Style: London Fashion Week AW13: Fashion Scout’s “Ones To Watch” and the Zeynep Tosun AW13 Show

Zeynep Tosun opening shot

February. Forget Valentine’s Day cringe hype – this month is all about the other three little words – LONDON FASHION WEEK. No need to bring chocolates or presents just make sure you are immaculately attired in your vision of “fashion” and definitely equipped with an iPhone, camera, cigarettes and that ubiquitous fashion ‘blue steel’ glare *practices in the mirror one more time*.

side effts of cipro

I was lucky enough to attend a couple of the shows hosted by FASHION SCOUT at the Freemasons Hall and found them so thrilling and evocative that I had to share my thoughts with you. The first show I visited was the catwalk collections of the three exciting, emerging designers YeaShin Kim, Patrick Li and Yulia Kondranina who were labelled as Fashion Scout’s “Ones To Watch”. YeaShin Kim was the first to display her designs which were creative, whimsical and exquisitely colourful with an excellent attention to detail, not to mention flamboyant and awesome hats like this one below.

YeaShin Kim Hat

YeaShin managed to mix several fabrics, 60s style inspiration and clashing patterns with these fantastical hats which enhanced rather than distracted from each look. She expertly ensured that none of her looks felt overwhelmed by her explosive use colour or style which is an extremely hard thing to do, and definitely something to applaud.

The next to parade their collection was Patrick Li whose use of geometric patterns and unique folding/ layering of garments was subtle, sleek and elegant. Although in mostly dark hues in comparison to the vibrancy of colour by YeaShin Kim, Li found a way to add some sparkle to his simple dresses with the sprinklings of glitter brilliantly adorning the layered folds and cutaway in the dresses which was innovatively done and well executed.

Patrick Li Glitter look

The final designer to showcase at “Ones To Watch” was Yulia Kandranina who was my favourite of this show because Yulia’s collection seemed to me the most visually provocative, contemporary and design-led. The artistic way this Russian designer used fringing was superb as shown below with this great dress/jacket piece – N.B obviously to be worn with towering heels so as not to have slip over the waterfalling tendrils of white strings.

OTW - Yulia fringing

Yulia then followed this simple monochrome fringing with intricate, lattice weaved fringing in flashes of brilliant colour which accentuated the beauty of the design and it’s showmanship whilst also complimenting the contours of the female figure, as shown in the close up below with my blurry iPhone camera skills.

OTW Yulia look - close upOTW - colourful fringing

A quick Itsu lunch, Sobranie cigarette and iPhone charge later I was privileged to attend the fantastic show for Zeynep Tosun’s AW13 collection. Zeynep Tosun is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongue at the moment and this showcase of her beautiful, resplendent work definitely made me start yapping my big gob about how fantastic her design, vision and pieces were.

Zeynep Tosun AW13

Tosun took the great staple trend of luxe leather and embellished it with decadent gold, a smart use of organza, a splash of sequins and even garnered outfits with some Victorian style neck ruffles. This was a sensational homage to baroque art/fashion and the epitome of style decadent and indulgence. Gahh I just love a good embellishment – who doesn’t!

Zeynep tosun collarZeynep Tosun Leather

It was the perfect way that Zeynep intermingled velvet, digital, graphic swirly patterns and even sheer and velvet into one whole seamless collection, that still managed to have a uniform voice of OPULENCE and style, which really cemented her name in my mind as a fashion force to take note of. For my shaky but still viewable video of Zeynep’s show take a look here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3FfIrKXhj8.

Till the next fashion show/moment – CD xo (@BowTieBoy_CD)

Style: Yifang Wan (& contempt) at London Fashion Week

Before we get stuck into the meat of this, a disclaimer: My opinions on fashion are not to be trusted.

I am not very cool. I have a completely un-ironic love for 80’s hair metal and festive jumpers and wear hole-ridden shoes that should have been taken out and shot many moons ago. I’m more likely to discuss amphibian husbandry than the latest Prada and wear jeans with elasticated waists if I intend to go a bit nuts on pulled pork and beer at Bodean’s. Chic, no? I’m here all night.

Alls I know is that ‘blue and green should never be seen’ and that horizontal stripes will make a big gut look bigger. But in an attempt to broaden my horizons, I ventured to London Fashion Week to report for OhDearism – armed with some useful tidbits of info from a friend both wise and stylish – in the hope that I could emerge with some nuggets of insight.

Like David Attenborough among creatures exotic and rare, I endeavoured to blend in and observe…

Yifang Wan

My first stop was Yifang Wan at the Freemason’s Hall, who my learned friend informed me is fresh outta St. Martin’s and has been impressing crowds with utilitarian pieces inspired by timeless Japanese fashion. She uses muted colour palletes that symbolize bold naturalism and practicality with clean lines, statement pieces of jewelry and jersey fabrics. Inspired by the gothic style of Gareth Pugh injected with martial-arts styling, Wan creates large yet streamlined and theatrical silhouettes that flow in fluid, unforced lines.

Still with me? I’m barely with me. Sounds pretty cool though right? But let us plug away.

After a wait in a rather hefty crowd, those of us with invites got ushered in and asked to go “anywhere but the front row”, for that was where the real big hitters were to sit, all huge, enviable talon nails, dip dye and the odd frozen botox botch-job. You think I jest? No. Of the faces that bobbed opposite me, a considerable number were frozen in masks of horror, wide-eyed fury or disgust. I couldn’t tell which but the conveyed feeling was not one of comfort. I’m quite sure that was not the intention. Or maybe it was?

But I digress…

No good goodies

Maddeningly the front row had the only seats with goody bags. Dang. Equally maddening was the fact that when confronted with these treats, the sour-faced chosen ones nonchalantly shoved them beneath their chairs as though repulsed. Is this normal behavior? When confronted with free stuff do you not gleefully delve inside? We never did discover what treasures lurked within and it is a question that will plague me for longer than it should.

What? At least give them a cursory look

Scrubs for ninjas

The clothes to me looked extremely martial arts-y; loosely structured jacket-and-trouser combos with some models carrying rather vicious looking pieces of wood like ancient weapons. Everything was very angular and completely monochrome, draping around the models. Some pieces were held together with large wooden belts, square and bold with leather buckles, accented against chunky jewelry.

While the all-black outfits were pretty interesting and glamorous, the all-white pieces to me looked like hospital scrubs and didn’t have anything like the same impact. Hospital scrubs for ninjas perhaps? As my friend informed me in his notes, the collection isn’t ready-to-wear. Though not overly flamboyant, the sheer size and angular nature of the pieces would make your average gal on the street look like they were impersonating a religious figure or about to karate-chop you in the face wearing a pair of goth curtains before being hauled off by stern men in similar white attire.

More cold than cool

While I can see the appeal of these designs, I was left a little cold by the heavy atmosphere of people trying to act so unexcited by an event while trying to soak up as much of it as possible by photographing every conceivable thing, as though visable enjoyment would get you ejected from the building. Call me naïve but surely after lining up for a good 40 minutes for something, most folk would be a teensy bit pleased when they got inside? Not so here.

With patrons flipping through their myriad fashion week invites like the worst kind of to-do lists, noses scrunched up in disgust, the whole thing felt like an exercise in forced aloofness. This didn’t sit well with me at all. The atmosphere was unfriendly and heavy, the proximity of being near such a pit of sneering indifference made the air thick with bad feeling and it was a true relief when it was time to leave.

At the lighting returning to normal, the chosen ones leapt up, discarded the free spoils and wafted away into the Holborn sunshine, leaving the rest of us to look about the place like bewildered creatures crossing a busy road. “Was that it?” “Yes. Off you go.”

My friend and I were ushered out before we could pilfer one of the many disgarded full goody bags and exited, not entirely sure how we felt about the whole thing. As we retired to the familiar confines of the Dog and Duck to digest our fashion week adventure, we mused over the audience more than the collection; the people who had made a supreme effort to stand out and be admired themselves, yet seemed to regard their peers and the work of Yifang Wan with screwfaced contempt. This stuck out for me considerably more than the clothes and left a taste in my mouth that hasn’t quite gone.

For those wondering, my learned friend is called Caner and goes by @BowTieBoy_CD on the Twitter. He is far far wiser in these matters than I.

Twitter – @NadiaReads