Winners of Fashion Fringe 2011: Fyodor Golan S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker
If you’ve read Matt’s or my account of The Swedish School of Textiles show at Fashion Scout, dosage you’ll know it went on for an insanely long time. This means I’m ridiculously (half an hour!) late for Fashion Fringe, which is showing on the opposite side of the WC2 postcode, near Trafalgar Square. Once again I wonder if London Fashion Week organisers have conferred to place shows at nonsensical distances from each other just so that the frustration of the press may create humorous fodder for them.
Luckily I’m not one that insists on wearing heels at fashion week (or ever), so I’m able to run comfortably – well, as comfortably as one can in the relentless monsoon like rain and when one is wearing a wholly impractical maxi dress (I suppose that eclipses my wise footwear choice).
8 Northumberland Avenue is not easy to find, especially when the familiar sight of an impatient queue has vanished, leaving no sign that reveals ‘catwalk show here!’ So after zipping across the street twice, I finally stumble upon, quite literally, the Fashion Fringe venue. I’m out of breath and drowning in rain and sweat (not quite how I’d wanted to present myself), but I’m here and it appears the show hasn’t started yet. Phew.
My Fashion Fringe invite gets a scrutinising glance before someone is told to get a wristband on me and rush me into the arena. More running and I’m there. “You can stand anywhere at the back,” I’m told – this guy obviously hasn’t scrutinised my invite. I proceed to find my seat and of course, as luck would have it, my view is being obscured by those of a superior height. I complain about my predicament to my new neighbouring friends; they’re writing for a publication in Toronto and tell me they “love Amelia’s Magazine“.
A fuss is being made of a couple of celebrities as they make their predictable late entrance and ‘flash flash, snap snap’ croon those domineering cameras. Damn it, I can’t see from where I’m sat, so naturally I take to the raised runway to peer at Claudia Schiffer and Roland Mauret, this year’s Fashion Fringe judges. The photographers are been ushered away, but I take my chance and ask Claudia and Roland if I may take a picture – “of course,” they agree and I triumphantly click the shutter on my camera.
The show is about to start and I can hear a voice shouting, “Quiet please!” I take a seat on the floor, knowing it’s the only way I’m going to get any half-decent pictures of the show. Sat across from me, Hilary Alexander offers me a smile and I hope it’s because she approves of my determination rather pitying my plight.
First up is the endearing partnership Fyodor Golan with their spring summer collection ‘Flowers of evil’, inspired by the anthology of the same title by Charles Baudelaire. The showcase narrates the story of a nymph (I’m guessing she’s a water nymph by the appearance of the straggly, uncombed, just out of the river after a star light dip hair the models are wearing) that experiences an excruciating metamorphosis.
The transition begins with her appearing in symbolic white, in contrasting textures; the strong and the delicate. Stencilled into the garments are birds as if signalling the fair creature’s desire to take flight and be free, whilst the gleaming gold choker that threatens to asphyxiate her, pulling her in to a world that promises contentment only in death.
As nature supports her frail demeanour, life appears brighter and the progressing metamorphosis reveals itself in form of a white dress veneered in vividly coloured blossom. The neck shackle however, remains, unforgiving.
The transformation sees the nymph freeing herself from the shackles of her former life and enjoying the dangerous opulence of the new and the darkest ebbs of human nature, but the shackle now replaced by her very own hair appears to reveal that she has become her own enemy. Golan Frydman and Fyodor Podgorny have clearly put a lot of thought in to the theatrical element of the show and this is very much evident as their nymph’s painful transition into maturity is depicted by an older than average model – not a common sight at fashion week, so a high-five to them!
The finale presents the protagonist in a severely structured, yet elegant black gown that trails the catwalk. Her head is held high, but her face hidden by a staggering collar, beautiful but all consuming. It’s a tragic tale and a timeless one, but the collection itself hasn’t quite enthralled me.
Fashion Fringe Runner-up: Heidi Leung S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker
After that dramatic performance, Heidi Leung’s collection inspired by Orientalism (‘East Asia and the Middle East’ highlights the press release) and 60s holiday photos appears a far more light-hearted an affair. The colour palette of lively greens, oranges and yellows, combined with a neutralising tan and blue and white checks incite summer days on sandy beaches, neon beach-balls and a nearly cloudless sky and picnics on a luscious green field dotted with pretty flora. The hair is styled simply; straight and easy with a prominent centre parting and the make-up complements with sixties’ neutrals and accentuated eyes.
I’m a massive fan of layering, but if you’re not, Leung’s collection is going to be wearisome to comprehend. Every outfit appears to be made up of at least three layers; sixties style gingham undies (which I love), a chiffon overlay with a mandarin collar and a loose cape or a coat to complete the look.
Leung also combines crochet and embroidery within her collection, revealing an element of couture (in its original sense) and the use of ancient handicrafts. The crocheted and embroidered pieces sit upon gingham foundations and hang from the neck. I must say these pieces resemble table runners I’m sure reside on an antique oak table somewhere, in the parlour of a country cottage where a village tea party is being enjoyed. I love this collection.
My favourite pieces include the frilly three quarter pants, reminiscent of undergarments of a past era, the knitwear, pleated tops and skirts and the long, softly moving, elegant coats. And have I mentioned the footwear? Okay, so a platform shoe covered in pastel coloured rosettes and secured with a transparent covering may not be the most flattering of foot accessories, but think about how much fun they’d be to wear? They’ve made me smile and I’m only looking at them.
Nabil Nayal is the final Fashion Fringe contestant showing his collection titled ‘All the Riches She Deserves’. The collection conveys the story of a wealthy heroine who is taken to safety as her mansion of splendour burns to the ground at dawn. The make-up and hair conform to the narrative with captivating smoky eyes and voluminous, gracefully wild locks; a look inspired by the 1970s.
Fashion Fringe Runner-up: Nabil Nayal S/S 2012 by Antonia Parker
The colours that empower the collection echo the tones of smoke, fire and ash and perfectly cloak the strong, modern and feminine silhouettes. Nayal’s innovative construction of his collection boasts a myriad of wonderfully cultivated techniques and the use of a whole host of fabrics and textures. The Syrian born and Sheffield raised designer uses soft leathers, luxury silk jacquards and transparent fabrics such as organza and chiffon to concoct a dynamic presence, a characteristic each of his pieces flaunt.
Nayal’s love and admiration for the fashions of the Elizabethan era are manifested in the bulbous ruffs of his magnificent capes, whilst his appetite for elegance is evident in the long, flowing gowns, most notably the kimono style dress in antique gold lace. The tailored tulip dresses and skirts endeavour to promote a sense of a strong, ambitious, feminine character that never fails to look chic.
Of all the competitors, I believe Nabil Nayal’s design appear the most expertly put together and the commercial aspect of fashion design has clearly been considered. I can certainly see the entire collection being bought and it adhering to the taste of many women, but would I wear the fastidiously put together collection? My desire for colour and eccentricity says “no”.
In contrast to my response to Fyodor Golan’s narrative, Nayal’s narrative isn’t one that I (or many others, I’m sure) can empathise with – I mean, how many of us enjoy power and wealth and the promise of a silk lined, jewel encrusted safety net, lest we fall?
I’m ready to mosey on home by the time the show ends; I’m exhausted and feeling a little faint (where’s the Vitamin Water when you need it?), but instead of being lead out of the venue, guests are taken down into the basement where the Fashion Fringe after-party is getting under way. I’ve never understood why these parties happily offer alcoholic beverages, but never provide decent non-alcoholic beverages. I feel like I’m being persecuted for being a non-drinker as I sip my medicinal tasting One Water.
A flurry of excitement commands the attention of the crowd; Claudia Schiffer, Roland Mauret and Colin McDowell take to the stage. A moment of silence, then Fyodor Golan are announced the winners of Fashion Fringe 2011. I hadn’t expected it, but I’m impressed that the judges haven’t simply been dragooned into championing the familiar and the chary. I’m very curious to see what Fyodor Golan will be delivering to the world of fashion in the future; I wonder if I could persuade them to create a collection around the poem ‘Lamia’ by Keats?
Watch the show here.
All photography by Akeela Bhattay
- Fyodor Golan: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 Catwalk Review
- London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Fyodor Golan (by Amelia)
- Fyodor Golan: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review
- London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Fyodor Golan
- Claudia Ligari and Eleanor Amoroso: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Presentation Review