Cream of the crop

[slideshow_deploy id=’12179′]

September in the capital is inevitably grey and a little dull. However summer was definitely here when the collections presented at London Fashion Week gave us a brief respite from our “challenging” British weather by providing colour, light and more nature than the Chelsea Flower show.  Glass picks some of its favourite collections …

Peter Pilotto

The design duo Peter Pilotto (the anonymous partner being Christopher De Vos) are purveyors of print – and this season their collection was inspired by a recent holiday to Java. Collages of imagery were processed through a computer with individual prints made for each body-contoured outfit. New additions were 3D-prints, embroidery and beading all expertly applied to the garments.


This was the best collection to have come from Acne designer Jonny Johansson to date. Inspired by a recent trip to Marrakech, Johansson was determined not to fall prey to the many fashion clichés that surround this wonderful city. Broad cotton kaftans were worn as tops and trimmed with graphic strips of contrasting colour and voluminous shorts and culottes were mixed with cropped leather motorcycle jackets. Tops were laser–cut with stars. The result? Newly interpreted colour and shape that felt incredibly of the moment.


This was a collection inspired by many references. Its starting point was the Silver Swan – an automaton from the Bowes Museum near Giles Deacon’s home town of Darlington, County Durham, concluding with the society swans as photographed by Cecil Beaton. A beautiful, dreamy and  light collection ranging from a fluid white suit to swan-printed satin tailored pieces. A couturier’s touch was palpable in this collection, perhaps gleaned from Deacon’s tenure at Ungaro. As always with Giles, there was an edge with crimson gowns playing on the duality of the swan. Beautiful, yet fierce, creatures, the accompanying red swan headdress looked sharply down from the model’s head, reminding us that grace and favour do not always go hand in hand.

Basso & Brooke

Pioneers of the digital print, the Basso & Brooke boys are always a highlight of the London shows. The prints were inspired by a driving expedition through Siberia and the hard, angular lines of this brutal landscape were contrasted with alien foliage and seascapes – a “tropical constructivism” according to Bruno Basso. Chris Brooke’s cutting skills go from strength to strength with explorations into draping and cropping – visually distorting the printed imagery even more. A special mention must go to Anderson Borba, who designed the hard-edged jewelry which perfectly complemented this collection.

David Koma

Futuristic tribal was the theme for  David Koma’s 30-piece collection for this season. Mature beyond his years, the designer restricted his colour palette and precisely followed his concept to produce a successful collection. Koma showed more than his signature body-con dresses on this outing, gradually introducing trousers to his repertoire – lovely, fluid leg-lengthening ones at that. Cut in wool and dévoré jersey, these successful additions hinted at more to come in following seasons and it will be interesting to see where this designer goes next.

Paul Smith

A strong, stripped back collection that felt instantly effortless and chic. A masterclass in shirt dressing, accompanied by Paul Smith’s covettable accessories (those envelope bags will be on many an editor’s wish-list), Paul Smith was a master of minimal this season.

Burberry Prorsum

Live-streaming of the show, tweeted looks before they went down the catwalk, Burberry Prosum is a luxury brand with a firm grasp on technology and social media. But what happens when you strip all of the marketing and hype away? Luckily, an incredibly strong collection. Hitting all of the key trends from S/S 2012 colour, beading and the crafts, a forties line and ethnic exotica, Christopher Bailey brought us another staple – the Parka. Elevating this garment to the level normally reserved for the Burberry trench, applying all of the aforementioned trends, this savvy designer has added another Burberry “must–have” for the 2012 wardrobe.

Pringle of Scotland

With a new captain at the helm, Alistair Carr, the Pringle show was one of the most anticipated of this season. Did the new kid on the block do well? Very well, indeed. A chic and graphic collection which played cleverly on the Pringle twinset, Carr looks to be a more than capable successor to Claire Waight Kelller, breathing fresh life into this collection. Special mention must go to Husam El Odeh for creating the intensely coloured eye jewelry.

Louise Gray
“Everything matches if you like it” a wonderful piece of fashion advice by Gray’s mother, shared with the audience via the show notes at her SS 2012 collection. Louise Gray’s work is kaleidoscopic, crazy and studiously haphazard. Wonderful layering soft chiffons, graphic silk prints, beading and appliqué adorned the models on the runway, with Gray even printing her own money for the show – with lots of it stuffed into envelopes – all the more enhancing her layering aesthetic.This all makes for a wonderfully charismatic show, but the joy of Gray’s clothing is up close and personal. Each garment works beautifully on its own and has its own natty detailing. Hand embroidery on slip dresses, varigated dots on a tweed jacket, Gray’s clothes can be crazy and they can be chic – it’s all down to the wearer’s interpretation.

Meadham Kirchhoff
What a candy-coloured, sugar-spun spectacle of a show. What it is to be a girl is a theme that has preoccupied Meadham Kirchhoff before – as well as many other designers this season, from B-store to Christopher Kane. Where before this duo would have examined the expectations forced on by women ie pretty, sweet, sexy – this time the designers took joy in all things feminine and bringing the candystore sweet girl to life with pastel marabou, broderie anglaise sculpted cake dresses, ruffles and sparkle. All wonderfully theatrical but, pulled apart, the collection contained items many a girl would love to wear.

Jordan Askill
Jewelry designer Jordan Askill presented a beautifully ethereal collection reminiscent of childhood dreams and adventures.  a starting point was amethyst and the designer experimented with both hand and digital carving techniques. Crystal swallows, tipped with silver flew past unicorns, panthers and horses to create delicate, yet incredibly strong, statement pieces.

Charlotte Olympia
Bathing beauties from 1950s Miami lounged on a candy coloured beach scene for Charlotte Olympia’s delicious presentation. Indochine-printed wedges balanced on dainty feet and a  flamingo theme developed from feathers encased in perspex heels to embroidery on raffia bags. Linda Farrow-Charlotte Olympia sunglasses balanced on pretty noses, ensuring next season we will be accessorising Charlotte Olympia style from head to toe.

Markus Lupfer
Perhaps the cleverest presentation of the season. With tropical theme everywhere for next season, how does a designer make their collection stand out? With models transformed into exotic creatures courtesy of film prosthetics. Very clever Markus Lupfer. Delightfully original.

Lou Dalton
An impeccably tailored presentation from this talented menswear designer. Working in a palette of predominantly jet black  and crisp white,  Lou Dalton brought us a beautiful tailored donkey jacket, t-shirts with crystal beading and a voluminous sand-coloured jacket with short trouser that felt chic sexy and quirky all at once.

James Long
“A menagerie of men against the heart of the jungle” was the opening line of the show notes. And what a wonderfully exotic collection it was. James Long makes men look hot – incredibly hot – whilst remaining effortlessly cool. An Iggy Pop-inspired gold leather trouser partnered thick crochet jumper, a tailored linen short accompanied a snakeskin print leather jacket. A devilishly smart expedition to a incredibly chic African safari.

For more in-depth show reports from New York, London, Milan and Paris, visit the Glass site.

by Marie-Louise von Haselberg