London Fashion Week gets eccentric start
A model wears a design created by Tom Ford during London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2014, at Lindley Hall in central London, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014. AP
The fashion community wasted no time after the close of New York Fashion Week this past Thursday, moving quickly to London for another fast-paced week of shows. Though London Fashion Week effectively started on Thursday, many of its more famous designers presented their fall collections on Sunday and Monday. London, perhaps the most eccentric and varied of the four fashion weeks, also carries the least star power, allowing the big names it does feature even more prominence.
Mary Katrantzou featured maxi skirts in tones like lavender, dusty blue and oxblood, effectively using these tones as neutrals to balance the gaudy prints on top. The strong point of the collection was its more minimalist pleated dresses in dual-toned color schemes, which utilized the uneven hemlines that are quickly becoming a fall runway trend. The second half of the collection featured skirts and dresses with uneven hemlines and metallic snake-print accents that would make appropriate standouts at a formal event.
British luxury brand Mulberry, famous for coveted handbags like the "Alexa" (designed with Alexa Chung in mind) and the "Del Rey" (inspired by singer Lana) presented some of their new fall wares against a set reminiscent of an enchanted forest. Model Cara Delevingne, the face of the brand's recent print ads, playfully presented the collection, looking dramatic in a white dress against a dark blue backdrop.
Temperley London, meanwhile, featured delicate baroque-style patterns in royal blue and gray on bell-shaped skirts. Dramatic scarves wrapped thickly at the neck also dominated the first third of the show, nicely accenting the shorter shapes of the clothing. The second third of the show featured maxi skirts in similar patterns that incorporated orange-reds and orchids. The final third of the collection moved into crisper lines with patterns in black and neutral, tones which went on to provide the backdrops for blooming florals in chartreuse and orange.
In contrast, designer Christopher Kane favored all-black ensembles with contrasting textures on androgynous-looking models with wet-looking hair and simple makeup. While some of the shinier black textures came off plastic-y and awkward, some of the individual pieces in the collection, like the occasional leather skirt and neutral sweater, were quite wearable. A few of the skirts and dresses in the middle, featuring photorealistic floral detailing, were a highlight.
Erdem embraced dresses in classic black and ivory with lasered cutouts for the first part of the show. Though the cutouts added some interest, the silhouettes were alternatively frumpy and odd with very little room in between, and the neutral tones of the dresses looked more dramatic against the red carpet runway than they would anywhere else. The second part of the show moved away from the cutouts and dull silhouettes into more modern shapes, glossy textures, and metallic detailing, rendering some of the designs more wearable than those of the first segment.
Finally, Burberry Prorsum emphasized patterned variations on its signature trench, only some of which could successfully pare down the eccentric florals at play in the beginning of the show. The line quickly hit its stride, however, toning down the wild patterns to just a few tones each and using them on long, flowy, uneven hemlines. Several of the styles were belted at the waist to balance out the volume at the bottom half. As is typical for the brand, the show heavily featured British models, and the brand's recent star, Cara Delevingne, closed the show wearing a blanket-as-poncho with her initials prominently woven into the fabric.
The fashion community will move to Milan on Wednesday for the Italian shows, which start with some of fashion's biggest names, including Gucci, Fendi and Prada.
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