RUNWAY TRENDS: London Spring 13




Despite loving most of the Olympic coverage, the London fashion catwalk cameo segment in the closing ceremony made me cringe. I really wasn’t sure why until I read an article by Lisa Armstrong in The Telegraph . Labeling the catwalk strut by Kate, Naomi et al, “pompous” and “bombastic”, she succinctly expressed my own feelings. Fashion and ouvert sexiness so often go hand-in-hand, but for the most part, London’s style-mongers exist in a sort of parallel universe, where what you wear in public can mean not taking yourself too seriously. Paraphrasing Mulberry’s creative director Emma Hill, Armstrong goes on to say, “If we have a USP, it is (having) a sense of humour. You don’t need to tamper with things too much. Our natural style is very cool.”


London Fashion at the Olympic Closing Ceremony



But without wit and playfulness, cool becomes painfully tedious. Whether it’s the crazy-but-inspired clashing prints of designers such as Clements Ribeiro, Preen and Mary Katrantzou, or the boffinish invention of Erdem, Christopher Kane and Jonathan Saunders, with their gung-ho approach to synthetics, holograms, neon lace and patent, and mixing them all together, as this week proved, British fashion is now an Olympic-level sport.
In the interests of objective appraisal, what we don’t have much of at London Fashion Week is conventional sexiness. Apart from Antonio Berardi (or Roland Mouret who shows in Paris), British designers like to scoot around sex, preferring to flirt with androgyny, eccentricity or playing the kook card. Nothing wrong with that. It would be mind-sappingly depressing if all our designers churned out bandage dresses and trophy-wife baubles. They don’t and that’s why our designers will never sell as much as Roberto Cavalli or even Azzedine Alaïa. And it’s why a behemoth such as Harrods, one of the most successful department stores in the world, has a relatively small stock of British labels. Sex, as William and Kate learnt this week, beats out everything else in the commercial stakes. British designers know that. The fact that they continue to view fashion as something more than - as Katharine Hamnett famously put it - clothes to get laid in, makes them all the more valuable.

Lisa Armstrong

Mary Katranzou

Clements Ribeiro


Christopher Kane



Jonathan Saunders


Another summary of London Fashion Week for Spring13 that caught my eye was written by Colin McDowell in The Business of Fashion . He also praised Christopher Kane, Burberry and Erdem while damning the rest

My greatest pleasure from the week was seeing Christopher Kane come out blazing with confidence and present a collection that was perfectly judged, well cut and completely controlled. I thought it was very beautiful and sophisticated — even witty. Indeed, the collection proved that Kane lives up to the hype and can rightfully call himself a true force in London fashion.
Burberry’s Christopher Bailey is well up there at the top of the mountain and like a skilled climber, this season, he stood at the pinnacle and firmly planted the brand’s flag as an international beacon for London fashion (the only one, currently) with a collection that was pitch perfect. The iridescent colours were beautifully subtle and the trench has never looked so glamorous.
Which leaves Erdem, the only other designer worthy of serious comment this season. In the past, I worried that he was settling into a cosy routine of beautiful fabrics and accommodating shapes. But this season, not a bit of it! His delicacy and sensitive assurance are still there, but with this show he advanced his aesthetic as smoothly as a Maserati slips from one gear to the next. This man is a true designer. He doesn’t swing from one ostensibly new idea to another each season, because he is mature enough to know who he is. His colours — strong but never crude — and his embroidery work distinguish him from the crowd.

Colin McDowell





Wednesday, November 28, 2012 · Categories: Trend Analysis, Prints & Patterns , Fashion, Runway, Fashion Blogs
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