A Blush of Rose
London Fashion Week, the adventures continue...
Fashion Week was of to a flying start and already through Day 1 I'd seen a very interesting spectrum of designers show their SS17 collections. Whether younger names fast establishing themselves, such as Steven Tai and Teatum Jones of established Houses such as Jasper Conran and DAKS, there was a lot of fresh style on offer.
PPQ (images with permission)
PPQ are one of the most dynamic fashion teams. The Duo of Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker launched PPQ in 1992 and uniquely (I believe) in fashion they also run a Music Label making them a pretty unique entity with a 360 degree footprint in the creative scene in London. As you would expect, the music for their shows is pretty fantastic and beats with a pulse of life that has drawn them a long list of A-list clients in the past couple of decades, most recently Kirsten Dunst, Sienna Miller, Naomie Harris and Alexa Chung. It's a great list of names and the duo show no signs of skipping the beat.
Jasper Conran (catwalk images with permission and my images below).
Jasper is another one of our treasures on the London show schedule who has been there since inception and is producing desirable fashion three decades later for an global audience who want to see the best of British design. There's no doubt that he has honed in long ago on creating capsule style collections that are rather like a 30-40 piece capsule wardrobe that you can pick some key looks from that will all blend effortlessly together. Much used phrases like 'stylish yet practical' come to mind
Edeline Lee (images mine except where credited)
Edeline Lee is always someone to look out for during London Fashion Week. A designer with a self assured stamp on what it is to be part of the young urban crowd it's not surprising that she was mulling themes of identity in London following the news of Brexit in the Summer. Expressing thoughts and feelings through the emoji-like representations of faces on shirts and dress Edeline merges the two most widely visible forms of expression that we use, our faces and our clothes. Celebrating the street life of London this collection with it's urban appeal was set against the back drop of city scenes, tote bags styled on the striped plastic bags of mini markets sit on the arms of models as they move through the city landscape.
Julien Macdonald (images mine, frontal catwalk images with permission)
Spring was definitely in the air at Markus' presentation with beautiful scents of grasses in the air from live planting in his installation. In a light contemporary attic space the signs of the new season where all around with print work inspired but the season taking a central role in the design medley.
Paul Costelloe - backstage and catwalk beauty
One of the most established names in fashion to be showing, Paul Costelloe, like Conran is one of the original founding designers from the early days of London Fashion Week.
With over five decades of experience in the fashion industry including dressing Princess Diana, notably through many of her years in the public eye following her marriage. He has one of the most accomplished and diverse skill sets in the fashion business earning him the respect and affection of many fellow designers, fashion journalists and the fashion buying public across the globe. He is one of the
designers who has successfully transitioned into producing corporate clothing for House hold name companies and airlines while also maintaining a successful ready to wear line and now an ever expanding home collection. With his wife and many of his seven children actively involved in all aspects of the business Paul is setting a hectic pace and shows no sign of slowing down. This season when photographing back stage I was lucky enough to get a first hand look up close at the collection and see the detail and artistry coming shortly to the catwalk for Spring- Summer 17. There's a lot of fresh energy in the collection for next season and
a light sporty look to many of the designs. It all works beautifully from a sheer tennis dress above that is begging to be worn on the tennis court, to help you show off your winning strokes and above a variation of the design shown in reflection on the model revisits the theme and style of the corset but reworked into a very light soft structure that offers well crafted support to the figure rather than constraint. Above to the right you can see close up detail of cuff and trouser leg showing the sensitive beauty that Paul infuses into his collections with refinements of detail. It's classically beautiful and also feels very contemporary. An artist himself, you can grasp that Paul is someone who see with a true artists eyes and expresses the visualisation of folds, curves and pleats as they cloak the figure.
Looking through the designs and talking to the models, you also get a sense of how popular Paul is with them and the girls he works with each season are usually very happy. In the midst of his shows where he needs to be 'everywhere at once' he is always watching to see how they are and talking to them as much as he can and they are always very happy to walk for him. Backstage between shows can be hectic but it's a happy hectic and the getting a chance to see the models happy, relaxed and moving in the clothes is the best way to understand the design concepts that Paul is expressing for the warmer months ahead.
Blending sporty and sophisticated has really worked well for Paul this season. Above to the right a military style jacket (that was a personal favourite, hence the double snap) was a masterpiece of practicality blended with comfort. It really pulled out all the stops managing to be both utilitarian and snug at the same times. Very desirable and should still have broad appeal to the wide client base. Equally the frock coat above to the right makes an appearance and doesn't look a bit out of place, softened with the light linen fabric lightly gathered, it has the formal structure and form borrowed from the men's wardrobe with all the lightness and ease that a wearer would want in a piece of occasion wear for the Spring and Summer months. You'll see the catwalk shot later on but this piece would look great also teamed with black or even jeans and a simple smart white shirt or thin sweater.
Soft ruffles from the length of one of the skirts featuring later in my look at the collection where an eye catching piece of beauty. Falling like a waterfall across the length of garment it's the height of femininity. This close up shows the pressed detail of the surface of the fabric to beautiful effect and, as with much of Paul's collection it's a quality that sets it amongst the most skilled of ready to wear artisans. The beauty look for this collection was fresh faced and simplified with a light flush of colour on the cheeks and lips in slight russet tones and metalics of umber and gold on the eye lids. Black mascara and the lightest of upper eye lid definition in black completed the look. To the right long line pleated folds descending into the open pleated skirt of the sleeveless white dress above. With it's cowelled collar adding to the contemporary look this is a fun piece that could be matched with a jacket or coat or do equally well by itself.
To the right close up detail of a dress that proved a challenge to the technical production team. Many people told Paul it couldn't be done but he showed me with one of his atelier team who was at the show that it had been possible to find a solution to the puzzle he created. Producing this look with it many colours infused with golden light across the surface and then pleated in many layers across the surface produced a stunning cocktail dress that for me had an echo of some of the pieces worn by Princess Diana in the 1980's. The colours are beautiful like a cocktail in the form of the dress. Below some of the cute and practical design that Paul created amongst the accessories line to go with collection. Here a number of designs that explore shape, texture and colour in harmony with the collection.
The collection opened with this beautiful mid thigh dress fusing the sports and chic themes and magically enough in my front row seat the I happened to be placed in the right spot for the model to be standing in front of me when she made her debut of the collection. It's a beautiful look and what also struck me was that it was warm enough to keep out a little of the spring chill in it's lightly woven fabric. Indeed it's the quality of the fabric that you notice time after time in the garments. An action feel enters the next look with a long line dress taking it's cue from the men's military shirt. Belted high at the waist with it's outsized pockets this look of stark discipline and practicality has been tamed into a more sanguine form. To the right the catwalk shots of one of the jackets that I though had the most to offer from this collection in terms of innovative style that had appeal. With it's epaulette shoulder detail, buttoned square cut breast and hip pockets and double buckled belt this look is completed with a pleated dress underneath adding an extra flick of femininity.
Mixing masculine and feminine in perfect harmony with a chic tote bag the look far to the left is another light stylish piece for day and evening in the summer. The dress itself sits on the model open buttoned emulating shirt style with the low-waisted pleated skirt giving a feminine flourish. The babydoll dress to the right with it's swinging 60's hemline strikes a note of duality with the shirt ruffles of the traditional men's wardrobe transposed onto the dress front. Large sleeveless vents at either side make this dress a perfect choice for warm nights in the town and in the country. As regular readers know one of my favourite colours is midnight blue and the next look synthesised a very beautiful classical style with the contemporary by adding clear plastic sleeve ruffles replacing the fabric. Looking closely you can see the fabric detail in high relief that makes the garment a fascinating piece to touch and appreciate.
To the right a white suit again shows a new way of looking at the contemporary women's two piece. With hints of the angular swinging 60's style that first made Paul's name in London this piece incorporates the new in the cut of the jacket front and the vintage in the balloon detail of the sleeves. To the right the coat dress blends several of these themes with midnight blue, raised relief print and the ruffles centered either side of the buttons.
Playing with the frock coat theme has offered great scope for Paul in this collection with a cold shoulder adaptation above to the left sitting above the light corset styled camisole seen above in the behind the scenes looks. A softly fitted dress hugs the figure in a versatile form and to the right an eye catching bandeau dress with giant buttons at the front and mermaid esque waves at the back is a beautiful dress for the beach or around town. Reworking the masculine notes to the right the outsized front lacing short is one that I would love to wear teamed with blue jeans or black leather trousers. Further right you can see the beautiful morning suit style coat with it's gently nipped waist and peplum styled cuffs. A stunning look in it's own right but looks sensational teamed with a high leg play suit.
The light gingham variation of the Tennis dress to the left is a perfect playful piece for the Summer and warm skies. Underneath the white sports jacket it's a perfect casual looks for enjoying your time in the Summer months. To the right is one of my favourite looks of the collection, the bandeau twin coloured dress with playful voluminous skirt shouts some seriously stylish womanly notes and will be a piece that will get heads turning in all the best ways. You'll make an entrance at a Summer party but it's also a piece that you can have so much fun in for yourself. More suggestions of classic form re-worked come in the next two looks with some very desirable coats on offer and to the right the earlier new jacket design is paired with mini Pantaloon styled shorts for a casual stylish look. To the far right one of my favourite complete looks of the collection sees pedal pushers reinvented with Buccaneer style peplums at the knee and a beautiful midnight blue satin jacket casually tied around the waist in dressing gown or trench style. It's very luxuriant but at the same time relaxed and practical.
Another dress works the babydoll smock dress theme above to the left with it's outsized collar and front ruffles, it has a natural swing to it and the dusty damask rose colour allows the detail to do the talking. To the right, turquoise and aqua stripes underneath a morning coat accompanied by a large carry-all perfect for a weekend away by the beach. Above to the right a slim lined skirt and a bandeau top with straps make a beautiful combination. One of the most scene stealing looks of the whole collection was the floor length flamenco style look to the right that I showed you a close-up of earlier. Fastened gently at the waist the construction of this piece is a masterclass of design and it sits very lightly on the wearers figure.
Coloured stripes return in the next look to the left with an open neckline plunging to the waist, sash ribbon tie and layered tulle skirt. A very fun dress for Summer cocktails. To the right the simple large button and shoulder epaulets add a touch of army style practicality to this piece with the full flowing luxuriant material of the skirt creating a modern fairytale picture of romance. You can dance and shimmy in this piece as with all of the looks in this row. Centre above the dress that was possibly Paul's greatest achievement of the collection as it was supposedly a dress that couldn't be achieved technically after he had designed it but succeed he and his team did. A bodice designed with the impression of sash layers of fabric crossing the figure and a beautiful skirt asking to be twirled are topped off with an asymmetric mini train to add a touch of samba chic. The way this piece looks in the light is a dream. To the right, the next two dresses explore working with ruffles in two completely different ways. Firstly frills around the bodice and skirt adding definition in a dusky rose to the tulip shaped dress, to the right a Rah-Rah skirt adds volume in a different way with sumptuous fabrics. The upper half of the dress is kept simple in keeping with the theme of a cross over with sports.
The beautiful colour creation gets another outing in the next look to the left with an off the shoulder design and long sleeves together with a puff ball skirt. The 1960's era dress with it's deep crescent moon pockets is a stylish and practical nod to the ear with a new spin. Paul flirts with length showing variants of his ideas that don't look repetitive and to the right a floaty semi sheer shirt dress is another innovative style. The cost dress in cream to the white is pure luxury but also has a sensible practicality to it. Following the colour themes of the collection that revolve around cream white, navy, a dusky rose and a series of semi sheer prints it was one of the most spell binding pieces of the collection as it drew towards it's finale. To the right the final piece, a beautiful floor length semi sheer print garment is styled in similar form to the white cream dress above. Paul is a master of his craft and and it was wonderful to see him again this season and chat with some of his sons. This fashion house is a family business in the traditional sense with many pairs of hands on deck, it's becoming a little more unusual in fashion outside of businesses based in Italy but, I think it's a winning formula.
but this would be to belay the wealth of experience that you can see when you look carefully at the collection he has put together. The collection opens with key looks in denim and Jasper takes the cue of working with neutral earth tones of green and brown to open before moving into the better known blue. It's s chic but practical look and is a very practical day wear look for the next season. He's also hit on a new style of smart/casual denim bag that that's softly rounded but still has plenty of space. The jacket and skirt combination and long line one piece dresses have a simple uniformity and earth tone denim looks to be a very grown up alternative. Moving one of the dress forms into a navy and white check, Jasper explores different ways of styling these day time looks.
This offering for Spring - Summer 2017 comes in the form of an all dress suite of looks and as the collection move to pieces that you could wear for a more special occasion, Jasper began exploring broader billowing styles that played with a rich volume of fabric. The white dress above to the left is the first of a series of looks that could be worn to drinks parties, summer social events and also for smart working wear too. The next look to the right uses the optical illusion of elongated splits with a visible under layer to create and optical illusion on the surface of the dress. The marine blue dress to the centre is a subtle but eye catching piece that is almost universally suitable to many women just like so many of the pieces here. The black and white partly harlequin shoulder-less dress and it's red and white swirl-striped neighbour call to mind Summer parties, sailing and a myriad of fun in the Summer season. Also these dresses will travel well working well for day and evenings on holiday. With a 1950's era flare to them they are genuinely effortlessly glamourous. To the far right the red dress with it's simple bowed tie at the waist is one of my favourite looks of the collection. The deep crimson, a warm rich addition to a Summer collection palette is styled simply on the figure and like it's counterparts could be accessorised very easily with light Summer jackets, cardigans and wraps.
Above to the left one of the most eye catching looks of the collection using the theme of broken blue stripes across the skirt underneath the blue bandeau bodice asks to be taken to a party next season. This piece again drives home the message of easy comfort as well as looking chic and contemporary. To the right the red stripes are broken into the different alignments across this piece skillfully preventing the look from being over powering to the eye, the sign of careful thought and attention to detail and concept. The mono colour dresses return to the collection with a navy blue sleeveless piece cleverly works in the denim 'seem' stitching as a design feature emphasising the angulation of the figure. The earth tones of brown and teal green return in the next two looks with flowing satin-silk creating a beautiful ripple across the surface of the dress that gently catches the eye and adds a note of lighter beauty to looks that also have a utilitarian nature with pockets and shirt collars still included. The blue dress to the right sleeveless, ruched in the bodice and incorporating a gentle amount of volume in the skirt is another piece that would be very easy to work into the wardrobes and into your suitcase for next Spring and Summer. I personally would also style this with a wrap or a jacket and smart designer clutch bag if to be worn to an event in the evening. It's another very versatile look.
The teal dress above to the left with bodice detail accentuates the natural curves of the figure with understated elegance in a naturally flattering cut just as all the looks in the collection do. With a hint of 18th century form and lines channeling the romance of another era this look makes a quiet statement of beauty giving the wearer a sophisticated air of reassurance. The sheer blue two piece outfit with it's large floral detail appears to be a key trend for the Spring. The dress centre above with it's translucence and fluidity offers another alternative to the more conventional looks when choosing a piece for occasion wear. Following variations successfully use this in peach and green with other harmonious floral arrangements. These overtly feminine guestures should have many clients pulses racing as Jasper ticks the contemporary formal evening wear and pure enjoyment boxes. To the right the finale look of the collection again uses stripes and hints, as does the Safron dress, of the shapes and style of clothing worn in Jasper's other home of Morocco. The loose form structures that float as the wearer walks and are moved gently by the breeze are crafted with a beautiful simplicity that enhances the style of the wearer.
I very much enjoyed attending this show as a guest and having the chance to see the collection come out in person. Many seasoned industry editors where there as well as a younger generation of fashion journalists like myself. While Jasper has clearly created a House style that is composed and refined for the modern woman I feel that his fashion does have an appeal to a broad age demographic with many of the evening dresses having cross generation appeal that isn't age defining.
There felt like there was a lot of enjoyment in this collection and watching it come out, it was easy to visualise these clothes in a holiday setting or becoming part of a casual working wardrobe. The cocktail dress pieces later in the collection stand up on their own an excellent pieces of luxe Ready to Wear that has been produced in a highly skilled atelier. They are timeless options that will stand you in good. We all want key things from our clothes, comfort, style, practicality, a fitness for purpose and something that we can enjoy in our lives and looking at the collection that Jasper has brought out it's apparent that he understands his woman deeply after several decades of catering for her needs with ideas, his craft and passion for creating something of the highest quality. With many strings to his bow now crossing home-ware, accessories and soon a hotel on the way in Morocco, womenswear still sits at the heart of Jasper's world. It's a confident collection for the new season
Opening the collection this season with a hallmark bold use of colour, a green dress draped across the figure in a style and look echoing raffia work or a bouquet with a bold orange taffeta waist tie created a bohemian late 1950's early 1960's look to the collection. For Spring-Summer 2017 the pair took their inspiration for the 'La Fiesta' collection from the ancient former Kingdom of Navarre in Northern Spain. The colours look like a celebration but always with a careful feel for harmony within the lexicon. The green shorts and amber jacket teamed with white logo t-shirt are accessorised by a woven basket signalling traditional crafts. Centre a senorita glides down the catwalk in a Rock and Roll vibe black blouse gently illustrating the natural curves of the figure with a vibrant taffeta waist knot and hot pink skirt. Such colour is alive with the passions of northern Spain.
Print is one of the classic Hallmark's of PPQ's design and taking their cue from the scenes of life in Navarre glimpses of day to day life appear on the fabrics of the half-sleeve shirt dress and the flowing skirts of the look furthest to the right above with it's flamenco flourishes and layers. Taffeta neckerchiefs and scarves tied in the hair also make beautiful head bands and ties echoing the simple stylish practicality of the Navarre women. To the right above a lilac dress with it's ruffled bodice and front crossing neckline shows a new stylistic adaptation of a classic country dress, coupled with a contemporary jacket that could be worn by men or women it's a chic urban piece that still captures the romance evoked by the history and traditions of Navarre.
As day turned towards evening it would be difficult to have a Spanish themed collection without introducing black. We all associate black with traditional women's clothes and the off the shoulder dress accessorised with a scarf with it's long fringe gives a chic effect of movement in harmony with the ruffled layers of the skirt. The halter top and colourful pencil skirt add a note of summer cool showing the figure to it's best and creating a flattering line. The print mini dress above to the centre with black fringed scarf is equally as ready for the party. The black floor length dress (that may be very broad culottes) is another cool way to keep your style profile up there with the highest of temperatures next season wherever you are in the world. A large fan in the seasonal print gives extra emphasis to the cultural roots of the collection. To the right two more floor length designs offer scope to explore and express the natural colour and life in Navarre and join the party. With PPQ spinning the decks it sounds like a good time to join.
The prints of women dancing on the peach dress above to the left show scenes from day to day life in Navarre from the past in a poetic contrast to the contemporary modern women walking before us on the catwalk. When I first saw this dress I was briefly drawn towards reflecting on how different the two where, a celebration of the past is always a good way to evoke memories. In this look the taffeta scarves became a part of the outfit. To the right a light lime green skirt suit is complimented by a print blouse and scarf underneath with wide sun glasses adding a touch of Latin glamour to the look. Centre above the flamenco flares arrive in earnest in the collection with a sky blue floor length dress accented with a froth of ruffles at the collar. Blue and Red in a perfect bold match come next with an open collar jacket edged with flamenco ruffles and sitting cleanly above the waist. The skirt's red train flowing majestically behind the wearer hints at the regal heritage of this once proud little kingdom dating to the 9th century and a maternal line ancestor of the later French Royal Family. Sun filled Holidays are brought to mind by the blue and red print dresses to the right in short and ankle length styles to suit your mood. Both are resplendent with the bursts of colour of fireworks celebrating 'La Fiesta' in the night sky and encourage you to go out and play.
Everything was looking good in the garden with Peter Jensen for Spring - Summer 2017. A Regency room in St. James' was transformed into a garden complete with Greenhouse frame and a burst of colour from the foxgloves that echoed the bright notes of the collection. Jensen was recalling his Saturday job of youth where working in a garden gave him to enjoy the colours and smells of flowers.
Fast forward to LFW SS17 and he introduced a collection inspired by a photograph of the aristocratic English gardener Lady Rhoda Birley with her happy eccentricities and playful approach to garden wear.
Two key themes within this collection where bold block colour and equally forthcoming prints. He used both to maximum effect, to the right a yolk yellow light sweater printed with love heart and hat coordinate with a black dress perfectly off-set with contrasting print scarf capturing the humour and jaunty playfulness that Birley espoused while still remaining classically elegant.
Below to the left a crocheted white skirt suit with thin white sweater underneath is appropriate for a visit to the church or a summer evening dinner party. Offset by a gingham neckerchief and straw hat though the look is in no danger of taking itself too seriously. The Lobster motif appears in the t-shirt design below in a tribute to the meal of Lobster Thermidor that Birley is reputed to have cooked for her Roses. If true they would certainly have been satisfied.
Sheep printed onto the sweater above to the right show a rural idyll in abstract form across the garment with bold blocks of colour echoing the traditional division of fields. Light blue pedal pushers offer an alternative to the weekend gardening jeans matching with baby blue clogs to ensure that the bold colour themes keep coming. Hair tied in front of the face in an alternative lose ponytail brings an irreverent take on style showing that myrth is Queen in this garden. To the right the sunflower yellow gingham short dress is about the simplest one-piece that you could wish to discover for life in the garden next Summer. With out-sized high peaked woven hat and broad brim this look shows an irreverence for contemporary style and a playful embracing of nostalgia.
Bold print in the lose peplum layered look above is enhanced by the simple statement of black in the head scarf and chiming with the blue hat. For me this collection does have the feel of raiding and amending pieces great-grannies (immaculately preserved) trunk of gardening clothes in part but there's nothing wrong with this. Soft A Line dresses are a Summer staple and Jensen provides us with plenty of choice in these here with the form translating to the knee length pink gingham shirt dress completed with two neck ties in light blue and pink gingham and a white tall woven hat. With it's practical pockets ready for the thoughtful hands of the gardener. Whether using bold floral prints or clear blocks of white or yellow, Jensen has created a piece of aristocratic bohemia that will give you some fun colour options to play with in the sunshine next season.
Ah Julien, he simply puts on one of the very best shows on the London Fashion Week schedule and for me it's a highlight. This season I was able to see Julien supervise the final rehearsal before shooting Front of House ahead of the show and as always it's the music, the anthems worthy of the best sets in any night club that you could imagine being in around the world that set the temperature and expectations rising before the first look walks out. Above to the left Dame Natalie Massenet was a joy to see as always on the front row arriving in a beautiful black Burberry coat and semi sheer dress. The front row guests themselves set the bar pretty high in the style stakes as you might well expect at Julien's show with Vogue's Sarah Harris centre above opting for a pared down look in black also. For Sarah on the second leg of Fashion Month, keeping style simplified as well as on point is second nature but you can see she is always putting thought into her looks.
Opening with a classic studded jacket and jump suit Julien quickly announced that this would be a collection that would play to his continued strengths that are in as high demand as ever. Fitting the figure like a glove as Julien's designs do military inspiration was visible in the shoulder epaulets and fringe detail with gives structure and style in equal measure with the most intricate of technical detail. This look typified the A-List celebrity glamour look that Julien has captured so well in his work and with (gold I believe) metallic studs across the surface of the material emulating the pattern of Ostrich skin these are a series of looks that will get you noticed. There's a large number of Julien's clients who are private too though and for them it's the undisputed glamour factor that he brings that they love.
Next to the right a jacket dress borrowing the lines of the men's tail coat proves a unique new style skin while a two piece skirt suit sparkled in the light of the catwalk space. This champagne piece is an absolute gem and quite understated in it's look. This collection showed many notable menswear pieces and the technical detail in the men's jacket can be seen in close up further below. The figure hugging top and skirt to the right with it's zip pockets found throughout the collection is another perfect look for a date night. The black cat suit to the far right is an assured statement of elegance that will see you looking great on the dance floor.
Above to the left a beautiful bandeau with square cut-away neckline highlights Julien's interest in structure and form as well as applique detail. The boyish naval shorts flatter the figure a healthy figure and will have you set for a summer drinks party or beach party. To the right the cobweb form returns with a silver piece that sits very lightly on the figure. With shoulders exposed it's a light and airy piece for Summer. A teal green dress centre above has echos of military lines and gold buttons add a touch of sophistication with the double breasted style with zips at the shoulders adding a further utilitarian feel. This style is re-worked with a print fabric dancing shapes across the surface of the figure. A smooth reptilian look to the right in cream sits effortlessly on the curves and to the far right python colouring is cut into a shape highlighting the curves of the figure.
(images credited to Reuben Moore)
With fringing to give the extra shimmy factor the snake scales appear in close-up in this next look. Engaging the perfect symmetry that Julien often favours this look this is as Red Carpet ready as every piece in the collection. To the right another look that plays with the web knit theme angles a Y formation perfectly across the hips to give an ultra sexy glide to your walk. Stripes in myriad cross the fabric of the next dress taking the floor length black piece to a whole new level while the open leg mini dress to the right has disco and dancing written all over it. Julien is at his best, I feel, when crafting pieces for women to have a sensational night out (or night in) wearing. He knows high octane glamour like few other designers exhibiting in London and there's no one who does this quite like him. Shimmying along with the lightest construction of the whole collection the silver dress defines the crux of the feminine shape in the hips and the breasts suspended from straps designed to carry the garment across the figure. The asymmetric dress to the right sits cloud-like on the figure moving softly as the wearer walks.
Julien's figure hugging styles fit like a gloves and the Ice blue floor sweeping dress to the left with it's chain detail again emphasising the lines that illustrate the natural curves of the figure by making a clear contrast. The diagonals of the next dress to the right echo the natural forms of the leaf with harnessing the form and feeling of life and fresh beauty within the female figure and also making a connection with the lightness of the garment. A gypsy theme enters the next phases of the collection with straps again contrasting with the curves of the figure and is a striking piece that will turn heads. Ideal for a summer beach or cocktail party this will make sure that you're noticed. I'm struck by the way that the next two pieces actually blend both the natural and hand crafted in terms of their design with tessellated lines breaking into the style and formation of leaves. To the right the glorious cut away draped dress accentuates the natural line of the figure.
It was a pure delight to shoot at Julien's show once again and see one of the most formidable and internationally respected of our designers. Below are some more of my images showing looks from the collection in greater detail. He may have a tried and trusted formula but Julien also shows that he is not afraid to innovate.
The cartoon images of faces that also resemble houses with their windows and blinds in the city terrain. A white pencil skirt and top make a sporty/casual combination and in combination with stripes it also looks relaxed yet a look that you could wear to a Summer Party. Above in the centre a raincoat edged in coloured piping is both practical and creative making a subtle statement. May pieces in the collection are made with flou bubble jacquard either in one colour, several and also with coloured edging. The two pieced grey jacket and skirt steers away from looking school uniform with hints of urban cool in a nod to the bomber jacket. Far right a floor length Summer dress fuses the sports kit socks with the light touch of a floor length summer look.
Summer dresses are always a huge plus in the wardrobe especially for busy lifestyles with a tunic style or a Tennis dress variety to chose from in the examples above to the left and to the right below at the end of this piece. Colour bars echoing the stark branding of convenience foods or urban signage and construction apparatus that cover the urban Landscape in London accent pieces. A human expression in raised relief with one eye closed on a shirt belies the simplicity of the overall outfit. This collection is designed with the hectic daily dash around the city that many of us have and the clothes are designed in fabrics that are wrinkle free, a great blessing in the busy modern age.
Close up detail of the thick sole sandals and striped socks shows how much care in crafting these seemingly everyday pieces has been taken. To the right one of my favourite pieces in green, a skater dress with beautiful lose peplum detail in the skirt is fun playful piece that should have broad appeal across Lee's client group. I captured the movement in two looks above to the left and this panel dress style is successfully transposed into the tricolour dress below to the right. The Tri-Colour theme continued through the later collection with a deep pocketed trench coat and pencil dress with jacket completing creating exciting expressions for the next season. Taking the striped theme further the the black and white lines make a faintly abstract alternative to more colourful pieces in the collection but have no less appeal. What is evident in this collection, when you see beyond the colour, is the fine tailoring skill that Edeline has executed. She's a young designer with huge talent and huge promise turning out some of the most sophisticated contemporary fashion on the schedule.
Floral prints on pastel colours above to the right decorate long sleeve t-shirts, blouses and pleated skirts with a vibrant dash of colour. As life beings a-new in the spring these designs sit adding a hint of the traditional pressed flower books of the past to Markus' contemporary cuts and shapes designed for the 21st century girl. The fabric used here is light and matched the carefree ethos of the collection with Markus girl skill very much carrying her 'rock chick' vibe as she strides out to a party or into the city or local town for her days adventure. His clothes continue to carry off an urban-chic look but are not governed by it. In this collection Markus was keen to explore the idea that today we are missing some of the youth sub cultures of the past and he spoke about the modern era of instant availability and rapid communication of ideas and styles not giving the space for culture to develop in obscurity. So in this bright modern loft space with it's floral scents and dormer
windows perhaps Markus was trying to develop a space to grow these ideas quietly. Another key emblem was the bunny rabbit. This cute creature associated closely with Spring and new life and energy was popped up on prints of fabric, below in shirts, skirts and light summer jackets and also as an outline transfer on mono coloured T-shirts, shorts and bomber jackets. The bomber jacket was, for me at least, a nod to a contemporary fashion movement covering continuing the rise of this piece back into the heart of the fashion mainstream. Above to the right you can see a unique twist that Markus has brought to this style with a sheer jacket beautifully detailed with signature print overlay in florals and with bunny. The hallmark bomber seems visible at the waist and cuff fitting the jacket neatly to the figure. These pieces are the lightest blend of romance and rock chick for Spring with Markus showing his girl having a playful sense of whimsy while also being completely self-assured
and grounded in her in sense of style. Boating stripes play a prominent part on the looks of the collection with Markus using the theme re-worked into neatly tailored printed silk blouses, skirts and trousers that strike a slightly more formal note but the lose fit comfortable styles shrug off any note of leaning too close to the formal. A lose fitted blouse with side frill peplum detail, a long line shirt and a sheer pleated skirt all create a statement look that offers a simple statement. These are clothes with the modern women very much in mind as there is a strong casual/easy wear mood to this collection. Markus is styling with the girl in mind to make her day to day life and wardrobe choices as easy as possible. The sheer black pieces add a third sequence that defines the collection with a sexy light mystery coming through the
design holding the notes of mystery and romance close by. Further above a sheer dress with dark rain jacket accessorised with a chain belt, one of the key looks of the collection this season, adds a hint of punk or 'noir' to the romantic mood with Markus's girl bold and confident in exploring her femininity beautiful applique highlights the confidence transparent and evident in this design. It a fascinating collection dressing the wearer in maxi style skirts and dresses and using the pajama style to maximum effect. All is laid back with muse not taking herself too seriously or trying hard to be cool, she's hanging with the Easter bunny in her eggshell toned blue and yellow pastels or light silks and ready to take on the new season and it's adventures.