It wasn’t a typical weekend at London’s Natural History Museum as the usual family day out was swamped by the circus of London Fashion Week. South Kensington boasted enough botox to rival Hollywood quantities, with a sea of unnecessary sunglasses, huge hair and red lippy adorning the achingly cool who congregated there.
LFW legend John Rocha led the way. In his 24th year showing at LFW the designer’s career almost matches the longevity of the event itself. Rocha claims that the inspiration for his collection stems from Elizabeth I – which was certainly evident. The colours were bold, fabrics heavy and with contrasting chiffon details his signature cut for this season consisted of capped sleeves and tulip skirts, accentuating the shoulders and hips.
Throughout the collection models graced the catwalk with Tudoresque padded headbands adorning their perfectly rolled coiffures, making this constant parade of elegant tailoring look more like something out of a period drama. It was a refreshing change from the outlandish couture coming from the new generation of London darlings.
Sunday morning provided such a different ambience to any other LFW day, so you would be mistaken for thinking that this wasn’t the usual BFC tent. Gone were the incessant ‘daarrrlings’, faux laughter and name-dropping in stereo; instead the atmosphere was far more relaxed. The sunglasses were permanently attached to the faces masking what seemed to be less-than-perfectly made-up appearances. It seemed that some fashionistas had been indulging in those designer parties and Champers a little too much.
The audience favourite, couture queen Betty Jackson, was far less ostentatious compared to the previous day’s proceedings. Victoria Wood? Check. Dawn French? Check. The usual Jackson groupies who turn out year after year to consume her latest offerings were predictably poised in the front row. This crowd had more celebs than some of the other shows, but it was a far more down-to-earth atmosphere. Erin O’Connor was cuddling a ridiculously cute child whilst Lorraine Kelly was calling across the catwalk to grab the attention of a friend she had spotted.
The collection was delectably pretty with soft shapes to complement the feminine form. The waif-like models rarely exuded the femininity with which these creations are intended and therefore unfortunately did not do the beautiful pieces the justice that they deserved.
For an autumn/winter collection Jackson based her palette on pastel colours that surprisingly exuded prettiness. That was juxtaposed by bold prints highlighting her appreciation of graphics from her background as a fashion illustrator. The use of rich browns within some of the prints gave a stark contrast to the pastels, and when used in 1940s-inspired tea dresses it was yet another nod to the austerity of the period that has been referenced through several shows, such as Caroline Charles’ on Friday.
So it seems that the old favourites are sticking to what they do best: classic contemporary, leaving the way open for the bright young talent and audience to do their bit for the outrageous.