Q. What eminent designer puts what seems like 150 looks on the runway — bottom-grabbing pencil skirts; tiny purple Floradora dresses — and forbids pho
London fashion week is over, seemingly in the blink of an eye. But before Milan swoops in and steals all the glory, we wanted to give a shout out to the 10 collections we loved most in London. Brit designers gave us a lot of pastel and florals, a lot of color, and a lot of cheekiness. Click through to see the ten best spring 2012 collections from across the pond.
London fashion week was a whirlwind of shows, and we had a great time covering them. Besides being an incubator for original fashion, London designers are also not afraid to work a LOOK on their models, making for the best beauty-ogling of all the fashion weeks. From Vivienne Westwood (at left), who is not afraid of, well, anything, to more subtle yet never boring looks, we loved the beauty in London. This is all about the drama. You need a certain amount of self-confidence to pull many of these off, but we encourage you to try! Click through for our 10 favorite looks from London.
Fashionista contributor Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt. LONDON--What’s a London experience without a little rain? And so it was that around 6pm last Sunday, a sunny afternoon surrendered to light drizzle as several black cars queued to drop just 55 guests off at Tom Ford’s showroom on a side street near Victoria Station for his intimate spring 2012 fashion show. Several male models clad in black three piece suits ushered them inside under enormous umbrellas, a scene more suitable for an embassy dinner than a runway show. Inside on the second floor showroom, the reception desk was temporarily converted into a bar where waiters served vodka tonic, champagne and still waters. “It has an air of the old Gucci shows with Domenico Desole greetings guests and waiters serving Vodka,” Hillary Alexander told me as we sipped on drinks and waited to enter the main room. In the late 90’s, in addition to a large bouquet of white flowers and a handwritten note to welcome us to Milano, some of us would get a bottle of vodka, or, on occasion, a 25 year-old bottle of whiskey from Mr. Ford at our hotel room. Then, the designer’s debauched sexy and slinky styles ushered a revolution in fashion. Now, we are in a different moment in time. In this digital age where images from fashion shows hold the attention span of a click to the next page, there is a need for designers to apply a different approach to how fashion can be seen and evaluated. But back to the show.
We'll be talking about prints--especially floral ones--for a while after this fashion month. And after Mary Katrantzou's amazing spring 2012 collect
The whirlwind of fashion week continues; this show included a scenic dash past the London Eye, over London Bridge and up to the Tate Modern, the artistic home for the modern the new, and, now, Matthew Williamson's spring show. Outside, an ice cream van and tourists jostled with the fleet of black cars (and women in black) that had descended for Sunday’s show, as inside the iconic turbine gallery lit up with purple hues of light. Racing down the sloped hallway (killer for heels) and up to the gallery, I saw some of fashion’s greatest--Anna Wintour, Anna Dello Russo, Hamish Bowles--sitting front row with Matthew’s "beautiful friends"--Jacquetta Wheeler, Tallulah Harlech, Poppy Delevingne, herself a recently appointed Ambassador for the British Fashion Council, and her ‘bestie’ Sienna Miller, who needs no title to be one of Matthew’s great muses. The collection was a joyful mix of oranges and yellows, silk prints and sophisticated soft draped silhouettes.
Erdem Moralioglu showed his spring collection at the Savoy Hotel, in a ballroom that was painted a soft, barely-there baby blue--a color motif that seemed to inspire a huge portion of the show. The clothes were covered in muted floral wallpaper prints--a far cry from the bold blooms we saw during NYFW--or bathed in solid pastel shades. It was a far quieter print than we've seen from the designer (who has been deemed "The Master of Floral") in past collections. But don't let the sedated color palette fool you: This was not a collection for wallflowers.
The backstage world before a fashion show can be a weird and wonderful place. My experience at Topshop Unique was especially so on Saturday, not for any specific lightning bolt reason, but more because of a culmination of many small experiences. I gathered a lot of information that afternoon (and a lot of poor quality pictures) and decided it was worth a re-telling. So, put on your special all-access wristband and follow me: 1:30: Arrive at train station, to creepy unused old Eurostar section. Get wristband and head up a long ramp and non-functioning escalator. Oh! There’s a glass ceiling and tons of light. No longer creepy. 1:35: I notice that the models all have gold paint in their hair. And I also say hi to Charlotte Free, the pink-haired model who was a fixture for a season or two on the runways. She still has pink hair.
Monday was a good day for both clothes and celeb spotting at the London shows. While London front row faves Irina Lazareanu and Harley Viera-Newton chatted at Pringle of Scotland, Tilda Swinton quietly and gracefully swanned in and took her seat. She's completely stunning, and rather unassuming in real life, posing for pictures then quietly sitting down. And tall! Pringle should have begged her to take to the runway for them. Speaking of the runway, you'll recall that Pringle has had some creative director upheaval. Clare Waight Keller went to Chloé early in the summer; this is Alistair Carr's first collection for the label. For his first outing, he mined the 1960s and the Pringle archive, specifically riffing on the twinset.
I wasn't really prepared for the drama of the Christopher Kane show on any level--or the fact that some of the drama was going to happen before the show actually even started. The venue was a sleek, metal-tiled room with sunny open windows, the sun glinting off the metal, giving the effect of the room being lit from below. As I settled into my seat, I noticed people in seats surrounding me getting up to move. The reason? Anna Wintour a row in front of us, surrounded by video cameras, mics, and flashbulbs. That explains the mass exodus--no one wants to be an extra in an Anna interview. I stayed put, however, to eavesdrop glean words of widsom from her interviews. During the course of one conversation, her phone fell to the ground without her realizing it. Dear readers, I retrieved it, waited until she was done, and handed it back. (And yes, Twitter followers, she said thank you.) I was pretty sure nothing was going to top that momentous occasion.
Author of "How to Walk in High Heels", Camilla has written for the UK Times, the Telegraph, Bazaar, and Time Style and Design in the US. She also covered the shows for Vogue UK online, reviewing all cities and hemlengths, and also assisted in the Galliano Studios. Attending fashion shows long before she was invited, London is where she started as a lowly Cinderella Fashionista. This season she is very excited to share some of her adventures with you. Meet London's It girls. They're the ones designers long to dress and they're as happy in the market or clubs as they are on the red carpet. With a different paparazzi culture (and no pesky Kardashians or Real Housewives), these are the girls who fill the gossip mags and blogs across the pond.
Burberry was the show to be at this week in London. The biggest venue we’ve been to all week--a tent set up in Kensington Gardens--was barely able to contain the star power of Kanye West (his second show of the day), Sienna Miller, Samantha “Sam Cam” Cameron, and a drop-dead-gorgeous Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Fashion royalty was there, too, in the form of Anna Wintour, Olivier Theyskens, Rachel Zoe, and Mario Testino. The show live-streamed on multiple sources (including Fashionista!) and once again the label is putting the spring goods on sale right away--though you have to wait a few months before they ship. So what would we buy?
I'm going to start this review by apologizing profusely to Alice Temperley, because her gorgeous spring collection did not have my full attention. And that's not because it was boring. Just the opposite, in fact. Held in a grand hall in the British Museum, models entered through a central door, walked a circuit in front of the audience, then went to stand on the stairs in a lovely tableau. There was drama, there was sparkle, there was visible nudity under many sheer looks. But Pippa Middleton was in the front row. Pippa quietly snuck in before the show started and a pair of guards stood in front of her until everyone was seated. I'm not sure the room really realized who was there until the photogs figured it out and all lenses were suddenly aimed at her. She looked fresh-faced and lovely, and smiled throughout the show, obviously liking what she saw. And here's what she saw:
With all the secrecy surrounding last night's super exclusive Tom Ford presentation in London (no one was even allowed to tweet during), we thought
We heard from our friends over at Lucky that Hilary Alexander, the beloved and now “retired” fashion director of the Telegraph, was filming a fashion reality show called Behind the Seams. Since we’re here in London and have seen Hilary at practically every show this week, we decided to ask her about it. Hilary was exceptionally gracious and chatted with us for a few minutes before the Christopher Kane show this morning. So is she working on a reality show? The short answer: Nope! She’s working on two. And at least one may be available in the US. Read on for the details:
Having spent Friday, the first day of London fashion week, in a jet-lagged daze wandering in and out of high street stores on Oxford Street while waiting for my hotel room to be ready, I missed all the smaller shows that day. Julien Macdonald, on a sunny Saturday morning, was my introduction to London's fashion scene, and it was a great way to start. (And not only because they were handing out Krispy Kremes outside the venue.) Imagine Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" girls wearing black and white origami-cut dresses and dragon prints, and you have the Julien Macdonald show (well, the first half at least.) Featuring slicked, painted hair (Spring beauty trend alert! We saw it in New York, too) and red lips, his girls were ready to kick ass and take names.
With more than 125 years of dressing lovely ladies in the UK, Jaeger is as British as tea and crumpets. And while their long history can read a bit stodgy, Jaeger has been on a campaign the last few years to hip it up a bit to appeal to a new generation--and, this show, with a few exceptions, is going to help that cause. It's still a bit on the conservative side, yes, but I don't really expect to see the Queen in the rainbow knee-length shorts or chic flat-brimmed Panama-esque hats any time soon. I chatted briefly with the Telegraph's Hilary Alexander before one of the morning shows, and she predicted that geometry would be an early trend in London. That lady is not a fashion legend for no reason--Jaeger opened with a series of dresses and skirts featuring triangular cut-outs and neat scalloped edges. Tiny polka dots, almost like dotted swiss, adorned suits, dresses, and skirts. Striped pieces in muted tones of mustard, orange, and blue, were the standouts here, particularly on a tidy crew neck nipped-waist dress. It got fancier with eyelet and broderie gowns, followed by sheer lace adorned with bows.
I hadn't planned on attending the Jasper Conran show, but somehow I found myself wedged into the front row, so I went with it. I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't know much about his work before the show, but I'm certainly going to start paying better attention from now on. As a certified freak for fuchsia, Conran won my heart immediately with his beauty look, which featured sleek (but not wet) hair held back with a simple hair band. All the girls had fuchsia lips, neutral fingers, and fuchsia toes. This totally worked for me on every level. Conran's Spring colletion was minimalist, and the person next to me who said, "It's a bit Jil Sander back in the day, isn't it?" could be forgiven. It was, but there are worse standards by which to be judged.
NYFW may be over, but Fashion Month has only just begun. Here's the first of our London Fashion Week reviews, which you can see in full on our Fashio
Topshop channeled Elizabeth Taylor's campy and flamboyant Cleopatra for their spring 2012 Unique show. And boy, did they take that theme and run with it. Anna Wintour and Naomi Campbell (yay, my first supermodel sighting in London!) were both front and center, as was Topshop owner Sir Philip Green. Alas, no Kate Moss, dashing our hopes that perhaps she may soon be involved in another collection. From the slicked back hair covered in gold leaf to hieroglyphic graffiti on everything, this collection was for a modern Egyptian queen, albeit with a quick detour through the 80s and early 90s hip hop. Black and gold were the prominent colorways, and the message here was, "Go body-con or go home." Gold squiggles (super 80s moment here!) and gold hieroglyphics adorned everything from tube tops to bike shorts to tight dresses.