Show Highlights / Day 1

Friday 14 September 2012

Catwalk Reports from The LFW Daily
Today's reports by Jessica Bumpus, Fashion Features Editor,

Antoni & Alison are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and invited a brass band along to help them – now that’s how to get London Fashion Week started. But rather than raiding the archive for inspiration, the duo, Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts, decided to create new work, even going so far as to cover up all evidence of pre-25th birthday collections at their Southwark-based studio-slash-show space. “We didn’t want it to be retrospective,” said Burakowski, who joined Roberts in giving a whistle-stop narrative of their collections and inspirations to date to introduce the show. For this collection, though, it was all about plundering the paintbox to recreate the tiny, colourful S/S 13 collection drawings and collaging them together in dress formation. So thick brush strokes, crayon scribbles and spray-can prints in pink, orange, red and green were peppered among gold leaf, felt-tip pen and charcoal smudges on wispy silk dresses in short and long lengths. These were birthday dresses, indeed.

Corrie Nielsen’s love of visual drama, elaborate narratives and nods to the past is in line with fellow designers Viktor & Rolf and Vivienne Westwood, and this collection – all architectural and colour-rich – embraced these themes. It was a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew that provided the inspiration for the S/S 13 collection. “The whole experience, I wanted to dissect it all,” Nielsen said backstage, noting how the sculpted shapes of the diaphanous ball gowns were inspired by peonies, while the diffusion of colour – teal, grey and blush – were emblematic of the hues found in the interior petals of flowers. Floral references continued in the make-up with what looked like gentle bursts of pollen across models’ faces; the hair – wildly splayed as if caught by a gentle breeze – retained a more theatrical look. Far softer in shape and colour than we have seen from Nielsen before, the collection was elegant, but there still remain only limited occasions when you can rock a puff-sleeved, be-bustled gown.


Trust Sass & Bide to bring in the big model names to round off the first day of London Fashion Week – Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn both took a turn on the designers’ catwalk for S/S 12. And they did so in a wardrobe of almost all white, accents of black and sprinklings of gold and silver. The invitation, with its white background and golden origami decoration, was an indication of what was to come, the same folds enveloping waists on mini dresses, or translating into sequin-capped sleeves. “It was an exploration of the genders. We were trying to counterbalance the feminine with that masculine strength,” explained Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton. The cravats with a white flower attached were a perfect example. The duo had travelled to Peru and Buenos Aires, and it was the feeling of the places that had the most resonance. “We really enjoyed the process of this collection,” they said, adding that they were pleased to be back in London after skipping last season. “We found ourselves getting London pangs.”


Good designers don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s more about unearthing trends and pieces, refining them, then making everyone believe they need them. It’s something Zoe╠ł Jordan is very good at. The BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund nominee makes the wearable wantable, all wrapped up in a luxe package. Her S/S 13 collection is a case in point: she takes easy separates but does them her way. “I refined it. It was sporty and relaxed but still with that luxury element,” she said after the show. The collection, inspired by her travels in Africa, saw girls take to the catwalk in breezy ensembles with eclectic prints that drew on the continent’s colours and landscape. It was all there, from brilliant orange to oatmeal – a pink bomber rendered in zigzags was particularly impressive – and crackled-stone patterns. Dinky shorts, leather caps, mini suede crop tops, high-waisted leggings, harem pants, loose-fitting blazers and tunics – these are clothes ready for their own road trip, both far away and near.