Corrie Nielsen and Basso & Brooke

The My Beautiful City venue at London Fashion Week is, to me, quintessentially London. Inside an old sorting office on the corner of Museum Street and New Oxford Street, the outside is that of an abandoned building that wasn’t particularly attractive when it was occupied, and is even less so now.

Inside however, is a cavernous warehouse-esque space; perfect for events, from raves to fashion shows. The catwalk is lit by a canopy of lightbulbs dangling from the rafters, giving the location the feel of a magical secret hidden away from the mundanity of the surrounding area. There are certain brands that would be too austere, too serious to show here; too ‘grown-up’ perhaps. It is a young space, and the designers that show here reflect the more energetic and fresher creative talent of London’s design offerings.

Corrie Nielsen burst onto the fashion scene in 2010 with a collection lauded by fashion’s enfant terrible John Galliano. This was her second solo collection at LFW and the Victoriana influences that she is known for are still present in the collection we witnessed, with high necks and nipped in waists featuring heavily.

It was however, only one of a few key elements that shone through today. Nielson’s background in tailoring at Vivienne Westwood is palpable, and a distinct Japanese influence was present, from simple pleats and folding to full on origami style structure. One dress in particular, a white strapless number, reminded me of a Japanese paper lantern, it looked so light and weightless.

The colours were fairly muted, yet still fresh and springlike, with dashes of floral and green. Combined with the slow movement of the models, and the strange beauty of the venue, the mood of the collection was ethereal; transporting us from a September morning in London to far away lands and times.

Print merchants Basso & Brooke are ideal for showing in such a venue. Edgy yet still beautiful, their prints can be tropical, tribal and exotic, and often all three at the same time. Their last Spring/Summer collection saw them incorporate lighter blues, creams and (somehow subtle) oranges into their look, and this year appeared to be a mix of similar delicate colour washes and bold statement print, sometimes with both worked into the same garment.

A riot of colour and pattern as usual, yet still easy on the eyes rather than garish – much like a work of art. It is because of this ability to make such ‘loud’ prints look so elegant that Basso & Brooke’s pieces to me always seem like the sort of designs really worth investing in. Even to the print wary like myself the individuality and uniqueness of the garments transcends the fads and trends that are born out of every season of shows, as their collections manage to be both thoroughly modern yet absolutely timeless in the same instance.

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