While long considered an upstart wedged between New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, London is calling… and we'd be fashion fools not to pick up. While still the most free-spirited and avant guard of the bunch, London Fashion Week is solidly building it’s reputation as the place for adventurous emerging designers like Christopher Kane, David Coma and Mary Katranzou, as well as those with more experienced clout like Tom Ford, Burberry Posum and Vivienne Westwood and – to unveil their latest and greatest and even most bizarre.
So let’s bring on the freshly fierce and bold London Fashion Week standouts shall we?
A LITTLE LOVE FOR THE MEAN GIRL
An all-around critical fave was Scottish-wunderkind Christopher Kane, whose eponymous line’s Spring 2012 collection drew inspiration from that most-hated of creatures: the loathesome high school mean girl. If you're thinking a haute couture Heathers, you’re on the right track: feminine yet icy, mean and downright dangerous… with the appropriate peppering of calculating innocence. From cricket sweaters and short skirts, to cut-out, structured dresses – the focus of Kane’s collection was undoubtedly his unwavering ability and attention to detail, and his use of a widely praised “ghost fabric” (70% aluminum organza) that was so fine it was necessarily layers so as not to be invisible. Paired with the of-the-moment floral prints – the effect was lauded and luminous.
TWENTY-TWO AND TERRIFIC
Another London-darling was 22-year old up-and-comer Thomas Tait who garnered a coveted glowing critic from the notedly hard-to-impress New York Times fashion empress Cathy Horyn, who called the collection “among the best” and offering quite a bit of detailed praise. So just what was everybody so impressed by?
Outside of Tait's age and newby-status, think a sportwear-inspired collection, exquisite in cut, simplicity and silhouette. Tait’s tightly-pared 20-piece collection was a light, bright line of streamlined sportswear, in a palette of mostly white, with a smattering of black and palest blues and pinks. From pleated-jersey halter and racer-backed dresses to voluminous overcoats, and classic uptown sweatshirts to straight legged high-waters, the collection was accessorized with eyewear from his own collaboration with eyewear brand Cutler and Gross and specially designed Nike sneakers. This being the only Tait’s third womenswear collection ever, methinks he might be one to watch.
DO NOT LOOK MR. FORD IN THE EYES
Unfortunately, another Thomas did not fare as well at this season’s showing. Tom Ford’s top-secret and uber-exclusive show didn’t fail to draw his hand-picked audience of the fashion-elite (No critics, please. Well… maybe a few.) What it did fail to draw were the accolades.
After swearing to “NOT do anymore shows. Ever.”, Ford sent out a smattering of email invitation to the journalistic elite – forbidding any cameras or leaking of photos of the collection in the process. And while the pulling-off of this kind of secrecy and exclusivity must be given it's due, I have to wonder if it played any small part in the animosity of the 2012 Ford line's reception.
Of course the collection apparently did that well enough for itself, thank you. Not known for being anything close to a minimalist, Ford's 2012 line has been called a slew of unflattering things: overdone, a throw-back to 1990’s Gucci, and even agitating. And while, most agree that Ford’s attention to detailing and curved sexiness haven’t been glossed over by any means, there are those that expressed their distaste... in print. The Gaurdian’s Jess Cartner-Morley, wrote in no uncertain terms that Ford's show was "dull." - ouch.
I'm going to come straight out with it. Deep breath: I didn't think Tom Ford's show was all that. Not that it was awful, by any means, but despite the beautiful tailoring and the immaculate execution it fell a little flat. It felt too self-referential. Too many frills and too few new ideas. There were gorgeous, curvy, super vamp dresses that I loved, but the flouncy peasant blouses and corset belts seemed like a Guilty Pleasures version of Tom Ford.
Ouch. We here at ICPlaces.com wish we could render an opinion either way, but we weren’t invited. And even if we were, we couldn’t show you the goods anyway. Mr. Ford does what Mr. Ford wants and will release photos of the clothing when Mr. Ford feels good and ready to do so.
All in all this season’s London Fashion Week was rife with up-and-comers making good and most name brands making even better. As for Mr. Tom Ford? We're not sure what he made... 'cause he won't show us.