Amelia’s Magazine | London Fashion Week SS/08: Basso & Brooke

For her third and final collection sponsored by Topshop, symptoms find Ann Sofie Back stepped into a boldly daring yet boundlessly commercial new style, as seen yesterday at a packed out Bloomsbury Square.

Swedish born Back, famed for her propensity towards the unexpected and deconstructed, introduced a new shape for S/S ’08. Relying heavily on the insertion of shoulder pads, Back has created a simple, angular form which is at once both feminine and austere. Shoulder pads are no longer the reserve of 80′s power-dressing, here, they are used to manipulate body shape in a curious way that steers clear of overt sexiness.

Models took to the catwalk in an assortment of oversized squared-off tops and dresses to a thumping soundtrack of vintage rock. In keeping with previous collections, Back kept to a subdued pallete of grey and ivory – only this time enriching it with intermittent flauntings of hot coral pink and deep purple. Hair was unkempt and free-flowing while faces remained bare and icy-cool.

Embellishment remained a key theme with reflective sunglass lenses covering the front of a black dress or bag, adding movement and facets of light to an otherwise nondescript outfit. Her unwavering commitment to structure and composition places Back at the forefront of futuristic fashion, a bold new world also inhabited by Martin Margiela and Jil Sander, who are clear influences for this collection. She’s in good company.
Glasgow’s Deryck Walker drew quite a crowd at the rather labyrinthine Royal Academy of Arts this Monday. Part of the increasingly popular On/Off schedule, site there was bustling and shuffling abound once doors opened. The theme seemed to be futuristic tailoring; less Balenciaga ‘Tron’, sick more angular classics, much of the collection was surprisingly wearable perhaps down to the overwhelming amounts of black and white. That’s not to say that this didn’t make any nod to the obscure.

Straightforward boxy black suits with Deryck’s trademark crisp white shirts, suddenly revealed three dimensional geometric ‘sculptures’ from the back, hanging from the fabric like built-in accessories. These ‘windmill art installations’ as he calls them, lifted the collection and injected a touch of fantasy and theatricality into some otherwise standard structures. The accents of leather and the occasional peek of knitwear added variety and the glittering black molded hats by bespoke milliner Justin Smith were beautiful, a nice touch especially on the boys.

This was Deryck’s first swing at women’s wear, keeping the shapes masculine and sharply cut was a nice move, androgyny is always a good way to go and the slim fit suits, (again in striking monochrome) were beautifully cut. Dresses also made an appearance, some incorporating straight, hard-lines and making reference once again to the boxy, angularity of his menswear. The whole collection had a slightly icy feel to it, those sharp edges almost transforming the fabric into armour. Warm and cuddly obviously isn’t his thing but who knows, come spring/summer we may just welcome a bit of slick tailoring amongst the inevitable onslaught of floaty and floral.

The magical pastel explosion at was without a doubt a hit for next season. Beautifully draped dresses were combined with sportswear pieces blurring all boundaries between formal and casual. The designers cleverly broke all the rules in subtle ways.Vibrant pastel prints with graphic designs, and abstract patterns and splashes of colour gave an original twist to the classic tailored coats and dresses in rich wool and silk.

The evening gowns combined sections of flowing drapes with tight belts sculpting a feminine silhouette. Weighty raffia wrapping around the body resembled a whipped cream cake from heaven, and light georgette and shiny silk generously flowed in flounces reminiscent of ancient Romans. Some of the flowy dresses were complemented by structured, cropped black jackets, adding a sharp contrast component to some of the looks.
The palette, a rainbow of vibrant pastels, was combined with some elegant black and white numbers, all in printed motifs. One of the best touches of the collection was the idea to loose the sharp divide between eveningwear and sportswear, and thus included parkas and hoodies with detailed embroidery and on luxurious materials such as silk and heavy wool. Perhaps contrary to my expectations of a louder statement from Basso & Brooke, the collection followed this season’s general tendency towards the commercial, but fortunately they still managed to keep a good degree of originality and innovative details.

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