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London Fashion Week AW 2010 - Day Five

When it comes to an Ashish collection, expect a sequin to make an appearance. This season he created his own country – Ashishistan – drawing on ideas from traditional Russian and Middle Eastern dress to create the wardrobe for the women of his country. In reality this was him fantastically embracing the 90’s grunge trend, mixing sequinned lumberjack shirts with chunky, cosy cardigans, paper-bag waisted trousers and elements of folk detail.The look was relaxed yet striking and completed with all models wearing brogues and bobble hats.

Nathan Jenden went tribal with a vast array of animal prints this season. Leopard to zebra in the form of dresses, catsuits, hat and coats were not at all gaudy and tacky but wonderfully bright and powerful. The colour of the collection was a lovely contrast to the dominating black of the season. In an interesting twist, Jenden did not use any white models.

Photos by Jimmy James

Following on, another designer famed for his love of dresses and use of print, William Tempest was this season inspired by Islamic architecture and the Queen of Sheba. He sent wonderfully structured and tailored dresses in metallic hues down the catwalk. Black dominated this collection, as it has for a majority of A/W 2010 but Tempest lightened the mood with jewel greens and cream. A wide range of dresses was seen here but they flowed and had a cohesive nature, indicating Tempest’s skill as a designer.

photos - catwalking.com

London Fashion Week AW 2010 - Day Four

The decadent surroundings of the Royal Opera House were a fitting location for the Nicole Farhi show as she showed a polished, minimalist collection. Blacks and nudes provided the base colours, which were punctuated with reds and PVC to give it an interesting angle. Key fabrics of the season, tweed and metallics also made an appearance.

Osman had a dramatic start to his show, stamping his signature style early on by sending four models in black draped dresses, walking down his catwalk in a regimented row. The collection that followed saw round sunglasses, embellished wedges, boater hats and suede thigh high boots acessorise gorgeous funnel neck jackets and fur coats, wide legged trousers and curved hem dresses. It had the feel of a 1950’s stylish lady in the country, something Katherine Hepburn may have worn in her heyday.

It is fair to say I was more than a little bit excited to be attending the Christopher Kane show. The hottest name in British fashion at the moment, I had high hopes and he didn’t let me down. He is an expert at producing concise, clean collections with clear and often simple ideas. For A/W 2010 he sent black PVC, leather and lace dresses and jacket / skirt combos down the catwalk. The first half of the collection was adorned with hand-embroidered flowers of many types and colours. The end evening pieces swapped embroidery for jewel embellishment. The overall result was striking, the tough and tender combination worked perfectly.

Photos - catwalking.com

London Fashion Week AW 2010 - Day Three

Words: Jennifer McNulty and Deborah Latouche At Mulberry the models walked to Jungle Book theme tune - the collection was as always polished and well rounded, stand out pieces were the total leopard print combo's  and the exquisite tulip coats.

Photos: Deborah Latouche

You may not have heard of Doii Paris but after seeing this collection, they will stick in your mind. Entitled, ‘Walk in the Forest’ a troop of red headed ivory skinned Pre-Raphaelite models showed us a colour palette that darkened from a pink and white first half of the collection to greys and blacks of the end. There was a whimsical Alice in Wonderland theme, with Queen of Hearts and white rabbit prints on maxi dresses and jackets. Lace and ruffle embellishments completed this soft, romantic collection.

Photo: Tilly Pearman

Part of the British design establishment, Jasper Conran presented an interesting, wearable collection featuring 1950’s shapes – pencil skirts and jackets – with a futuristic twist. The skirts and dresses had sheer panels, sometimes buttock exposing, and the jackets were extreme cocoon shapes. Throw some silver plated neck collars and wrist cuffs, digital cut dresses and electric blue leggings into the mix and it makes for an exciting collection. This show also had a high celeb quota including the Sugababes, milliner Stephen Jones, Jo Wood and random spot of the week – Richard E. Grant.

For A/W 2010 Future Classics put fur sleeves on tweed jackets and mixed it with 80’s zig-zag print leggings. Sounds strange, looks fantastic. Alongside this they deconstructed then reconstructed classic tailored pieces to create striking yet relaxed garments; that gave a unique spin to jackets, cardigans and trousers. Chiffon shirt dresses, draped, slouchy cargo pants and multi layering made this a very covetable collection.

Photo: Tilly Pearman

Matthew Williamson has grown immensely since he headed Pucci and this is evident in this collection, he is designing for women, he used an abundance of copper tones which have to be the new gold for A/W10; mixed with oranges, cobalt blue and deep purple.  he still uses lots of embellishment but is a very sophisticated manner.

Eley Kishimoto held their static presentation at their shop round the corner from liberties.  The duo decided to give us an inside view as to how their prints evolve. The collection was very Eley Kishimoto beautiful loud prints on 70's cut clothes pieces hich would give every wardrobe a unique touch.

Photos: Deborah Latouche

I was so impressed with the grand interiors of the Royal Courts of Justice and as my bags went through the metal detector I could not help but wonder how on earth Vivienne Westwood managed to get permission to put a fashion show on here.

Her collections are full of different ideas which enable her to cater for many tastes, Fushia plaid, power suits, well cut coats and plenty of asymmetric cuts - Westwood's shows always have such an anarchist feel to them, but after all  she is the Queen of Punk.

Photos: Jimmy James

London Fashion Week A/W 2010 - Day Two

Words: Deborah Latouche and Jennifer McNulty Kinder Aggugini was my  first show of the day, considering this is only his second season at London fashion week he really does have all the journalists cooing that he is the “One to watch”. I have a preoccupation with regards to whether clothes are made well and Kinder definitely has a top production company behind him, I guess I should not be surprised; as he has worked for masters such as – Galliano, Westwood and Versace.

His collection comprised of Napoleonic references in the form of rigid military 19th century coats and uniforms mixed with super soft printed silk dresses.

Photos: Deborah Latouche

The dark occult themes continue for A/W 2010 with Maria Francesca Pepe’s fashion presentation. Reminscent of 1990’s Gucci, Pepe showed a predominantly black collection with structured navel slashed blazers, chainlink trousers, gold plated tribal jewellery, crucifix collars and wolf biker-style motifs adorning belts and printed onto the back of jackets. Interestingly, the same leather thigh high leg warmers, first seen at the Paul Costelloe show were also present here. Weirdly, all the models had literally the same face, had they not been close enough to touch, I would have suspected some computer trickery. Perhaps it was just witchcraft coming into play.

photos: Tilly Pearman

At Fashion East the one designer that stood out to me was not on the catwalk, the architectural footwear of Chau Har Lee was displayed in the arches as we walked in to the show.

This recent graduate from the Royal College of Art has already been approached by a number companies to design their footwear ranges and You can see why, using wood steel and acrylic her unique take on shoes is truly original.

Photos: Deborah Latouche

Description of the season so far, comes courtesy of Bryce Aime who declared, ‘mummification is the new black.’ With a collection entitled ‘Egyptology’, I was half expecting white bandages and severe black bob haircuts to walk down the catwalk. Thankfully Aime steered clear of clichés and instead interpreted Ancient Egypt by channelling ceremonial priestesses with purple digital printed catsuits under wine red and black structured, curved hem jackets and dresses. Mythology and fantasy is establishing itself as a clear trend for Autumn / Winter 2010.

Photo: Tilly Pearman

Although all of the collections we see this week would have been complete before the untimely death of Alexander McQueen, in a fitting tribute, his influence this season was everywhere. From Bryce Aime’s digital prints to Iris van Herpen's twisted butterfly dresses and statement shoes. Kicking off her show with strobe lighting, Iris van Herpen presented a stunning, dramatic collection of metallic gold, nude and black leather strips, twisted and knotted to beautifully create armour-esque dresses. The high level of workmanship was extremely impressive and the execution of the show had enough drama to fully showcase these designs.

Photos: Simon Ackerman

Mark Fast and Mary Katranzou showed back to back in the Top shop venue.

Mark Fast continued to show a few oversized models, a decision which had all the papers talking last season. In my opinion it worked well with some of the girls but not all, you still have to be able to walk well with you head held high. But it is great to see someone paying attention to the fact that ‘real’ women are not a size zero. Fast considers knitting an art form and as such pays immaculate attention to details and creates some intricate figure hugging pieces.  His collection was predominantly bronzes and silvers, colours that came from his inspiration, the work of Romanian sculptor Demetre Chiparus.

Photos: Jimmy James

Mary Katranzou’s collection was based on 18th century portraiture, there were quite a few new elements added to this collection, an introduction of outer wear and not just digital print as the key embellishment but also swarovski crystals, lace and organza ruffles. Katranzou also continued to make elaborate metal stand out jewellery that completely enhanced the collection.

Photos: Jimmy James

London Fashion Week A/W 2010 - Day One

Words: Jennifer McNulty and Deborah Latouche

I have to admit, I didn’t think I would enjoy the opening show of London Fashion Week but Paul Costelloe excitingly surprised me by presenting an eclectic collection that drew inspiration from a range of eras. 1950’s silhouettes – big shoulders and volumous bubble skirts - were mixed with 90’s waistcoat / rouched skirt combo’s and the bold pink cocktail dress of the finale was 100% 80’s. Throw in some pirate-esque menswear, tweed and military style coats and the collection is a real melting pot of ideas.

Holding it all together was the metallic colour palette. Metallic browns and blacks provided the base, with flashes of blues and purples throughout. All the models wore very interesting long leather thigh-high leg warmers, which at first glance looked like boots. Overall, a very wearable collection.

Photos: Jimmy James

Self styled ‘hair sculptor’ Charlie le Mindu this season was having his second catwalk show as part of the On|Off schedule. He was inspired by cults, religious secrets and the occult, which translated as human hair cut to look like fur, huge cage like structures and hair hats adorned with crucifixes and Faberge eggs. Everything was black, dramatic and successfully captured the voodoo spirit of his inspiration.

Photos: Deborah Latouche

Every season has a name to watch, the new wonder-kid on the block, this time round it was the turn of Central Saint Martin’s graduate, David Koma. His profile has risen considerably in recent months due to a host of celebrities, including Beyoncé and Cheryl Cole wearing his designs. There were high hopes for his A/W 10 collection and he didn’t disappoint. The body con dresses of previous seasons remained, for A/W, Koma was inspired by early 20th century graphic artists such as Fortunato Depero and Geoffrey Beene. They used diagonal and rapid strokes, which Koma translated bu giving us a black / nude / grey mix of dresses, which brought fireworks and crackers to mind with their zig-zag cuts and hemlines.


For someone who is a new face to London fashion week Hakaan Yildirim really did pull in the crowd, he had kate moss on the front row and big models such as Natalia Vodianova on the catwalk.

Edward Enniful masterfully styled his immaculate sculptural pieces, the collection had a futuristic edge mixed with 90’s body con as Hakaan skilfully manipulated felt and leather into figure hugging dresses.

This show wowed me  - by far the best of the day!

Photos: Deborah Latouche

New for this season, the British Fashion Council have installed a digital space; fashion films have long been touted as the future of the industry and viewing Craig Lawrence’s A/W collection on this medium, it’s easy to see why. The fashion film allows for a high level of styling (styled by Katie Shillingford) and production, to showcase the clothes at their best, as well as displaying how they fit and move on the body. There is also the opportunity to establish the atmosphere of the collection and better convey the inspiration. Plus there is no clamouring for a seat and waiting ages for the delayed show to start, as the film is played on a loop. Lawrence’s stunning intricate gold dresses, made from woven and draped metallic yarns are perhaps only for the very fashion confident but wonderful to view nonetheless

Bora Aksu presented a collection of well-executed tulip dresses in shades of pale grey, pink, baby blue, black and copper tones.  His signature romantic style worked well with his theme of Marie Antoinette meets Edward Scissor hands, he layers silks and chiffon over textured metallic wool, creating lavishly embellished dresses worn over distressed black leggings adding a edgy gothic feel.

Photos: Deborah Latouche