All images shot by me (C) unless where indicated.

Malene Oddershede Bach

Malene Oddershede Bach is one of the newer exciting names to join the London Fashion Week schedule and her feel for light beautiful luxury pieces is irresistible. Below you can see her presentation for Spring and Summer 2019 where the audience was welcomed to a forgotten Mansion in North London. Her muses walked to dispel any hint of ghosts with a string quartet playing relaxing familiar pieces adding bright sparking notes of Spring to the air.

Small flowers are strewn across the surface of a Summer dress like confetti and light layers of ruffles at the neckline, sleeves and skirt lengths add a subtle hint of volume in this pretty design. It's a great piece for wearing to events or for pleasure in the daytime very adaptable. A clear plastic raincoat protects from future Spring showers with early Poppy flowers of the meadow covering the dress and jacket in harmony. It's a pretty feminine look but also feels practical and handy. A soft Pink trouser suit to the right comprises a long line jacket style with open neckline with lose cut trousers creating a design harmony. Worn with a blouse or polo neckline thin sweater it would potentially make a good workwear option or could be worn without for social occasions and Red Carpet appearances. To the right a light Blue dress features a unique textile weave giving the impression of fine beaded chords running down the surface of the garment. It's a beautiful optical illusion reminiscent of plant rushes flowing in the water or air    

Soft Summer flowers flow again across the dress now in 3D form above. Warm Orange-Red and soft Buttercup florals at the neckline, cuffs and skirt lengths still leave the eye space to appreciate the fine tailoring and cut to the figure. Two permutations of the same colour way, first to the left and also above show a full sleeves and round neckline dress and sleeveless V neckline look also. Both are classic eveningwear pieces that make great formal wear for operas, and Black tie receptions. The same outline appears in a light Blue dress continuing the colourway and theme of the shorter dress above. Bordered by fringing at the V neckline and the waist and hips, the tactile textile moved to a sheer hemline. Moving the colourway through to Black, a knee length dress to the right above is an easy option for both workwear and formal occasions and the raised applique of the dress is subtle enough to blend in many places.      

A soft Peach knee length coat dress and skirt feature detailed embroidery reminiscent of fine tapestry work. Far from being antique, the piece cut with circular collar and cuffs with long line style feels contemporary and relevant to women looking for pieces to wear next season. It will also keep you slightly warmer on cool Spring evenings. To the right a sequinned blouse emphasises how sparkle can be appropriate in an outfit of modest composition as well as an extra staple to have in the wardrobe. Sequins of different sizes create a fun fresh feel to styling and to the centre above a cocktail dress in White. Beneath the shimmer, fine embroidery detail creates a dress illustrating the designer's skills as well as an attractive party option for all year round. To the right another cocktail dress option with it's bandeau neckline and fine embroidery is cut with a hem rising in an apex in harmony with the natural need of the figure to move. To the right, a Black sequinned dress is another go-to party piece that like it's peers could easily live long in the wardrobe across seasons. For drinks, dinners and Summer opera concerts it's a perfect choice.    

A light T-shirt and skirt featuring the collection signature poppy offer a more casual look from the collection. The two separates can be worn individually potentially and blend with neutral tones. To the right, a sheer Black dress with poppies and meadow flowers is a light option for warm evenings and with it's sun-hat adds a touch of humour to the collection. To the right a sheer raincoat casually belted at the waist carries off the seasonal print with style and to the right a trouser suit with applique flowers appearing to grow across the surface shows the adaptability of the classic single breasted tailored jacket. This will look fantastic in front of the cameras and can be enjoyed for work and play.

As we watched the collection and listened to the beautiful music it did feel like an experience of moving back and forwards in time and it felt as though Malene's models where bringing part of the past into the present. The beautiful intricate light beaded theme of one of the signature textiles was imagined in a pencil skirt cut as softly as the fabric itself. A high collared frilled Rose Pink blouse also referenced heritage lines and a vintage feel but would easily find it's place in the wardrobe for work and fun moments. Like much of this collection, I would personally be hanging this in the wardrobe at top speed. To the right another favourite that would suit many potential clients, a light Blue dress with Forget me Not-like floral embroidery across the surface is an easy piece to wear for many Summer events and could be matched with a jacket or wrap easily for colder evenings.       

This collection provides numerous looks that would work well on shoots for editorial as well as in front of the camera. The blouse and skirt in light Blue above to the left features an asymmetric peplum border at the waist to give the outfit a contemporary artistic feel. Next to the right in Blush another dress using the flowing breaded style raised embroidery in a subtle soft effect. A sleeveless piece, it would be another wonderful option for warmer Summer days and evenings and in a neutral colour it is very easy to accessorise with neutral accessories or a wrap garment. A softly designed trousers suit sits casually on the figure with a flourish of ruffles giving a playful hint of extra volume and passion.

To the right another one of the tempting options for eveningwear again uses expanses of lace and ruffles hinting at the traditional Flameco style from Iberia. The soft White dress also carries hints of bridal wear about it and would be a flexible option for Bridal, Black-Tie or many more parties. The Rose-Pink suit shown earlier in the collection appears front-facing here and you can appreciate the elegance of the cut of the line more fully here. To the right, my favourite piece (that I only managed to shoot in video so borrowed a still from Malene Oddershede Bach collection) is a perfect formal wear evening dress. With escalloped neckline and tiered skirts it descends to the floor in a Belle Epoch/1980's rapture of grandeur and would make a beautiful addition to a dress collection.    

Jenny Packham

Jenny chose to profile Jean Harlow as her main muse for her Spring and Summer 2019 collection with the Silver Screen era silhouette that she so admires taking a leading role.

Above two dresses take the spotlight with a Bold-Orange in mini dress in pleated style and a floor length gown in gentle folded layers. Floral ruffles gently weave around the neckline in a decorative waterfall whilst layers are used selectively to enhance volume and show flowing movement across the figure. These are chic adaptable styles that you would anticipate from the pen of Jenny and they have the charming touch of International style, hints of Gatsby, that would suit many clients. Centre above ruffle detail at the bodice in a sheer neutral over-layer. To the right, the glamour of Jean Harlow and her contemporaries is evoked in the long lines and shimmer of a silver sequinned gown with panel embroidery defining the waist. It really could have come from the film set or Red Carpet in the 1930's of Hollywood or London. 

A beautiful series of looks featured appearing as if in a cocktail party or waiting to take their positions on set under the lights. The beauty and detail of the dresses as with all high ready to wear needs appreciation in real life to understand the complexity of the garments construction and design. A White lace dress embroidered with fine lace applique and sewn with crystals is a formal wear and possible bridal option that would work for a variety of occassions. It would make an entrance and cater for clients heading to gala's and Black-Tie events. To the right a tulle layers of a classic Hollywood fairy-tale ripple around the wearer and waves of fine Black silk forming a fringe hint at dynamic energy within the serene White of the dress.

A Midnight Blue sequinned dress lending itself to be worn by broader and slimmer figures is cut flatteringly at the neckline to enhance the figure. The strength of this look is in the colour and shine of the sequins working together to create a lasting impression. To the right one of my personal favourites, a flowing floral dress comprised of gathered tulle layers is an eveningwear classic. Asking to be whisked off the a ball it will also be a look to photograph on the Red Carpet and could be worn at state or White-Tie events too.

Soft pastels harmonise well with the collection silhouette line themes. To the left antique Rose florals colour a light Mauve silk creating an instant classic evening wear piece that look contemporary. Fabric is woven around the waist tailing off to a drape around the shoulders to add a classic touch of elegance. You could add a myriad of purses to this dress or a large wrap to complete the look. Centre above the lines of the 1930's and 1940's are teamed with a sequinned imitation of animal prints worn on a wrap style dress. Easy and comfortable, it would be a piece that could be worn effortlessly through the evening just like the dress to the right. Above in Blush tones the dotted light fabric has the floaty feel that we think of of film set dresses and those of early 20th Century Haute Couture clients. A side sash tie at the waist is echoed in the bows at the shoulders providing a soft easy to wear garment.    

Beyond a couple of pieces in Bold Black and Navy most of the collection is composed of soft pastel colours that blend in harmony with the soft focus shooting that was sometimes used Jean Halrow's era. There's also a noted look of simplicity in the dresses and they are easy to look at as well as being easy to wear. A full length skirt descending from sequinned bodice hem in two tiers is both light and elegant whilst continuing the simple image of the fit and flare shape.

A White and Black dress with it's peaked high waist gives clues to how the inter-war decades subtly borrowed some style tricks from the wardrobe of the Edwardian and Belle Epoch eras. The puffed shoulders are the first noticeable thing that strikes your attention and also the fine gathered pleating of the collar. The cross of fabric of the blouse over the line of the waist also mirrors the line created by the skirt. You can see the dress from the other side giving profile to the circular train behind the wearer.  

A finely tailored below the knee Black dress has thin Golden bordering at the neckline to give a shimmer at the edge of the Black material. An above elbow tuck controls the volume of the sleeves and the look is perfectly suited to either day or evening, workwear or formal leisure. To the right a close-up of the bodice of one of the broad long formal gowns that would look perfect in Cannes or Hollywood. Below another view of the collection shows a soft Blush dress with long lengths falling to the floor in a profusion of gathers with a ribbon belt holding all it to the figure at the waist. Jenny blends costume jewellery here at the neckline into the body of the dress itself and gives another styling option to her clients that Jean Harlow would probably wear.

Huishan Zhang

Image credit: Huishan Zhang

He is one of the most dynamic young designers currently showing at London Fashion Week and Huishan Zhang sets a blazing pace for producing Ready to Wear that reached into the realms and Haute Couture and Haute Couture itself by request.  

Trained at both Central Saint Martins and Dior in Paris Huishan is classical in his understanding of style and structure but he's also keen to explore new ideas and paths. Above centre soft Neons heralded the opening of a collection that broke new ground for the designer for Spring and Summer 2019. A feather bandeau top teamed with a sheer light Blue pleated skirt and clash/contrast Coral shirt. It's a pretty bold style. A Magenta gown with soft feather detail around the shell all tied in a chic Pink bow hits the chic pretty mark that Huishan is loved for amongst his client base and beyond. It's welcome to see more young designers who are pushing the boundaries of luxury occasion wear for Black-Tie and party style. Embracing a kaleidoscope of colour, a feathered neckline descends through degrede from Pink through Aqua, back to Pink again with feathers in print falling down the length of the dress pleated around the figure. It's a look that can go almost anywhere. To the right a soft blouse in the same fabric print is perfectly teamed with an Ice Pink silk skirt. Gathers of satin silk add volume and the feeling silk wraps the wearer in sweet comfort. Layers of sheer fabric are a feature that Huishan likes to explore in this collection and teaming simple swimwear-like pieces and sheer tulle to create a fun look is an area that produces lots of scope.     

A pastel print two piece sitting underneath a sheer skirt and blouse soften neon's once again to an easily wearable style. This is fun piece for summer nights in the city and elsewhere around the world. To the right a velvet belted mini-dress has the tiniest hints of Dior classic about it with a skater skirt length dress looking ready for parties. Interestingly this look can be styled very differently with soft trainers as below or heels to to give it more statement glamour look. A sheer dress to the right sits over another separate underwear/swimwear combination and for bold clients the cut of this piece will feel like a smooth glove. To the right a see-through version of the former dress in this sequence uses a side-dipped hem to also cut a more juxtaposed sense of fresh style. As the mood of the collection shifts to eveningwear the satin silk suit trousers have the sense of pyjamas to be worn anytime with a tulle ballerina style skirt fused with the ruff collar of centuries past then broadened out to sit on the shoulders as a loose chemise. It's light and delicate with a hint of romantic magic. 

A Midnight Blue silk suit with it's embroidery trim frontal hip pockets is the perfect high fashion lounge suit that would also look good on the catwalk and in front of the cameras. You could wear it to an awards ceremony or a drinks party. To the left a similar style is transformed into a Black dress with lapels, waist and pocket fringe bordered in fine White brocade. It's an easywear piece for an evening or day event that would be easy to style with accessories. Centre above hints of previous looks appear in a skirt with front pockets and under a long sheer blouse. This is a great cocktail party and premiere look and like most of the pieces in the eveningwear part of the collection, it could sneak on into the Autumn wardrobe too.

To the right two beautiful outfits are perfect for cocktail parties and Black Tie or Red Carpet events. The first look features Black satin silk trousers tied at the waist with a pretty silk bow and a Black velvet bandeau similarly circling the upper figure. An outer coat dress of Black gauzy with embroidered flowers flowing across the lengths. There is a pretty gentle movement as the wearer walks with soft suggestions of volume. To the right a Black silk dress tied at the waist, also with a Black silk ribbon bow, is accented with ruching at the lower hip to create a skirt of greater volume.  

To break anything approaching routine Huishan showed several pieces in the later part of the collection that featured bold colour dots in Light and Dark Blue, Red and White. Above a shirt dress belted with a chord sits over trousers and worn with casual trainers it's a relaxed formal piece that would also make a great maternity formal option with a variety of low shoes. Centre above a broad dress creates the perfect eveningwear look. Harmonised in perfection to the female figure the dress creates the modern ball gown with simple clear lines. A wrap or short jacket could easily be worn to cover the arms and shoulders on cooler nights and this look captures a feeling of timeless elegance. To the right an above the knee tunic dress features waves rippling down from the right shoulder to the hem like the crest of a wave or an Angels wings. To the right another luxuriant piece rippling with silken beauty sees the wearer walking in a garment that appears to be liquid. It's breathe-taking and shows true mastery of the discipline of cutting and Couture craftsmanship.      

A Mauve trouser suit following the codes of earlier pieces in the collection is completed by a Black lace overdress that floats around the figure of the wearer. Somehow I feel that the Couture suit meets the net layers of the ballet here. To the centre above rippling layers of fabric float around the shoulders of the model like Angel wings and a dress again tied at the waist with a pretty peach bow. To the right a full length dress has hints of traditional evening wear combined with a soft bohemian aesthetic, perfect for gala's and balls on warm Summer nights. Lastly for this collection, a dress similar to some of Huishan's hallmark designs of the past with feathers fringed across the following the line of hexagonal diamonds. Ranging from Ice through to neon Pink it's a beautiful dream. 

Paula Knorr

Paula Knorr is bringing fascinating collections to London Fashion Week that breathe the life and exuberance of the world of 1970's DISCO to the catwalk using contemporary fabrics and technology. It's fun to watch her shows and phtogrpah them and there is usually a dynamic element of arts performance and culture involved in them too. 

Draping is a large part of this collection and above you can see a beautiful shift dress with burnt Gold and Pink embroidery detail across the surface fitted like a soft glove on the model. It's a beautiful party look and to the right above you can see a blouse composed of the same fabric caping the model above Bronze-Gold trousers. A White single shoulder dress is draped on the figure like that of a Grecian stature formed into soft natural folds around the figure. It looks both simple to the eye and complex in the mathematical angles of perfection. To the far right another single shouldered dress pushes tonal boundaries and contrasts sheer clay earth tones with the bright shimmer of twinkling sequinned disco fabulousness.    

You can see more examples here of her draping prowess in several pieces. The models move freely and easily and there are several easy Red Carpet choices for stylists to pick out for clients who want to make a bold statement with artistic overtones of expression. This is art that moves and breathes as the wearer walks. In pure White, Mauve with Silver shoes or a bold triple fabric combination as above, there are many shades of expression to be found.

Sequins and shimmer are a mainstay of the collection and there is something almost symbolic about the shimmer of the dresses and the life that is emanating from the wearers as they move across the catwalk. It almost captures the energy of women wearing it. Vibrant Pink and Orange make a happy contrast and provide a look of celebration as the wearer hits the dance floor or the press call. But more than the dazzle of an entrance it's the basic facts of the tailoring prowess that warm the eye to these designs. To cut a perfectly formed cocktail dress to move with the curves of the figure is no simple undertaking and takes time and practice. Centre below you can see how the effect is amplified by ruched pulls being added to the fabric so it gently gathers around the figure in an echo of the Belle Epoch era styling. It's beautiful, sophisticated and somehow 'feels' complete when you see it. 

Paul Costelloe

He's one of the most experienced designers currently showing in the UK and infact anywhere on the international schedules. Irish designer Paul Costelloe's career spans through the 1960's in Paris, to today taking in work in Italy, America and Ireland and still selling to an international client base. He creates looks that are pretty, styling women in a more traditional way then updating modes, cuts and use of fabric for a 21st Century audience. Influences from his early years training in Paris at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, his ready to wear collection still carry an attention to detail that is welcome to see during fashion week.

Above to the left a balloon shaped dress falls around the figure like a Tulip flower and a semi circle collate tied off with pretty bows creates a romantic opening to the Summer collection in a pretty themes check. A bow creates the neckline and sleeves dropped from the shoulder in a clever style idea with a broad skirt emulating the romantic lines of the mid 20th century. The long sleeve mini dress with puffball skirting and bowed ties at the sleeve cuffs is a template that Paul works in several fabrics to charming effect. It creates a fun look that appears playful and exuberant but is cut to neat perfection. It crosses the gap from formal to fun in a single hop. A long line skirt suit in turquoise shows an art deco influence and the little backpack hints at daytime wear or (without) a look for more formal moments.    

Bold fabric mini dresses keep coming and are sweet in Pauls' style without being too saccharine. Judging by the numbers of women wearing his clothes at the catwalk shows from the UK and Ireland, he clearly has a market for many clients and particularly women in the entertainment industry. They are dresses that like to show off, well just a bit and aren't afraid to turn heads. You can see a noticeable knowledge and respect for cutting around the female figure as the garments show the line of the figure but are not tight or prone to riding up. Pinks contrast with Blue and to the right an ankle length dress features an unusual front bow gathering the dress in front of the wearer in a pretty style twist. To the right, a blouse style upper dress contrasts with tiered layers in the skirt to give a touch of the uniformity of the 1980's power dress.

Below to the left a dusky Rose midi length dress is centred with two sweetheart bows as the dress closes. Plumes shoulders hint at the Belle Epoch era and mid twentieth century style. This coat dress would be a great option for weddings or christenings in the Summer season. A dress with a double tiered gathered mini skirt is a chic party piece in classic Costelloe style. It could be worn with a jacket and is easily adaptable for dinner, dancefloor and dates. A move to daywear includes swimsuit bodices teamed with well cut jackets of the cut that you don't often see in ready to wear collections. Both the jackets below are easy to match with a wide variety of separates. To the right a open-side dress channels on the of the trends appearing for Spring and Sumer 2019. With fabric generously draped across the neckline in a soft flourish, pleats form a soft contrast in shape.

Soft light coats play with classic style features with broad lapels hinting at the past but Paul's ever curious interest in fabric technology informing his ideas in design of the textiles used to create them. There is an unusual 3D effect on the surface of these garments with hints of the party dress morphing into the jacket style. A low waisted bow ribbon is a playful adaptation. Centre above romantic plumes and ruffles fall down the figure of the wearer with light floral fabric gathered softly to create volume around the wearer. A sleeveless jacket and short body suit channel styles that Paul has used before and have no doubt been popular with clients somehow channelling the disco era of the 1970's. To the right a mini dress cut in almost skater style is another re-working of a classic Costelloe piece. The figure skimming bodice could be decorated with a light scarf for those preferring something more subtle.   

The tulip style appears again above in two looks showing how much scope there is in this romantic style. Using chintz themed fabrics the dress becomes alive almost as a flower around the figure of the wearer and she almost becomes a real-life Thumbelina wearing a dress made of a flowers head itself. There is romance meets Rock and Roll here with high ruff collars featuring hints of the Elizabethan and Jacobean grandeur of the past softened down to be worn by a girl about town today. A Cream silk blazer and Green mini-skirt make an easy styling combination to team with some good legs. Again the cut of the jacket betray Paul's experience in creating formal, corporate and day wear. Centre above a cocktail dress experiments with detail at the sleeves making a feature of volume in contrast to the straight smooth lengths of the dress skirt. To the right an Ice Blue silk dress cut on the bias opens up many possibilities for wearing to parties or premiere's a variety of accesory styling options.     

Bold colours and cute styling more or less sum up the feel of a Paul Costelloe collection. These are clothes to feel pretty in with a no nonsense approach to styling and design. Above a tunic dress gathered at the waist is one of the most simple garment constructions shown in the collection but offers an attractive daywear option. An off the shoulder mini dress with sleeves dropped at the sides pleated like the dress skirt offers a more unique look. A Turquoise dress alters the conventional pleat skirted full length dress by splitting the skirt to the upper thigh with daring twist on a classic whilst to the right a Pink halter neck baby doll mini dress moves with the wearer as she walks thanks to careful folds and gathers of fabric. To the right another bodysuit and jacket combination blend formal and relaxed style.   

Bringing eveningwear into sharp focus, more satin and silk features with scooped necklines leading to round mini skirts and full length fishtail dresses. Black Tie is well covered here and the Costelloe team have a long track record in creating formal eveningwear looks. A tessellated chevron fabric is eve catching but not too overt for formal receptions and below to the centre two long formal dresses show how a good style with work in different fabrics to beautiful effect. A Black satin silk jacquard fabric hits the target for demure classic dressing and to the right, a mini dress with escalloped neckline and tiered gathered skirts cuts an instant classic look.  

Chic and simple, classic lines are the way forward wth this collection and Paul makes looks work for the wardrobe needs of next season. You can see why so many women in television like his clothes as the occassion wear looks, in particular appeal to the camera but Race Days and family formal events are also an area well suited. A sleevless mini dress with skirt frill edging and a fabric counter part in full length style continue the design tradition of working a fabric across different designs in a collection. Two dresses above have light shoulder supports, a sympathetic treatment of the waist and a knee length hem flowing broad skirt. Again hints of the Belle Epoch and Paris feature in the style. To the right another halterneck mini dress in bright fabric would make a party entrance that was sweet and serene.

Two dresses at both midi and floor length in Black and signature print close the collection with high glamour to suit any fun or formal event that you would choose to take them. The floral fabric dress uses the lines of the heritage 17th and early 19th century dress with a literal twist off centre making it a modern princess piece. Two looks from the collection that I particularly enjoyed run last here as for me they captured Paul's sense of romance and confidence that he wants all women to feel in their essence. Another fairy tale dream collection that has also has roots in firm practicality that the career women he dresses look for.