Bon Internationals redaktionschef Sabrina Shim var självfallet på plats under modeveckan i London. Här listar hon höjdpunkterna värda att lägga på minnet från nya S/S 2015-säsongen.
As the inaugural winner of the LVMH prize (worth €300,000 and decided by a jury that included Karl Lagerfeld, Nicholas Ghesquière, Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci, Phoebe Philo, Marc Jacobs and others), the Thomas Tait show was arguably the hottest ticket in town. Anticipation – and expectations – were certainly running high on the day. We were directed to an abandoned building off The Strand, side-stepped piles of pigeon poo to enter, and led up two flights of stairs to a space that may or may not have had remnants of asbestos. Here, Tait collaborated with the artist Georges Rousse to create not only a backdrop for the show, but also a starting point for the clothes.
And what marvelous clothes. It had all the Tait hallmarks we’ve become accustomed to: super sharp tailoring, experimentations with volume, strong colours, refusing to play it safe. And just like Rousse’s work, shapes and perspective are at first unsettling (naked yet covered up, single sleeves, boxy yet bias cut), but then come together to make perfect sense. I was enthralled. For me, it was the show of London Fashion Week, hands down.
When Nature Calls
Show after show after show, I surely was not the only one with Miranda Priestly ringing in the ears: “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” English garden (Simone Rocha, Mulberry, Preen), exotic (Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto), retro (House of Holland), wildflowers (Orla Kiely), big, small, printed, embroidered, embellished, you name it, LFW had it. But whereas florals of past seasons have been rather fierce and rational, we’re now veering towards romanticism, with designers excitedly in awe of nature. Groundbreaking, no. But pretty and a reminder to literally stop and smell the roses? Yes.
Paula Gerbase, with her label 1205, has been on my radar for a few seasons now. Call it androgynous or unisex, but it’s the exceptional fabrics and impeccable tailoring (she was head designer at Savile Row’s Kilgour for five years) that really catches my fancy. That, and the fact there is a total absence of trendiness. Overall, in my mind, this puts 1205 in the same bracket as The Row in New York, Dusan in Milan and Christophe Lemaire in Paris. Quiet, restrained and luxurious clothes that are meant to be worn every day, not just on special occasions (or fashion week). A very appealing prospect at the moment.
Street Style goes Normcore…ish
I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but there seems to be less peacocking at London Fashion Week. Is this a direct result of normcore? Editors who’d rather focus on what’s going on during the shows rather than what they’re going to wear that day? Car or no car, the realisation that five-inch stilettos are, in fact, not as comfortable as trainers? Let’s talk again after Paris.
Even though I’m not particularly religious, I still find places of worship soothing, awe-inspiring and delightful. Which is also exactly how I felt about Simone Rocha’s S/S 2015 collection, shown at St Andrew, Holborn. With the lights dimmed, and church organ and band as musical accompaniment, the clothes were darkly romantic with bursts of red, pink and florals. Fabrics are the Irish designer’s forte (here, sexy and sumptuous ones such as mesh, brocade, marabou, tulle), as are dresses (shifts or full-skirted and disheveled). The overall effect is girly and womanly – a paradox many women live anyways and Rocha’s strength.
Perhaps a reaction to Instagram’s puritanical stance against nipples (We miss you @BadGalRiRi), perhaps it’s Miley Cyrus (Can’t choose which top to wear? Try nipple pasties instead!), but there was an amazing number of boobs on display thanks to the all the sheer materials being paraded down the runways. Everyone from Christopher Kane, Erdem and Burberry to ladylike bastions Emilia Wickstead, Daks and Alice Temperley – ahem – titillated this season. The boldest move, however, belongs to Tom Ford, who actually went the Miley route with nipple pasties as part of a floor-length dress look. #freethenipple lives on!
One did wonder about the longevity of the frayed and distressed denim that is the trademark of Portuguese duo Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. There was also a foray into “eveningwear” two or three seasons ago amongst the denim that I remember made me cringe a little. It felt forced. But for S/S 2015, I’m happy to report that Marques’Almeida have it sussed. It’s still frayed and grunge-y (though slightly less distressed), but with PJ Harvey’s music as their guide, darkness and euphoria came through beautifully in the clothes and we could see beyond shredded fabric. In short, it all looked grand and magnificent. Personal favourites are the black metallic denim pieces.
Digital Print No More?
Once upon a time, London was the epicentre of digital print. It was exciting, it was much loved, but eventually, perhaps knowing what fickle types fashion people are, designers evolved. This season, the likes of Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto traded in their computers for embroidery and embellishment. It must have been liberating, sure, but there is also a real danger that the work can look shoddy (see Holly Fulton).
Two sidenotes regarding prints: 1. The Matisse exhibition of cut-outs that recently ended its run at the Tate Modern seemed to be an inspiration for lots of designers – Jonathan Saunders, Peter Pilotto and Roksanda, for example; 2. For those who know me, I am a sucker for animal prints, mostly leopard. So logic dictates that I would love the Giles show. But no, sorry, I thought it was tacky and proof that not all leopard prints are created equal.
As each season passes, Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding keep growing in confidence and bettering their last effort. S/S 2015 was no different. With a stunning venue in the undercroft of the chapel at Lincoln’s Inn, there was a distinct Joan of Arc vibe (strong, defiant) yet many of the fabrics were light and floaty. Asymmetric hems, slits along the arms that subtly reveal and devoré fabrics also featured heavily, but I was particularly taken with the slightly-wrong-yet-so-right colour palette (white, beige, raspberry, copper and buttercup yellow). Making the move from shirts only to a full-fledged collection in only a few seasons is bold and brave, but the duo have made it look effortless, and, more importantly, exquisite.
Full disclosure: I haven’t been a big J-Dubz fan as of late. Mainly because I often found his eponymous womenswear line looking a little too familiar. But I must admit that with the recent LVMH backing and his new role at Loewe, it feels as though he’s finally coming into his own. For S/S 2015, it was faintly nautical, outright sensual and playfully deluxe. I particularly liked the oversized lapels of the belted coat and the toweling fabric in the abbreviated skirt suits. I don’t think terrycloth has ever looked so chic. So while I wouldn’t call myself a convert just yet, I am instead looking forward to his Paris debut at Loewe. If the Resort collection is anything to go by, it’s going to be a cracker.