LONDON FASHION WEEK A/W 2011: DAY THREE



Mulberry

British woodland fairytale from Mulberry, inspired by Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr. Fox, so they say. Floaty and jewel-coloured numbers for the fairies, earthy and muted cover-ups for us wild pigs. This show had the coolest quilted pieces (note the skirts and the dresses), and a few metallics (dresses and shoes!), all complemented by the Tillie, the new It bag of the house.



Margaret Howell

Cowgirls from the Wild West? Washerwomen in the Middle Ages? Refugees of World War II? European peasant girls in the 50s? Mormons? Mexican street vendors? Women of rural Peru? Man, this is not demure, this is austere. Flat shoes, blazers, full skirts, hats, tweed and velvet mean country living at its truest and most timeless. But isn’t there some fun to be had in the country? The cute tie-back neck blouses, chunky belts, ruffles and pleats here and there, and a few warm colours might not be quite enough. Country girls need love too.



ACNE

I have so far avoided having a good look at the brand, I thought there was too much reading between the lines and too little to grab straight off the catwalk - a little immature on my part. Still, I kind of get it this time, and wanted to give it a go for two reasons. One, I fell head over heels for the leather skirt with the belted hem. Two, the collection hints at things to come, things I’ve been holding out for, such as structured jumpsuits, new ways to work coloured leathers, smart and relaxed jackets, maxi lengths, transparencies and layering. And thanks to ACNE, I may not have to wait for too long.



Jasper Conran

Uber-pretty as always. A-lines, fitted jumpsuits, shirts and polonecks, leather and suede, false patchwork and pebble print. Flattering 60s shapes with 70s elements, all fully wearable.



Antonio Berardi

Geometric, sculptural, playful baroque opulence, errrm..., you go see for yourself. Berardi used quite stunningly detailed lapels and hems, jacquard, lace, fur, metallics, knits and tweed, creating and combining pieces that are either simple and sleek or infinitely intricate.



Nicole Farhi

Modernist, minimal shapes, tactile fabrics and lots of panelling on masculine and feminine pieces. Although Farhi mostly references the 60s and the 80s, the much-dreaded midi lengths and asymmetry seem inescapable this season. Still, I must say, she does it in a way that makes those tricky trends accessible.
 



Topshop Unique

Dalmatian print and more dalmatian print. On coats, trims, dresses, blouses, gloves, bags, even on shoes! Incredibly quirky, bordering on the surreal at first, but the more you look, the more you see yourself wearing them. I’m really loving all the detailing, pinstripes paired with puppy motif jumpers, ribbon tie necks, the dress-coat-socks combos (that is ME, should you care), and jumpsuits – I said I was waiting for those to get less drapey more structured, and Unique’s have now started sort of getting there. Quite a salad bowl, this collection, but probably the strongest in combining playful, smart and wearable.
 



Osman

I wasn't sure what to think of Osman Yousefzada's collection after all the wide leg and kaftan combos on the catwalk. Then came the cape dress, and it changed everything. I started to notice just how amazing many of the pieces were. It may be the white-blue smoke-on-the-water d├ęcor, but all this colour blocking, the leather panels and the freshness just pop from the background! Minimal cannot only look and feel cool like ice cream, but quirky too in a sophisticated way - that's no small achievement.




Matthew Williamson

Matthew has been recognised for doing exactly this, bold colours and prints for such a long time he is sort of considered as the king of fluoro. Now the rest of the world seems to have caught up with him in this first cold season of real colour. Brace yourselves, people - this year, we’re all in Williamson territory.



Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Big character of a lady Vivienne Westwood is no punk royalty for nothing. If you’ve ever seen any of her shows, you know she won’t disappoint in the rebel department. Held at the Royal Courts of Justice, the show centered around the idea of the Royal Family, “seen in this very Alice-In-Wonderland way”, she says. You have ladylike dresses worn with felt crowns, tartan, tweed and headscarves, there’s boyish quirkiness with shorts, patterned socks and caps, girly print clashes in soft colours, miniskirts and ruffles, and masculine suits in checks or velvet. Go enlarge the pic if you’re brave enough, but please remember not to bat an eyelid at anything you see closer up. After all, it’s only Dame Vivienne.



Richard Nicoll

Jumper coat or trouser-dress, anyone? Intriguing ideas, but quite a challenge for sure to figure out how to work them. Luckily, T-shirt dresses are already finding their way into our wardrobes, which is good for starters - we'll see about the rest.




Temperley London

A collection that’s ultra-feminine and dressy masculine, with a bit of leather and knitwear in between. Innocent, ruffled white dresses, opulent numbers in red, black and nude, sheer lace in cream or black, silk dresses and jumpsuits are all part of the drama. The contrasts don’t end on the outfits though – the originality and strength of the designs vary, from truly amazing prints and shapes to 80s power couture the world may not yet be ready for.
 




runway stills: elleuk.com.

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