Style: Big Fashion Week Adventure

Guest post by Nadia Ramoul 

Maddeningly coinciding with the half term holidays, Fashion Week hits London like a luminous bomb. It mushrooms over the city as the streets fill with the colourful, fierce and ludicrously heeled. They land like glamourous aliens, supping on espressos and peering over neon shades, mixing jarringly with bemused families on day trips. Narrowly, they miss stumbling into the roads with ill-timed catwalk turns and exuberant selfies (did I just use that word? Puke). The city heaves and sighs through Vogue smoke, the families take cover and sharp-eyed photographers stalk lines of waiting fashionistas to pick out a lucky few to pose in the manner of their idols.

Fashion Scout at Holborn’s Freemason Hall provides cutting edge designers with a platform to showcase their work in front of London’s hip young things (and yours truly). Shows range from the demure to the bizarre and music is used as a powerful, juddering force to accentuate and underline. It’s loud, really loud, causing slight changes in tone to be transformed into whooshing crescendos of noise, forcing you to pay attention.

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Being pretty much half the height of the glossy giants and fashion bloggers that surrounded me (don’t wear Vans to catwalk shows, kids!) I could only pay a limited amount of attention, vision obscured by elaborate headpieces and slender shoulders vying to see and be seen. My iPhone was held constantly aloft over my head in the manner of a Biblical weapon that would at some point come crashing down on the head of my only son. Naturally, the pictures from every show were a streaky mess but praise be to Instagram for transforming them into something passable.

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Timur Kim’s collection stood out for me as something uncanny and intriguing, giving a sleek twist on Americana from a Dallas-esque past, with luxurious fabrics in patchwork and lose Little House on the Prarie gingham-ish dresses. “American Pie” blared through the speakers elevating the loose trouser suits and tousled hair of the models from a stylish look to a sad statement evoking a lost past. (Or did it? I don’t know.) Despite my compromised view I found the collection inspired and thought provoking, and Kim himself a cheerful fellow as he ran exuberantly down the catwalk to thank the crowd.

Belle Sauvage

Belle Sauvage

The other show I found particularly impressive was Belle Sauvage, which was what I envisioned fashion shows being as a child. Brash, crazy and loud with silly hats. This is what I want from fashion. There was a true drama about it, making it an event, a true spectacle with electro-doom music, fringe-visors and beautiful rave baroque prints. The models were transformed into doom fashion warriors from the future, oozing stern camp and genuine menace, as a performance, I absolutely loved it.

 

Belle Sauvage

Belle Sauvage

Highlights included the rich reds and purples of the fur collars, the sharp angles in the tunics and the kaleidoscope acid prints that adorned most of the collection. It was fun an of the moment, not too serious, an 80’s vision of the future maybe, in which sun-god headdresses and flowing robes become the norm. I kind of wish it was.

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There is something heartening about fashion week. While there may be themes occurring on the catwalks, the people waiting to see them are an extravagant and innovative bunch, throwing together the sublime and ridiculous to amazing effect. Last fashion week I felt a cloying seriousness over everything, this time around it was drenched in good humour and fun. For that I am eternally grateful.

If you’d like to see more of my attempts at fashion photography my Pinterest board is at http://pinterest.com/nadiaramoul/lfw/

Style: Mary Katrantzou AW12

All hail Queen Mary. Over the last few seasons Mary Katrantzou has emerged as one of London’s leading young designers, her innovative use of prints and structural dresses setting fashion lover’s hearts everywhere fluttering. Her recent collaboration with Topshop took her to the masses, with the Oxford Street store collection stripped bare almost immediately.

For AW12, Katrantzou showed seven colour groups, each based on everyday objects. The yellow section was inspired by the humble HB pencil and included a dress actually embroidered with yellow pencils. We also saw typewriters, hedgerows and teapots used for prints: a fabulously eclectic collage of the everyday made surreal. “It was about showing product placement through different colours,” the designer explained after the show. “I chose the items per colour: it was important to me to associate colours with one everyday, mundane item.”

Katrantzou is perhaps best known for her SS11 tulip shaped dresses and we saw a progression of her structural technique with clever capped waists and sleeves. She also branched away from structure with some gorgeously girly floaty chiffon dresses, showing that she is definitely not a one hit wonder.

The biggest success of this collection is that even though it is made up of barmy references, it looked sophisticated and precise, rather than thrown together. We are used to seeing visionary designers do crazy and abstract and ending up completely unwearable but with Katraztzou, every single piece just really works. The best part is that Katrantzou seems a really warm and genuine person and always engages with her fans over Twitter, which is really endearing. I just can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next!

All pictures from Style.com