LONDON FASHION WEEK A/W 2011: DAY FOUR, PART TWO



Erdem

Erdem has been a no-longer-secret favourite with the fashion pack for the past few seasons – just remember last winter’s lace-up ankle boots bursting with colour you saw all over the place. With a collection expressly built on colour, optimism and oddities, Erdem carries on with the signature print, a mix of smudge and animal print and an impressionist painter’s daubs on a canvas in dazzling colours. Erdem combines touches of baroque (darkness and a golden opulence) with modern (ladylike shapes stripped down to the very core) with ease, creating simple shapes both structured and flowy, body-hugging but sophisticated, cleverly cut and lovingly detailed, to let the woman both make a statement and shine.



Todd Lynn

To Todd, change comes naturally and organically. But it does happen, and coming from clean-with-a-twist (think suits with horn-like spiky shoulders) through body armour (skeletal and muscular structures of leather and fur) and Futu-rustic creations to the art of perfect shaping and draping (see below) worthy of a baroque painting is proof enough. See more in the mood piece on Todd Lynn.



Burberry Prorsum

For next autumn/winter, Bailey explores different elements of heritage and, as always, the result is the sleekest-chicest-sharpest of them all. Think lumberjack checks in bold colours, a furry cross between berets and riding hats for head candy, the more daring futu-retro ladylike shapes of the 1960s, and a unique spin on a few 1970s basics (tunics, capes and chunky knitwear). Read the rest of the report in the Burberry mood piece.



Paul Smith

Held at the Savoy, the show heavily featured Patti Smith in its soundtrack. And with good reason. Paul Smith goes back to his roots and ends up in the time before he even designed womenswear. The result, in one word: menswear. In a few more words, we have a naughty librarian who looks like she could use a good night's sleep, seems relaxed but is cool to the point of arrogance. Her staples are tapered trousers and jeans, suit jackets, shirts, jumpers, chunky cardis, loafers, geeky glasses and plenty of attitude, so don't mess with her. The basic palette is earthy, but flashes of colour are everywhere - this collection is one of your best guides to this spring too, mind you. Except for those embroidery-on-black numbers that look right out of Christopher Kane's a/w 2010 collection... Anyway, it's about time to raid the wardrobes of those forebearers, after all, grandad-wear never looked so sexy.



Mark Fast

Mark Fast brings warmth and drama to the catwalks in quantities that should be illegal. Or not, you decide. One, it's crazy, cozy and intricate, with lots of curly shearling, crochet and knits on huge coats and bodycon dresses, mini and maxi, in stone, red and black. Next, it's the high drama of leather in black, choc and red wine, midi and maxi coats, jumpsuits, dresses and endless lace-ups. And finally, a couple of cool and relaxed tee dresses and straitjackets in beige and black for the off-duty goth queen.



Giles

I have seen gothic this season, but not this gothic. I have said tactile but I didn't mean this tactile. Giles' muses are the schoolgirl, the decent girl, the not so decent girl, the ballerina, the femme fatale, the diva, the lady and the queen. An eclectic collection of spectacular shapes in white, black, cream, gold, teal, made with bold florals, feathers, metallics, satin, fresco print, jacquard, organza, leather and lace. The standout elements are the heavy embellishment and the corset detailing, but  the seemingly simple, fluid pieces blow you away just as easily. Incredible shapes, movement, flow... and the best finale. Lights. Out.



Julien MacDonald

The last show of day four had the most gothic setup yet in stow. Held in a former cathedral, the show had everything in place from dead flowers through the gothic metal soundtrack to the styling of the outfits. But then, about half of the collection was all about frills, lace and pleats - in pastels! Now that's gothic with a spin... oh well, there may come a time when we wear pastel lace with gold embellishment to show that rebel streak. We get a few ideas of gothic winter styling too, but the mood doesn't really fit chunky knitwear and heavy layering, too real in a fantasy world. But the true beauties, the flowy dresses with pleated skirts, intricate lace patterns and cobweb mesh are amazing, further toughened up by leather jackets, platform boots and chunky belts. Creepy and painfully beautiful, just as they are meant to be.



runway stills: elleuk.com, except Burberry Prorsum, burberry.com.

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