There is one thing I honestly can’t stand about London and that’s the way how it’s often considered absolutely out of the question to criticise somebody – say an artist, designer or musician – universally revered as a genius. When/if you do so, you’re simply taken for somebody who can’t understand anything about art, fashion and music.
I guess that, in a way, this is a global trend, but I have seen this phenomenon dangerously happening quite often during London Fashion Week and with specific catwalk shows. A very simple example: since Topshop’s Unique collection first appeared on the London Fashion Week calendar, I don’t think I ever heard anybody saying bad things about it.
This catwalk show is in fact usually followed by raving reviews even when there is nothing sensational about the designs on the runway. Who knows, maybe it’s because fashion critics restrain from criticising Katie Grand’s styling, yet, for this collection, it was hard to see pure touches of genius in the presentation inspired by wild animals and the great outdoors.
To be honest, you could even argue there wasn’t anything extremely exciting in the faux fur coats and duffel coats with sheepskin inserts worn with ironic animal (fox, badges, hedgehogs, wolves and stags obviously complete with antlers...) head-dresses by Emma Cook and accessorised with worrying fake fur mono-eyebrows (think Liam Gallagher meets the cat/fox/Fire Eater out of Luigi Comencini’s Adventures of Pinocchio and you get an idea…).
There were also boy scout meet Salvation Army uniforms, herringbone jackets worn with harnesses and “rag and bone girl” coats with bits and pieces of fur and fabric hanging all over them, though the most interesting designs were the ones with nocturnal animal and mushroom prints (interesting in terms of print, because the cut of such garments was, in some case, appalling).
You must give Topshop credit, though, for managing to roll up in one collection all the most popular trends – tailored suits, furs, animal prints, thick knitwear and crocheted pieces, and a very fake passion for the outdoor – repackage them neatly and sell them to gullible young people.
Erdem Moralioglu had a very different vision of nature and animals.
Influenced by TV documentaries about natural history, the designer created a beautifully elegant and sophisticated collection based around a palette that comprised rusty, ochre and teal.
Incorporating lace and sculpted ruffles in designs characterised by wonderful prints of butterflies and swallows, Moralioglu integrated unusual 3D or kaleidoscopic effects in his signature dresses with tulip-shaped skirts.
In some cases the designer developed further his studies in surface elaboration started in previous collections, coming up with a grey tufted tulle dress as sombre as a fluffy winter cloud with appliquéd motifs of flapping birds in rusted orange shades and a structured dress in golden yellow silk with cascades of autumnal leaves.
Moralioglu has definitely matured a lot, creating a collection that has high retail potential and confirming that for style, cut and originality (think also about his simple yet feminine and strikingly modern evening gowns) he is probably the only UK candidate to have the potential of becoming one day a fully-fledged haute couture designer.
Like Moralioglu, also Kane is showing interesting progresses in his work, though at times he seems to be dangerously turning into Gianni Versace.
The late Italian designer was always prone to two tendencies, opting at times for hopelessly tacky designs and at others for extremely chic and refined creations.
Luckily, Kane knows how to balance these two trends and clearly went for the latter.
His A/W 2010-11 collection - that referenced Priscilla Presley, juvenile delinquents and the embroidered crafts produced by women during the war - mainly featured black leather dresses, reasonable knee-length skirts and short kilts, neat cashmere sweaters with cape-like sleeves, biker jackets and sheer shirts heavily embellished with delicately embroidered and colourful wild flowers.
Incorporating in his leather dresses diagonal panels of black lace may have caused tragically cheap effects, but Kane escaped this trap by creating cleverly light contrasts.
While some critics spotted a Medieval connection or a reference to Kane’s Catholic education in these designs, maybe the real inspiration was to trace back to Versace’s 90s collections featuring Byzantine icons and Greek-cross that included leather biker jackets and dresses with bejewelled details that transformed the stiff leather armours of knights and warriors into soft decorations for feminine pieces.
Kane's stone and bead decorations introduce us to the last theme of this post.
Having tackled the first two themes announced in the title - animal and vegetable (or rather floral...) - there’s only one theme left, mineral, and, to explore it, I would like to focus on Simon Ekrelius.
The Swedish designer currently working in London started his career into the world of fashion focusing first on haute couture and, four years ago, moving onto ready-to-wear.
Ekrelius’ Autumn/Winter 2010-11collection, entitled "Stardust", shows you don't necessarily need to add any sparkling elements to make a design shine like a precious stone.
Indeed his creations look rather interesting both for their cut and their graphically black and white prints with splashes of vivid yellow used for jumpsuits that recall in their structure the configuration of diamonds.
Ekrelius's organza skirts in particular remind in their silhouettes the geometrically complex crystal shapes of minerals and prove once again that the real talent of a designer doesn't stand in the quantity of the embellishments used to decorate a garment but in its cut.Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Member of the Boxxet Network of Blogs, Videos and Photos Add to Technorati Favorites Lijit Search