An Explosion of Patterns at Giles

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Giles Deacon showed at LFW after two seasons in Paris and the offbeat designer certainly impressed with his flurry of prints. Eccentric brights were seen here too, and the shapes were feminine with cinched waists and push-up bras. Giles celebrated the female form, chosing curvier models such as Kelly Brook to don his designs.

The kooky patterns were the definite highlight, polka dots, cartoon-like, simplified florals and kitsch Fair Isle knits given a makeover with cute cartoon animals and an ever-watchful eyeball motif. Lemon yellows and fushias popped against black and white. Chunky patterned knits were paired with floaty chiffon and knee or mid length ladylike skirt suits or baggy trousers. Airy blouses were paired with knitted skirts and big button details added to the fun.

Texture such as fringing, ruffles, feathers and pleats added a further dimension. Massive tutu skirts padded with net filled the catwalk in paler colours with bow prints: girly to the extreme. The sheer material that’s been seen everywhere was used at Giles too, this time with underwear visible above and below gliding maxi dresses.

Sporty but feminine; crazy but ladylike. Giles’ outlandish juxtapositions shouldn’t work on paper but they certainly do in the flesh. Without the high fashion styling (please don’t copy Giles’ exaggerated eyebrows) and minus exaggerated layering the collection is incredibly wearable and chic.

Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk) (catwalking.com)

Get Ready to Rave: Christopher Kane S/S 11

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Eye-popping neon brights opened Christopher Kane’s S/S 11 show. Kane gave neon a makeover contrasting the zany hues with laser-cut leather lace. Perforated leather had the trompe l’oeil effect looking like shiny vinyl, dainty lace. What a breath of fresh air this flash of colour was, so different from the expected Spring pastels.

Lime green, eyewatering bright orange and flourescent pinks were combined with clashing prim reworked argyle style knits (a fun reference to the designer’s Scottish heritage) swung nonchalantly around the shoulders. Jackets were treated the same way, thrown cape-like over the shoulder creating a powerful silhouette.

With colour taking centre stage, the shapes were simple and block like; sporty A-line skirts fell just below the knee with symmetrical pleats and plain V-necks. The demure shapes were given new life with the colour choice, his sister Tammy summed it up as “Princess Margaret on acid”.

Colour blocking was also used, clashing pinks and oranges made the eyes water. The designer’s geometric shapes were also incorporated, diamonds formed halter necks and repeated parallel line piping on skirts fell into pleats.

Edge-to edge ladylike jackets were boxy with round necks, maybe not the full suit for work but if you wore the jacket with jeans and a white tee it’s a great look for a night out. Again high necklines and peter pan collars were spotted here, set to spawn a thousand copies.

Futuristic dresses had fluorescent geometric piping details, such as chevron style markings emphasising the waist or tiny dots all over a jumper. Kane took inspiration from the Orient: Yakuza, the Japanese gangsters provided the designer’s print motifs, but took the form of preppy twin-sets.There were airy mid-length dresses in similar but slightly paler colours with spotted semi-sheer tulle and dragon print symmetric embellishments, embroidery and sparkles.

If the success of his previous bodycon neon collections is anything to go by, this return to garish brights is set to be huge. The demure look given a futuristic twist seems to be a motif of S/S 11 and so far Kane has been the most successful, subverting the feminine ideal with futuristic aplomb.

Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk) (catwalking.com)

Flower power: Erdem S/S 11

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Light, feminine, floral and lacy were the order of the day at Erdem.

There were the designer’s elegant floral prints and billowing skirts, and his trademark digital florals made  an appearance, accompanied by monochrome stripes or repeating triangle patterns. The new double denim has been replaced by double floral- sounds horrific but if you pick one common complimenting colour that runs through both pieces it looks really chic.

The sihouette was fluid and airy, fabric skimmed not clinged the wearer. The designer’s famous florals were either punchy and digital or light and fresh; delicate cut-out lace formed barely there mini dresses.The show opened with a bevy of these dresses from stark white to ivory.

Cute peter pan collars, buttons and nipped in waists added to the girlish aesthetic. Again there was lots of sheer material that I’ve seen this LFW but Erdem has certainly done it the most tastefully, feather-light lace was strategically placed and skimmed the female form gracefully.

Scarlet contrasted beautifully with crisp white backdrops, from bursts of red popping petals to a full red lace dress. Necklines were higher here too, one things for sure- get working on your legs over winter if you want to rock next seasons dainty dresses.

Erdem doesn’t rely on shock tactics or “out there” clothes to get him noticed, but instead makes beautifully feminine garments with intricate details: an Erdem dress is elegant without being try hard and definitely won’t end up wearing you. They’re not sickeningly girly or twee; the right balance of modern and romantic.

Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk) (catwalking.com)

Matthew Williamson’s safari

Khaki is fast becoming colour of the season, and it looks set to stay next spring after Matthew Williamson’s LFW S/S 11 safari style. There was a soft yet structured aesthetic, with cups and boning adding a feel of corsetry on tops of dresses and playsuits- underwear as outerwear but this time more grown-up. This femininity was contrasted with an earthy colour motif: effortlessly chic and allowing the shapes to do all the talking. Khaki and ochre were the background and muted colours were given an added punch with highlights of orange, ice blue, canary yellow and lime green.

Fringing was repeated throughout the collection on jackets and dresses, either short or long and both delicate. Manly safari shirts were combined with sparkling fringed skirts.

Layers of soft jersey and silk fell in Grecian swathes in the guise of goddess-like floaty maxis or quirky minis. Staples bodycon and tapered trousers were given an update by texture and material: dresses were accompanied by textured florals or beautiful insect-like patterns on silk and trousers were feather light in high shine silk.

The highlights were the beautiful maxi dresses: yards of floating feather-light material in faded tribal prints floated like butterflies along the catwalk. There was also a healthy smattering of animal print and the odd dash of sparkle.

So what are you waiting for? Be ahead of the crowd and take a walk on the wild side.

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Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk

From patchwork to florals: Michael van der Ham and Antonio Berardi

“I like to mismatch different references in each item of clothing.” says Dutch designer Michael van der Ham. His work is a juxtaposition of different colours, textures, lengths and patterns brought into perfect harmony. A haute couture patchwork quilt? Not quite. It looks like bits of different dresses deconstructed and sewn together: it shouldn’t work but it somehow does. The patterns and colours compliment each other and the fabrics drape beautifully to form a flowing silhouette, it’s feminine but different. In the designer’s own words it’s for “Someone who’s not afraid to wear something a little more bold.”

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In contrast Antonio Berardi S/S 11 stuck to block colours: monochrome, red, grey, pink and khaki took centre stage. This simplicity allowed a real emphasis on texture and shape. The short shift dresses and sumptuous maxis all got the texture treatment, with bursts of small chiffon flowers. A fresher look than floral print fabric, the flowers actually burst from the dresses.

Dresses came in bold shapes with high necklines, exaggerated sweetheart necklines and sharp shoulders. Maxis were given an update, slit to the thigh or slashed round the front for a “half maxi” style. Cup details on dresses added a seductive edge, and I’ve spied them elsewhere- I’m not naming any distinct trends until after Paris but I’d be willing to put my money on this one. I also loved the contrast of soft pink and khaki, and the soft flowing fabrics or seductive satin with masculine strong shoulders.

Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk)

Do the robot: Paul Costelloe

“The freedom of spirit and expression in London allows you to be uncompromising in your creative designs and colour.” Paul Costelloe nicely sums up the fusion of art, music and fashion to be found in abundance at LFW.

The Paul Costelloe show certainly didn’t disappoint in its creative flair. A bevy of mini dresses in a palette of silver, cream, grey and white showcased graphic, futuristic prints. There were a few almost floral pale pink dresses in there (it is a spring collection after all) but mainly the colouring was minimal adding to the playful, futuristic nature of the designs. Costelloe played with different silhouettes, swinging, tulip, peplum and parachute skirts. The lenghts were either bum-scrapingly mini or flowing maxis.

Tailored jackets accompanied the womanswear perfectly, adding a masculine edge to otherwise feminine grecian drapes. Texture-wise the fabrics were silky and light, to match the dainty colouring, falling into girly pleats and folds.

The menswear was in similar hues and mainly monochrome black or white with the odd pop of red. The tailoring was slick and the key was in the details- retro skinny ties, small collars and mini bow ties. There were shorts combined with the tailored jackets too, but let’s wait and see if that one catches on.

In all, I preferred the edgy womanswear to the menswear which was much safer by comparison.

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Pictures courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk)


It may be raining outside but LFW is in full spring

There’s just something about London Fashion Week that sets it apart from the other fashion weeks- it’s creative, quirky and not afraid to try something different and brave. LFW shows off our up-and-coming design talent that breath fresh life into the industry and there’s already been plenty on offer.

One of my favourite new young designers is Hannah Marshall, and her S/S 11 RTW collection maintained elements of her key slick style, whilst experimenting with different lengths and fabrics. According to the designer the Hannah Marshall woman is “Strong, confident, an independent thinker and empowered.” and the collection certainly highlighted these traits.

Daring sheer fabric was used in abundance, but high necklines, soft tailoring and girly details made for a perfect fusion of sexy and prim.The designer said the idea of “control” inspired her and the collection seemed to centre on this sense of empowerment- showing some skin but holding something else back. It was just the right side of slutty, as there was something ladylike about each ensemble. Her signature muted colour palette heightened the demureness of each look, as well as the frill details and cute collars that were a motif of this collection. Gothic glamour at its very best.

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At Louise Gray‘s show “Get Some Stuff” texture and colour were abundant. Her colour choices were more restrained than her usually eye-poppingly bright collections but this added a grown-up touch. Shapes were simple but each design was embellished with bold textures such as rag like attachments, Indian mirror tiles and badges, as well as her expert hand embroidery. Layering and the tangible nature of each garment gave a feeling of movement, and the juxtaposition of different faded tribal patterns created a wardrobe experience for all the senses.

Some of the embellishments were less traditional, such as bottle tops, polystyrene balls and party streamers. The cut however was smart and less “out there”: the silhouette was boyish, with fabrics skimming the body in parachute shapes and a sports luxe feel.

It may not be for the faint hearted, but if you take away the crazy lilac hairpieces and fashion show styling and look at each item of clothing separately the collection is easily wearable. Layered all together the look might be full on but teamed with jeans or opaque tights the garments could easily fit in any young, modern and fashion forward woman’s wardrobe.

Images courtesy of LFW: Daily Diary (print@londonfashionweek.co.uk)