After a whirlwind week of parties, presentations and runway shows in New York, it’s time to talk about my top 8 collections from the cream of the British fashion crop. London Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014 has come and gone, and boy, was this one for the books. It was full of surprises and innovations!
Houndstooth and herringbone prints had woven their way around Haizhen Wang’s collection. He did tailored, elegant versions with modern architectural references, offering pieces for both work and play. I’m pleased to say that I’ve absolutely changed my mind about what I considered a dull old-school textile! This trend gained momentum last year and is showing no signs of waning.
For Fall 2014, Mary Katrantzou shied away from her bewildering-but-beautiful digital prints, yet she still kept her graphic aesthetic. She created something new, different and exciting by taking patchwork to a whole new level! Patchwork in the form of scout badges, pedestrian signs, sporting symbols and coat of arms were used to build panels on flowy, long-sleeved, drop-waist dresses. I also loved the long silhouettes with flying pleats and asymmetrical dresses with shiny snakeskin pattern sequins. What could have looked like a D-I-Y project instead came out as an impressive and cohesive collection. Bravo!
Colour-drenched dresses with geometric patterns in streamlined silhouettes – that was the scene at Peter Pilotto. The meticulously crafted clothes were about blurring the lines between prints, embroidery and knits. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from Pilotto and his design partner, Christopher De Vos’ collection, it’s this: Don’t throw the scraps away just yet; discarded fabrics make for stylish works of art. Spliced and shredded then seamed and tacked. Definitely one of the best examples of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts!
Star Wars made another appearance for Fall/Winter 2014 at Preen’s London Fashion Week show – with Rodarte being the first to use the trilogy’s character prints at New York Fashion Week. Preen’s sequel gave us something Rodarte’s collection was obviously missing: Darth Vader. The head shot of the main antagonist was printed on silk blouses and dresses which admittedly, made me feel nostalgic for my childhood days. This collection made a lot of Star Wars fans excited too; however, fashion critics are debating whether Rodarte or Preen did it better. Personally, I think it was the latter. Due to the kaleidoscopic prints, cut-outs and angular collars, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi’s sci-fi pieces were less literal than Kate and Laura Mulleavy’s. Who knew that the characters of Star Wars would have high fashion moments?
PRINGLE OF SCOTLAND
Pringle of Scotland deserves applause for showing such innovative pieces during its Fall 2014 runway show. Massimo Nicosia, the head designer of the brand, used 3-D printing techniques and tapped material scientist Richard Beckett to apply his textile engineering know-how’s to sweater-sets and coats made of Melton. Largely centred on a muted palette, the printed sections were then hand-woven into the knitwear through small hooks on the underside or stitched on top of the wool. The result? Knitwear looks in pencil silhouettes that were cool as the Autumn breeze!
At Richard Nicoll’s fashion show, sleek clothes in eye-catching hues of red and blue made a quirky foil to the usually sombre palettes of Fall/Winter’s dress code. In fact, it almost felt like Spring! He brilliantly did a fusion of feminine and masculine, created looks that were slightly athletic cool with a tailored twist, and added luxurious elements yet showed restraint. I was instantly drawn to the long utility coat, the cropped suit and the leather-and-wool baseball jacket. Not to mention, the metallic platform loafers or high-heeled oxfords were the perfect accompaniments to his essentially understated looks!
This season’s formal frocks were powered up with a cryptic, edgy finish! Mannish tailoring got a dose of darkness at Tom Ford. The collection was mostly made up of matching separates, but it doesn’t mean that the clothes were mind-numbing. Such obsessive attention to detail has always been Ford’s strong suit and he masterfully pulled off black on black. Wool tunics and tops had simple necklines that were either slashed or laced-up, hooded sweater dresses came with leather kangaroo pockets, and blazers and trousers had different fabric panels.
In true Topshop Unique fashion, its Fall 2014 collection maintained the brand’s high fashion yet street-worthy aesthetic. Full silhouettes seemed to be the key for this season, with the emergence of bulky tunic coats belted above the waist. I loved the way they combined those silhouettes with delicate fabrics – it showed a perfect balance between bold pieces and soft accents! It was also refreshing to see the all-blue outfits. Blue is a classic colour, although we may not always think to wear monochromatic blue as we would, say, black or white. However, Topshop Unique made it work and set a wonderfully laid-back chic example for us to follow.
Image credit: NYTimes & WWD
Article by me; published in Tongue in Chic