London Fall 2012 Fashion Week
London Fashion Week began with a bang – a Burberry Prorsum bang. Christopher Bailey called his show “Town and Field,” and it was full of unlikely city-mouse-meets-country-mouse pairings (corduroy jackets with lace peplum skirts, chunky appliquéd sweaters with velvet pencil skirts, and urbanized puffers and barn jackets). Paul Smith evolved his borrowed-from-the-boys aesthetic by way of tailored wool coats atop cropped velvet trousers, grey flannel vest dresses, and pajama-inspired ensembles.
Aquascutum designer Joanna Sykes riffed on the company’s outerwear heritage with sexy fitted jackets worn with body-con skirts or skinny pants, leather trenches, modernized military coats with quasi-bondage-strap details, and a terrific grey flannel parka with black leather trim. Roksanda Ilincic, meanwhile, brought an elegant touch to classic sportswear in her fur-heavy collection, reimagining the humble hoodie in charcoal jersey and navy silk with a luxe fox hood, pairing rust-hued silk sweatpants with a fur-shouldered berry sweatshirt, or rendering a simple boatneck pullover in smoky blue astrakhan.
Peter Pilotto duo Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos unveiled some gorgeous scuba-inspired eveningwear featuring their signature sexy, skin-baring cutouts and graphic prints – based, this season, on Japanese “light trucks” and Chinese opera masks – along with lavishly beaded cocktail frocks, neon-striped furs and laminated wool print puffers (fur and puffers being two major fall trends on the London runways). At the first-ever runway show for McQ, the lower-priced unisex line from Alexander McQueen, the news was military-inspired outerwear, kilts, and artfully deconstructed sweaters for the gents and embroidered lace party frocks and fit-and-flare coats – some in McQueen’s signature Black Watch plaid – for the ladies, all of whom wore their hair in stiff, hat-like rolls.
At Giles, designer Giles Deacon imagined the well-to-do occupants of a blazing manor grabbing their most prized possessions before fleeing to safety in the dead of night. In their arms (and on their backs): unicorn-bedecked brocade gowns, beaded dresses, and jackets and skirts with trompe-l’oeil burn holes. Mary Katrantzou took a playful approach to fall, rendering everyday household objects – the clothes hanger, rotary phone, No. 2 pencil, typewriter, kitchen utensils – extraordinary in garments made in collaboration with the legendary embroidery house Lesage (marking the first time the French firm has worked with a London designer). The results were witty, wonderful – and surprisingly wearable.
Another London Fashion Week first: the debut of Stella McCartney London Evening, a one-off capsule collection of trippy-print tuxedos and elegant column gowns the designer unveiled at a presentation/black-tie bash that drew the likes of Kate Moss and Jamie Hince, Twiggy, Alison Mosshart, Mario Testino, Rihanna, Simon Le Bon, Bianca Jagger, Stella Tennant, Shailene Woodley, and Juergen Teller (among others), who were treated to the sight of illusionist Hans Klok levitating Alexa Chung, and supes Yasmin Le Bon, Amber Valletta, and Shalom Harlow staging a tightly choreographed flash mob dance scene. It was, without a doubt, the highlight of the week.
Lauren David Peden writes for Rue La La as a Contributing Editor.