Catwalk Reports from The LFW Daily
Today's reports by Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and co-founder of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk.
We all love a good yarn. As Bowie’s Fame struck up, we were led into the tale of the infamous Dolly Sisters, the vaudeville duo who were poster girls for Twenties liberated women. Our lesson, on the dangers of excess and sibling woe, quickly took shape. Bora Aksu loves a good yarn, too, as cream wool dresses scalloped to central vertical panels – a precursor to chunky knits, wool embroideries and jacquards – confirmed. “Everyone was embroidering as I was growing up,” says Aksu. “It’s part of me. Lace is my heritage; this season it’s laminated for a modern feel.” With vaudevillian dancehall strains accompanying a presentation of eerie melancholy, we looked for and found a happy ending. Upbeat cuts and silhouettes grounded in a desire to empower and embolden, fitted leather pencil skirts, panelled corsetry, cropped jackets featuring Art Deco motifs, even luxury capes – a necessary for any flapper striding through the dark night unaccompanied – took us to curtain call
A circular walkway set within the gilded opulence of The Savoy created a salon-like scene for Golan’s eagerly anticipated show. The circle – also a starting point for the silhouette – underpinned a power-dressing aesthetic of operatic proportions, so much so that leading ladies, duchesses and a queen or two will now have Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman on speed dial. But this was a show of two halves: eveningwear of stiff bodices, voluminous sleeves and opulent 3-D hand embroidery gave way to knee-length dresses in layered silks and gauzy chiffons, burnt-orange cap-sleeve knits and – in a collaboration with Smiley – embossed-leather faces on pared-down (by comparison) pencil skirts and jackets. “It’s all about secret instincts,” says Podgorny, “the inner girl and the outer woman.” Frydman adds, “Our inspiration was Luis Buñuel’s Belle de Jour. We wanted it to be all about experimental sexuality... about the moment of exposure.” Thinking laid bare, indeed.
Unashamedly inspired by sci-fi and fantasy – where women are the leaders, and have presumably shaken up policy on free childcare and equal opportunities – Jean-Pierre Braganza brings to life his vision of glamour, grace and gritty girl-superior. The Starkonnen collection mixes Samurai silhouettes, mystical landscapes and precision panelling to evoke a sensual space-maiden-cum-warrior- woman. The colour palette – teal, cream and peach fused with black – forms the backbone of a look that would have Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura in galactic heaven. Fitted skirts have asymmetric hemlines, and trousers are wide and billowing or street-smart and tapered. “And the prints,” says Braganza, “are inspired by secret geometry that uses the science of numbers to honour the beauty and balance of nature.” Women are also honoured. “I simply think women are superior. They have wisdom, elegance, greater intellect and intuition. I surround myself with women,” he affirms. It’s flattery, Jim... but not as we know it.
The foundation of a successful collection is in appealing to those who will buy, as opposed to those who will photograph. For her fifth collection, Foundations, Zoë Jordan has this nailed. A designer for whom the words ‘contemporary fashion’ and ‘wardrobe staple’ are not a slight, she makes it clear that the cornerstone of her business model is end-user satisfaction. “If I can’t think where I’m going to wear it, then I don’t put it in the collection. Everything has to feel right on my body first,” says the former student of architecture turned New York investment banker, who this season blends the postmodernist masters Robert Venturi and Frank Gehry with a taste for the Baroque cathedrals of Italy. It brokers a look she believes mothers and daughters will share. Photographic prints of the Duomo in Rome on oversized silk tees, with butter-soft nappa- leather separates and body-skimming amber pencil skirts or ultra-pink fitted strides, will ensure they do.