… Oh Erdem, how I love thee.
Forget the usual fare – this was far from the oh-so-pretty dainty Erdem we’re used to. It was black, black and black. Well, not quite. There were still echoes of colours – lilac, pink, green and yellow hangovers from last season’s neons – but this was a more demure lady that came down the catwalk. The typical Erdem nipped-in waist was still there, but this time with a Victoriana neckline to match. The joyous display of texture was still there too – feathers and velvet appliqué florals. Note the appearance of capes again, and another nod to eveningwear. Vogue has hailed it as one of his “best collections to date”, and Twitter did seem to agree. I, for one, have watched the show highlights several times over – to enjoy the way the clothes move (see for yourself, you’ll understand what I mean).
The concept that is Fashion East is always out to have some fun and play with texture, fashion and imagination. This season, the current Fashion East trio of stars (returning Claire Barrow and Ryan Lo, and newbie Ashley Williams), reminded us what it’s like to raid the dressing-up box. Controversy and trend-setting ideas are the orders of the day. Barrow’s offering was a blend of unusual accessories – bowling balls, watering cans and lampshades – and anarchic fun. Lo’s inspiration came from Ally McBeal and Bridget Jones – as much girlishness as possible in one go – whilst Williams chose Elvis as muse, and served up tunics, pedal pushers and teddybears (literally).
The most hotly anticipated collection, the biggest stars on its front row, it was time for Burberry Prorsum. I was glued to live stream as model after model (including Cara Delevingne, Hourdan Dunn and Karlie Kloss) strutted down the gleaming catwalk in visions of romantic beauty. Entitled Trench Kisses, designer Christopher Bailey treated us to a glossy, grown-up array of trenches with metal collars and belts, animal print (cow and leopard spots) and love heart prints. Not a kilt in sight, but pencil skirts in stripes and prints, or rippled with hole-studs for an edgier feel; safari shades of beige (warm and honeyed); maroon; and a clever use of transparency to add depth and delicacy. The rear wall opened to reveal Tom Odell singing at a piano and a choir in chocolate trench coats. Printed, textured bags were clutched in hand or tucked under arm, shoes were dotted with matching prints to create a collection wholesomely complete. It was slick, sophisticated and oh-so Burberry. I wanted it all.
A dash through a structural collection from 1205, and on to Osman. Known for his minimalism, this AW’13 was a brief touch on Narnia (Snow Queen all in white, anyone?) and was full of subtleties. “I want women to feel comfortable in my clothes, as opposed to the clothes wearing them,” he told Vogue. There was little embellishment – touches of gold brocade on mini dresses and a bit of ruffle – instead he let the clothes do the talking. Seamless coats hung open, and a grey dress let the pleats fall where they may.
The Giles collection always packs a punch – this time in Edwardian glamour, with a slight Addams Family touch. White Miss Haversham-like gowns moved in to gold, purple, brown and black – Deacon’s take on heaven and hell… and Blackadder. It’s the intricacy of his designs that always stay; Swarovski crystals, cinched waists, carefully crafted leather and bright pink flowers. The beanies added an edge to the ethereal beauty; there is always a sense of humour at Giles, which sits comfortably next to his painstakingly crafted designs.
This London Fashion Week also saw the triumphant return of Tom Ford to the catwalk. Set in Lancaster House, with champagne on tap, Ford couldn’t pin down his exact inspiration – it was more a heady mix of a bit of everything. His designs are a bit Marmite – you love them or you hate them – but I have a lot of time for Tom Ford. His designs are clever and never obvious. This time, there was a brash blend of colour – sometimes inelegantly done in an elegant way – from sequined ponchos to electric-hued bomber jackets, from patchwork fur coats to lace tops. Even the eveningwear got an injection of colour – beads in comic book “kapow” shapes zigzagging at the hip. Graphic Art Deco met Native American met Spanish florals in a blistering array of adventure, colour and grandeur; “There were so many different things… That’s what it’s about – it’s what London is about, it’s an international city… We’re becoming so blended.”
See the collection here.
It was up to JW Anderson to finish proceedings on day four of London Fashion Week. Subversion is the name of the game for this designer (see his menswear collection that included a lot of frills), and this subversion came in the form of an austere, clinical collection. Flashes of thigh were everywhere – tiny miniskirts and ruched sarong-like skirts – followed by more Nineties baggy trousers. Mink fur bustiers made for a more experimental touch in an otherwise pared-down collection. It was more black and white and navy, with yet more bubblegum pink and acid-bright orange – the standard palette for a good AW’13 range. His clever use of leather and folds meant this felt ultra-modern and yet not brash.