A fashion show ticket can be an invitation into a designer’s private world – with all the cosy, and sometimes slightly uncomfortable, intimacy that brings. Witness day three of the London collections, where plenty of great clothes were served up with more than a few interior incites to match. Often quite literally.
“We are doing our house up at the moment, so there are a lot of architectural references in the collection,” said Preen’s Justin Thornton after a wonderfully clean, sports-infused show that mixed pastel shades of pink, pale blue, yellow and white with iridescent shine, monochrome florals and colourful patchwork prints. “The patchworks came from parquet flooring,” added Thornton helpfully. “And the flower outlines were like William Morris wallpaper.”
“We were also thinking about Miami too,” said partner Thea Bragazzi. “We’ve never been, but we love the romanticised notion of it; the colours and the jagged skyline of Art Deco buildings.” Find out what curtains they choose – and if they ever do get to book that holiday to Florida – next season.
At Mulberry, creative director Emma Hill also had home on her mind for her final collection for the leather goods label. “I was thinking of the fashion house as a home as well as brand,” said an emotional Hill backstage. The pared-down collection of T-shirt shapes and soft A-line skirts, ran up in country manor brocades or banded leather and suede stripes, as well as pyjama pantsuits, easy leather shirts and shorts, bold flower embroideries on duchesse satin shifts and tomato soup-hued strapless dresses – often with bags to match – was all sent out to a soundtrack of “Our House” by Madness of course. But Hill didn’t seem to be particularly happy at leaving her creative house of the past six years. “I just want to be with my team,” she said wiping the tears away.
It was easy to confuse the show notes with the lunch menu at L’Wren Scott’s second London show. Bento boxes of Japanese delights were served to the guests as the collection of – yes, you’ve guessed it – Japanese inspired blossom embroidered and obi-belted designs strode down the runway. Scott likes to dish up her inspiration in a literal way, but the best looks only nodded to the east, like a black lacquered fitted-below-the-knee dress or white tailored trouser suit with slash sleeves. And as for eating lunch during a fashion show? It is an intimate experience not for the faint hearted. Needless to say, some didn’t even try pick up their chopsticks.
Topshop, meanwhile, has moved house to Regent’s Park this season – complete with a grass-covered runway and tepee-style awning. Naturally the high street label’s Unique line seemed eager to tap in the venue’s earthy vibe with a wafty update on boho style that included mosaic prints, tassel scarves, fringed kaftans and floor-skimming appliqué dresses. Over at Paul Smith Woman it was a more polished version of Seventies style on offer; think floral hostess kaftans, sheer cotton peasant dresses, floppy hats – and this being the sister line of a men’s label – plenty of baggy masculine trouser suits.
Vivienne Westwood is a designer who likes to go her own way. Turning up along with the guests for her Red Label show and sitting herself at the centre of the front row seemed par for the course for the maverick designer – and practically tame, compared with the opening “pagan dance” performed by flame-haired model Lily Cole. The collection that followed was pure Westwood, including plaid suits, floral draped dresses, beaten-up “Buffalo” hats and the requisite campaigning about climate change. Each guest was given a postcard from the Environmental Justice Foundation to send on to the UN.
Things were a little more frivolous at Mary Katrantzou. The designer had shoes on her mind, which, of course, meant giant gimmicky photo prints of lace-up brogues printed on to plissé shift dresses, as well as a series of jewel-like confections that marked a cheery return to colour after last season’s dabblings with black and white industrial landscapes.
Of course Matthew Williamson showed colour too, but even his tomato reds and vivid sky blues seemed slightly more restrained this season, with a dressed-down feel – and the odd pair of flat shoes – running through the collection. But not to worry; Sienna Miller, perched front row, still had plenty of fabulous evening frocks, often in bold black-edged prints, to pick from.
“Embellishment felt really modern this season; craftsmanship but with a sense of ease,” said Jonathan Saunders after a show that mixed embroidered satin zip-up bomber jackets, with track pants and dresses pieced together from a myriad of fabrics in a rainbow of sludgy Seventies shades. The designer is also celebrating 10 years in fashion; “from making things in my bedroom in Brixton”’ to showing at last night’s Tate Britain venue. It’s a big jump in addresses, but he looked right at . . . well, home.