London Fashion Week AW13: Day five highlights

London Fashion Week has flown by this season, partly due to the new menswear-free, five-day format, and partly because I’ve become much more focused. I’ve traditionally done as many shows as I can at LFW, but these days a) it’s impossible to see everything and b) it’s unnecessary. There are so many other ways to see collections without the battle of 9am starts and seating politics. Instagrams, Vines, live streaming and the almost-instant images uploaded on sites like Now Fashion and the genius GPS Radar app means you can get a pretty good sense of what’s happening without leaving your screen.

Yet it’s still necessary to go to the key shows in person, to evaluate them in real time. This was my final day of working with Amex to discover all that fashion has to offer during LFW. I was tasked with putting the Amex Insiders through their paces to help ease my journey through the week. This included navigating the schedule to book cars to and from shows, suggesting quiet pit stops for coffee refuelling, organising take-out lunches and generally acting as the all-knowing, all-doing PA I wish I had on my payroll.

Clearly, I’m not the only one at LFW who has got quite used to being looked after by the Amex Insiders. According to my concierge, Sam, as well as the general duties of giving direction, show info and making reservations, throughout the week, the Amex Insiders also booked tickets for West End shows, printed off boarding passes and documents, secured tickets for LFW shows and “because no job is too small, found safety pins to rescue a broken zip!” Now that’s what you call attention to detail…

And so to the shows. I found myself at the Tate Modern Tanks at 9am yesterday morning, loving Simone Rocha’s tribute to her two grannies, which manifested itself in ‘Pepto Bismol’ pink dresses, accessorized with her trademark chunky shoes, plus fuzzy teddy-fur tops, and tailored girlish coats. All this was offset with gently fluffy hair by James Pecis’ girlish undone hair and perfectly highlighted cheekbones by Shinobu at CLM. Shinobu created “super dewy and almost-shiny skin” to keep the models looking youthful, adding “squarish brows to polish her off.” And to achieve those cheekbones? MAC’s Lip Conditioner lip balm. Simples.



Straight after Simone Rocha was Lucas Nascimento, whose nuanced, colour-blocked leathers and knitwear came in clean, architectural shapes. How long before a Milanese luxury house snaps him up? Beauty-wise, I liked the (Piers Atkinson-designed) hairband-resting-on-a-messy-bun look by Naoki Komiya for Bumble & Bumble…


One of my new between-shows toys is the Fashion GPS Radar app, definitely one of the most seamless apps I have used. I pitched up at One Aldwych (thanks to a reservation by Amex Insider Sam, who recommended its lobby bar as a handy place to recharge for an hour) and as I’d missed the James Long presentation, I just scrolled through the images on my iPad. The app loads images almost immediately after the shows, which can then be favourited, annotated or shared to all the usual platforms. I love Long’s examples of harmonious layering and pattern mixing here – the shrunken knitted jacket with leather collar is a real standout piece…





Another designer who got the texture mash-up memo was Roksanda Ilincic, but of course, she made it her own, with candy pink PVC swing coats and prim dresses roughed up with shaggy, furry stoles. And she took the colour and texture-contrasting to the next level with a mixed-media set designed by Gary Card…

At the exhibition, I got to have a closer look at the Marques’ Almeida denim camouflage. These ponyskin purses are also making me go a bit weak…

And as expected, I was all over these graphic Veja bags and leathergoods in the Esthetica wing…

Fashion Week this time has given us a 50-50 mix of masculine and feminine influences. I was very happy to finally see the shirts for women on offer by Mr Start and E.Tautz. I’ve been waiting forever for these to surface. Based on their menswear cuts, the Mr Start shirts have darts, while the E. Tautz ones come in a more traditional, boxy (but not too boxy) shape… (BREAKING NEWS: SS13 E Tautz women’s shirts are due any minute now on Matches)

Mr Start

E.Tautz

More boyish cuts came from Ostwald Helgason, my new (yet no so new) favourite brand on the LFW schedule. They presented their collection at Kettners, with support from Moda Operandi, who will be offering this collection for pre-tail in the not-far-off future. Ostwald Helgason have had an interesting journey – you can read about it here on Business Of Fashion. These sharply tailored separates and dresses have a mix of simplicity and rich fabrication that I really like. The sweatshirt and knee shorts combo are my idea of the perfect party outfit…





THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY AMERICAN EXPRESS

[Images: Amex Insiders: Vogue.co.uk; Simone Rocha: Cathy Horyn/WGSN/Topshop Inside Out; Lucas Nascimento: Fran Burns; Roksanda Ilincic: Brix Smith Start]

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