It’s that time of year again, my fashionistas! Fashion Month is truly in full swing and in fact more than half way through so it’s high time I cracked on with my London Fashion Week SS16 diaries. What better way to kick off a week of non stop shows, parties, outfits and general mayhem – not to mention get one last dose of sunshine before things turn very grey in Blighty.
It is a fact universally acknowledged that during fashion week something will go totally apeshit. Most likely more than one thing, at least if you’re like us travelling frequently and trying to balance a career in and out of blogging world. Anyway, we are glad to have been given this opportunity to attend as one of the fashion bloggers to cover the London Collections show at the Devonshire Square, London, curated by Oxford Fashion Studio on day 2 of the London Fashion Week. Two Saturdays ago, the London Collection hosted 4 shows with 30 designers showcasing 195 looks. Over six years Oxford Fashion Studio has produced 58 runway shows featuring 276 designers from 22 countries around the world. This season they have successfully featured 72 designers from 30 countries. Some of the previous productions have been attended by Dolly Jones (Editor, Vogue UK), Caroline Rush (CEO, British Fashion Council), Claire Wilcox (Fashion & Textiles, Victoria & Albert Museum) and supermodel David Gandy. No mean feat!
On Saturday 19th September, team OneTimeFashionista was up bright and ready to trot the City for our very first London Collections show. A glance at our show notes revealed the first show with independent collections by designers from accross the world namely; Tanya Elizabeth, Hailly London, Merce, Zumruduanka, Eskay W, Lucy Treadwell, Urchindeep and Dorin Negrau. This was not, however, necessarily the high shine, super glam show one might expect. In an exclusive interview with OneTimeFashioista, designer-duo of Hailly London confirmed that they took their stock in leather named as “Years Of Boldness.” The collection reflects the strong, bold and confident personality of the women with buttoned details albeit one that still exuded the precision, polish and of course, expense on which the designer-duo has built their burgeoning empire. The term “independent collections” may instantly conjur images of ready-to-wear collections, but, as demonstrated here, in the right hands it can encompass both daywear and glamour-esque just as easily. Case in point, the camel leather coat with red buttons and details that charmed the show. Merce Moda‘s succession of separates and day dresses which married the designer’s distinctively taughtly tailored silhouettes with dramatically wide pants. Blown out neon colors and loosely billowing silhouttes have hinted at a more relaxed direction, on the other hand, Dorin Negrau‘s tightly fastened, utilitarian belting, ultra precise cuts, hand embroidered rich embellieshed jackets, milkmaid carrying straw baskets and the glossiest of accessories ensure the looks exuded that unmistakeable air of luxury and rigour. Even the top front less jackets and shrugs that proved a surprising star of this show was distinctly (thank God) classy. Urchindeep‘s Spring-Summer esque fabrics and colors in sculpted shapes gave a sense of the organic mixing with polished beach-calling precision.
As always, there were killer dresses and summer holiday dreams, ranging from panelled, layered, sheer and semi sheer collections to billowing neon flash, untreated fabrics and simple styling of slick low ponytails and a dash of red lip only. The show may have not garnered rave reviews across the board but there was plenty there to covet – neatly cropped summer knits and gypsy skirts n’ crop top combos being personal favourites – and served perhaps as a welcome sign that no matter how well established these designers may be, they ain’t afraid to take a risk now and again.
Next up, another show with independent collections showcasing Lily-Beau London, Susie in the sky, Emanuela Giannelli Design, Louise Ferdinand Lingerie, RCW, Sun Goddess, Custom Hair Accessories and Atulier. This show undoubtedly had a few firm favourites of this season and some brands showcasing what I call ‘real clothes’- clothes that you can actually wear off the runway. It’s usually a safe assumption that I am going to fall head over heels for anything Atulier designs and their SS2016 collection pretty much had me as the glass of complimentary Prosecco I was handed at the bar reception on arrival. Embracing a passion for Spring blooms, Custom Hair Accessories concocted a race-course bonanza encompassing everything from eye soothing petals to all over poppy coral hats and fascinators. Emanuela Gianelli Design’s chic monochrome ensembles were a breath of fresh air amidst a neon flash.
By this point we were starting to feel very tired, very hungry and very stressed about not having checked social media in a few hours (damn you iPhone battery). After a pitstop for food and a glass of bubbly at the Cinammon Kitchen, we were back on the move and of to the third show of the day- Concept show featuring Royal Couture, Orenteayaba, Sans Soucie, Laura Margna, Hanbyel Kang, Sketcharound, Japo Okworobu and Charlotte Ambrose. Royal Couture‘s multi tiered monochromatic gowns with capes, laser cut black lace details and sensual headgears added a gothic touch. From the rainbow candy stripes to the tongue-in-cheek cuts, girly silhouettes and matching accessories; there was nothing on show at Orenteayaba that didn’t leave me internally screaming “I WANT IT!”
While London has a reputation for being the numero uno fashion city (out of the “big four” anyway) for fresh talent and design innovation, I think that there are a fair few designers that almost justify claiming that designers of Spanish, Nigerian, Indian, Brazilian, Canadian ethnicity are making a play for that crown. Ok, on a wider scale London Collections is focused on promoting fresh talents and of course bringing out the commercial appeal, two qualities essential for brands to prove profitable and the fashion industry’s cogs to keep whirring. However, designer’s like Charlotte Ambrose are interesting in that they truly offer something new, original and inspiring without losing sight of the fact that at the end of the day, their creations have to be bought and worn. The gowns too took a sleeker look with slinkily silhouetted bodices and elegantly extravagant fluted skirting. In that respect SS16 was Hanbyel Kang’s strongest outing yet. There was of course still volume, sculptural creations with cut aways and crochet dresses. But this season also brought neat knits, just the right width tailored cotton palazzo pants, bralets layered over longline shirting, kick flares and reworked maxi dresses.
Sans Soucie‘s clothes remained true to her signature operatic style but you could see them worn by non fashion girls, not just models and other women so freaking cool they make you want to burn your entire wardrobe and hide in a hole for the rest of your life.
On a sidenote, I’ve worked out why my fashion week coverage takes SO LONG and inevitably gets posted SO LATE. Because I’ve already crossed the 1000 word mark and I’m not even nearly done with the video/vlog that the beautographer was suppposed to work on but he had to leave for Las Vegas to attend a conference on a last minute call. As in virtually every other aspect of life, I enjoyed writing about the show and therefore get totally carried away. It’s scaring me already that I’ll have to write another one next week on India Fashion Week London for that again we are chosen and invited to be as one of the official fashion bloggers to cover the event. Already feeling starstruck envisaging the moment of meeting and greeting likes of Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla, Anushree Reddy, Noureen Dhanani and many more star designers promoting Indian fashion accross the world.
We are immensely proud and privileged of having collaborated with Oxford Fashion Studio in the organization of this event and having helped to promote the industry’s most promising new designers from across the world. An elaborate collection of portraits taken during the catwalks on that amazing evening were shared on our Instagram and Facebook earlier. Although we had to miss the last show of the day – the couture show but nevertheless, we managed to capture most of the event and presented here for all of you to enjoy. A vlog of the backstage and catwalks will follow soon! Thanks to Lydie- the PR manager of OFS and the entire team for giving us the opportunity.
Makeup and hair on models by Delamar
Models by Space Model Management