Show Highlights / Day 3

Sunday 16 September 2012

Catwalk Reports from The LFW Daily
Today's reports by Caryn Franklin, Commentator and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk

With an opening that set the tone for a pacy and eclectic show – think Victorian gothic fused with jockey stripes and street style – this season’s Acne aesthetic is busier, younger and more urgent. The look – underscored by an intentionally awkward palette of lilac, black, baby pink, cream and green, all pulled together by Seditionaries-inspired straps here and there to anchor leather waistcoats, skirts and jackets to the body – still evoked the crispness of seasons past. Yet here was Scandinavian precision benefiting from the clash and clutter of an altogether more UK sensibility. A graphic lift within the mostly solid-colour presentation underlined the collection’s influences: ‘Collage’, ‘Music’, and ‘New’ peeped out from layers of nylon drape. “Collage is very important to the way we work,” said the label’s Creative Director Jonny Johansson. “Music is my background and, of course, New is something we are always striving for. We just wanted to be honest in the way we work.” And so they were.

Referencing the style of the first female aviators, Christopher Raeburn delivered a collection full of light, land and air references in solid neutrals with splashes of red and print featuring Fifties escape maps. “A utility and recycled ethic is better suited to menswear,” said Raeburn, “so the new Ripstop cotton and laminated white lace (shielded by a water-resistant layer) gives the womenswear a point of difference.” Taping and panelling streamlined pared-down parka shirts, waisted jumpsuits and knee-length fitted shorts, while elastic cuffs and thick waistbands anchored lightweight fabrics to the body. Still, there were military references aplenty and quilting filled with PrimaLoft Eco (not all the fabrics could be sustainably sourced) underpinned a brand in ascent. Last season he collaborated with  photographer Ryan Hopkinson to add drama to a presentation of menswear made from fire-proofed fabrics: the  model was torched, the moment was electric. Chocks away, then, as Raeburn navigates the commercial/ethical mix.


“I wanted to move away from last season’s urbanity. I wanted something more… up there,” said Lucas Nascimento, gesturing skywards. “Softer, looser than last season.” And so he looked at the delicate nature of life this season,  using the flimsiest of silk and nylon threads, to make a play of light and weightlessness. “When I saw the yarn, I knew I could make a fabric that was fine but heavy enough to hang well and work for tailoring,” he said. “I like to create knits that look fitted, not chunky. The yarn is always my inspiration.” Transparent layers, loose shifts, fitted suits and sensual, strapless, knee-length dresses all revealed a complex and intricate stitch when examined close up. Rejecting other knitwear clichés is a mission, too – the colouration of mint, grey, green, heather and lilac  delivered an executive cool factor – the antithesis, then, of ‘cosy’. Job done. But it didn’t stop there – a foray into  print produced rubberised planets for impact. The addition of Jupiter and Mars saw Nascimento reaching for the stars.


Accompanied by a live soundtrack from former model and muse Sara Stockbridge, a regal procession of polished  elegance ensued. Signature jersey cowl bodices, twin-sets, cute cropped jackets and fitted frocks with flared skirts are what we have come to expect from Red Label. Reframed by styling that included make-up in the spirit of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych and hairstyles evoking HRM’s penchant for rollers and set, there was something of a  suggestion in the air. Westwood’s love of aristocratic opulence and historical flourish, augmented by a small shift in silhouette to allow a looser, roomier coat or skirt, seemed to pitch the perfect attire for a certain Duchess, perhaps? Surely it’s time for Kate to forgive the comments about her prewedding style and make that call. With a call to arms herself, Vivienne took a bow, unfurling, with the help of two tartan-clad sentinels, a billowing campaign banner to draw our attention to climate change and galvanise her own, very loyal subjects into action.