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A/W 12/13 Burberry Prorsum RTW Review

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A soft piano instrumental plays to the large crowd seated in the Kensington Garden Tent in London’s Kensington Park. The crowd have gathered to witness Christopher Bailey’s exciting autumn/winter collection for 2012. Those not granted a seat have slipped in and taken up position standing beside the green wallpaper and glass walls that enclose the setting chosen for today’s show.

Light streamed through the windows despite the dull day and it only seemed fitting that with this weather and the electic mix of british music accompanying the model’s strides, that the collection would reveal itself to be rather subdued and desirably placating. Those in the front row, included Will.I.Am, Rosie Huntington Whitely and Eddie Redmayne.

The usual mix of coats and jackets took to the runway exuding practicality and an effortless style that has become synonymous with the Burberry brand, an element of country chic infused in each one. Bailey presented a remarkably laid-back collection which I feel will prove to be a universal popular choice among many and the quilted jackets, the burgundy belts and the waterfall pencils will inevitably find their way to the high street.

Velvet featured as did chunky knits and Burberry’s staple studded gloves. For this winter, inspired by Burberry Prorsum, think old curtains brown and marauding, velvet and grey shaped into “robes” with vintage appeal.

The show ends and the models retreat. The sound of thunder now echoes throughout the large hall, rumbling loudly. The sound now bursting into splatters of liquid as now water races down the glass ceilings giving the illusion of a rainstorm so typical of British weather. The audience’s mouths agape (Eddie Redmayne…), the models now burst once more onto the stage bearing umbrellas, prepared for this virtual rainstorm, Cara Delevigne leading the pack. The audience are starting to look up and alas confetti is falling from the ceiling. The onlookers burst into applause and rise to standing. Remarkably smiles all round, as the audience feel comforted that they are inside and shielded from the rain by it’s virtual creator and with the satisfaction of being indoors and now the desire to sport clothing such as was shown, ready to embrace and welcome the cold and depressing weather with the added perk of being spotted now with one of the stylish umbrellas parading the catwalk. A feel good feeling all round (and no that wasn’t because Will.I. Am was in the room).

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A/W 12/13 Alexander McQueen RTW Review

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Eery music played against a backdrop of black, with futuristic lighting shedding a cold almost industrial glare onto the hard-wood stage upon which this otherworldly experience would unfold. Out steps from the shadows a tall white figure whose identity is disguised beneath the sunglasses of some mysterious wayfarer who inhabits another realm.

This chilling backdrop is presenting Sarah Burton’s intriguing interpretations of fashion and as the audience tenses and grips to their seats, eyes eagerly fixed onto the bare stage, the ambiguity of the models is forgotten; all eyes are on these enchanting concoctions.

Blink and it’s as if your eyes are seeing the same design on four occasions, it takes a a trained eye to spot the difference. Watching this spectacle, with so much expectation for the revered designer that is Sarah Burton to deliver, I felt disappointed. It was as if the night was going to be white and futuristic with a cold and seemingly harsh alien feel.

Then Black stalked elegantly onto the runway, a hue that is staple in every designer’s winter collection. The shade (fifty shades of black…?) was stark and contrasting, although it seems, Ms. Burton desired to gently manoevre our eyes to the contrast by presenting a few concoctions of a monochrome lace design first. What now adds to the cold and eery atmosphere is that it seems this seemingly innocent fabric could indeed be PVC.

Something that I feel buyers from the high street may take interest in, is this “shaggy effect”. Burton’s version is exaggerated and amplified, something however that could easily translate to the classic winter but now “shaggy” knit.

Look 21 and an ephiany occurs. It is now clear that Ms. Burton is drawing inspiration from maritime activities ( a trend that never truly manifested itself this summer). An ethereal mermaid/ballerina covered in crustaceans marches like an alien down the runway. The first truly wearable (if you have someplace to wear it..) look strides down the catwalk and I imagine mouths gaped at this moment as Sarah Burton’s appeal slowly became evident.

The saying “save the best for last” was clearly Burton’s philosophy as a beautiful berry red creation flushed the cheeks of onlookers dissolving the coolness that had pervaded the alien atmosphere. In each design there was a hint of baroque, upon closer inspection a slightly distorted geranium design was visible.

The maritime theme continued with oyster inspired concoctions bouncing vibrantly in vermillion red, as most or all of the models strutted in their heel-less platforms.

All in all, it was an interesting array of flouncy frocks and futuristic eclectic designs. One must praise Burton for a fascinating show, despite a futuristic vibe that some may interpret as cool. I however interpret is as haunting.

A/W 12/13 Philip Lim 3.1 RTW Review

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Monochrome was the conspicuous theme of this notable event. Lim seems to embody an understanding of the female form and psyche with flattering, tailored and trompe l’oeil clothing dominating his catwalk. At times, particular ensembles were reminiscent of Old Hollywood Glamour with imposing chunky coats and over-sized sunglasses waltzing nonchalantly down the runway. His overall presentation didn’t stray too far from his usual look and each outfit was almost always unmistakably “Philip Lim”. The show presented the usual winter palate with dark colours dominating, with a particular emphasis on Monochrome, however towards the end, Mr. Lim exposed us to splash’s of Bondi Blue and Tangelo. The most exciting thing for me this winter, a trend that I predict will dominate, is the infusion of Berry Red into an otherwise dull wardrobe. The colour still has the dullness of winter but with a certain warmth, it will be sure to comfort us during the long cold months ahead. I was most delighted to see that Lim has embraced this trend in his collection, in two of his looks, my favourite being the one above. A truly classic look that I myself will be sure to embrace once the cold weather sets in.

My one criticism of the show is that Lim clearly disposes a propensity for white. Not only is this not traditionally a part of the winter palate, it is most unlikely that one will be wearing this in a comsopolitan environment during rain, hail and more rain. Perhaps Lim should reserve this for his resort collection, when people who live in hotter climates or will be travelling may find some use for a smart white suit.

On the whole, it was a smart collection, with nothing new or exciting to fawn over, except the small embrace of the burgundy trend, that I predict those in the know will coveting this Winter.