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London Fashion Week AW14: Day 2


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We might only just be emerging, blinking, into the stark light of spring, but it’s once again time to look ahead to the chilly autumn and winter seasons with London Fashion Week AW14. Gazing into the frosty future might not seem too appealing at first but, with so many cosy collections on offer from the best of the fashion industry, what’s not to look forward to?

Jasper Conran kicked off day two of Fashion Week with a sultry, feminine collection that seemed to draw on the seductive shapes of classic lingerie.  Conran’s aim to flatter the female form was certainly achieved, as fresh-faced models glided down the runway in delicate slip dresses, draped robe-inspired outerwear tied loosely at the waist, camisoles and petticoat style skirts.  Buttery leather, cosy cashmere and smatterings of sequins added a temptingly touchable array of textures, with sheer accents heightening the sensuality of a number of pieces on show. A palette of nude, soft caramel, black and grey suited the calm, minimal tone of the collection, while pops of warm orange-red were a surprise addition, but worked well with Conran’s endlessly sleek silhouettes. 

If there was a collection better suited to the current climate than Orla Kiely’s, we are yet to see it! Inspired by the typically wild and rainy weather of her Irish homeland, Kiely presented cutesy coats in ‘60s style cuts; collarless with oversized buttons, aptly furry teddy bear coats, a princess coat in pastel pink with contrasting black collar, and trench coats dotted with dainty prints.  Scallop print jumpers, shift and shirt dresses, and a block printed cat motif are trends sure to be embraced by the high street next season, and Kiely fans will also be pleased to be able to get their hands on the quirky Mary-Janes donned by her models on the runway, cherry-picked from her latest collaboration with Clarks.

Richly coloured velour was the clear focus over at Emilio de la Morena; be it a chocolate brown roll-neck jumper, flirty skater-skirted rust-orange dress, or just a cheeky ruffled rose-pink accent on a pencil skirt, this fabric is sure to a key player in colder months to come.  Velvet, leather, mesh and chunky wool were also abundant in a fiery palette of red, orange, bubblegum pink, brown and plum, while a striking off-shoulder dress and structured cape in teal were stunning highlights. The combination of feisty colours, sumptuous texture and tough-textured details made this a brilliantly bold collection, definitely suited to the brave.

Holly Fulton’s show introduced a noticeably light colour palette in comparison to the usual dark tones of winter collections, although several ensembles in black, grey and red with pretty floral prints and details were introduced as the show progressed.  Geometric prints were also on the cards across a series of icy blue, white, grey and mocha pieces which pushed the trend for spaghetti straps. Metallic accents, meticulously symmetrical embellishment and low-waisted pleated skirts offered what appeared to be a truly modern take on the poplar deco styles of late, while quirky red-nailed hands and mobile phone motifs added a playful edge.

John Rocha went all-out with his flamboyantly floral offerings, his models all but lost amongst frothy, frilly petal-like layered headpieces and ruffled dresses. Far from the usual floral-printed tea dresses and chiffon blouses, Rocha’s fanciful flowers were a breath of fresh, rose-scented air; swathes of sheer organza, lace, plush velvet and metallic-threaded twill in luscious deep shades of pewter grey, black and poppy-red. Structured A-line dresses scattered with appliqued petals were a beautifully wearable take on the theme of the collection which, overall, spoke of romance, decadence and luxury.

‘I wanted to do something quintessentially British’ explained Markus Lupfer – well, you couldn’t get much closer to good old Blighty than Lupfer did with his greasy spoon ‘Markus’ Café’ setting, the perfect backdrop for his modish Manchester styles. Cut-out pinafore dresses with apron pockets, checked, polka dot and floral prints in a largely pink and grey colour palette had a deliciously retro feel, while Lupfer’s iconic sweaters once again made an appearance bearing sequinned slogans such as ‘One sandwich short of a picnic’ – sandwiches are one matter, but Lupfer certainly isn’t short on innovation or style.  

Ignoring the fact that they almost caused one model to fall flat on her face, Sibling’s fiercely flamenco-inspired, floor-length creations gave traditional crochet a whole new life.  A festive fusion of richly pigmented pink, orange, red, blue, green, white and black brought summery sensations to this Autumn/Winter collection of crochet bikinis, dresses, chunky knitwear and tencel denim, particularly when topped with wide-brimmed black sunhats. Longer hemlines, quirky layering of short-sleeved jackets over long-sleeved jumpers, and acutely distressed wool made for a collection that was not necessarily the most wearable, but certainly lively and full to the hat-brim with fresh ideas. 

Orange continued to come across as a key colour trend for Autumn/Winter at Antipodium, where pops of butter-yellow and bright orange offset a mostly slate grey and monochrome palette. Titled ‘Times New Roman’ the collection continually referenced Roman history, showcasing a marble bust print and bronze armour-like accents against a backdrop of classic Roman sculpture. A hugely varied collection of shapes and cuts was held together by the limited colour theme, while heavy velour, metallic leather and fur-tipped heels teamed with sludge-coloured slouchy socks accentuated its deliberately defiant, centurion-esque tone.  

Lucas Nascimento’s 1970s New York-inspired show featured abstract animal prints, lurex knitwear, and a number of longline, structured coats somewhat reminiscent of city skyscrapers. A fresh colour palette of cement grey, bottle and mint green, navy and indigo with typically ‘70s instances of brown and mustard yellow complemented the clean lines of the collection,  which consisted predominantly of tubular pleated dresses, roll-neck knits and boxy outerwear – the perfect combination for retro sophistication.

Belstaff’s range of outerwear boasted all manner of traditional countryside and biker rock styles -  a peculiar mix, perhaps, but one that the brand undeniably makes work.  Barbour-esque khaki styles with quilted panels, exaggerated collars and innovative fabric combinations appeared alongside shearling-collared bikers, quilted PVC bomber jackets, sheeny anoraks and skinny-lapelled blazers – it’s a push to think of any manner of outerwear that these guys didn’t cover. Teamed with pleated leather kilts, laced-up or rolled-down military boots and sturdy falconry gloves, Belstaff’s innovative use of season-appropriate fabrics made it the epitome of practicality, without sacrificing style points. 

Exciting and exuberant as always, House of Holland’s ‘Debauched Debutantes’ tore up the catwalk with unapologetically cool clashing colours and crazy cuts. Stomping down the runway in carefree combinations of pink, red, orange, blue, purple and green, models appeared in all manner of dressing-up box outfits; metallic blue and green trousers, quilted bomber jackets, taffeta frocks, fur-collared coats, ruffled miniskirts and ripped-up jeans, anything goes with Holland. Quirky lipstick and wine glass appliques, mohawk-ruffled shirt sleeves and baroque wallpaper prints added to the nonchalant, bold character that so defines House of Holland, and which fans of the brand will be sure to embrace all over again for 2014.

Images Courtesy of the British Fashion Council.


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