London Fashion Week created some justifiable excitement this season. The events were swimming in money and big names, who had come to see fashion’s young stars: Giles Deacon, Marios Schwab, Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane (read our story). British mega-stars like Luella and Stella McCartney (for Adidas) broke their New York habits to show here for the first time in six years. Po-faced Vogue editors, coiffed Russian buyers and excitable Japanese converged on the shows with unprecedented elbowing and name-dropping, so much so that a demotion to the C-block, after three years basking in the glory and superior goodie bags of the first row, was gracefully accepted – someone had to make room for Prince.
Basso & Brooke
The urbane designers produced their most beautiful, if somewhat pretentious, collection yet. As well as their perennial obsession with architect Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis movement, which, appropriately, broke down barriers between assumptions of “good” and “bad” taste, the designers listed influences as diverse as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Bruno Munari, artists Peter Halley and Franz Ackermann, and the Industrial Revolution. Whether the audience got it or not, Chris Brooke’s couture-level tailoring and Bruno Basso’s mix of painterly hand-drawn and dense computer-generated prints compounded the overarching theme of hyper-real perfection.
After the somewhat pious feel of last season’s fashion week, where the size zero debate raged and environmentally sustainable fashion, or “ecoture”, got its own tent, this week was all about glitz and spectacle. Kylie DJed at Gareth Pugh’s after-party and Peaches Geldof modelled for PPQ, but Matthew Williamson’s ten-year anniversary show pulled out all the stops. Prince sang live from the catwalk while twin dancers from his current tour led the models down the catwalk. Williamson’s signature printed silk dresses were outstanding too, bearing African tribal patterns in candy colours.
Marios Schwab’s show made the cutaway ingenuity of Christopher Kane’s latest collection look comparatively unevolved. Schwab took the body-conscious trend of last season to its logical extreme, indulging his own fascination with dissection. Shift dresses bore thermo-images of body-generated heat, and the back of a black jacket was cut away to reveal a sinuous spinal cord zip, strung outwards with black pearls to imitate a human ribcage.