There are a lot of over-the-top head pieces in this world, most of them living on the head of Anna Dello Russo, but hats that looks like cats are certainly a new breed of toppers. Would you rather sport Anna Sui's realistic looking cat hat or PPQ's stylized version?
Beauty looks at Fashion Week should complement a designer's vision and help cement an image and theme in your mind when you view a collection. We saw some spectacular looks in New York, and the next two cities didn't disappoint either. While New York Fashion Week feels like a marathon, London and Milan are more like whirlwind sprints. In case it went by too quickly for you, stop here and breathe for a second, before we head to Paris. Click through for the best and most interesting beauty looks from London and Milan.
We had a great time in London, thanks to the parties, the food, and of course the clothes. Here are our picks for the top 10 collections, in no particular order. (PS, check out Fashionista's London Fashion Week page to access our extensive coverage.)
Model Jade Parfitt looked cool and ladylike in Christopher Kane. Alexa Chung went casual for the Burberry show, making her Burberry Brights bag the star. Lou Doillon mixed Club Monaco and vintage effortlessly. Our new best friend Samantha Cameron pulled off Christopher Kane with aplomb. And Clemence Poesy made us all want to wear Mulberry forever. London's street style is tops! xo, Fashionista
LONDON--Jonathan Anderson's men's collection left off where his women's ended on Saturday. Several of the looks were mirrors of each other, several obviously were not. (Even if Anderson is happy to put a guy in a kilt, a fitted mohair dress might be a little extreme.) What's interesting about Anderson's menswear is that it is feminine, yet I can see more than just dandies wearing it. Maybe it has to do with his square silhouettes. Even a liberty print can work on a "dude" if its worn under a biker jacket.
LONDON--Knitwear is a natural fit for fall collections, and Pringle parlayed its heritage into a show full of pieces you'll yearn to cuddle up in come the cold snaps of '11-12. Skirts resembling blankets draped around the hips, and a leather dress laser-cut with a fine Fair Isle pattern, stayed with us through the day. Also smart was a petrol blue silk blouse with cape-like panelling that fluttered around the arms. Later, at the Savoy ballroom for Paul Smith's show, it was all about menswear for the girls. Cropped suit trousers, laceless brogues, prefect ties, fashion glasses and mannish blazers were sensual with sheer silk blouses. Wearers will cherish the quiet, special detailing, like the contrasting felt-backed collars and purple satin piping on a pair of gray trouser's pockets.
LONDON--Michael van der Ham started his show by spilling a Skittles bag of candy-colored crushed velvet dresses onto his A/W '11 catwalk. All were asymmetric, with one dolman or bell-shaped arm and the other sleeveless or short. Flirty with opaque black tights and heels, they easily could have gone home on the backs of any number of editors in the front rows. From these confections, Van Der Ham transitioned to velvet tops and wide silk trousers in the same hue. All featured velvet panels or baby frills on the waistbands (texture blocking alert!).
LONDON--How would Mark Fast follow up his fringe spectacular from last season? With the introduction of new materials and volume, it seems. The young Canadian designer kicked things off with a cloudy-day-gray coat with massive, football pad-like shoulders, showcasing his new use of Merino wool alongside all the elastane. He tried leather for the first time too, in mac-style dresses with hoods, drawstring waists, back-cutouts and extra-long straitjacket sleeves. More S&M than sensual, they did little to accentuate his models' curves in the mode of his signature spiderweb knit dresses.
LONDON--In a fury of skirts and schoolyard angst, the show was over. Meadham Kirchhoff sent 24 looks flying down the catwalk en masse in a sharply choreographed show with real intensity. The corps of models amassed in the venue's backlit arches before powering down the runway. On reaching the end, individuals peeled off and stepped in a crisp-cornered formation around the sets. The result was a visual feast that felt more akin to performance art or a major Broadway production than a typical fashion show. But the convention-breaking format did make it difficult to really take anything in.
LONDON--Ashish Gupta’s dripping-in-sequins show always serves up a rollicking close to London Fashion Week. With MIA on the front row and blasting through the speakers, this season more than lived up to the last. Instead of Americana, though, for A/W the Indian designer took a budget cuts-era look at Camden punk. Spiderwebs on kneecaps were the first things we noticed, followed by holey knitwear, sequined tartan basketball shorts and a union jack vest. The clash of the tartans carried on across cocktail dresses, sweatpants, skirts, etc., all made for the cover of Nylon.
LONDON--Talk about texture blocking. In one of the final shows of London Fashion Week, Emilio de la Morena may have proved he is the king, using rectangular patches of shimmering fabric, tulle styled like macrame, and netted knits to give his fashion a distinct, squared-off look. My personal preference leans towards de la Morena's spring collection, filled with sweet eyelet-punched leathers in Easter colors. But in terms of salability, fall wins. The stretchy pieces are more forgiving and, frankly, sexier. Particularly in noir colors like black, rouge, and eggplant.
LONDON--Roksanda Ilincic's Fall 2011 collection was interesting. Part of it--the dark lips, the silver satin--reminded me of Gwyneth Paltrow circa 1996. Another part--the loose waves, the column dresses in odd colors like tangerine and royal blue--reminded me of 1940s Hollywood. Despite its glossy facade, I was a bit befuddled by it all. And not necessarily in a bad way. Ilincic is quite obviously designing for herself, not around what people expect from her. Is that the makings of a great designer? I think...maybe.
LONDON--Last season, the fashion industry was pleased with Marios Schwab's Halston collection in New York, disappointed by his eponymous showing in London. As Long Nguyen said on Fashionista, "He needs to bring back a bit of fearlessness and risk." This season, things were different. While Halston proved a bit flat, London ready-to-wear was on key, featuring a set of dresses and separates that were sexy, cool, and sophisticated: Ideal for his hip London customer, but also good for his wealthy Halston-obsessed lady.
LONDON--Every season, Mary Katrantzou's unforgettable prints depict a certain thing or idea. For the season that put her on the map, it was perfume bottles. Last season, it was scenes from hotel rooms. For Fall 2011, it was Faberge eggs. These prints are spellbinding, and the shape of her molded skirts and dresses is bewildering to see close up. We were blown away by a Swarovski encrusted skirt, made to look like a garden of green jewels dotted with pink flowers made of gems. The beauty of these garments is unmistakable. But are they wearable? Yes, some. And this season more than usual, given her extensive use of stretchy knits.
LONDON--Giles is always a confident collection. Mr. Deacon is cocky--in the best possible sense of the word--which make his clothes sing, no matter what idea he's tackling. But last night was different. Set in the second highest court house in the country--we had to go through metal detectors to enter--it was more mature without losing that distinctive Giles feel. Comprised mostly of black and white, the designer showed plenty of takes on the traditional white blouse and the little black dress, tying it all up with a prim bow in each girl's hair.
LONDON--Christopher Bailey is an optimist. "I don't think it's been a negative time in fashion!" he exclaimed to a reporter after yesterday's lovely Burberry Prorsum show. By the time I got my chance to ask him a few questions, I already had a clear idea of his vision for Fall 2011: Early 1960s Burberry adverts starring Jean Shrimpton, and the weather. Those two references translated to a modern, cocoon-like silhouette and a finale that included clear--black patent leather piped--rain capes and "snow" falling from the rafters. (The first row's heads were covered in the confetti, including Anna Wintour's.) What is it with Brits and the weather? "I think because it's so changeable. I called my mum yesterday and she said that it was snowing in Yorkshire, which is only three hours away," he told me enthusiastically, as if it was the first question he'd been asked all day. "Here, it was kind of bright sunshine and somewhere else it's rainy. It changes so much that I think it's something that we've become obsessed about."
LONDON--And best bash of LFW (so far, and yes, slight intoxication may tint our estimation) goes to the Love magazine for Alexander Wang party at Liberty. Daisy Lowe was there, dancing up a storm in a Mark Fast crop top and pencil skirt. When Beth Ditto forgot the lyrics during her a capella version of "I Will Always Love You," she called on none other than Alexa Chung to complete the phrase.
LONDON--That no fashion show had ever been mounted at the British Museum now seems like an oversight, thanks to Alice Temperley’s theatrical production. For her brand's 10th anniversary, Temperley brought a collection about grown-up glamour to the London landmark's soaring atrium. The color palette was restricted to champagne, black, silver, and eventually, some Fire and Ice red (the Dorian Leigh version). A fan-skirted evening gown nodded at Victoriana and lingerie through an oversized, black-and-white lace print on champagne satin, with a pair of elbow-length leather gloves keeping it young.
Designers David Koma and Holly Fulton showed together for the second season in a row as part of Topshop's New Gen series, and they really are the perfect runway mates. Mostly because their collections are vastly different.
LONDON--As much as I'd like to ignore Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos' program notes about Fall 2011's "army of youthful revolutionaries" and simply talk about how the clothes looked, I can't. Just a post ago, I made the argument that fashion is art, so why shouldn't this team's art be taken as seriously as what's on right now at the Tate?
LONDON--Tom Ford appointments were yesterday and today, but don't expect to hear anything about the presentation from the journalists, fashion editors, and stylists who attended. All attendees were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement that requires them not to write or reveal anything about the collection until the summer. As fall collections usually hit stores in late June/early July, expect profiles on Ford in the May/June issues of your favorite magazines.