CHRISTOPHER BAILEY loves to riff on a topper. In previous seasons he’s reimagined the biker, the aviation jacket, the gritty parka, the trench – of course – and this season, he turned his hand to the indigo denim jacket, that forever young wardrobe staple that’s imbued with good times and optimism.
Serenaded with a live performance by James Bay, Malaika Firth opened the show (fellow Burberry girls, Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne sat front row, alongside Mario Testino) in a fitted wasp-waisted jean jacket with white sheepskin erupting out from under its little peplum.
Varying versions were in never-ending supply. Some were lined in sprouting white ostrich feathers, others were fiercely cropped, another was clad in dusty pink mink, or rendered in grass green suede with a glossy plastic collar and breast pockets. You’ll be spoilt for choice. It wasn’t only those jackets that conveyed a young-at-heart appeal, every luxury house seemingly has a hit sneaker right now and Christopher Bailey debuted Burberry’s all-white style, the “field” sneaker with a bright striped foamy sole.
Under those jackets were tulle dresses as light as candy floss that were whipped around bodies in sensual swathes of bandaged twists or pleats.
The British countryside comes alive in spring and there were nods to that feeling, which arrive with the first signs of summer, rooted in this collection. From those fluffy soft lambswool accents, to that particular shade of grass green, to the oversized butterfly prints and enlarged and abstracted bumble bee motifs and slogans that screamed “insects,” “flower,” and “sun” plastered over trench coats and printed dresses, and yes, all further enhanced by Bay’s The Clocks Go Forward, and the sunlight streaming through the Burberry tent in Hyde Park – as though right on cue.
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THE first show season since Temperley London combined its mainline and ALICE offerings and things are looking strong. That was a good idea – and you could see the balance between the two working all the better for now working as one. It felt fresh, young, clean, tight, modern.
“It was great to focus solely on an amazing show collection with more daywear, core pieces and loads of very versatile separates,” explained Temperley pre-show, singling out again “versatile” and “sexy” as key buzzwords.
“I was inspired by colour and print from very naughty Japanese paintings, woodblock prints, surreal sea creatures and lots of mixing of layers and kimono references with our looks both for day and evening,” she went on. And all of this was entirely evident. Cropped trench jackets, breezy skirts worn over trousers but whose effect was only really felt wafting away as it did at the back, gingham and plaid, pink and black stripes, dense embroideries, stiff A-line silhouettes.
Slouchy-boxy tailoring was given the Temperley edge with lace accents and despite all of these references and layers, it never felt heavy.
“The Temperley girl is more relaxed with a very sexy attitude,” the designer pointed out.
The mood suits her well.
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At the end of the Issey Miyake show, there was a rare fashion moment as the audience stomped and cheered for designer Yoshiyuki Miyamae to take one more bow. It’s been a while since Issey featured as a must-see on the crowded fashion calendar, but anyone who goes to these shows regularly knows they’ll witness a special fusion of creativity, craftsmanship, intelligence, and plain old jaw drop. Well, maybe the special effects aren’t always jaw-dropping, but they usually elicit a heartily spontaneous reaction, as happened today when a handful of models walked onto the catwalk with organic portfolios that they rapidly unfolded and converted into springy, concertina-pleated items of clothing resembling the fun technical world of origami. The helpful explanatory notes on each guest’s seat described a process of “hand-pleating on the curve.”
Today’s theme was Miyamae’s excuse for a collection that focused on organic shapes and patterns to mesmerizing effect. Graphically abstracted prints created an almost Art Deco sense of movement, which was in tune with developments elsewhere in fashion this season. In fact, the graphics and silhouettes were generally more…what’s the best word for this?…familiar than they sometimes are: Tailored jackets and coats, slim pants tucked into boots, and oversize blanket wraps provided a context for the marriage of artisan and machine that creates purest Miyake. The technique du jour was steam-stretching, in which computers program steam heat to shrink jacquard fabrics into three-dimensional grooves. That mechanical process yielded gorgeously organic fabrics, patterned like tree rings, which Miyamae cut into poetic shapes that shivered sensuously as the models walked.
A line from the show notes, presumably endorsed by Issey himself, best defined the overall uplift of the show: “Cloth harbours the power of life: wrap yourself in it and feel an instantaneous metamorphosis into pure joy at the wonder of living.” Translation: For God’s sake, if it feels good, do it.
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IT was a paper jungle in the round for Karl Lagerfeld’s couture offering, opened by Chanel gardeners with their waterless cans in khaki and a straw version of the hats he had embellished with tulle for the show.
The clothes were light in an extraordinary medley of fabrics that only Chanel is capable of creating – thousand-colour boucle and crystal flowered epaulettes. The block-colour wool suits that opened the show came with A-line skirts and long jackets but were swiftly replaced by the introduction of a new line – narrow and falling from the hip with a thin fabric belt looped through and hanging loose. Rooted in the flat leather boots, this silhouette looked fresh, often paired with midriff-baring tops.
Flowers were everywhere, from the hems and shoulder to the arm warmers of tulle and the hair decorations of transparent plastic hanging from the low plait Sam McKnight had given each girl.
You couldn’t help but think Karl had possibly been inspired by Cara Delevingne’s style with the wool beanies flecked with ostrich feathers that looked great with the evening wear. It was an optimistic light show that gave Chanel a youthful vitality without losing its elegance.
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