As your toes start to get chilly in the evenings and your thoughts turn to curling up in front of a fire, fashion week season creeps up on us once again. London – after a summer of breathtaking sport and general all-round festivity – settles back into its usual autumn greyness peppered liberally with sparkly glamour and spritzy fun.
What’s on offer at London S/S 2013 at good old Somerset House and its sister venues?
It’s digi-dresses all the way for Mary Katrantzou in her Topshop collection. (Do you look at Mary K’s clothes and think you’re getting a migraine, but in a good way? They should be classed as a mind-altering substance, I tell you. Mary K’s funky zig-zags and loony squiggles would make a salamander dizzy.) Her inspirations are pedestrian objects like spoons, typewriter keys and chess pieces, but her recent collections go further and call to mind 18th-century courts – so, basically what I’m saying is they’re full of sex, bubbly and twisty intrigue.
It’s difficult to imagine anything more different from Mary K as Thomas Tait’s deconstructions. Full of capes and metallic polo-necks and neon pleather trousers, his collections are at the same time slightly Seventies and very futuristic. (Oh, okay, it’s basically Star Trek. I get it!) He was in Montreal cutting patterns when he decided that there was only one direction he could go as a designer – a place he felt was made for freedom in design – London, the fashion capital. So he worked day and night on his portfolio for six months and landed a position in the MA programme at St Martin’s. If you tell him his green t-shirt looks like it has been inspired by moss, he might just reply ‘Or a bacterial disease!’
Can Henry Holland possibly better his A/W 2012 collection? There was something so yummy about that collection, I just don’t think it can be done! His creations are stacked dark pink on top of purple on top of olive or blue embedded in chocolate and are very, very constructed in their clowny, colour-blocked glory. Yet, at the same time, something about the continuity of the endless stripes makes them deeply organic. It’s madness, I tell you, madness! So, what now in S/S 2013? The collection seems to be more frivolous and less pastiche and there is less of the picaresque about it. Can’t he just show A/W 2012 every time he displays?
Then there is Meadham Kirchhoff with their carnival, we-take-nothing-seriously look. Their A/W 2012 was replete with blue-faced Krishna-like dolls dressed in horizontally-striped tights and fabric that would not look out of place in a hot air balloon. The plumage was evocative of birds of paradise while the eyes were multi-coloured and flirty. Like the duo, their collections are made of contradictions. Meadham is English, Kirchhoff French. Meadham is all about womenwear, Kirchhoff menswear, etc. They say they don’t have a signature, but rather a handwriting, and their ideal client is uncompromising in her outlook.
And of course, you’ll have the staples like Vivienne Westwood, Mulberry, Burbery, John Rocha, Issa and the rest. Don’t miss our high-octane coverage on The London Word!
London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2013 takes place on September 14 to 18.
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