And just like that, London Fashion Week was coming to an end.
Simone Rocha kicked off proceedings on the last day, who filled the Topshop Show Space with nostalgia and quirkiness. Her AW’13 collection was inspired by both grandmothers – Irish and Chinese – and was designed to suit them both. What transpired was a ladylike collection in French Fancy shades of pink and yellow, flounces and bustles, waists dropped to the hip, apron-fronted skirts and pencil skirts. Then there was the quirky aspect – faux leopard fur collars on crisp white shirts and as pencil skirts, pink and gold glitter brogues, high-shine leather and velvet loafers. It was tradition with a twist.
I’ll hold my hands up and admit that Lucas Nascimento isn’t a familiar name to me; but following this presentation, I expect it to become very familiar indeed. This tech-savvy knitwear designers does things with yarn and fur that you wouldn’t believe possible, creating a plush, soft collection of luxurious detail. This structural, formed and demure AW’13 collection came in petrol and electric blues, dove grey, sunshine yellow, and bold red. Column skirts and bomber jackets are given a textured, modern twist; cocoon dresses are off the shoulder, with demure turtle necks underneath. His clever use of fur – wrapped around the upper arms – and delicate print added a grandeur to this simple, elegant collection.
Paul Costelloe is a cornerstone of British fashion, and he caters to a very British girl. Beginning with pastel shades of pink, blue and yellow (do I see a return of coloured tights?) there were long-sleeved shift dresses with puffed shoulders, fitted jackets with matching skirts, cocoon coats with funnel necks and double-breasted military coats, and coats with high collars. There was a clever use of pleats – cut into skirts to create a peplum effect – and folds of fabric rippling down the arm of a blush pink coat with a single button at the neck. Pockets were oversized scoops on the sides, with epaulettes and buttons adorning every item. It was grown-up yet playful, and evolved in to country chic in tweed, mustard, touches of firebrand red or cobalt blue, and leggings like jodhpurs. This was a collection for the city slick and country darling.
Anya Hindmarch is one of the greatest advocates of British fashion, as well as being an international charity worker and overall bag-designing genius. In a warehouse behind Marylebone Road, teetering on podiums and tracks, were 50,000 dominoes. As the dominoes began to fall at the pre-appointed time, they had the good manners to pause as each bag-laden podium rose from the floor. One minor hitch later, and the bags were for all to see. Meet the Albion – a seamless rectangular tote from heat-sealed leather – and my personal favourite, the Bathurst Satchel – described by the designer as “the most beautifully-made old bag, but made modern with its shoulder strap”. Tassels made a popular return, but the most desirable bags were the clutches; disco ball, backgammon and domino prints abounded. And to create such a collection (and show)? The notes explained that it took “three magic trap doors; seven scissor lifts; 35 mouse traps; 7,559 man hours; and … 1356 cups of tea”. Phew!
Roksanda Ilincic followed the domino effect with a collection inspired by Spring, fairy tales and pink. The pink came in every shade, in a variety of textures that ran through fur, lace, PVC and neoprene and back to crepe. There were full skirts, strapless tops, furry collar capes and then more colour – mint, nude, brown, glossy black, and mustard. “I liked the idea of bringing a breath of fresh air, a bit of spring, to the collection which usually you only see in a spring collection,” she told Vogue backstage, also citing spooky stories: “Haunted girls, virginal brides – which led me to experiment with the pink.” Boots were pointed and slicked with stripes – and went straight on my wish list – and jackets were kept boxy and glossy.
Following a presentation by James Long came Emilio de la Morena with an AW’13 collection that was all geometry and structure. It was more sombre than last season’s flamenco flounces – instead it was pencil skirts, cut-out dresses, long overcoats and high-waisted trousers. Touches of flirtation were added with thigh-high slits and navel-grazing V-necks, but even so the palette made it grown-up and serious – navy, black, crimson, ochre. The geometric prints played over skirts and woven-effect sweaters, in whites, blues, greens and reds.
And then there was Meadham Kirchhoff…