Excited though we may be about the veritable extravaganza of fantastic art and design which is London Design Festival beginning this week, we couldn’t allow ourselves to let the capital’s equally deserved celebration of Britain’s creativity, London Fashion Week, slip by unnoticed. Today will see the final round of shows from the five day fashion marathon, so as fashion’s elite escape on the Eurostar leaving a fine veil of lost sequins and discarded freebies scattered across Somerset House’s courtyard we thought it was the perfect time to bring you a round-up of our five favourite offerings from Britain’s much applauded fashion designers. Without further ado then, here they are…
Ashish’s SS14 collection was an unabashedly joyful tribute to branding. The globally recognised Coca-Cola logo was splashed across sequinned vest tops and printed on long, gown-like cotton shirts, teamed with Ottoman-inspired headwear and torn, sequinned denim. Even the accessories were ad-inspired; candy-striped carrier bags were recreated in brilliantly gaudy sequins, with one well received variation on M&S’s famous green logo which instead read “S&M”. All in all, Ashish provided a much-needed and hilarious mishmash of Middle-Eastern references and Warholian pop-culture. A definite crowd-pleaser.
Fashion wunderkind Christopher Kane has grown to become one of the most eagerly anticipated designers at London Fashion Week since he first stepped gracefully onto the scene with his bodycon bandage dresses at the tail end of 2006, and his Spring Summer ’14 collection was no disappointment for his loyal followers. Structured petal-shaped cut-outs were scattered liberally over dresses and separates, allowing a carefully orchestrated but nonetheless scandalous peek at what lies beneath the fabric, while his botanical references grew throughout the show to encompass biological diagrams of plants and flowers, and fabric with an iridescent sheen which called to mind insect wings and morning dew, in what was both a step in a new direction and a testament to the breadth of his inspiration.
Erdem Moralioglu scored highly for dramatic effect against his competitors this season, as his models walked out in front of a string quartet who provided the musical score. The clothes were suitably sombre and yet strangely ethereal, to match the setting, made as they were in a strictly monochromatic palette. Soft organza and embroidered mesh provided all the light relief necessary to keep the unique blend of pretty and cool that Erdem has made his trademark though, ensuring rave reviews from fashion critics and dedicated fans alike.
Mary Katrantzou has grown to become one of London Fashion Week’s best loved designers, known for her eclectic and ingenious use of print which calls different elements of the industry, and indeed of anything, into the spotlight. This season her focus shifted to shoes. Not the shoes on the models’ feet though, oh no – in true Katrantzou style, these were on their clothes. From blown-up brogue detailing to neon neoprene sport shoes, every variation of footwear was transposed onto fabric to create dresses, cutting through the division of the two in a neat design dichotomy.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label
Vivienne Westwood has long used her Red Label as a vehicle to transport her ideas about climate change, but not in a staid, “recycle your rubbish, use less water” way. Rather she looks to dissuade shoppers from buying into the contemporary concept of fast, consumer-driven fashion, in which an item is worn for a season and then promptly discarded, and instead encourage people to buy good quality, timeless pieces which can be worn for a lifetime, and then passed on.
The SS14 collection followed this familiar dictum in new and exciting ways. The show began with a dance performance of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Red Shoes by supermodel Lily Cole, before going on to debut the floral printed fabrics, luxuriously draped high-waisted silhouettes and deconstructed sculptural shapes which Viv has long shown her proclivity for. Here’s one designer who continues to encapsulate British fashion heritage at its absolute greatest.