With more than 100 shows set everywhere from outdoor parks to East End cathedrals to the beautifully antique Somerset House, this London Fashion Week
was a testament to the city’s strength and presence in fashion. Both new and established designers presented diverse prints (some small and some largely graphic), while others selected block colors for their collections. Designers experimented with asymmetry, draping and slicing fabrics to create sexy shapes for warmer seasons. The diverse range of collections for spring/summer ’12 is well-suited for the youngest and oldest at heart.
Given the UK’s rich textile history and ongoing industry, prints are an integral feature of London Fashion Week. Greek designer Mary Katrantzou (above), who brought us the beloved lampshade skirt, presented one-shouldered cocktail dresses with chiffon trains in an amalgamation of liquid metals and petals that mirrored the flowerbeds of her runway. Christopher Kane and Erdem integrated floral designs into their collections as well, but with different applications. Kane’s s/s ’12 collection was filled with silk brocade, copper and aquamarine that looked like poppies woven into silver as well as cut-out wild blossoms screened on sheer organza.
The red-lipped models at Erdem wore tailored knee-length dresses and silk trench coats in pale blue with embroidered white and lilac floral. Basso and Brooke and Matthew Williamson embraced the trend with more exotic varietals, whereas labels like Preen and Nicole Farhi stuck to more romantic prints. Even though flowers were prominent throughout, original graphics like Holly Fulton’s proved to be a highlight.
The graphics in this season’s collections were upstaged by vibrant block hues, while the dominant color for s/s ’12 was blue. Baby blue tweeds at Jaeger London and PPQ were just as popular as J.W. Anderson’s perforated leather and patched cardigan dresses in periwinkle. Burberry’s natural and darker collection featured pleated navy skirts and royal blue knits.
At Margaret Howell, cyan blue was used for classic shirts and striped shift dresses, while Todd Lynn selected more denim-like effects with fabrics that were uniquely dyed. Denim on denim looks was also featured at PPQ. House of Holland’s cloud-splattered, stonewashed jeans added a more fun twist to the colorful trend.
Between all the prints and shades of blue, asymmetric draping and cuts united the two trends together. Both Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label and Daks’ elegant wrap and tied tops created criss-crossed shapes and deep v-necklines. Amanda Wakeley took wrap dresses to the floor with silk jerseys in beige and navy blue that gathered at the waist or low hip before draping downwards.
Maria Grachvogel played with traditional, long kaftans, pulling fabrics closer to the body and adding sloping sleeves. Jonathan Saunders’ diagonally hemmed dresses in pale polk-a-dot silks can be easily dressed for day or night.
The proceedings came to a close with some very exciting events and one-of-kind shows. Mulberry’s safari wonderland and ice cream entrance were a hit with the fashion elite and Beyonce’s House of Dereon in the Selfridges’ parking lot was one of the most anticipated and surprising shows to make the schedule. Last, but certainly not least, was Giles Deacon’s dramatic catwalk presentation, which was equally appraised for its metallic pieces as for its production.