Show Highlights / Day 4

Monday 18 February 2013

Catwalk Reports from The LFW Daily
Today's reports by Alex Fury, editor, Love Magazine.

ERDEM
Normally, you can count the black looks in an Erdem collection: zero. “I’ve always been terrified of the colour black,” said Moralioglu backstage. “I’ve never used black in my collections.” Talk about facing your fears: this season Erdem was awash with the inky hue, splashed over perforated neoprene, sequins, iridescent tweed and Chantilly lace. The latter is slightly more Erdem’s bag – and of course, when you rip it apart, this was a terribly Erdem collection. The black suits and shifts were sprigged with neon floral prints and embroideries, glowing out. There was a healthy sprouting of ostrich fronds, too. Or maybe that should be unhealthy, as they ended up with a decidedly sick, twisted look. “I was thinking about an Ingmar Bergman persona – the idea of good and bad,” says the designer. Hence the palpable tension of, say, baby-pink lace shrouded by a pall of black chiffon. There was a satisfying darkness that felt entirely new to this Erdem offering. And for something that seemed so bad, it looked so, so good.

FASHION EAST

Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East is like a finishing school for her fledglings – the step between them and the big bad world. Her current crop are younger than ever, barely out of their BA courses. If sometimes that lack of experience shows through with wonky seams and lumpy hems, the ideas more than make up for it, from Claire Barrow’s fish- shaped clutch to Ryan Lo’s lipstick-pink suits and Ashley Williams’ ode to Sixties rockabilly. The latter was the newcomer with her Happy Ashley label, a collection packed with Elvis prints, cropped bombers, sweater-girl mohair and Warholian prints. If Williams is Andy, Lo is Candy Darling. His opening suit, in a Pepto-Bismol-pink mohair resembling hair matted with bubblegum, was toothache- inducing – and a definite highlight, along with the marabou coat in powder-blue. Claire Barrow’s shtick was darker. What’s dark and shticky? Lots of brown corduroy, embroidered seagulls on sweater dresses, and hollowed Victorian dolls as handbags. Good things come in threes.

GILES
Giles has shown his past two collections in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral; for AW13, that hallowed edifice itself inspired the collection. It fits, as both Giles and St Paul’s are fundamentally and unapologetically British. And what would British fashion be without a sense of humour? “It’s a vicars-and-tarts party, in a nutshell,” said Deacon with a grin, deflating some of the pomp and ceremony of his domed jacquard dresses and ball skirts in ecclesiastical brocade. There was a clerical purity to the high-fastened collars; gilded leather was laser- carved into cornucopias of foliage that Grinling Gibbons would be proud of. Giles has been in business for almost a decade; this show linked us right back to his first in 2004, both with painstakingly worked textiles, leathers and intricate craftsmanship. They’re the means by which Giles has marked himself out in the fashion landscape, for sure, but they also felt like a paean to the charms of this sceptred isle. Which, really, is what Giles is all about.

TOM FORD
Stripped-back monochrome may be the order of the season according to New York and much of London, but Tom Ford is a man is used to making his own rules. His womenswear collections to date have been presented shrouded in absolute secrecy, the polar opposite to the hysterical hyper-digitised broadcasts that have come to characterise contemporary fashion shows. In similar contrast to fashion’s current minimal-monochrome cant, Ford summed up his AW13 as “cross-cultural multi- ethnic”. He decided to trot the globe, meshing influences from the Orient, Iberia, the Russian Steppes and the Mexican-American heritage of his native Santa Fe. And that was just in the first pair of boots – smothered with embroidery, like the rest of the show. This collection was all about unapologetic luxury – something that has been out of fashion favour but which Ford is doing his best to revive. The richness of the palette may not be to all tastes, but Ford’s women will be hungry for more.