London Fashion Week A/W12 stood apart from other seasons in asserting the city’s place firmly within the fashion week calendar. Not just because of the brilliant creativity that the fashion world has come to expect, but because of the strength of the homegrown brands on show.
From big names such as Burberry and McQ to the young guns like Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha and Christopher Kane, whose collections just keep getting better, London proved that it can be a commercial contender, without losing it’s edge.
Showing a glimpse into her evening collection pre Paris Fashion Week, Stella did it in a way that obliterated the catwalk show and turned it into immersive theatre. The unwitting stage was a fashion fabulous dinner. Models, Amber Valletta, Shalom Harlow and Yasmin Le Bon confounded guests by erupting halfway through into a choreographed dance sequence of jaw-dropping craziness. The clothes, a tight collection of optical dresses, painterly cocktail numbers and tailoring, were shown as they should be, in the moment, working the party.
Mary Katrantzou’s collection was sheer artistry, from the trompe l’oeil prints of verdant maze gardens and clackety typewriters that drew the eye deep into the design, to the origami ruffles that fluttered off of collars and hems.
This was print done with structure and tailoring the Katrantzou way. As well as being brilliantly inventive, they were also eminently wearable, and are assured of a wide following.
Christopher Kane’s show only further confirmed his eye-opening ability to draw on references and ideas like no other and make them fashion must haves.
There was gangster goth pinstripe skirt-suits and dresses alongside elegant chiffon dresses with applique black velvet flowers. The palette was darkly purple, black and royal blue and leopard print was done in the Kane way, injecting the print with a freshness that has tarnished over recent seasons. This was tough, feminine and most obviously from London.
At Meadham Kirchoff the look was acidic with tribal crayon makeup and Seventies funky heels in silver, pink and gold glitter.
With the catwalk turned into a disco this was a larger than life collection of lamé, sequins, tinsel, fuzzy snakes and most importantly fun. But hidden amongst it all were the kind of separates sure to add zing to any wardrobe.
At a salon presentation hosted by Colin McDowell at the Corinthia Hotel, Elliot Atkinson showed a collection inspired by medieval aristoracy wrought in modern urbanity. A palette of black, white and mustard was tailored to create a silhouette that was slim, fierce and undeniably elegant.