There’s nothing like a Burberry show to make you feel all warm and fuzzy about our fashionable yet freezing capital. Christopher Bailey et al at the British label kept it in the country for another fashion week, a move that kept London nicely on the high of September’s fashion week, where London was, for once, the place to be.
For once, I found that I could have written pretty positive things about almost every show from last Friday to yesterday, and waxed lyrical about a good few (which I will), unlike the New York shows where I found myself either completely in love or slightly indifferent. And I always love the fabulous themes that the London-based designers pull off! We had Napoleonic Paris at Aggugini, Mary Katrantzou showed her signature digital prints with the added twist of the portraits of Madame Pompadour, autumn leaves and bright florals at the beautiful Erdem, and ‘Priscilla Presley and juvenile delinquents’ (yes, really) at Christopher Kane.
So let’s start with the big show of the week – Burberry, which didn’t disappoint at all. I’m not the only fan of the label who believes that Burberry is London and should stay put on our fashion schedule, but we’ll have to wait and see. But for the autumn/winter 2010 collection Christopher Bailey took a different route from the delicate, puff shoulder trenches and shiny, pastel palette and found his inspiration in ‘uniforms and cadet girls’. The coats and boots were the absolute hits of the show, and everything wanted one of the military, shearling collared coats to accompany them around London in this bitter, wet weather. There were also slimmer, more ‘dress military’ jackets with a row of gold buttons and epaulets. I felt the warm and cosiness when one model came down the runway in a giant shearling jacket over fitted dress with last season’s ruched skirt detail and thigh-high black boots. Cosy sexiness? Yes indeed.
Over at Antonio Berardi, the theme was more sexy sexiness. I loved the oversize tuxedo jackets worn as dresses, and the dresses made from velvet and sheer chiffon, although I preferred the ones with more substantial panels rather than the nipple-peeking lace and sheer tops. There was also a monochrome section of dresses in bold black and white panels which were figure-hugging and elegant: I can practically see someone like Victoria Beckham buying three or four…
Peter Pilotto was one of the stars of the last London Fashion Week, and a favourite of mine, and he proved similarly capable this year. Previously focusing on cocktail wear and similarly ‘evening’ fashion, he said that they wanted to have the same popularity over a breadth of daywear and tailoring as well, which was exactly what he showed this time around. There were still the dresses that we recognise as Pilotto, along with splashes of brights against a neutral colour palette. For the daywear, I particularly liked the panelled skirt suits made from leather and Harris tweed and the more deconstructed dresses that were more day than evening, with strips of contrasting fabrics and splatters of digital prints.
Delinquent juveniles may not immediately scream fashion, but it certainly translated at Christopher Kane. The clothes were nothing short of design miracles in that the inclusions of leather, lace and embroidery could have so easily looked cheap, but in Kane’s capable hands they did not. The florals came with a Chinese influence that actually, (deep breath) I wasn’t all that keen on, but the collection looked so polished and together that it is hard not to praise Kane’s design talents either way.
Ah, Erdem. Beautiful, gorgeous, floral, it would have been samey if it wasn’t so amazingly pretty. The florals were traditional Erdem: wistfully fairytale princess and delicately structured but this time in a selection of autumn colours. I also loved the contrast with the thick, dark socks and clumpy boots. Erdem’s front row was noticeably short of ‘It’ girls but is now becoming known as the First Ladies label of choice, with both Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown watching.
Kinder Aggugini has worked for the likes of Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano, and so the historicism of his Napoleonic Paris inspired collection seems perfectly logical. Tim Blanks of Style.com thinks that this will be Aggugini’s breakthrough collection and I think he might be right. The theme went right through the collection without overbearing it, delicate, lightweight empire-line dresses in simple fabrics, and oversize military jackets with cape-like sleeves on some that gave a flattering silhouette – very easy-to-wear.
After causing a stir last September for his use of plus-size models, Mark Fast once again put a varied cross-section of model figures down the runway, a move that he should be applauded for in that it makes the variation seem ‘usual’ rather than a one-season coup. His skills with knitwear are his best feature so it was good to see the traditional clinging knits, flippy skirts and contrasting textures with the odd poncho thrown in, or flowing scarves accessorising the looks.
Mary Katrantzou is now renowned for her digital prints, but she is creative enough to realise that her signature print on a t-shirt dress might quickly become the only thing she is known for and so used new mixes of prints on her mini-dresses, and then teamed them with flowing trousers or oversize jackets (possibly a LFW trend for the winter season!). The prints were stunning, and had a little bit of McQueen talent with digital looks and sculpturing in the collection that many editors noticed, which is surely a huge compliment for Katrantzou.
I could ramble on for the rest of the day dissecting my favourite looks, but I’ll stop here. Other shows that deserve rambles are Roksanda Illincic, Holly Fulton, Jonathan Saunders and many many more…