In New York there was definitely a wild profusion of flowers in prints, appliquéd and embroidered motifs.
As the floral theme landed in London, Ashish Gupta, one of the hottest tickets on the local fashion week programme, turned it into something sporty yet glamorous in his trademark sequinned designs.
Van Gogh's sunflowers were overimposed on horizontal navy and white stripes, then roses, peonies, daisies, tulips and poppies bloomed on sweats, jackets, dresses and trousers characterised by a relaxed silhouette.
The trick worked at its best in the tops with vases of flowers on polka dot tablecloths that seemed to mix Van Gogh with Pop Art and with Bob Mackie's over-the-top costumes.
Flowers erupting from the models' boots showed that the main theme was a sort of “back to nature” call, even when the chequered backgrounds on tops and jackets called to mind ska or when kitsch prevailed in those designs in which leopard spots and zebra motifs spread like viruses.
But it wasn't definitely all country chic: sequinned floral tops were at times matched with skirts and biker's jackets in which sequences of sequins formed walls of bricks that allowed the designer to mix urban landscapes and countryside in one outfit.
In a way the collection could have been edited to avoid some repetitions, yet you can never have enough urban glamour, especially in our bleak financial times.
Weeks before London Fashion Week took place, Jonathan William Anderson was already tipped as “the one to watch” this season, especially after the positive reactions of many New York editors who saw his previous collections a while back and after Anna Wintour stopped at his rail when he showcased his work in Paris as part of the British Fashion Council's London collective.
Born in 1984 in Northern Ireland, but now based in London's East End, J. W. Anderson has so far produced rather successful menswear collections based on reinventing classic and heritage pieces plus a womenswear capsule collection for the Autumn/Winter 2010 season.
For the next Spring/Summer, Anderson developed a dichotomic collection merging men and women's wear: his striped pyjama or paisley printed suits with narrow trousers and tailored jackets incorporating leather elements showed indeed strong derivations from classic men's shirts (check out also the pleats of the trousers for more connections with menswear...).
Deconstruction characterised Anderson's dresses: some of them – namely the overcomplicated ones that looked like assemblaged of cardigans with misplaced sleeves dangling from the hips – didn't work too well, while the dresses that seemed to combine two pieces in one or the tabard dresses and tops displaying inspirations from Georges Braque's collages and papier collé experiments with a touch of Pop à la Robert Rauschenberg and the “zig-zag moderne” knitted dresses were definitely more interesting.
At times Anderson charged one design with too many elements (in his asymmetric dresses with leather links imitating Medieval chainmail he also included bits and pieces of cardigans that trailed behind the models..), though this could be the consequence of the designer being a fan of stylist, fashion editor, photographer and Prada's Fashion Coordinator Manuela Pavesi (Anderson used to dress the mannequins and windows at Prada's), a woman with a rather original and complex style or of Rauschenberg's artistic principles (never stick to just one medium or style).
Time will tell if new kid on the block J.W. Anderson is genuinely the new Christopher Kane, but, in the meantime, he's secured some prestigious stores all over the world, from London's Liberty, Browns and Harrods to Milan's 10 Corso Como and Paris' Colette.
Stirring the attention back to the runway was tricky before Mulberry's show in the ballroom of Claridge's hotel in Mayfair considering the star-studded front row.
Kate Moss - wearing a Mulberry denim shirt and in attendance of her first catwalk show of this London Fashion Week - was indeed sitting next to Twilight saga actress Kristen Stewart.
As the show started the focus was back on the main inspirations, that is the rather capricious British summer weather, seaside trips, donkey rides, ice-cream on the beach, pier lights, rolling on meadows and summer flowers.
In a nutshell, a sort of mix of '70s moods, Carry On films and Blackpool's kitsch and chips (impossible not to think about kitsch funfairs as models stepped out on to the catwalk from a giant pair of plastic lips and white teeth...) with some references (read the beige and olive green shades) to Boy Scouts and Brownies' uniforms.
Despite the fun and commercial animal-themed designs that perfectly matched with the animal-shaped balloons greeting people at the entrance to give them the impression they were stepping into a funfair, the most saleable pieces out of this collection that mainly revolved around three shades – yellow, mint green and pink - were definitely the raincoats and jackets, items that shouldn't miss in the wardrobes of those ones preparing to brave the temperamental British summer weather.
In fact, though a model walking down the catwalk with a dog in a matching coat called to mind Schuberth's models clad in pastel dresses with dogs sprayed with pastel dye on their leash in Mondo Cane 2, rain macs and jackets were definitely the best pieces.
The show also introduced the new Mulberry handbag collection. Entitled "The Travelling Collection" and including large and medium shoulder styles plus a camera bag, it mainly features practical and functional pieces, items that may easily help the brand - that has recently been developing plans to expand into further countries - to conquer new markets.
Instead of the official Topshop Venue at the old Eurostar Station in Waterloo, the Egyptian section of the British Museum would have probably been a much better setting for this catwalk show.
Topshop Unique's main inspiration was indeed Egypt filtered through hip-hop culture. Indeed there was a feeling that gold bomber jackets, prints of golden cobras and hieroglyphics turned into Keith Haring-like prints and applied to trousers, swimsuits and jackets, rather than coming from in-depth researches into Egyptian history, actually derived from the Egypt of the "Nuwaubian Nation" and the influence of his founder “Dr York” on some hip-hop acts.
Pyramids and the All Seeing Eye were also used as prints on skirts and tops, a bandage dress was probably supposed to be a reference to a mummy, while the mask of Tutankhamun's mummy, sacred scarabs and images of Bastet the cat-goddess were turned into stylised alien-like figures.
The most obvious reference - Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's eponymous film - also reappeared here and there on sweatshirts (by the way, how much did it cost to be able to use that image for such a commercial product? Just curious to know...), while the theme was more convincing when it became less literal in dresses with prints of liquid gold calling to mind Tutankhamun's sarcophagus, though it turned naively awkward again in the dresses and bodysuits with prints of domestic cats creating complicated optical effects.
As the collection progressed it became clear that Egypt didn't really go down too well with baseball caps, cropped bottoms, running shorts, hoodies and loose jersey tracksuits, though there were glimpses of hope in the more elegant looks that featured just a few details in gold.
Yet, pharaohs didn't use to go out jogging and you got the feeling that if the design team had taken more cues (no, the pink gold bias-cut dress wasn't enough...) from fashion illustrator turned costume and set designer Irene Sharaff who created the costumes for Taylor in Mankiewicz's film or if they had maybe borrowed from less obvious references such as the story of Sun Ra in Egypt, they would have taken the collection to a higher level both reference and style-wise.
Reawakening the interest of your audience and above all of the fashion media after a long day of catwalk shows and interviews can be really hard, but Acne designer Jonny Johansson managed to do it thanks to a cohesively coherent collection presented in the spacious Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street.
The starting point was Marrakech, a tricky terrain since Yves Saint Laurent achieved with his late '60s collections the perfect balance between Morocco and contemporary fashion.
Yet Johansson's story was different as he didn't try like Saint Laurent to “integrate, transform and adapt the heritage of Morocco”. His vision of Marrakech was indeed filtered through the experiences, taste and style of a modern Swedish woman.
Cotton kaftan-like dresses in black, green or pink were matched with leather trousers with silver tape-like glittering strips while the starry night sky of the desert turned into star-perforated leather dresses, tops and skirts or into panels of electric blue or camel coloured glittery plastic applied on skirts and trousers.
In terms of silhouettes, full skirts and ample oversized shapes prevailed, but Johansson also created contrasts with rigid coats in experimental materials such as bonded cotton.
One final note: the must have footwear last season may have been Prada's muti-coloured lace-up shoes with double sole in cord and micro, but you can easily bet that next Spring/Summer Acne's glittery electric blue loafers will be all the rage.
The late Yves Saint Laurent was inspired by the colours of Northern Africa, stating “I owe my boldness to this country”.
Apart from a certain derivation from Moroccan shades - the coral pinks, bright oranges, mustards, ochers, camels, lavenders and electric blues in this collection - come next season Johansson will also owe to Marrakech the profitable sales of this collection.
Considering the buzz, flashes and photographers around Kensington Gardens, random joggers and pedestrians must have thought that the catwalk show was taking place in the open air rather than inside the light see-through structure purposely built for Burberry's show (even though at times the absolutely horrible music selection in the background caused some serious distractions...).
Together with Tom Ford's presentation Burberry's catwalk was among the main events on the agenda of many fashion editors and celebrities alike.
In terms of front rows, Burberry's was definitely the most glamorous, boasting Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Sienna Miller, Gemma Arterton, Mario Testino and even tennis champion Andy Murray (just to mention a few...), most of them obviously clad in fashionably Burberry designs. Yet, once the show started, the attention quickly switched from celebrities to clothes.
Technology-wise Burberry dramatically reinvented itself in the last few years: the brand was among the first ones to broadcast live on the Internet its catwalk shows and pioneered a pre-order digital service that allows loyal customers to start buying the new designs as soon as the very last model steps off the runway.
But technology didn't mean that Christopher Bailey forgot the main essence of the brand, that is craftsmanship and handwork.
Crocheting, weaving and beading were the main keywords to this collection: wooden beads created tribal motifs on tops, trench coats and wedges; the hoods of parkas were trimmed with raffia, a material that, decorating also the bags and the outerwear, introduced the African theme, mainly applied to prints for men and women's shirts, draped skirts and slim trench coats.
At times the palette was almost autumnal, with shades of brown, prune, mustard and green for geometric beaded trench coats, cropped linen parkas and elegant mid-calf full skirts with high waist.
While the show could have been summarised with one word - artisanal - you knew that, at the very end, as bronze leaf-like sequins were falling on the audience, the Burberry tribe (or rather, the wealthy ones out of the Burberry tribe...) had probably reversed into digital mood and was already online to start pre-ordering (until 26th Sept) coats and bags from the new collection.
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