London Fashion Week — fall/winter 2014

March 13, 2014

My London Fashion Week, autumn/winter 2014, experience began with the PPQ catwalk show, cocktails and the after-party at the Sanderson Hotel. PPQ gave us a true dose of retro glam from the ’60s-style hair and black eyeliner to the lace, floral prints, headbands, big fur coats and large, dark sunglasses.

New talent

Saturday was spent scouting out the latest fashion design talents at Fashion Scout at Freemasons’ Hall in Central London, around the corner from the buzzing Covent Garden. I had a jam-packed day of back-to-back shows covered from the front row, including Yifang Wan, Xiao Li, Bernard Chandran, Kiev Fashion Days and Belle Sauvage. Each designer had their own signature look, whether it was Parisian, military or playful prints (including lipstick, pearls and gold chains) at Belle Sauvage, clean lines and simplicity at Yifang Wan or sexy mod, menswear tailoring, mixed textures and coloured leather at Bernard Chandran.

If I had to put a spotlight on just one designer, it would have to be Xiao Li, a Royal College of Art grad, who presented her first stand-alone catwalk show and received Fashion Scout’s Merit Award. Her signature look was innovative sports-luxe — she combinedcontrasting materials, including knits and silicon, while meshing sports materials with latex panels into exaggerated shapes, pushing the creative boundaries. Her light-up jacket was a true work of art and talking point, based on the amount of snaps taken of the piece.

Xiao Li

The looks from Xiao Li (Fashion Scout Merit Award winner).

Ukraine’s top talents

Kiev Fashion Days featured the top six Ukrainian designers — Anna K, Krasilnikova, Lara Quint, Lera Leshchova, Paskal and Yasya Minochkina — in association with Mercedes-Benz in their second year at LFW. Anna K was girly and casual with fun and quirky logo T-shirts and dresses; Krasilnikova added ultra-feminine elegance, style and sophistication; Lara Quint focused on clean cuts, volumes and a play on fabrics; Lera Leshchova highlighted geometric lines and draping; Paskal is known for minimalist, clean lines and tailoring; and Yasya Minochkina presented an edgy everyday wardrobe for modern women. was certainly something to suit each audience member’s personal style and taste.

I also went to see the Apu Jan show and then headed to Somerset House to check out the designer collections, a fashion film presentation by Shao Yen and the Vivienne Westwood show in the evening.

Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days

Mercedes-Benz Kiev Fashion Days at London Fashion Week.

Somerset House

Apu Jan’s autumn/winter collection was constructed using unique 3D knitting techniques and featured stripes and digital prints by Ying Wu for modern and very wearable looks. I had my eyes on a few chunky knits, deconstructed skirts and silk blouses.

Shao Yen’s digital presentation gave us a dreamlike landscape around exploring the different dimensions of water, using a digital screen as the background and live models to showcase his latest collection, titled Ripple. We saw a mix of oversized bomber jackets, sports-luxe, beads and metallics, silk and faux furs and Jeffrey Campbell purple wellies, while silver blues and deep sunset reds “reflected” in tranquil waters to make up the colour palette. This scenery really brought the collection to life and created an environment that drew us all in.

Highlighting her passion for environmental issues, Vivienne Westwood had printed “Fracking we need to talk” and a link to her Climate Revolution campaign on the invitation. Once inside, the show saw Westwood’s trademark tartan in a ’50s theme, which included tones of red (even on the lips), well suited for her Red Label collection. There were also grey suits, fur trims, velvet and an element of punk leather. Front-row guests included the English singers Jessie J and Paloma Faith, who embodied the quirkiness of the British brand.

Longing for more

My final show was Roksanda Ilincic‘s showcase. Known for her elegant evening and day dresses in clean cuts and elegant lines, as well as a bold use of colours, Ilincic took her collection a step further, and we saw a lot of colour blocking, drapings and embellishments on her dresses. There were also some full skirts and coloured fur, while accessories included gold belts or bright beading. What a great way to end four days of shows — I still think about her autumn/winter collection and need one of her multi-coloured clutches in my life asap!

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By Cristina Boydell

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