You can always rely on Ashish Gupta to be playful and go against the grain. This season, the Indian-born, London-based designer paid homage to all things British by showing the union jag on everything from men's shorts in sequins to women's t-shirts. It didn't end there. Tartan appeared on low-slung trousers with a cropped black long-sleeved top with skeleton print, and a Benetton-striped jumper was teamed with the print in bright red and blue. A yellow chunky knit dress came with holes teamed with tights with spider-web detail on the knees, and light-wash jeans came distressed with tears all over.
All eyes were on Simone Rocha yesterday as she showed her debut collection in collaboration with Fashion East. Rocha has everything going for her. This season she created a strong and clear message and after all, British design extraordinaire John Rocha is her dad.
If you intend to wear any of her pieces come fall, you better renew you gym membership pretty soon because the collection was all about showing off your legs. Dresses all came in thigh grazing styles despite the odd pair of leather trousers and a fringed maxi dress that appeared. White Mongolian wool was thrown over a grey mini dress and an oversized taupe top came styled with a long slouched cardigan and leather trousers. Although the colour palette was largely muted, the few flashes of colour that Rocha did introduce like a orange dress with a sheer skirt styled on top just worked.
Of the three designers, Rocha is definitely the one to watch and right now she's my favourite new talent this season.
Back in 2009, Mark Fast shot to fame after showing sexed-up bod-con knitwear dresses, and now five seasons later, we've all been wondering what else the designer can do. Fast tackled the criticism head-on yesterday, showing us that he's more than a one-trick pony.
Whatever you can say about Fast, he does open your mind to the creative potential of the use of knitwear. No other designer has played with the technique in such innovative ways. This season, he decided to deviate from high hemlines and opted to show a floor-length mermaid tail knitwear dress in nude. Although his experimentation should be applauded, unfortunately it just didn't work. For the fish tail, he used a chunkier knit that seemed to weigh the dress down, making it look too heavy. With that said, the strength of the collection definitely lay in the simple pieces, like a selection of nude suede shift dresses, and particularly the opening looks, like a neutral knit halter mini dress teamed with a cropped jacked in what looked like Mongolian wool. A look featuring a cropped top and mini skirt with a thicker knit along the hemline looked classy.
If there's one designer that I look forward to see each season, it's Todd Lynn. Each time around, he manages to stick with his signature sci-fi aesthetic and sharp tailoring whilst continuing to make it pieces that are interesting and new. For S/S11, he took us to the year 3000, showing a collection fit for an android army - but this season he opted for something softer.
The collection began with neutral pieces, like a zip-up grey jacket with brown fur thrown on top, teamed with a mushroom-coloured maxi. Fur also came in white on a big jacket teamed with his much-celebrated leather trousers. Jackets were clinical in white and came with a high structured fold on the neckline with a zip detail running down the front: Think of a stylish version of a straitjacket, minus the mental health connotations. Leather jackets in green came with the same structured neckline, as well as on the sleeves of grey jackets.
When you think about Mulberry, the first thing that springs to mind are the accessories, right? But that's all changing. Although the designs aren't anything you haven't seen before, Emma Hill continually creates nice, easy pieces that you'd want in your wardrobe. Given the fact the show's Claridges venue was full of names like Kirsten Dunst, Alexa Chung and Clémence Poésy, it looks like they agree.
Moreso this season than last, Hill's penchant for all things English was clear. The Mulberry girl is "very English," she told Style.com. "She's got a dilapidated, stately home. She's got her long party dress on and she throws on a duffel coat." The classic coat was often teamed with floral-printed maxi dresses coming with tan ankle boots. Knee-length dresses came with leaf prints that also featured on pussy-bow blouses.
Wearbility is often deemed the kiss of death by designer standpoints, but in the current economic climate, designers are quickly beginning to realise that creating an accessible and wearable collection cannot hurt. Margaret Howell is a great example of that idea working. Each season, any piece of her collection can easily fit into any wardrobe, and she continues to create simple pieces that we all want to wear.
Polo dresses came in royal blue and belted, teamed under tweed blazers, and styled with hats that featured throughout in navy and neutral shades. Single-breasted winter coats came with velvet turn-up trousers and flat shoes, and dark leather coats came with fur collars styled with over-the-knee skirts in navy and a simple plaid shirt. I loved a thick cable-knit jumper that nipped in at the waist with a thick brown belt and matched with a sheer navy skirt. A burgundy corduroy skirt, teamed with a white shirt, brown jumper and navy jacket just worked.
We've seen lace pop up often this season and Antonio Berardi seems to be a fan of the style, as it appeared on a selection of pieces in his autumn/winter 2011 show yesterday. Its use of lace marks the return to his fall 2010 collection that saw it feature heavily successfully. One dress in particular came in head to toe lace with a simple black underlay skirt to preserve the model's modesty. Lace also appeared on a black fitted over the knee length dress with semi circle panels down the front creating an illusion of curves.
Evening dresses were not as strong as we've seen from the designer in the past and a red gown in particular with a high slit could have been edited out. That said, a royal blue wet look long sleeved floor length gown worked.
When it comes to London Fashion Week it's all about Burberry. For the past three seasons the brand has been the hottest ticket in the capital and again, Christopher Bailey failed to disappoint.
The fall collections for the house are always strong as it sees Bailey be more experimental with fabrics and textures and after all, outerwear is what Burberry is all about. This season the trench came in warm browns with a mustard outline and black fur as well as the coing in the classic camel shade. Outerwear also came in double breasted styles in mustard and brown with cropped volumous sleeves in a pronounced cocoon shape.
The tricky pieces in the collection were the dalamation print that you'll either love or hate. Bailey introduced the print on berets, coat and jackets all nipped in at the waist with a thin soft belt.
The weather on Saturday morning was terrible but something convinced me to get up and rush to the Louise Amstrup show despite the early start and I wasn't disappointed. As a big Yves Saint Laurent fan, the structured tailoring and references to the iconic brand were welcomed.
A beautifully structured single breasted tailored coat in grey came teamed with black opaque tights and simple ankle boots. Tailored blazers were modernised by Amstrump placing leather and patent panels on the sleeves and along the collars and a classic white shirt was grey on the sleeves from below the elbow and was teamed with wide leg trousers in the same shade. Patent also appeared on panels on dresses as well as on neckpieces.