Show Highlights / Day 4

Monday 17 September 2012

Catwalk Reports from The LFW Daily
Today's reports from The Daily’s Reporters: Osman Ahmed, Heath Brown, David Hayes, Julia Robson, Becky Sunshine


With a luxe collection of what he calls ‘sportswear’, Antonio Berardi simplified his vision for womankind. But first impressions can be deceptive – these babies were not as simple as they seemed, being packed full of technical wizardry. Those easy shapes and clean lines hid a host of designer tricks: triple-layered organza, woven carbon fibre, embroidery that was solarised, hologrammed and mirrored, and even elements of plastic flooring were all  fused by Berardi to create elegant outfits with edge. “I wanted to make the collection look light, not heavy or laboured,” said the designer backstage. “I was less industrial, more craftsmanlike in my approach.” The palette was also a departure for Berardi. “I always do black and white, but decided to put khaki, electric blue and bergamot into the mix to shake it up a bit.” Stylist and muse Sophia Neophitou emphasised the theme. “We took techno fabrics and made them  luxurious. Sportswear, yes, but not quite outfits you could run a marathon in.”

“Welcome to Hyde Park. So excited you are here!” said a virtual Christopher Bailey, via smartphone, as guests arrived at the Crystal Palace-like venue for Burberry Prorsum in Kensington. “Surely he should be pinning a hem,’’ quipped one fashionista, but we were confident all was in control. The catwalk parade began with a rainbow army of trenchcoated beauties boldly marching to the Burberry beat. A sliding spectrum of shiny leather, luxury lace and  sumptuous satin was made up into trench-coat dresses, midi, maxi and mini capes, as well as gorgeous jewel-like  cocktail outfits.“The colours felt like you could wring them out, they were so intense,” enthused Bailey after the   show. Inspiration came from images in the Burberry archives of Edwardian corsets and capes. “I looked to the joyously sassy photographs of Norman Parkinson,” said Bailey. “He was incredible – his work encapsulates the very British glamour I want to explore.” Iridescent feathered coats and dresses added a red-carpet vibe to a sparkling show.

In a geodesic dome like a landed spacecraft, Erdem presented an almost all-dress collection inspired by Zenna  Henderson, the American sci-fi writer of the Fifties and Sixties, and her tales of female clones arriving on Earth. That meant deft, couture-like cutting – a highlight for Erdem’s ladylike fans – but this time more cocoon-style silhouettes. “The volume was odd, no?” he said backstage. “For me, it was quite nipped in, but I love the serenity and contrast of the organza layer over the top.” Experiments with unexpected fabrics and colour gave the sense he’d moved his aesthetic along: PVC woven with baby blue or acid-orange threads, python skin spliced with duchesse satin or  patchwork lace. We know he’s good with colour, but spring felt ramped up, more cool and dangerous. “This was  about Henderson’s characters trying to blend in on Earth, so I chose toxic pastels; dirty, weird colours. I wanted to show uncomfortable combinations.” And he did. Beautifully.

“I’ve looked at every decade and jigsawed it all together,” said a crop-haired Louise Gray after her sensory  overload of a show. “It was about referencing all the things I like and making it ‘me’.” And Gray likes a lot for next summer. Cute Fifties sundresses jostled with Sixties shifts and Thirties-inspired slips – often with an Eighties bomber jacket or Nineties slouchy knit over the top – all in a riot of colour, pattern and texture. “Shape-wise it’s a mixed bag,” she explained. “Women just don’t want to wear one style all the time, do they?” Very much the Louise we know and love. What did seem new this season was the mannish tailoring: a great jacquard dress-coat or a boxy, cropped contrast-panel jacket that cut some straight lines amid the joyful chaos. Oh, and modernist hats from  Stephen Jones, mirrored jewellery from Tatty Devine and shoes with a rockabilly kick from Robert Clergerie. In  fact, Clergerie’s Creative Director Roland Mouret summed up the mood post-show: “I just want to kiss you,” he purred.