A few weeks ago New York fashion editors, stylists & buyers were treated to a special viewing of London's latest crop of forward-thinking labels at the Soho Grand Hotel in a series of cheery showroom style vignettes, with each designer on hand. And what a treat it was as each designer graciously walked visitors through their collections touching on their inspirations, fabrications & construction. And for fashion junkies like ourselves that haven't been able to cross the Atlantic to view the inspiring energy these designers display on the catwalk, it was an exciting event to take in. One was left amazed at how strong and individual each of these young designer's visions are. Here's a quick break-down of some of our favorite labels in participation:
Louise Gray(also shown above)
In just a few seasons Louise Gray has built quite a name for herself with her bold eye for mixing quirky prints, textures & colors like one has never seen. Gray has a knack for combing her explosive textiles with a certain street style attitude that makes her adventurous ideas grounded in an upbeat user friendly reality.
Touching upon London's recent re-finessing of early 90's hallmarks from body-con, to velvet & cut-outs to the now ubiquitous shoulder pad, Hannah Marshall continues to deliver brazenly sexy collections perfect for party-girls on the go. What sets her apart is her calculated restraint as her aesthetic also picks up on the era's crisp minimalism, ultimately creating pieces that may also be sci-fi and a tad other-worldly, yet simple enough to just throw on and run out the door in. And to create such strong, powerful looks that one can wear with such ease, now there's a genius go-to label in the making.
The boys of Meadham Kirchoff have been on our radar's since their first collection several seasons back as we are fans of their plays on Edwardiana, romanticized grunge and effortless layering. And while every other Fall 2010 collection hit on the strict over-hyped "need for clean," their brooding lace veiled maidens sent out in a hyper-mix of prints and ethnic references felt refreshingly optimistic. Broken down, the collection is full of easy-to-wear, beautifully made, quirky pieces that have a recognizable disheveled beauty to them.
Todd Lynn was also on hand to wow us with his inventive, beautifully constructed takes on what's come to be known as "futuro-goth," the kind of distinctly urbane, moody and sculptural pieces men & women the world over have been living by ever since Helmut Lang & Rick Owens came on the scene. Lynn's take for Fall 2010 came in a refreshingly light palette of woodsy neutrals & matte leathers that lent the collection a softer vibe.
The latest master of prints to come on to the London scene, Mary Katrantzou, had a bevy of light-as-a-feather dresses & separates on hand that were covered in beautifully mastered digital prints that combined the designer's Art Deco signatures with genius trompe l'oeil prints that came in the form of deceptively printed ruffles, jewel prints & lace panels.
Marjon Pejoski's collection has made a complete turn around ever since his infamous swan dress for Bjork. Once a playful street-oriented and highly elusive label, we were taken aback by his new found luxurious restraint. Ornately sequined cob-web adornments, a vaguely 20's vibe, and uses of sheer chiffon and intricately detailed chain panels were only further proof of Pejoski's decidedly ultra-luxe new beat.
A look at Holly Fulton's range brought forth so many references to mind from Deco & digital prints, to 50's kitsch, and on through the 60's Mod era, and that's quite a broad range to patch together so beautifully. Along with being a master with prints she's also managed to garner quite a reputation for her vaguely Art Deco inspired bib necklaces and jewelery that somehow manage to blend into each look effortlessly. And that's part of why Fulton's collections are always so intriguing, they have a giddy yet polished look, it's not too dainty, not too heavy, but just right and at the same time refreshing. Most impressing however was how light everything was, an ornately embroidered mod-inspired shift dress per say, was as light-as-a-feather. Proposing such a delightful lightness to cocktail hour dressing should continue to keep Fulton top ranks on everyone's radar.
Uber hip super high-street mega emporium Kokon To Zai's private label KTZ has quietly gained a cult status among the cool kids and ballsier party-minded fashion folk in the know with their wildly inventive takes on streetwear. Their portion of the event was filled with outrageous takes on the haute-bourjeois era of the early 90's complete with lame ruffled pants, gilt crests and jeweled appliques. In the mix were more grounded layering essentials from smart knitwear to the now essential modified sweatpant.