Kick-starting London Fashion Week with an early-morning show must be pressure, pressure, pressure for the designer to fill the venue and inject sleepy buyers and bloggers with something (other than Vitamin Water) that is going to set them up for the day. Antoni & Alison did just that.
As it was the duo’s 25th anniversary, the show opened with a heartfelt story from Antoni & Alison, detailing their relationship, polar opposite personalities and the history behind the creation of their latest offerings. The show, with no theme and no name, was the product of four days of working in solitude with a spectrum of paints on hand. The pair, who describe themselves as ‘old-fashioned futurists’ spoke out about how the four days were ‘all a bit of an experiment’ in which they refused to show each other what they were working on, opting to pull together a combination of their best bits at the end of a roller coaster of emotions.
What their experiments produced is a collection of simple shapes with no mess and no fuss: simple shifts, high necks, maxi and T-shirt dresses made of the most delicate materials. The fabric just trickled off the family of pixie-cropped models, all looking as though they were sisters of elfin origin with pale skin and woodland green eye shadows.
While the way the garments were put together looked slick, this clean-lined concept ends abruptly at the shaping. The paintbox that Antoni & Alison let loose really packs a punch. Following the use of bricks and bizarre materials, the patterns to emerge on the dresses form a mismatch of bold stripes, eccentric prints and spontaneous squiggling. Hand-drawn collars, finger-painted bows in splashes of neon, peacock blue and vibrant orange hues coat the fabrics in the most glorious of dances. Their use of colour is playful and bold – echoed by the employment of a classic brass band with heavy bass tones peppered on top to accompany the catwalk.
Antoni & Alison believe that they’re highly influential and that they’ve done the right thing – they just don’t know how or why. They admit that they’ve been fat and lazy and at times couldn’t be bothered – things that we can all relate to in some way or another, and something that is conveyed in their collection. They’ve kept it real, but had fun with it.
London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 takes place on September 14 to 18.
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Photos by: Norbert Severin