London Fashion Week is going strong in a bejeweled flurry of C-list celebrities, overdressed middle-aged men and hyper-inflated egos. So you don't have to deal with any of that nonsense, we'll be going down every day to cover the shows that we think matter the most. Here's what happened on the fourth day.
Fred Butler tends to be one of the only consistently interesting designers on the main schedule at London Fashion Week. While the majority of stuff ends up being a bleak, flaccid waste of time, it's shows like hers that remind us that all of the queueing and PR torment is sometimes actually worth it.
For her SS13 collection, Fred's muse was the "Urban Bee", whose declining population – as I'm 100 percent sure you've heard – continues to be a source of international concern. Hence all of the honeys drenched from head to toe in iridescent honey-gold, with chunky daisy chains and geometric shapes inspired by honey combs. This collection is by far Fred's most directly street/sportswear inspired: honeycomb headphones, hexagon hoop earrings and bee-stinger bumbags topped off with a painfully implausible, "Do not fuck with me, I'm fucking street" expression on each of the clearly so-not-street model's faces.
MICHAEL VAN DER HAM
I would have never guessed that Michael van der Ham would present the first womenswear show I've seen this season that didn't make me want to run away pulling my hair out (Isse London) or walk out halfway through out of pure boredom (Todd Lynn). So, while standards were lowered considerably after a disappointing first few days, van der Ham seems to have created one of the few collections so far with mostly wearable clothes and an identifiable COHESIVE theme, which is kind of ironic, given that it's mostly comprised of clothing made out of mismatched fabrics, haphazardly sewn together by someone who's apparently partially blind.
David Koma's collection was more luxe sportswear vibes, here specifically inspired by the old female tennis stars who brought "style and elegance to the sport," i.e, not the hot, modern ones like Anna Kournikova or Maria what's-her-face.
This translated into some of the strongest single pieces I've seen so far – carefully executed, modern interpretations of tennis dresses from the 1960s in bold hues of palatinate blue, grass green and other colours with pretentious names. Although, as much as David probably wouldn't want to admit it, a little Kournikova-influence managed to creep in, because for every stunning tennis dress, there were the kind of totally formulaic bodycon bandeau dresses that wouldn't look misplaced on Lindsay Lohan circa 2008.
Yet more luxury sportswear from Christian Blanken (TREND ALERT), who managed to cite some of the most pompous references I've EVER seen for a collection. The following is taken directly from the press release: "This season places the collection within the context of the Russian Constructivist movement" with "a colour palette based predominantly on the work of Rodchenko and Stepanova."
Look, I'm all for proposing substantive, sophisticated reference points in an industry usually devoid of any depth whatsoever, but you have to aesthetically back them up with clothing that somehow reflects the "theme", or whatever. I dunno, I think I'm starting to get too fashion school dissertation about this now. However, this collection was truly all over the place. The only discernible theme might be described as something like vaguely 1960s futurist Donna Karan, which makes the collection sound way worse than it actually was. From metallic jackets to flowing Grecian white dresses, hot-pink sporty playsuits to shiny black funnel-necked anoraks, there was literally nowhere this collection went except away from itself.
In case you don’t know, Louise Gray is a Scottish fashion school grad who LOVES prints. Sometimes I see Louise around Dalston, rocking her last season boots, and shit, girl can seriously work clashing colours.
This season, despite that familiar seizure-inducing riot of colours, Gray actually toned it down a bit. Shapes were softer, with shifts and shirts becoming the focus, instead of the built up jackets, cardigans and tops of last season. Spring collections are always (obviously) lighter and more playful, but unfortunately in its softness, this show lacked the teeth of some of Gray’s previous collections. Using model Anais Pouliot to open was a great move, though, and the frothy, teased-out beehives were 1960s glamour at its very best. Standout pieces included the stiffer boyish jackets and clashing Louise Gray for Robert Clergerie brogues. Congrats, Louise, you done good! Now I need to rest my eyes.
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