Friday, 24 February 2012

Proud To Be British

      In the midst of what has been a month of unpredictable highs and lows...there has been London Fashion Week. From Adele's triumph at the Grammy's to Meryl Streep's Cinderella moment at the BAFTA's there has been plenty to enjoy over the past view weeks but with Greece's bailout and Whitney's untimely death there has also been plenty to mourn over and reflect. Not to mention the passing of 95 year old fashion legend and socialite Zelda Kaplan who fainted and passed away on the New York FROW last week - absorbing fashion up until her final breath.

        However, as superficial as LFW may seem at a time like this, it is not. It is exactly what we need. Zelda Kaplan embraced fashion throughout her life for a reason and as we look at LFW it is only too clear what that reason was: beauty. LFW itself is a flurry of home grown beauty designed to make our lives that little bit more enjoyable. It is a showcase of British inspiration and creativity put on to entice and intrigue us with it's covetable designs and you'd be a fool to miss it...particularly when some of it's products are the equivalent to what Florence +  the Machine is to British music - refreshing.

       Which is what London fashion always is - refreshing. In an industry, which can repeat itself more than Taio Cruz does the word 'Hangover' in his new club-friendly song, London acts a hub of innovation. Despite Britain's relatively small size, London and its very own Central St. Martins attract talent upon talent, year after year to our green and pleasant land. We are, for some reason, 'where it's at' and this couldn't be more apparent than this week as we find ourselves at the end of one of London's strongest seasons to date.
         In terms of our young established designers Erdem treated us to textured delights, Christopher Kane indulged us with his psychedelic leather cuts and Ashish proved that humour is still an important part of fashion with cartoon smiles. In fact these acclaimed men had far from become complacent with their brands but instead Erdem strayed out of his floral comfort zone with tweed-look leather pieces, Kane somewhat developed his look with leather floral references to his 2010 show and Ashish demonstrated that granddad cardigans needn't look as old as they sound. The result was bliss.

        Then of course there were the designers of the BFC brigade who, although they may seem to be the sole focus of my attention at the moment, looking at their designs, how can they not be? Meadham Kirchoff commanded our attention as they moved from Courtney Love inspired looks to 70s disco extravagance and print princess Mary Katrantzou kept us on our feet with her futuristic interpretation of the elements in sharp silhouettes that are to die for. Not forgetting, Jonathan Saunders who undoubtedly proved himself with tongue and cheek visors and sumptuously subtle prints.

       And finally we have the heavyweights: Burberry, Matthew Williamson, Antonio Berardi etc who stood side by side to prove that longevity is indeed attainable for British brands. Bailey kept the Burberry look chic and British with military jackets and quirky owl prints, whilst Williamson played with the layering of sheer tops on shirts to evident success and Berardi seemed to re-sculpture the female body once again. His works reminded us that 20 years in the business do mean a lot and judging by both his and Bailey's peplums, these men know the business. This SS trend is going nowhere...and, luckily for us, neither is LFW.

Proud to be British? Of course.

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