Tuesday, 20 September 2011

London Fashion Week #1

Mulberry again pulled out all the thematic stops for its morning of accessories and A-listers at Claridge's. Amid balloon animals and pink lemonade were today's big gets: Kristen Stewart and Kate Moss, a well-known fan of the Bayswater satchel. Curiously, she didn't carry Mulberry to the show, but played her part in a denim shirt and jeans from the label's current Resort collection. No matter—she's still the paparazzi-hounded face that sold a million bags. Are they hoping she'll do the same with denim?

Creative director Emma Hill's cutesy, all-things-English fetish took to the festive seaside in a continuation of Resort. There's a joke here about the wetness and less-than-sizzling temperatures of a British summer—thus the ribbed leggings and all those adorable swingy anoraks, Hill's take on a classic kagool. And by that reasoning, great little buttery, cropped leathers made perfect sense.

A Mulberry show flips the script, making clothes the accessories that frame the bags. A bomber and skirt encrusted with chunks of blue crystal exists only for its accompaniment of a matching mini Lily chain-strapped bag. Along with updates on beloved classics like the Alexa satchel (now with teddy-bear head rivets) and Evelina hobo (now in lemon or navy patent, and grass green leather) was their new Travel collection, the highlight of which was a neat, boxy little camera bag.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label
Today's Vivienne Westwood Red Label show was a relatively subdued affair. Emphasis on relatively: Per usual, the collection featured feral hair and makeup, and a grab bag of looks. It also closed with ZZ Top's "Gimme All Your Lovin'" and the charming sight of model Eliza Cummings, in a strapless red ball gown, picking up the tiny Charlotte Free and carrying her down the catwalk, as Free was struggling in her shoes. Too often it goes without saying that Westwood wants everyone—models included—to have fun at her shows, and in her clothes. Well, good on her for that.

And good on Westwood, too, for exerting some real design discipline this season. There was a clear proposition threading its way through the show, which was to take suiting pieces—jacket, blouse, trousers—and highlight one element by giving it a sculptural dimension, or magnifying its proportion. The idea fared better in some garments than others: A wrapped suit jacket with a draped lapel was very good, whereas a pair of cropped trousers with a seriously low-hanging crotch was a little silly. In general, though, these pieces worked, as did the simplest of Westwood's draped dresses, Grecian-looking silk jersey numbers in black and white, and diaphanous, bias-cut frocks in a rust-tone print. There were other nice looks along the way, as well, and several kooky ones, inevitably. You could argue that Westwood should edit those pieces out, but that would be tantamount to suggesting she have less fun.
Matthew Williamson
"I guess people think of Matthew Williamson as the girl marooned on the beach," said the designer before his show. "But this is a wardrobe for a woman wherever she may be."

So, castaway no more, but still in love with her silky bohemia? It's not the first time that Williamson has tried to square these elements. The best-looking proposal opened the show. There's nothing chicer than traversing city streets in July wearing a bright buttoned-up shirt and saronglike wrap skirt topped by a proper blazer with a glint of silver tile, is there? Even if pulling it all off is hard to imagine without the benefit of Anja Rubik proportions boosted by Williamson's Charlotte Olympia platform sandals, his first shoe collaboration ever.

Ultimately, the answer shouldn't be so hard. A couple of seasons of ubiquitous color and print have taught us that the stuff goes everywhere. Williamson found his legs in chiffon blouses, here printed with digitized Japanese blossoms, tucked into bright trousers. He manipulated a floral until it looked like an abstract ikat and cut it into fluid silk onesie shirtdresses and jumpsuits. A little tweed jacket with an embellished neckline is one we've seen elsewhere but still makes sense here.

Conversely, eveningwear, usually a strong point, was uneven. At times, Williamson seems to fall in love with his embellishments and lose equilibrium. The showgirl sprays of ostrich feathers on cutwork lace tipped the scales too far for any setting.

source: style.com


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