Fashion Week is traditionally a feeding ground for all the freeloading vultures who can generally be found ligging their way around London and who go into an absolute feeding frenzy when the seasons change twice a year. As a barely paid, bargain-hunter and general scrounger extraordinaire, I was worried that the current dismal economic climate might have put paid to all the goody bags and champagne receptions at the Autumn/Winter 09 shows in the name of good taste and blah blah blah…
First stop was Julia Smith, where a little stall in the lobby serving proper tea and coffee and exotic fruit boded well. Goody bags on the seats with some good make up and natural skin products were also a good sign, although I now realise that come Wednesday, I will actually be swimming in cloth bags. There was not a drop of water in sight however, which was puzzling as I could see Evian logos all over the place and was sure that there should have been bins full of them. Had the Evian cash flow dried up? Worrying.
Still, we were there to see the clothes (promise) and so, parched, we joined the throng and took our seats at the catwalk. The much anticipated (40 minutes late of course-yawn) stream of playful feminine dresses and jumble of colours soon made us forget that the only liquids to hand were discarded bottles of that horribly sickly sweet ‘Vitamin’ water.
Knee-high socks and androgynous tailoring provided a back-to-school feel. And Julia Smith has definitely done her homework. Her careful research into sustainable fabrics shows in the heady contrasts of textures – winding woolen scarves knitted onto silky dresses, and organically tanned suede with cotton.
I especially loved the long white dress dotted delicately with red knitted bows. Proof that recycled clothing is like an intellectual ex-junkie, grubby beginnings but effortlessly hip.
I haven’t decided whether the compact ‘White Rabbit’ bow ties were chic or a bit too cutesy. But I’d rock them none the less, especially when listening to the Siouxsie and The Banshees’ rendition of Dear Prudence, which was playing at the time. This brilliant track has been very popular at shows this week-not that I’d ever be allowed to forget, what with it being the namesake of my co-writer of this article, who wiggles excitedly every time it plays.
All together this was a well thought out, wearable and clever collection. Bravo to Julia Smith for not jumping brazenly on the increasingly naff ‘eco-clothing’ bandwagon but still caring about where her clothes come from. Thorough research into sustainable fabrics and ethical production oozes from this skilled and elegant collection. And the knitting provides a home-madey feel, which is very appealing in the present circumstances. Much better than the imported fruit (screaming ‘carbon footprint!’) we consumed guiltily pre-show.
- Julia Smith Interview
- Rapha and Paul Smith Collaborative Cycling Collection
- LCF MA Fashion and the Environment graduate exhibition
- Fashioning the Future 2009 Awards
- Goodone: eco fashion designer Nin Castle talks upcycling and collaborations