London Fashion Week Begins!

London Fashion Week veterans expecting the usual passive atmosphere that precedes the pandemonium of Saturday’s onslaught looked on satisfied this morning, as the BFC space filled up for this 9am-er on the first day of LFW autumn/winter 2011.

The only aggression materialising prior to the show came from the crowd in protest as they were prized away from a champagne reception at the door of resident designer Paul Costelloe’s show.

As we made our way inside, from the darkness glared two distinctive features: a pair of gleaming (and I mean really gleaming) gnashers that could only belong to Dancing On Ice’s super bitch judge, Jason Gardiner. 

Ashamedly, thanks to my guilty ‘Dancing devotion’ pleasure, I’d recognise those teeth anywhere. Gardiner had met his match this time though as, looming in the crowd a few seats down, was a plastic pout that could only belong to model Janice Dickinson, who quickly became the subject of every photographer in the room’s affection.

Paul Costelloe is never one of those LFW shows that I ever feel particularly excited to go to. What I do like is the fantastic shapes and tailoring. This season he has drawn inspiration from ‘colour, Irish tweed and Boulevard Saint-Honoré in the late Sixties’. And I must admit, I felt sceptical about how he could work with such dominant features like tweed and make them his own. But I was pleasantly surprised.

Watching the Costelloe catwalk spectacular begin, the styling was fresh and fun with the models donning blunt, rough scarlet bobs that were backcombed to take on angular shapes, mirroring the silhouettes of the strong tailoring, while the dresses were boxy without a single whiff of black throughout.

The Sixties inspiration was notably evident in the second half of the performance. But, I would go further to assume that the show is almost a documentation of the UK’s changing culture over a 20-year period.  The opening contained muted browns and mossy greens with an accompanying soundtrack of jitterbug music and an aura that harked back to post-war 1940s. 

It wasn’t until half way through the collection that you could really sense Costelloe’s 1960s inspiration with a Rolling Stones soundtrack and bold shapes, bright pinks, reds and metallic materials. There was also a smattering of menswear with velvet blazers in earthy colours that made my heart skip a beat.

Front-row distractions aside, Paul Costelloe’s collection was a promising start to a week chock-full of London Fashion Week’s finest. Watch this space…

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