It's London Fashion Week SS14, but you weren't invited to any shows. Feel skinny and important by reading these reports instead. Air kisses.
From left: Ryan Lo; Claire Barrow; Ashley Williams.
Fashion East is pretty much always the most anticipated show of London Fashion Week. Think of it as the first tequila shot in a long night of watery cocktails – an injection of energy that's either going to give you awful acid reflux or elevate your night above sheepishly dancing with strangers into something that Todd Phillips would pay you to make into a movie.
For the last two seasons, Fashion East has been lodged firmly in the latter camp. This season, the Lulu Kennedy-helmed initiative was supporting the talent of Claire Barrow (she of the illustrated leather jackets), Ryan Lo (deranged prom queens) and Ashley Williams, who probably needs very little introduction at this point. Yesterday's show established each designer for a second season as truly deserving of that insanely annoying title, the "next big thing", which won't seem quite as cliched when – six months down the line – you're all wearing knock-off Elvis-print dresses and illustrated pleather jackets.
Lo seemed to have been inspired by a sort of pastoral asylum, as he showed frilly pinnies complete with super soft blankies hanging off shoulders, fluffy ears and panda eyes. Claire's collection opened with a wonderfully illustrated sack dress, which did actually look a lot like a sack (I think that was the point) and moved to her majorly covetable jackets, a couple of transparent macs and a whole lot of statement earrings and rings, which reminded me a bit of that shrinkle plastic that drove me wild as a kid.
According to the press release, Ashley Williams' collection was designed for "Lady Lilo", presumably referring to the inflatable plastic pool toy and not the adorable plastic socialite. The denim pieces looked like they'd walked straight out of St Tropez, and I can already visualise the white "Dream Boat" jacket on every single fashion editor the entire world over. The highlight of the whole show, though, had to be the model with S.O.S emblazoned across her chest swimming in ocean blue lace. Because it's nice to know that other people feel like that all the time, too.
It's hard for me to explain how I feel about about Meadham Kirchhoff. Not only because I'm trying to write this on my phone in the corner of a hotel bar with a wall of Cointreau bottles that you're actually allowed to just pick up and drink, but also because I don't think there are enough words to express how grateful I am that Meadham Kirchhoff exists.
But OK, let's try: While there had been a strong odour of wet grass pervading the Topshop space all week, yesterday the tent smelt of MK's signature Penhaligon's scent (which the front row are given in their goody bags; Can. You. Imagine). Then there were the roses strewn over the runway and painted latticed wood ushering each model into a sort of secret garden that just happened to be filled with hundreds of people.
Meadham shows are always amazingly well cast, with normal-sized, pissed-off models, and this time they grimaced out from underneath scarlet or bleached white hair, tumbling in perfect ringlets from bows that you might recognise as having run through the previous spring-summer collection. Amazing flat metallic and snake-print shoes stomped along beneath prairie dresses, super smart black miniskirts with matching jackets and wide brimmed hats. Think Little House on the Prairie meets Wednesday Addams meets Marie Antoinette. Or just Google Meadham Kirchhoff SS14. Or just look at the picture above?
While their collections always feel a bit like funeral processions and it's basically a race to see who can send the first tweet about this being their last ever show, yesterday seemed particularly retrospective. Elements of every womenswear season made an appearance, from the monochrome of last fashion week to the yellow and black lace skirt from way back in SS11. You couldn't really get more signature than this show, but rather than hitting a high note to end on (don't break up with me, Meadham – please, don't leave me) I'm pretty sure Meadham and Kirchhoff are just peacocking. And when you have the best collection at London Fashion Week every single season, you probably would, too.
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @bertiebrandes
More from LFW SS14: