Designers

London College of Fashion: Karishma Shahani




Congratulations to new fashion graduate Karishma Shahani, who won the Fashion Textiles award at last night’s London College of Fashion BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Technology show. She also won the Disneyrollergirl Fave LCF Show award (yep, I totally made that up) for superb styling and use of colour. Gotta love those clashy layers!





[Catwalk pic by Chris Moore]



AW10 trend report: Matches press day



“Heels are coming down,” said my tour guide, Matches buying director Bridget Cosgrave as she held aloft a pair of Tabitha Simmons kitten heels. And these really were kitten heels, not the 7cm ‘higher kitten heels’ I’d been reading about in Harper’s Bazaar earlier that morning. Cosgrave told me they have been feeling it for a while and now designers like Marc Jacobs and Rupert Sanderson are fully backing it. Which isn’t to say long, thin heels have had their day by any stretch. There were plenty of plat-heels still on show, in particular a Burberry hiker-stiletto and Charlotte Olympia’s in-demand cocktail heels. But alongside were all manner of more managable heels – wedges, brogues and a super-wearable shearling-lined Burberry biker.

Tabitha Simmons

Burberry

A good in-between is the Celine boot with tall, stack heels – classic but sexy. Stealth sexy if you will…

Away from shoes, Bridget enthused about Richard Nicoll. His T dress is a top seller at Matches (“it has a stealth following”) and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a loose, easy shape that suits all silhouettes, but its fluidity offers a dressiness that makes it versatile for work or evenings.

Knitwear news: Lutz & Patmos are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a greatest hits collection. Matches will be selling all the Lutz & Patmos collaborations – Sofia Coppola’s dress, Christy Turlington’s poncho and Carine Roitfeld’s laddered cashmere sweater.

Matches’ vintage Chanel bags sold so well for SS10 that they are buying more for AW10. And they have added a selection of vintage jewels to the offer too.


Bridget also drew my attention to a new luxe label to Matches. Raoul is from Singapore and it has to be said, they make a pretty good handbag. The balance of clean lines with luxury hardwear is right on the money. Style.com have just written about them here.

Finally, coats. I couldn’t tear myself away from Stella McCartney’s strict masculine coat (below) but the real winner fair and square in the outerwear stakes is the shearling-lined aviator jacket (but you knew that already). Second to that, like it or not, is fur. As Bridget puts it succinctly, “fur demand is huge”.



Bicester Village supports young designers



Despite my not-so-subtle hints, Bicester Village has sadly not fallen for my self-serving genius idea of a pop-up shop in London. I shouldn’t cry too hard though as it has gone for something else, even cleverer.

Last Wednesday saw the launch of the British Designer Collective, a Bicester Village pop-up shop (open 31 Mar – 7 May) to celebrate emerging British design talent and expose it to the quality-conscious customer who loves original design but would like it not to be super-expensive. The beauty of Bicester Village is that its collections are two seasons old. So if you’re buying in April 10, you’ll be buying April 09’s collection. For young British designers like Erdem, Emma Cook and Atlanta Weller, it’s a way to make money on the pieces that didn’t sell while giving customers a second chance to buy from a past collection.
Like a sample sale then? God no! Unlike a sample sale, the merchandise is beautifully presented in a boutique setting. There are fitting rooms! They take credit cards! You can return it if you change your mind! Yes, it’s exactly like a proper shop, except the prices are generously reduced. In the current still-cautious climate, these value-conscious initiatives are more than welcome. For online customers there is Brand Alley, Gilt Groupe, Vente-Privee, The Outnet and Ebay’s new ‘flash fashion’ sales. For those who like shopping in shops, there’s Bicester Village. And for those who favour Maria Francesca Pepe over Marni, there’s the British Designer Collective.

MARIA FRANCESCA PEPE

EMMA COOK
GEORGINA GOODMAN
THE DECOR
HOUSE OF HOLLAND

ATLANTA WELLER
LOUISE AMSTRUP


Equipment: The ultimate boyfriend shirt part II




Back in November, following a month of press days, I posted this story on Equipment, the classic shirt line originated by Christian ‘partner of Carine’ Roitfeld. I had spotted the relaunched line during my rounds and thought nothing of sharing the few pictures I had taken. Unbeknown to me, my story was linked via a few different blogs including Fashionologie.

A couple of weeks later, the PR emailed me to say that my post had caused her problems as the Equipment relaunch story had been promised as an exclusive to a major international publication in March. I could have been uncooperative but the PR was so nice and apologetic that I was happy to comply and took the post down. Yesterday, I bought March US Vogue and there was the story. Whoops, sorry Anna!

Now the story is ‘out there’ I have been given the green light to put the post back up. The update is that when Carine Roitfeld took the Paris Vogue job, Christian Roitfeld decided to step down from Equipment. But fast forward a few years and his good friend Serge Azria has decided to relaunch it. Serge (brother of Max) also owns Current/Elliot and JOIE so has excellent credentials. Restoin remains connected to the brand which is jolly handy considering he still has all 3,500 original Equipment designs in his archive. According to Vogue, the ‘just shirts’ essence of the brand will stay the same but there are plans for more directional things too.