All images below shot by me unless credited to the designer. 

Johnstons of Elgin

At the heart of London Fashion Week is a company that has been thriving in the Scottish Highlands and beyond for over two centuries. It's now at the heart of London Fashion Week where it should be as a leading British Fashion brand that has brought British fashion to generations around the globe. The Autumn-Winter 2019-20 collection showed at the glorious One Marylebone venue coincidently located next to Albany Street, I had to say it as a huge fan of Scotland where a small part of me comes from :) This season the Johnstons emblem has changed to the Bee and Thistle celebrating the rural fauna of the lush fields and valley where sheep graze to grow the wool that will be woven into garments. Painted in Gold into the pillars it felt quietly symbolic of the rural environment that supports fashion.

First up my favourite outfit of the whole presentation. A Golden threaded sweater with a classic Stuart tartan skirt, flowing in lose pleats to the floor length around the wearer. A lady I was delighted to see again, the lovely Pamela Harper the Chairman of Halcyon Days fine china said it would be her dream Christmas day look. I looked at her with surprise and a smile as it was also my favourite colour combination for special occassions when I was a small person. The movement of the fabric as the model walked the catwalk. Centre above the varsity look is a key influence on the collection and the striped and tartan twills give way to broader colour and style experimentation through the collection. A Charcoal Grey coat and Red trousers with sports stripe make a beautiful off-duty look that's relaxed for the town and country. Showing a gender neutral side to the collection, a Navy poloshirt and cardigan and White sailor cut trousers make an easy trans-seasonal style option for your wardrobe. As ever Johnstons clothes with their overtly high quality and contemporary takes on Scottish-British International style also make fantastic gifts for friends and family. Central to the collection is Johnstons representation of the dawn of passenger aviation in the 1920's and 1930's with intarsia designs in knits and prints. Above to the right is one of my favourite looks from the collection, shown in detail further below. Brightly coloured posters in Art Deco style advertised far flung destinations to travellers that would have taken days or weeks to reach by boat just a generation earlier. This was a new age of freedom of international leisure travel and discovery.    

As well as bold sophisticated exploration of colour, Johnstons also produced a strong series of monochrome pieces that showed an array of texture work in the fabric. Above to the left, a Black below the knee coat will keep wearers well wrapped through the winter on any continent. With a broad lapel collar and double breasted style it's a comfortable classic that you can place several layers under if you wish or or wear lose. Knitwear, the heart of the Johnstons heritage is ably represented through the collection. Centre above a pair of Cream-White trousers are matched to a White Turtle necked light sweater and a quilted wrap. The garments are both warm and light which is helpful in so many ways to clients. Enabled by the fine quality of the wool used and weaving expertise, the garments take up much less space in the wardrobe, or travel bags helping busy lifestyles. It's the softness of Johnstons pieces too that also speak strongly to the quality that they have and the relaxed comfort that you feel when wearing them. A soft wool sweater is accented with Golden pointed lozenges that recall the airplane wing tips. This snuggly and stylish knit is topped off with a long thick scarf that you could lose yourself in when fully ensconced. It's just the type of wardrobe staple you want to find from Johnstons and will bring a huge smile to the face when given as a gift.  

To the right above Black trousers and (I'm guessing another must-have sweater) are sit underneath a coat and shawl bordered with a fascinating art deco design. This again reaches back to the Art Deco infused era with the fan shape of papyrus leaves placed in tessellated precision across the lengths of the fabric. Below you can see close up detail of the subtle but captivating design and also the handy cut of the hidden pockets, at just the right hand to easily place your palms into. Also here you can see more detail of the wrap. Cut in gentle chevrons in a nod to the mathematical geometry that influenced Art Deco, it's a beautifully crafted piece. Coats are one of the area where the experience in tayloring of such an established house shines through. Below to the left you can see a light Caramel coloured coat that has the stylish easy-wear appeal for clients around the world. For work, nights out, shopping or travel, it's a dependable piece that you can match with jeans and blouse or an evening dress.         

There's good scope to create a variety of sophisticated knits and a Baby Blue light blouse with flattering peplum waist is matched with a broad knit sweater that wraps around the shoulders just as easily as it could be worn on as a sweater. It's a perfect trans-seasonal piece that could will keep you warm indoors and out through the winter this season. Above you can also see three garments that featured the intarsia designs that are a key expression of the seasonal themes evoking travel. The full length flowing silk gown tied at the neckline ripples around the wearer. It could be worn as a Black tie formal-wear garment or also taken away to warm climbs through the winter. Keeping with the heritage of Johnstons of Elgin an open cardigan in a Cream base colour is woven in intarsia design in a bold attractive style. It captures the energy and excitement of new destinations and horizons. Accompanied with a similarly bold print scarf it's a tonic to brighten up any dark days of winter.   

Here another look at the classic coat from the collection standing in front of a beautiful long line print dress. This dress would make a chic choice in the party season or for autumn dinner and drinks parties and as styled, works particularly well with golden jewellery. Centre above a look at one of the earlier styles shown on a model standing showing the flow of movement of the fabric as the wearer walks. The tartan wrap draped across the shoulders shows the irresistible longevity of tartan weave across the decades. To the right three different looks in Blue and Green make bold colour contrasts and cosy stylish options. The wardrobe classics, thick coats, thin and thicker sweaters, all the essentials you and loved ones needs are here in both classic and updated form.  

Johnstons split the offering equally between men's and women's pieces which accurately reflects their historic footprint in the global style market. They have the full kit from pieces suited to casual work and leisure wear to outdoor protectors to keep the chill away. What also stands out is the broad colour palette showing the richness of natural dyes available and the way that pieces retain the feel of the natural world within the colour scheme. Ochre's fern, Terracotta and Russet form a Kaleidoscope with Scarlet, Charcoal and Navy. Set sail and have an adventure this season in full colour. 

Mark Fast

Mark Fast was one of the first that British Designers that I saw show in 2010 and 2011 at London Fashion Week and it was fantastic to see him appear on the opening morning of Fashion Week after some small special shows hosted by the BFC in their design studios across the past two seasons. It felt like the high glamour polished show with experienced presentation and meticulous attention to detail that was a very suitable anchor to open the Fashion Week. 

The collection opened with a Purple dress emphasising the elegant lines of 1930's and 1940's style descending in a festoon of feathers from above the knee to the ankle. Cut to a contemporary design by Fast this piece set the tone for dresses looking like seamless gloves across the figure of the wearer. Cut as a round neckline moving down through a pristine cut tunic tube it forms a succinct cocktail, Red Carpet or Black Tie option. The colour palette of the collection reflected tones of earth and sky turned up a level with an earthy Terracotta gracing a figure created in ribbed fabric moving with the wearer as she walks and long hair-fine tassels fringing from the knee to hem. Centre above an Olive jumpsuit is knitted to envelope the figure in comfort with a plush textured outer coating enhanced by long strands of fur. Cut asymmetrical on the shoulder, it offers a wrap effect to feel warm on the cooler days of autumn. A caramel jumpsuit is fringed at the neckline with a scarf trailing from the dress neckline to the feet of the wearer. The softness of the fabric woven by Fast is very apparent and these models all looked comfortable and relaxed. To the right in the same fabric a sleeveless dress features longer tassel threads descending from the neckline through to the ankles forming almost a veil around the dress itself. There's more than a hint of the 1920's era look of a century ago but Fast's woman is very firmly placed in the 21st century and striding forward. 

Watching the clothes walk in front of you gives an appreciation of how good Fast's cut and tailoring is. The Plum jumpsuit is sculpted with a bandeau bodice neckline hugging the figure through to ankle length of the trousers. A feather light fringed shawl trails from one hand and can placed gently across the shoulders. Taking the wrap theme further a Nude fringed shawl surrounds the shoulders of a model to cape the figure. The mini dress underneath it is pure glamour and could easily be seen on night club dance floors across the world in the autumn or through any season. Centre above a Blush dress weaves hints of Silver Screen era into its composition with the feather boa becoming a fringe across the bodice that drops behind the wearer to a train. A full feathered skirt swirls from below the knee to the mid-calf whilst a shimmering weave composes the length of the outfit. You could be a 21st century Ginger Rodgers or Lauren Bacall. The movement is pure fantasia, as in the Disney animation. To the right a Plum coloured cocktail dress with bandeau décolleté flares to an above the knee skirt composed of silky fine strands. Almost hair-like it gives the piece a living quality in its own right and retains the mystery and glamour in keeping with the mood of the collection. To the far right the Teal mini-dress features a unique composition of a collar sweeping down into the body of the main dress. It has the power to create impact and make memories.   

Marine and Navy Blue blends in a clash-contrast combination with long sleeves in rippling micro-fine knit appearing from underneath a broad off-the-shoulder neckline continues the textile contrast theme of fluffy feather-like strands and plush soft knit. Throughout the collection the models kept appearing with perfect elegant make-up, eyes lined and defined with a Blush/Bronze hue on the lids and a nude lip to off-set. It's a 1940's war-time meets 1950's look. A Light Aqua-Blue cocktail dress features a two-tier style with a sheer open weave fabric across the bodice and contrasting opaque in the lengths. Its a beautiful evening wear piece that makes a soft entrance with this colour tone and wisps of fabric. Also interestingly the outfit comprises tissue-thin sleeves that reach over the fingers and makes the outfit complete in one piece plus shoes. Centre above a halter neckline jumpsuit in lightest lilac floated along the catwalk with a feather-light wrap around the shoulders giving the impression of Angelic wings floating along behind the wearer. The Aqua-Blue returns in another piece that plays with the jumpsuit style with a cowelled draped neckline hanging from one shoulder. A Rose coloured dress sits just of the shoulder with fabric ruching up gently with fringed details falling through the length of the waist. The soft feathers make a gentle swing moving in the breeze around the wearer. It's a dream of a dress and has the strength to be taken seriously.      

The key design themes that Fast worked the collection around continued with Aqua-Blue appearing in a halter neck-line cocktail dress with a puffed fringe skirt. Whisper thin sheer silk gloves reach up to the mid-arm completing an occasion wear look that with it's peers gives proof that knit and eveningwear can be very happy partners. These bright colours for the days when the light begins to fade in the northern hemisphere signal strident confidence. The broad weave captures a fluffy texture across the garment surface enhancing the sensuous feel of soft touch-ability. The cascading fine tresses create a tulip shape in the knee-length skirt and this piece will be warm as well as light as a feather. A playsuit also in Baby Pink features a cowl neckline with feathered skirted waist and generous wrap stole. You could be gracing the Hollywood Red Carpet in the Silver Screen era with the Lana Turner-esque curls that feature through the collection in orbit like a halo. A Cream-White knee length dress in the ribbed knit fabric design shows another permutation of the collections core themes with a large wrap swathing the wearer. Again you wil set the camera flashes off with this look, if not at a private event. The collection finishes with two looks in a semi-luminous Lilac that offer a smooth sense of glamour ready to wear in the day or the evening.  

What Fast is doing during this collection is interesting, and recalls the early talent that drew a lot of praise and acknowledgment across the industry earlier in his career. The looks feel like they are pushing boundaries without seeming radical and the powdery soft colours and textures give an impression of being imbibed with strength and independence. No baby dolls here beneath the fluffy exterior. It's always good to see a designer return after a break and the collection finale walked out to thunderous applause. These dresses are 'camera ready' for time in the spotlight but just as enjoyable for private occasions. Exploration of soft pastels through much of the collection offset with earth tones alongside varying scales of weave and flouncing feather-like strands leaves create a whirl of beauty.

Gayeon Lee

The Gayeon Lee presentation drew an international crowd looking to see what London Fashion Week is known for, inspiring young fashion designers who are showing their early collections and have a fresh challenging take on fashion and design. Classic design appear in disguise with a gingham dress ruched at the waist and completed with a circular collar with buttons adding the hints of traditional British style. The classic duffle coat also gets a contemporary make-over with a Navy piece with a contrasting light Blue shirt with varsity stripes. The classic skirt suit is deconstructed to form a jacket with broad dipped lapels, breast pockets and a unique double tiered skirt. In soft Blush Pink the pleats wrap 70% of the way around the figure overlapped with a tweed plaid skirt wrapping in the opposite direction. A Sky Blue dress cut with a vintage square neckline takes on a contemporary appearance when you factor in the wrap around buttoned belt, half undone made from the same fabric as the dress. To the right a classic winter coat from the men's wardrobe is cut to suit the female figure in a dark Grey light Harris tweed. Wide leg Cream trousers complete the smart stylish look.      

The theme of stripes is a popular one and in autumn collections it always provides a delineation of style, playing with themes of conformity or the lack of it. A model wears a Rose blouse and Baby Blue layered skirt with the stripes featured asymmetrically on one side of the blouse and in a gathered layers. Either could be worn as a lively separate piece to brighten up an autumn look. A Rose dress with Yellow print flowers across the surface uses the classic tea dress style with ruched side sashes at the hips giving more volume in the style. A double breasted coat broad lapels and large guilt buttons is a practical style for winter with some small added style touches that give the designers thumb print. This model and her neighbour both carry one of the distinctive bags Gayeon Lee brought out this season in a 3D pyramid style with corner zip fasten. To the right another view of my favourite coat of the collection showing the cut looking towards to left of the wearer. A light weight jersey dress in Navy Blue is banded with floral pattern strips and a dipped hem. The dress bodice is ruched down the centre to gather pleats across the figure and creates a beautiful flow of fabric across the wearer.     

Continuing the design themes of the double breasted jacket, a skirt suit looks to both classic men's tailoring and the 1980's uniform styles of office wear. All the details are there that you would hope to see including little pockets sitting on the hips and well cut jacket. The quilted jacket with deep pockets is thick and blanket-like in it's warm structure. Lee is taking no risks in keeping her muse proofed against the cold next season. To the right a jacket in Teal is cut in asymmetry with a Fern Green dress underneath adding lengths to shield against the autumn breezes whilst still giving a joyful burst of colour. The quality of the fabrics when you look at Lee's collections speak for themselves and here again Harris Tweed is employed to great effect in the creation of memorable. 

Blue and Pink woven Harris tweed combine to create a memmorable dress that looks almost uniform and something that does conform, but then the twist, another wrap around broad belt off set in it's wrap around the waist. It's a stylish sophisticate look that you could wear for work or a party just the same. An aviator jacket with broad sheep skin collar in cream and is tailored at the waist to emphasise a healthy figure and stylish look. A Terracotta dipped hem skirt recalls the last rays of summer sunshine across fields in Tuscany and this model also carries one of the pyramid bags. To the right above a woven bag from the exhibition space Lee used in the Designer Show Rooms complete with the floral metal work detail. I added another picture of the Rose Blouse and Blue skirt with a light jacket over the top. This simple water-proof style captures the mood of fun in the collection and hopefully a sign-post to the future.    

Bora Aksu

Images (C) Bora Aksu

Floaty and feminine has always been a trademark of Bora Aksu's style but in recent years his muse is looking more grown-up and is now adding some hints of formality to her wardrobe. 

The collection opens with a dove like series of Grey, White and Pink coloured looks. Each outfit features several different textiles showing that Aksu's muse is layered up well for the autumn air. The opening outfit comprises a sheer White blouse falling in waves down the figure and a double layered skirt in both sheer check weave and an outer skirt of two layers of fine pleats reaching to the mid-thigh. A soft waist length jacket appears to be felt-like in it's construction and it's inverted use of colour of Blush Pink and Dove Grey provides a geometric offset to the flounce and frills of layers of silk elsewhere in the composition. A White sweater works with the traditional British and Scandinavian cable knit themes matched with a tiered sheer skirt in lattice woven silk fabric edged with borders of White ribbon. Typical of the romance that Aksu evokes in his compositions this could be worn to a drinks or dinner party or be a special Christmas outfit.

Centre above a puffed White snow jacket belted at the waist offers a protection from the cold with deep pockets and soft wrap over hood. Here styled with a blouse and dress from the collection sequence it could also be worn with trousers and a sweater. A day suit is formed in two shades of Grey with a light sweater and Charcoal skirt and a jacket with a wide collar faintly echoing Austrian style. Hair is kept in place by a vintage look band. To the right a White dress features detailed embroidery layered around the central core of the garment. The pleated fringes bare a resemblance to late 19th and turn of the 20th century clothing adding that hint of vintage. 

A jacket and dress takes the style further with symetrical ruffle descents down across the fabric length. This is classic Aksu, using motifs that may seem playful or even childish and sculpting them into sophisticated silhouettes that feature frou frou details into sophisticated adult style. Wearing White as the days turn cooler is a confidence statement. Colour is a welcome addition in Blush after exploring style through permutations in monochrome. The arrival of Blush tones in the second look to the left above with a skirt and aviator jacket dispelling any notion of male and female differentiation. With a chic blouse tied at the neckline and waist underneath a sheer tulle skirt in lattice weave bordered with peplum fringes and wrapped like a sari skirt.

The idea of sports and sugar-sweet find a happy medium with the next look featuring a high waisted puffer jacket with blouse and skirt. You have the traditional perception of the feminine here inside the practical utilitarian reality. And each piece in itself is beautifully crafted. A tweed trouser in Grey and Dove check suit is a timeless staple of the wardrobe with careful attention paid to the natural curve of the female figure and pockets perfectly placed on the hips. A coat cut in classic long line blazer style is worn open showing seasonal adaptability. To the right a Blush dress with dropped midi hemline embraces both tiered layers and peplum mother of pearl ruffles in a profusion of shimmer. If a mermaid had to leave the waters to attend a drinks party, she may want to wear somthing like this.

Iridescence appears throughout the collection as a tone of illumination around the female form, like a liquid light it shines around the figure. A dress carries bohemian echoes of the 1920's and 1930's with a double layered composition and fringed tiers in the midi skirt lengths. Aksu uses a signature floral print in some parts of the collection with Violet flowers placed on a Lilac background. A blouse in this fabric forms a harmony with a skirt and cardigan in deep Navy. Stripes at the skirt hem give a twist of colour with to a look otherwise of ladylike conformity. Centre above this fabric creates a beautiful dress that has an any-season feel about it. Worn here with boots and leggings it could also be worn with nude tights and court shoes in the evenings. The silhouete is enhanced by ruffles running across the shoulders down the sleeves in a faintly angel-wing silhouette. An ankle length White dress graduates from a broader to narrower style through the lengths of the skirt. Sleeves feature two tiers of fabric bordered by satin ribbon and the dress itself is composed of a single fabric in sheer silk with lattice design. To the right Sky Blue appears in a blouse and skirt with a jacket worn as a cape across the shoulders. Tiered fringes in the skirt drop at five points in the lengths to the ankles in jellyfish like waves swathing the figure.          

A sleeveless Black dress is banded with sheer silk at the neckline and in the lengths of the skirt. It's an easy classic to dress with a clutch purse, a variety of shoe ideas and perhaps a jacket. It will also look fantastic in front of the cameras at Red carpet events. A Lilac mini-dress appears to be composed of ribbon wrapped and wrapped around a model in a carefree style with layers of White peeking through from underneath. One shoulder has a high cut sleeve whilst another has graded layers falling across the arm. It looks bohemian as well as pretty and would make a statement Red Carpet look.

Centre above the Violet flower print dress returns in midi-length with a wispy gause bow at the neckline. With a longer length for the autumn and winter you can easily wear this in the day or evening to formal or non formal events or even wrap up in a coat and go for a walk to see friends. The generous cut of the fabric makes the piece feel comfortable and free. To the right a sheer dress appears to deconstruct the classic evening dress whilst playing on themes already expressed in the collection such as lattice work fabric. A Black pinafore dress in velvet and silk evokes the Edwardian Belle Epoche era that Aksu frequently references. Flowers weave and 'grow' across the surface of the dress created in wound chord to conjure perhaps the scene of a winter garden at night.      

A Mint mini-dress heaps on the bohemian glamour with another single shoulder approach creating a statement look. Just as versatile in working in length a sheer Sky Blue dress floats with diaphanous ease around the model with gathered silks floating about the figure, applique and ruched gathers worked around the figure. Another ankle length dress in Blush dress is fringed in lightest Lilac showing symmetry through the lengths whilst retaining the sense of movement around the wearer. Another flourish of the rara skirts appears in the full length adaptation of the dress at the start of the above panel. With it's stamp of originality it would make a memorable choice for events in the dark autumn evenings. Although there was much here to please the Aksu faithful, the designer showed that he also has the knack for a classic tailored style that is readily wearable by clients across the globe.      

Xu Zhi

I arrived to the Xu Zhi presentation, secreted in ancient chambers in the Temple area and was happily surprised to see the performance of interpretive dance that was taking place to show the collection. Zhi has realised that for many in the fashion audience, this is a very interesting way to see the clothes move around the figure and show adequately the understanding of space and dimensional expression. The theme of relationships was explored with models reaching for contact with each other and then being torn from each other's arms by the strong winds. It's emblematic of change perhaps and how friendships and family ties can be buffeted by bigger forces but we find a way through. Threads and tassels are used much across the collection and perhaps these are also symbolic of the ties between people. It creates a contrast of movement as part of the composition of a Grey suit and also an echo of the tassels descending from the handbag. The bags retro snap-fasten style contrasts slightly with ultra modernity of the suits pleated jacket but it fits and feels right. Zhu is dressing a millennial career woman and student for the day and for night. A Navy trouser suit features the weave tassels that appear teased out of the garment that create a 3D surface texture. This is carefree craft raffia meets city-slicker chic. This relaxed suit would be a versatile option for weekend brunches and socialising or alternatively less formal office environments.    

The theme of tassels from strands running free from the surface of the fabric continues with a White coat sewn with checked square detail. This piece is light, I gather also waterproof and blends the artistic and utilitarian into one garment. A floppy sun hat keeps of the autumn showers and the dress underneath, slightly obscured features beautiful 3D textile details. The White mini-dress is a versatile party wear look that you could take through several seasons. These are garments that you want to touch and feel and appreciate the fine beauty of the craft and design that they contain. To the right a White shirt and crisp pressed trousers form a suit with a classic blazer jacket reworked with applique embroidery and long swinging tassel threads. As with the suits above these three pieces show there's a lot of possibilities for this century-old wardrobe classic. Through the transformation of the fabric through the threads Zhi is perhaps communicating the expression of energy transformation through fabric. The past movning toward the future. 

A Grey menswear jacket incorporates chevron placed short tassels through the length from collar to below the knee. Tied with a knot fold around the waist in an easy dressing gown style. It's fun inspired look that I'm sure many sisters and girlfriends will also hope to borrow. Centre above the classic long knit dress features a broad belt with circular hoop fasten matched to a faux fur hat and a purse with the collection signature long strands hanging below. It's a warm style statement that you could wear for work, leisure and travel next season. To the right a Charcoal-Black skirt suit and sheer hat again demonstrate a contemporary working uniform style. The tulip shaped rain hat hints at protection from fierce elements as the wearer goes about her busy life and the chic retro-style handbag is completed with free flowing tassels again showing a contrast in movement and flow of energy.

Below to the left you can see the Grey suit featured above in front facing full length. The pleat work in the jacket features across several garments and as a 3D interpretation of the classic varsity stipes, you almost wonder perhaps why this hasn't been used more times before. A neon Pink cocktail dress with it's tiny shoulder straps and tassels reaching ankle length mirrored in the clutch purse the model holds. It's a perfect party piece. Slightly obscured, as the room was crowded as I shot, a White trouser suit features a long sleeve jacket detailed with applique embroidery and cut with fine tassels in it's length. It's classic and sophisticated whilst playing with convention just a little.

Presentations are always a wonderful opportunity to see a dynamic display of the collection with the models expressing the clothes in different ways as they walk around the space. Above to the left a line-up of several outfits from the collection feature plush faux fur coats, suits and accessories. There are a number of different ideas being explored simultaneously but none seem like they are too much or over excessive. It's the detail in these pieces that make them so fresh and intriguing. Zhi is designer with a lot to offer and part of the young crowd of Chinese that have studied in several spots around the globe and are now achieving international success with the unique finger prints of their designs.   

Above a selection of shots showing the designs expressing the character of the collection. There is solace and individuality and also the tender moments of friendship and communication. Perhaps these scenes reflect life in modern cities standing alone and making time at the omni-present coffee shops to connect and share stories and emotions. Shielded against the cold winds of winter, the faux fur keeps the silk fabric in good condition. Centre above two models meet at a table. As they sit there your eye is drawn to the beauty of the fabric they are dressed in. A Black silk coat and dress pressed into gentle pleats that appear like ribbon folds is mirrored by a Magenta dress opposite. To the right a slightly different approach is taken with a hat and raincoat painted to depict leaves in Blue running into Olive and Taupe. it's a gentle soft expression of the changes of the season. Below this leave print design appears to have been transposed into a faux fur coat and hat worn over trousers of the hand painted fabric design. Centre below a striped silk trouser suit seen centre and to the right plays with conformity again. Perhaps it's varsity meets Stockbroker style, nevertheless the impression is one of confidence in definition of style.   

Marta Jakubowski

Images Marta Jakubowski (C)

Jakubowski is passionate about defining the style that a modern international woman will wear as she moves about the world. She's cosmopolitan, she's calm and she's evidently focussed judging by the careful tailoring that's on hand here. This collection of mostly long length pieces seemed to move across the Autumn-Winter season itself beginning with the Golden Harvest tones of late Summer through the browns and metalics of frost to the vibrant Scarlett of Christmas itself. 

Golden tones of wheat, caramel and sunshine heralded the opening of the collection with Jakubowski losing no time in impressing with her statement classic tailoring.  A two tone caramel and honey jacket showed a split sleeve approach to cut with an outer layer of the jacket sleeves falling away from the arm as the wearer moved. The garment flared across the waist in an echo of early Dior. Trousers where wide legged culottes with hip pockets reminiscent of those of blazers. The culottes also feature a dual length in their fabric challenging the norms' of garment construction. A long coat dress is worn over trousers and also with an outer jacket. Proofing the collection muse against the harshest of winds whipping through the city or the countryside, the long sweeping lengths channel a sophisticated aesthetic. Three shades of Golden Bronze cloak the figure as the colour palette slowly changes.

Centre above an ankle length coat features colour gradation that moves from coffee to caramel through a single piece of fabric. Looking at it walking towards you, the piece is fastened by sashes tied across the figure with a contrast in tones clearly visible. These outfits feel like they decided to be different, to stand out from their contemporaries. To the right the dusky light of autumn falls with a pair of Blue-Grey culotte trousers worn under a jacket that's part way in it's transformation from blazer to coat. A charcoal Grey trouser suit appears on closer inspection to be a one-piece outfit that is cut to comprise a garment of two layers. The puzzle of construction is solved by the wrap of jacket across the waist with a belt-like tie. All across this range the faithful Black poloneck sever as the neutral base for the designer to express her palette through.        

The idea of twisting fabric to create the appearance of a second garment continues to run through the collection addressing some surprising fashion challenges. A Black ankle length jacket dress cut in the style of the blazer transforms into a Burgundy outer puffer jacket in a magical wrap around the model. The corporate and playtime meet in the middle. It's a direct contrast of texture and fabric but the Burgundy and Black, continued in the long-line boots make a beautiful contrast. The rich varied Browns of autumn leaves influence several looks and a puffer jacket with wrap-around fastening layer secures the feel of warmth. A short jacket wrapping fully across the waist with a wrap the same colour as the garment sleeves. It's not just jackets that Jakubowski turns her hand to with knitware featuring a Black knit sweater in cut-away style. Lose folds of fabric created trousers that tied at the ankles. The audience was left pondering where does art end and fashion begin? To the right a thick cable knit sweater almost looks like long strands of scarf that have been wrapped around  the figure many, many times. Culottes, billowing walked confidently in front of us and this was one of the most memorable collections of day to evening wear that I saw during the week.

Another intriguing knit design that appearerd to wrap around the body like a scarf came just as the collection was moving from day into evening wear. A Scarlet scarf-sweater if I can call it that made a perfect memorable companion to a pair of lose cut Black trousers. Both fabrics are soft to the touch and whether you wore this to an event or for leisure times it would be a comfortable piece to have at the ready. The suit jacket was re-worked once again into a lengthened shape that reached below the knee. This piece was cut away to the wearers left hand side, as where the trousers at the left leg. Buttons of the jacket cross the torso in an echo of military style. Centre above a hint of Dior appears with a bandau Black bodice descending though to culottes trousers in a confident one-piece outfit. To the right another shoulderless dress also hints at Dior perhaps with a monochrome theme using Black and Blush Pink in thick bands surrounding the figure. The diaphanous lengths are tied in with a Black sash tie. Drape is the central theme of the next look furthest to the right with a broad stole wrap comprising the upper area of the outfit and smart slim line Black trousers. 

Returning to the theme of the appearance of a single fabric creating an entire garment, a sophisticated jumpsuit encorporates a jacket, tousers and stole in one flow of fabric. A jacket descends in to the cut-away waist and crosses the form accentuating a slim line through to the trousers. A silver streak of light walkes down the calwalk before our eyes as the Red carpet and formal wear occasions. The dress is wrapped like the traditional dressing but in a more curious fashion and satin and metalic velvet combine to give a tonal contrast that catches the light. The dynamic of flow moves from textile touch to the colour of a garment with a generous wrap dress gown beginning in Red at the shoulders descending through a Blue-Silver hem. It's like a constellation come to earth. To the right a Scarlet gown blends the soften cut of a formal blazer and the almost pure drape across the silhouette. It looks part secular business woman and part modest religious dress. Can you be a goddess in either sphere in this dress? Yes I believe that you can and so evidently does Jakubowski.