Monday, 28 February 2011

Florian Jayet - the highlight of Fashion Mode


Fashion Mode is a brilliant initiative which supports and mentors three new designers each year, giving them access to experts in the fashion industry and a platform to showcase their work as part of Vauxhall Fashion Scout.  This season they worked with Carlotta Actis Barone, James Hillman and Florian Jayet, but I'm going to focus on Florian's work as it most suited my tastes and seemed the most accomplished of the three.  Perhaps it's because Florian started out as a scientist like me before transforming into a fashionisto that I feel a connection to his work - or more likely, it's because his cocoon-like tailoring is gorgeous, reflecting the time he spent working for Alexander McQueen and the haute couture brand Eymeric Francois.  I loved the simplicity of the dresses worn bare except for a padded surface texture as decoration and the exaggerated black leather fetish harness.  The high collars and stiff, robotic shoulders are - yes, futuristic - but also elegant and beautiful.  I also enjoyed the insectoid hairdos complete with metal pincers...  Bravo, let's see more of Florian's work next season!


xx
Duck

The presentation that never was


So this is a pretty confusing one!  Those wily people from Orla Kiely enticed us into the Portico Rooms of Somerset House for their AW 2011 presentation like they always do, lured by the promise of champagne and the chance to view their quirky-girl homespun wares on some live models, only to dash our hopes against the fashionable rocks of doom.  For there was no presentation, just a room inexplicably filled with dead trees, stuffed birds and wooden huts.  The only clothes to be seen were 2D cut-outs stuck to the walls, the ghosts of the collection that never was.  Maybe it was all a press stunt to get us to write about it?  Well in that case, I guess this round goes to you, Orla.  But I shan't be saying much about the outfits, since I didn't get to see them any better than I would by flicking through the lookbook at home...


xxx
Duck

Atropos by harryhalim


A little videographic teaser of what's to come at harryhalim's first official runway show in Paris tomorrow, starring model Diwa.  The sultry video compliments the nature of Atropos, the oldest of the ancient Greek fates and the harbinger of death...  I wish I could be there tomorrow but ultimately the DPhil has to come first and I'm foregoing the womenswear season yet again to try to get my work done.  Roll on next year!

xx
Duck

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Masha Ma AW 2011


Masha Ma very kindly sent me three invitations to her AW 2011 show (actually, if we include Anna's tickets, I had SIX), so I brought along Bianca Abulafia and my cousin, Sarah Revell, recently returned to our bleak shores from (in my opinion, a bigger yet equally dreary) Canada.  Sarah and I unintentionally matched for the day, me in my If Six Was Nine leopard-print poncho while she had opted to display the feline pattern on a gorgeous pair of trousers.

For SS 2011 Ms Ma had constructed a collection from the brightest white, but this season she brought in other colours: mint green, pale apricot, black and pillar-box red.  There were some gorgeous pairs of trousers and neatly folded, body-hugging wool jackets.  The cut was flattering and the addition of peplums and other jutting sections made the pieces relevant (think of what wunderkind Hakaan has been doing since his humongous UK launch).  However, silky collars and ruffs felt a bit too fussy, and the bright red - especially the patent leather shoes - didn't do it for me.  It's good to see a designer at the start of her career experimenting, but she does need to keep those colours in check.

After the show, the three of us enjoyed a glass of prosecco or six upstairs at an unnamed presentation...  I'm hoping this (at least, the free booze) has converted Sarah to the fashionista ways - expect her ticket requests coming thick and fast next season!



xxx
Duck

Jayne Pierson AW 2011


Jayne Pierson's show at On|Off necessitated an early morning Addison Lee (don't you just love their iPhone app?  It makes taking cabs dangerously easy...), but the dark couture styling was sure to wake everyone up.  Standouts were the black leather pieces which came in both quilted and smooth formulations, as well as the crinkly, structured top/skirt combos or dresses with Victorian-looking puffy shoulders and tight bodices - Alexander McQueen's Highland Rape collection, anyone?  A sleeveless, asymmetrically draped black velvet dress was just the right side of The Craft.  Unfortunately, these excellent items were let down by Jayne's tendency to drift into sex-shop style PVC dominatrix concoctions, and the white and blue-grep striped fabric looked like it had been borrowed from a bad M&S collection.  A confusing show, but certainly some good things to be extracted from the mix.    


xxx
Duck

Jackie JS Lee AW 2011


Every season I end up going to shows for designers I haven't actually heard of before, either because I don't filter my ticket request mail-merge appropriately, or those sneaky PR companies slip a spare invite into their envelopes.  Sometimes queuing for these shows is a total waste of effort, but other times you really cash in, and Jackie JS Lee's show this season was definitely a case of the latter.  Minimal but not austere, the recent CSM graduate's collection came in a subdued palette of black, ivory and camel, winning me over with design quirks reminiscent of the Antwerp designers (Martin Margiela in particular).  Coats and dresses had extra folded layers of fabric or pleats, designed to modify the proportions without going to extremes.  Some show pieces (I assume) came bound with other items of clothing - a full herringbone coat bound with a belt on the front of a simple sleeveless black dress, for example - reflecting the Margiela tendencies I referred to.  The squared handbags were worn as backpacks, extended by leather straps and what looked like curtain rails.  When worn altogether, the look is a little bit prim and kooky, but individually all of these pieces could easily fit into a modern wardrobe.  I shall be investigating JS Lee further...   


xxx
Duck

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Topman Design AW 2011


I'd like to thank Gemma and Nicola from Topman/Arcadia for getting me to the Topman Design show this season, as I have recently been buying quite a few pieces from their collections and was looking forward to seeing what they had in store for next year.  I also like the fact that this collection must be produced in advance of Autumn/Winter, meaning that it is more creative and can't rely solely on copying high fashion brands the way the rest of the high street often does.  Having requested my ticket pretty late in the day, I was more than pleased with my upper level standing position as it afforded me a very good view of the catwalk (and the front row) inside the Royal Opera House.  Below I've included photos of my favourite items, which included an array of slick suits, both in sober grey double-breasted form and a more adventurous dark green number (not dissimilar to Jil Sander's idea for AW too).  Printed silk shirts would look very chic worn under a suit, as would the leopard-print look - a pattern I'm enjoying more and more after years of avoidance.  However, I'm most excited about the fake furs - collars, scarves and coats - as I've been trying to find some of these at affordable prices without skimping on quality, and it looks like I may be cashing in come September!      


xxx
Duck