With the city in full pre-Olympic fever, there was serious heat coming off this season’s London Fashion Week, not least in the sports-luxe design twist evident in several Autumn/Winter 2012 collections.
With one of the strongest line-ups in the fashion show calendar, London is currently producing exceptionally innovative and unique designer garments. It certainly attracted the crème of the fash pack, including the expected crop of influential editors, Kate Bosworth, Mario Testino and the Prime Minister’s wife, Samantha Cameron. Here, we profile shows from six of the hottest talents, whose collaborations with Swarovski have earned the group the sobriquet: ‘The Swarovski Collective’.
In a darkly lit, gothic hall round the corner from St Paul’s cathedral, Giles Deacon presented his apocalyptic vision for winter to a crammed audience. With his sharply cut, velvet-edged tuxedo suits worn with high-collared, crisp white shirts, and his Elizabethan black riding jackets with peplum-hemmed pencil skirts – and not forgetting the printed prom dresses edged with multi-hued feathers – this was a show with serious gasp factor. The collection segued into a dramatic climax of multi-layered maxi gowns in tulle shot through with burnt-out holes, beautifully decorated with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS. The whole effect was that of a seductive lady of the manor fleeing her country estate in a flurry of flames.
With a mouth-wateringly beautiful collection presented in the stark space of London’s new White Cube gallery, yet again Erdem had the fash-pack eating out of his exquisitely talented hands. Opening with a fierce purple tweed shift, complete with black latex bustier overlay, he set out his naughty-but-nice vision. Sheer delicately lacy shifts in neon yellow and black latex shell tops paired with peekaboo lace pencil skirts gave way to a slew of incredibly detailed prints on 1950s flared dresses and cropped trousers. From graffiti-splattered to oversized floral patterns bolstered with hand-embroidered SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, the collection was a heady experience that stole the day for Erdem.
There really is something about Mary. Kicking off the final day of London Fashion Week in seriously impressive style, the 29-year-old Athenian has more than cemented her position as one of the most exciting talents to be in showing in the city. Renowned for her eye for printed detailing, Katrantzou turned her attention to the everyday, so we had spoons, typewriters, blades of grass, yellow HB pencils and telephones. All were hand embroidered with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS, illuminating her beautifully structured Elizabethan-style corseted dresses, geometric-printed column maxis with contrasting print peplums and billowing baby doll outfits. She also showed knitwear for the first time, expertly fusing angora details onto her structured silk shifts and producing thickly woven cocoon-shaped jumpers pared with gorgeous bright yellow, wide-leg silk trousers. After rapturous applause, the proof of her power was surely the sight of editors rushing to snap up her T-shirts from the venue’s pop-up store.
In recent years, we’ve seen a flurry of exciting and innovative knitwear designers break into the London fashion scene, not least Central St Martins Graduate and ex-Gareth Pugh collaborator, Craig Lawrence. His architecturally incisive and modern use of new technical fibres produced some seriously impressive pieces. For his autumn presentation, there is a distinct ’90s grunge influence, which is bang on the money. We saw sheer Swarovski yarn-panelled dresses with thickly textured cropped jackets, mixed with sporty, racer-back crop-tops with thick, rolling hoods; and bodycon maxis paired with cropped jumpers trimmed with orange neon. A seriously cool, pared-down but sexy, winter look.
J W Anderson
In little over a year since launching his women’s wear collections, this precocious talent has had the entire fashion industry in raptures over his fresh aesthetic – they were clamouring at the door to get into his first full-schedule show at the old Central St Martins building. Think padded white apron skirts teamed with sleeveless gilets; full head-to-toe PVC looks with V-neck tops; straight-leg trousers in rich autumn colours of deep camel and plum; mohair plaid jackets; oversized burnt orange sweaters worn with primly schoolgirl, A-line skirts luxed up with laser-cut crystal fabric. Anderson looks set to keep the industry at his feet for a long time to come.
Schwab’s latest triumph of a collection had a distinct touch of the femme fatale. From devastatingly chic and asymmetric wide-brim hats, to fluid white flared-hem sleeveless shifts and dangerously sexy black leather belted trenches, Schwab’s lady is on a serious mission. He then turned out the sweetest detailing, with oversized floral lace inserts on neatly fitting sweaters, hand-embroidered crystal necklines, and patterned pencil skirts and dresses. The show closed with a series of hold-the-front-page gowns – not least his incredible black sheer maxi, overlaid on a gorgeous iridescent bustier. Spectacular.