Les Chiffoniers by Abby Wright
Slinky t-shirts, and seriously sprayed on leggings and rocky accessories have defined Les Chiffoniers for the last four years. With a winning formula, they like to stick to a very tight remit when it comes to their designs and style. Famed for their perfect fit leather leggings, they exploded into fashion consciousness when icon Kate Moss was snapped stumbling round Glastonbury in a shiny PVC pair. Their SS11 collection features the classic black version with double air zippers in PVC and matte, as well as new stone washed suede versions which had a softer appeal. The label, owned by Leena Similu tend to produce a core collection of beautiful leggings, together with chiffon tops and dresses so expect more variations on this selection this season.
Holly Fulton by Avril Kelly
I have loved Holly Fulton’s designs for years and for me, she seems to get it right every time. This year, once again, she is part of the Newgen showcase for LFW. Her SS11 was an absolute triumph: a collection referencing decadent and luxury cruise lining days, it hinted at a myriad of exotic, far flung locations yet her signature geometric, stylised pattering was still key to the look. Over the last four collections she has produced, Fulton has referenced a vast range of inspirations: from Joan Collins to New York skyscrapers, she cleverly transforms each idea into a consistent, and wearable style. A recent collaboration with online retail giant Asos has cemented her status as one of Britain’s top young designers.
David Koma by Gareth Hopkins
I don’t even need to write that David Koma is one to watch. Since his debut, his status has risen so much so that celebrities including Lady Gaga and Rihanna are clamouring to get into his dresses. At the astonishingly young age of 24, he has already achieved the holy grail of young designer aspirations – a collaboration with Topshop, and was also awarded NEWGEN sponsorship last season. Koma’s style is bold, blocky and futuristic. Using interesting adornments such as bent or tubular pieces of metal and reflective pieces of Perspex, his body conscious designs are edgy and confident.
Last season we enjoyed his refined show of grown up and elegant pieces, but were surprised at the use of python skin in a number of the dresses – Amelia had the chance to ask him about it and you can read the interview here. It will be interesting to see which materials he uses for AW, watch this space (until Monday, that is!)
Eudon Choi by Karolina Burdon
Eudon Choi started his eponymous label 2 years ago after stints at Twenty8Twelve and All Saints. With clothes that reflect these experiences, his pieces are utilitarian in character, featuring masculine detailing and reworked vintage garments. Last year he received both the VFS Merit Award and the BFC/Elle Talent Pad. His collection will show on Friday, the first day of LFW; read our review of his SS11 collection here.
One of our faves, knit fanatic Craig Lawrence will be showing his new collection in the Portico rooms this February, the same as last season – read Matt’s review of his SS11 collection here.
Craig Lawrence by Rukmunal Hakim
Simplistic and assured, Lawrence is a pro when it comes to seeking out and appropriately using the best wool yarns (my sister is a textile designer and I know how hard this actually is). The movement within the pieces sets him apart as having an in-depth knowledge of the materials he’s working with and the ability to use them in an ethically minded way. We Like. A Lot.
MariaFrancescaPepe by Sandra Contreras
‘The underworld, amulets and Salvador Dali’ provide inspiration for MariaFrancescaPepe’s new collection. Pioneering the concept that jewellery should be the focal point of an outfit, Jewellery-Wear is her brainchild and has produced the iconic MFP tubular – a signature necklace which appears in every collection in different variations.
Christopher Raeburn by Gemma Smith
Christopher Raeburn’s designs differed from the majority of SS11’s collections, gone were floaty dresses in florals and pastel, and not a chino in sight. Instead he produced a number of festival-worthy parkers and jackets made from old parachutes and featuring cute dotty patterns. The effect was visually impressive as the lightweight material was slightly transparent so all the seams and joins were exposed. As an exciting and inventive designer, I am looking forward to see how he uses these qualities to create a warmer, AW collection.
Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou
I’ll never say a bad word about Mr Paul Costelloe. His was the first on-schedule show I ever saw, treatment back in 2008. It was a disaster – you can read my review here (my have we come a long way with our fashion week reviews). Despite that particular experience being pretty traumatic, I always look forward to what he’ll present us each season, and I genuinely believe he’s the most underrated designer on the schedule – AND he always gets that hideous graveyard 9.30am opening slot. Anyway, enough of the pity, I’m sure he gets along just fine.
Of course, this wouldn’t be fashion week without a cycling trauma, and it was on Friday morning that my back brake completely went so I was left only with the front one, guaranteed to send me flying over the handlebars should I actually need to stop. A quick trip into miserable Evans Cycles soon sorted this but meant I had to dash like a lunatic to Somerset House and just managed to leg it inside before the show started.
Illustration by Lesley Barnes
I was disappointed not to be saddled up against those two lovely old dears I met last time – this time I endured a rather unforgiving fashion blogger. I tend to stand at the top of one of the aisles to secure good pictures, but said fashion blogger deemed it acceptable to stand in front of me. I politely explained that I had chosen that spot on purpose, and I would really appreciate it if she’d take her enormous Mulberry bag and ridiculously large coat somewhere else. She moved an inch to the left. Cheers, then!
God I’m going on a bit, aren’t I? Well, the show itself was brilliant. This season saw Costelloe move in a more sophisticated direction. The catwalk was awash with luxurious tweeds and tartans in vibrant colours. Structured twin-sets with a contemporary edge stood side-by-side a-line dresses in unusual materials; delicious floral prints were teamed with cropped blazers, while hints of military on more a-line dresses were complimented with a roaring forties/fabulous fifties soundtrack of Bobby Darin and The Andrews Sisters (maybe). Poker-straight red wigs added a sexy, playful edge to what is a more mature range of womenswear.
Last season I wasn’t that struck on the menswear, but this year I am ALL OVER IT. Again, taking a more sophisticated direction, sharp suits (in similar tartans and tweeds to those seen on the girls) were aplenty. Floor length coats and double-breasted blazers really complimented the womenswear. Contrasting trousers in really bright colours were paired with tame blazers, allowing Costelloe’s men to be quirky but smart at the same time.
Illustration by Maria Papadimitriou
It was a massive collection – the biggest I saw during the day – but each piece had been carefully selected to compliment the next and never was it boring. The only way I could have enjoyed the show more was if Unforgiving Fashion Blogger hadn’t been such a knob. Hilariously she was fighting for my prime photographer’s spot to take pictures with her Blackberry! Well, I ask you.
Another great outing for PC, though. Long may he reign – in a sea of often miserable A/W 2011 dark collections, his whimsical approach and playful colours are a ray of sunshine.
All photography by Matt Bramford
Illustration by Antonia Parker
The On|Off venue this year isn’t the best, cialis 40mg I have to say. Located at Mercer Street Studios, it’s absolutely tiny, roasting hot and there are fewer seats than usual. Having been awarded an invitation with an orange sticker on, mind, I was ushered to the front and glamourously made my way inside. I don’t know if I’m just getting on a bit, but there seems to be a helluva lot of people at fashion week this season. For this, the Jena.Theo show, the room was full to bursting (I’m not sure what the HSE would have to say about some of the goings on in these pokey venues) but this design duo thoroughly deserve the mass attention they are getting.
‘Hilary’s here! Hilary’s here!’ began the whispers, and a gap on the front row, directly across the aisle from me, was created. At fashion week it could only be one Hilary they were so frantically trying to seat – our Hilary Alexander, who looked gorgeous in a feather-trimmed top. As the show was about to start, a tiny photographer with a lens the length of my arm positioned himself on the floor, right in my shot, between me and Hils. I was livid. I asked him politely to move the hell out of my way (another trend this season…) but he failed to take any notice. Sigh.
Look, here he is:
Despite moaning about the venue being tiny, I do adore the addition of an enormous screen at the back of the catwalk, which made for stark and interesting photographs and emphasised the pieces – a wondrous addition here with Jena.Theo’s exaggerated silhouettes.
On with the show, and extremely tall models emerged wearing all sorts of sculptural shapes. I really like Jena.Theo’s aesthetic – it’s contemporary (futuristic, even) but also wearable for the fashion-forward woman. The models really stood out in-front of the blinding LED screen; curved silhouettes had a Japanese influence with enormous sleeves and garments that gave out at the waist.
There was a definite unfinished aesthetic at play – ma, maybe, like the great Japanese couturiers. Hems were raw and luxurious silks were layered on top of each other. There wasn’t much in the way of colour – a splash of denim for an over-sized cape was a welcome break from this pretty much all black collection, but I guess that’s Jena.Theo’s style.
Illustration by Antonia Parker
I especially enjoyed the additions of leather, particularly on one patchwork piece that I’ve since deemed my fave. Black stripes across models faces added a sinister twist, but flattering shapes that emphasised curves and bare flesh allowed this collection to remain sexy and sophisticated. Capes were like sexed-up graduation gowns, while a huge padded jacket would sit happily in a Yohji Yamamoto exhibition.
A fantastic outing for this twosome, I can’t wait to see what direction they take all this in. I’m now off to drink the Chambord from the goody bag and smother myself in Elemis for ladies (I’m actually not, I’m off to another show, I just wanted to give them a plug).
Also got slightly distracted by what Dame Hilary might have been scribbling, so took a few cheeky shots of her notebook…
All photography by Matt Bramford
See more of Antonia Parker’s illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.
- Jena.Theo: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review
- London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo (by Jemma)
- London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo
- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo ‘Bandoliers’
- London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jena.Theo (by Helen)