I spent an inappropriately long time hanging out with British designers at the Centre For Fashion Enterprise pop-up showroom at the Soho Grand this morning. With coffee in hand, I caught up with Hannah Marshall, Richard Nicoll, Jean Pierre-Braganza and the team behind Aminaka Wilmont - also, I got up close and personal with Anna's favorite Meadham Kirchoff dress. Let's start with Hannah, the name on everyone's lips this season. The tightly edited collection - her fifth, actually - includes armored dresses, textured pants and snakeskin harnesses. "I've just made this catsuit for Beth Ditto and it's confirmed she'll wear it in her new album artwork! Actually, she called me and was like, Can I order eight of them? Or no maybe like twelve?" Post-Hannah, I literally fell into Jean Pierre-Braganza's furs. The Canadian/Brit designer's been showing in Milan for the past couple seasons and for Fall 09 he went with a futuristic Native American battle theme. "It's the first time I've done furs," he said. "Saga sponsored me and the furs were really important to my design vision. I don't think I actually thought they'd really sell so well but they're doing amazing with buyers." "Is that often the case?" I asked. "Yes!" he laughed. "Honestly I'm always surprised by what sells best. It's kind of fascinating." That trend continued throughout the morning. Marcus Wilmont of Aminaka Wilmont said the exact same thing.
"See this dress? Feel it. It's so heavy!" he said, pulling out a black sheath covered in looped zippers. "I mean, who wants to wear that out at night? Everyone apparently!" Maybe because it's incredibly sexy. He and his design partner Maki Aminaka worked closely with YKK, yeah the zipper company, to put zipper fringe and make zipper accessories on about half the collection. They also covered dresses and blouses in three amazing prints - a snake skeleton (which is also etched onto leather jackets), a light photograph of the London Bridge and a print composed of twenty of their favorite fashion images superimposed on top of each other. From there, I drooled over Meadham Kirchoff's clothes. The boys, Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff, showed yet another stellar collection, one that couldn't be more different than denim-centric Spring 09. Pants and dresses came covered in ruched gold trim, plastic and super intricate beading. In Paris, Anna came looking for one black t-shirt shaped dress, made of what looks like layers of insulation, only to find it missing. Why? The complicated dress proved too difficult for actual production. Lastly, I lingered among Richard Nicoll's insanely feminine dresses. The one at left's doing best with buyers but I kept petting the gold velvet panels over simple pants and corset tops. "I was really into the washed out color blocking. And the prints are great," he said. "I'm so in love with this collection," I might've gushed. "Well I love Fashionista," he said, "If you ever need a writer..."