the starker, print-free pieces, especially these jackets with the primary-coloured zips…
PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI
Topshop Unique was a celebration of young Brits-on-staycation – think seaside stripes and dreamy going-out dresses, no doubt likely to be worn irl with a parka jacket and trainers. The show itself was energy packed with a make-up station, the #topshopwindow Instagram wall and a pop-up cafe laden with sweet, tooth-aching snacks.
Essential pre-show reading: Topshop mag and Suzy Menkes’ daily free-sheet (is this the start of Suzy Menkes, the brand?)
I have to say how much easier the presentations are to navigate than actual shows. No waiting around, no seating plan dramas, no camera-phone rage – everyone finds their spot, takes their pics, perhaps enjoys a drink or two and possibly even a chat with the designer. Toga’s shows are great, with girls posing patiently on podiums. The collection was so good, inspired by fragmented mirrors and abstract paintings. The mirror jewellery and string-mesh bags were my standouts…
Margaret Howell changed things up slightly this season with a new stylist and a new venue, showing at the Rambert dance company on the South Bank, as part of London Open House Weekend (a public architecture initiative that lets you peek into private buildings). The show gave us Howell’s vision of summer in the city – a uniform of perfect grey knits, loose T-shaped dresses, pleated skirts with socks and sandals plus the odd flirty bustier or two. It didn’t reinvent the wheel but you did sense a different energy. Incidentally Burberry Prorsum also looks to be switching things up with a new style of playful invitation. Will we see a new show format today?
In amongst the show-going, brands like to shoehorn plenty of extra curricular activity. I didn’t need much persuading to check out Jimmy Choo‘s new three-storey Bond Street townhouse. It’s a slick operation with all sorts of VIP touches including a bespoke customisation service in which you can chose your own leather and have your initials stamped on your undersoles. Well why wouldn’t you?
Mulberry opted for a showroom appointment system instead of a show and I have to say, I preferred this celeb-free zone. The showroom was jam packed with flowers, a tribute to Kew Gardens (if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll remember the invite…). My favourite piece was the Delphie Duo bag, a minimalist transformer bag that unfolds to reveal a swappable outer cover in a different colour.
Rejina Pyo is a recently discovered name that I like very much (top and below). Her geometric shapes, bright primary colours and slashed knees in her skirts and dresses are very intruging! One to keep an eye on for sure…
London designers are known for their youthful experimentation but they’ve becoming equally adept at delivering polished wearability. Day two’s highlights included Lucas Nascimento’s sheer, precision-cut layers (above and below), Joseph’s serene sportswear and Whistles’ luxe leather separates.
Even J.W Anderson surprised with extreme commerciality on his catwalk (combined with clever creativity of course), giving us that spring perennial ‘nautical chic’ his way, involving strategic cut-outs and rope details all accessorised with fetishy floppy leather hats.
On the exhibition stands it was great to finally meet Sam McCoach from Le Kilt, who showed me her collection up close which features some rather sexy little patent straps. Le Kilt is part of the Touba showroom which looks after some of my favourite LFW brands and they always have something new to show.
I also caught up with Charlotte from India Mimi, a new line of understated bags made from vegetable dyed leather, all manufatured in Italy. I love her colour palette for spring 2015 – a mix of warm tans, cool neutrals and Miami brights. Wool & The Gang have a firm following now and continue to build their sustainable knitwear brand. Their handknit beanies are so super-thick and tactile and lend themselves to fun graphics like these initials…
LUCAS NASCIMENTO SS15
JW ANDERSON SS!5
INDIA MIMI SS15
WOOL AND THE GANG
London Fashion Week kicked off with two buzzy new names. Faustine Steinmetz showed as part of New Gen with her first presentation, a clever exploration of couture and branding, set in the suitably arty ICA.
I’m so impressed by this young designer, whose obsession for hands-on labour and figuring things out results in mind boggling textile experiments. On display were denim-look jackets of polyester styled out like Shibori (“It’s not Shibori at all! I actually handpainted it, I just like that look,” Steinmetz told me), and a jeans-n-jacket combo made from unravelled layers of upcycled denim creating a tufty fringe effect. “The final results don’t interest me as much as the process,” Steinmetz admitted. “It’s like when you watch those videos of someone like Jean-Paul Gaultier going tchh tchh tchh [imitates frenzied couturier] before the show. That’s the bit I love!” Look closely and Steinmetz’s models had the best jewellery ever – security tags, and kimbal tags realised in sterling silver, a collaboration with jeweller, Niomo.
Later on, there was an enthusiastic turnout for newbie Hannah Weiland’s Shrimps presentation (top and below), a beautifully styled array of (very real looking) faux fur gilets, jackets, boas and accessories in sunshine yellow and pastel pink. The styling was impeccable, with dainty pearl-like earrings, furry bag charms and fuzzy footwear by Sophia Webster.
I also enjoyed tea and brownies at The Gentlewoman’s reader event to launch the new issue, plus a proper American-style bash (read: generous budget) for the opening of Club Monaco in Sloane Square. Can you tell the brand is owned by Ralph Lauren…?
TEA WITH THE GENTLEWOMAN
COCKTAILS WITH CLUB MONACO
Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP who unpacks her physical-meets-digital findings so far from the SS15 fashion show season…
The fashion show is dead. Long live the interactive, digital brand experience now taking place during New York and London fashion weeks, where consumers, influencers and their collective social media clout are the preferred global audience. Continue reading
I can’t normally abide hanky hems, but I’m making an exception for these divine mermaid silhouettes at Rodarte. Also… those bonkers boots!
As usual, the casting, hair, makeup and attitude is spot on. The classic all-American make-up and hair with those busy outfits. The pierced eyebrows!. Continue reading
I’m not all that familiar with Tim Coppens‘ work but I liked what I saw of his SS15 womenswear at NYFW. A little bit Wang, a little bit Tait, it’s continuing on the sports-luxe tip (that’s clearly got plenty of mileage yet) and looks luxurious, technically advanced and just commercial enough. Continue reading
Picking up where Marc By Marc Jacobs left off (have they changed the name to MBMJ yet? My fingers are getting tired), Stuart Vevers has given the Coach girl a big dose of street-bred cred. I like this new incarnation. As well as the shaggy, shabby-chic coats and candy-hued leather minis, I’m very much in favour of the heavy side-swept fringes. Continue reading
This is possibly my favourite coat from the AW14 collections. It’s men’s, it’s double-face cashmere, it’s Louis Vuitton and it’s way out of my budget.
It’s perfect though. I love this style of overcoat and the maroon stripes add a bit of old school military flavour (by way of Helmut Lang). I also like the styling with the wool and alpaca scarf layered underneath. Continue reading
I’m all about blanket dressing for AW14. Any self-respecting Brit has a stack of thick check blankets for hibernating under or arranging just-so on beds and sofas. So why not just go the next step and dress yourself in one?
Burberry Prorsum’s seasonal masterstroke was swathing all its models in a blanket poncho for the show finale, complete with monogram. And then gifting its favourite influencers with the same. Continue reading
One of my highlights of Paris Fashion Week was the Lanvin AW14 re-see. On a huge scale, this is where you get to see the commercial workings of Fashion Week at play, where buyers view the pieces they’re really going to stock, and write their orders on the spot. The vast space (a 1920s former railway depot) was a hive of activity, it even had a pop-up café to keep the buyers and clerks fed and watered while crunching those numbers.
I was guided through both the catwalk collections and the commercial collections so I could see the pieces close up and learn what sells and what doesn’t. Continue reading