Saturday, 12 April 2014

Catwalk Reports for Haptic World AW13

Meadham Kirchoff
Perfection is something we all strive for but as per usual Benjamin and Edward the two halves to Meadham Kirchoff, took that notion and turned it on its head. Amidst the concrete underworld that makes up the Tanks at the Tate Modern, the collection was a nod toward oppression; from the Victorian style starch cotton dresses complete with ruff collars combined with a dark optimism toward breaking free along the path of perfection. This path of least resistance could be seen in the way in which the duo technically mastered vinyl in ways that have not been seen before – note the cropped jacket complete with matching vinyl skirt with a laser cut edge.

The collection was remarkably different from the circus of last season where each look was imploded with colour and glitter, very much so in the traditional Meadham way. What came across this season, as a more somber mood at first was soon a realisation that the duo can keep things interesting especially where a monochromatic palette is concerned.

The childish pastels of the past were replaced with black leather, sheer tulle and white linen, presenting the perfect transition between melancholy and romance with significant attention to detail. Feminine silhouettes met boxy leather jackets and were teamed with leather skullcaps. The looks were complete with Gold Louis shoes that hinted at the kind of decadent glamour we are used to seeing from the duo. From sensual to virginal, this season Meadham Kirchoff managed to get across their unique message once more, where the woman can be both innocent and erotic at the same time.

When the KTZ models took to the runway this season, the first thing that came to mind was this: Amish Puritan meets modernism meets witchcraft; an odd mix you may think. Renowned for producing a dramatic couture influenced silhouette, designers Pejoski, Bezovski, and Maruyama have maintained their boutique like approach to fashion, despite relocating from Soho to Bali nearly a decade ago.

Continuing to push boundaries, KTZ with their goth like styling have ensured to present a message through their collections – which have become increasingly popular at London Fashion Week over the past few seasons. A dark side, always carries meaning as was evident in the tarot symbolic referencing with texts such as ‘Magician’ and Death’ emblazoned vertically along the garments – in a stand out way. Further tribal and witchcraft elements were clear in the form of spectacular good boots, fringed leather jackets complete with matching trousers and graphic monochromatic gothic prints with full structured skirts.

The KTZ consumer is one that is lured toward cutting edge designs with a wearable quality and hint of sports luxe. The essence of fetishism was also strongly present with pleated leather skirts and PVC trousers leading into a line of cult church stained glass effect dresses. Bearing the winter season in mind, the collection was not complete without a shearling beige cropped coat bearing more roman numerical style symbols. Like past collections, everything with KTZ is exaggerated whether it is the silhouette, graphic prints or the message behind the collection. The trio is ensuring to stay loyal to their culturally influenced work and this season the woman plays the role of a modern impeccably dressed witch.

David Koma
When we think vinyl, our mind immediately casts us back to nostalgic feelings of anything vintage from old record players pre-dating the I-tunes era. David Koma has the power to resurface such feelings but what is more interesting is the way he turned something so dated, into something completely futuristic. For AW13, it was as clear as day the influence that music has played within his designs especially for the coming season, and what can be more joyous than that concept? We completely agree with Koma there.

Such joy was evident in his intricate use of leather and jersey that made up a shawl collar, which mirrored an old record album that you may find in your loft. Beginning his looks with the usual use of black that we are so used to seeing from him, the collection shocked with injections of bright reds, warm beiges and then onto softer blues. As this was a collection based on experiment with techniques, it was also an exploration into colour that resembled an art deco style.

Shifting away from bodycon, the shapes were structured yet feminine at the same time but not in the way that would feel overly girly. Sculpturing the dresses and skirts allowed them to take form of other musical instruments and added an interesting new silhouette to the designer’s collection. Outerwear was another new introduction in the form of a boxy coat and other fit and flare pieces that were striking and soft at the same time. Half circular prints in leather and silver metallic’s on top of bright blues dominated the last few looks that were very reminiscent of Koma’s previous work and altogether showed off his strengths once more for designing uniquely constructed dresses for strong women. Let the music play…

If you didn’t get the invite to the PPQ party (aka the AW13 runway show) then I am sorry to inform you that you missed out. Introducing the fun in dressing up once more, designer Amy Molyneaux presented an eclectic mix of cocktail dresses and frocks that are guaranteed to get the party started. Or in this case, carrying on from the soirees at Saint Tropez beaches where the PPQ girl was last season. The colour block landscape sourced fifties and sixties inspiration from the beehive up do’s complete with velvet bows through to the psychedelic prints and puffballs skirts that resonated more closely with the clubber’s wardrobe in the eighties.

Amongst an array of strong colours, were nineties neon’s knits in acid yellow and fluorescent pinks and greens teamed with satin, playing up the part mix once more. Amidst the candy shop colours, came striking LBD’s that gave the collection a balance that is required for every cocktail event – the PPQ girl, who has taken form in the likes of A-listers such as is Beyoncè, is often in the limelight. In true Carrie Bradshaw style, no look was complete without Manolo Blahnik’s (the brand’s latest collaboration) giving the collection its only consistent feature, one that complimented the looks without taking all the attention. From exaggerated shoulders with embellished detailing, teamed up with elegant elbow length gloves, paired with bright bubble skirts, PPQ also stayed true seasonal style; coats were kept loud and bright in block primary shades. Albeit the PPQ girl growing up, she has not forgotten how to fun, keeping the party spirit amongst club goers truly alive.

John Rocha
There is something about the way John Rocha does old fashioned, because he does so in a way that really makes you appreciate good, old fashioned dressing. From the utopian bright garden of last season, Rocha continued his floral journey taking inspiration from Wicklow, an Irish town with a dreamy green landscape that was fully evident within the collection. His exploration into colour last season was present for AW13 also but in more autumnal hues such as dewy greens, salmon pinks and sunshine yellow that you feel the warmth of on those extra cold days – bringing the extravagance of the summer into a more wearable winter.

Of course the collection was not without the designer’s signature use of black, but Rocha manages this in such a seductive way that you will never tire of his structured dresses or this season’s well balanced tailored jumpsuits. A-line skirts were met with appliquéd organza that was constructed in the most elegant of flowers giving way for voluminous proportions that met equally voluminous coats to match. Better still, everything remained seemingly pretty in true Rocha style.

Lace was glazed over with the current ‘it’ fabric of latex and gave coats and lining an added shimmer that reflected a dewy wintery glow, very picturesque, as you would imagine an Irish county to be. Tulle headpieces acted as extensions of the garments and complete the looks, complimenting more traditionally designed crocheted dresses. From Edwardian silhouettes through to cultural Irish references, Rocha once again played with proportions and created what felt like a dream in a far away land.

John Rocha
For almost thirty years, Hong Kong born designer John Rocha, has resided in the UK and Ireland ever since. There is something about the way Rocha does old fashioned, because he does so in a way that really makes you appreciate good, old fashioned dressing. From the utopian bright garden of last season, Rocha continued his floral journey taking inspiration from Wicklow, an Irish town with a dreamy green landscape that was fully evident within the collection. The impacts of his surroundings are always evident throughout his collections.

The seventies saw Rocha attend the Croydon College of Art, where he honed in on his craft consistently inspired by Irish fabrics. Renowned for producing prêt-a-porter womenswear and menswear collections, Rocha’s designs are wearable and are of significance to the British fashion industry, showcasing traditional talent that pays attention to details. Signature to his style is the use of black alongside hand crochet knitwear, extravagant eveningwear in rich fabrics, which are inspired by fluid, oriental shapes.

1994 saw Rocha named British Designer of the Year and he has since been a spectacle and one to look forward to at London Fashion Week. His collections, inspired by his habitat are often reminiscent of Irish landscapes and traditional beauty. Rocha is not afraid to design a beautiful dress.

If it is a shit day that you’re having, then why not talk about it? In fact why not have it embellished on a t-shirt covered in sequins in a way that only Ashish Gupta can pull off? This season, Ashish took street style in the literal sense of the word creating a wardrobe that was inspired by the construction worker – namely providing the functionality of hardwearing, protective and durable gear minus a hard hat albeit not to far off from it.

A mixture of tweeds, checks and houndstooth prints were met with high vis jackets as staple outside uniforms; ready to conquer a day of hard work. Slouchy trousers true to sports luxe form met over sized knits and once again we saw the return of the denim pinafore, which is clearly not going anywhere any time soon. With a mixed colour palette of blues, grey’s and autumnal browns teamed with fluorescent jackets, the collection stayed in line with a wintry theme steering away from block colour’s.

The elegant of glamour shone through the use of sequins, which came across in a non-tacky way. Orange sequined cargo pants complete with knee pads (remember safety at work) met a fringed houndstooth blouse and cover up. Another houndstooth number took the form of a skimpy jumpsuit in a relaxed silhouette. Ashish presented an eclectic mix of work/street wear glamour and once again send a message through the collection that most people can relate to during their working day, “The end is near.”

Louise Gray
If Louise Gray wasn’t so busy bustling around backstage amongst the circus that is her wonderful eclectic AW13 collection, then I have no doubt that she wouldn’t be on the runway herself. In a time where fashion is evolving faster than the economy, Louise Gray is one designer that still manages to remain the embodiment of her entire collection, always filled with the fun ethos that is sometimes missing from LFW.

The collection, appropriately named ‘Hey Crazy’ was just that. Incorporating equally strong concepts of genius and insanity (much like Louise herself), AW13 referenced the late fifties and early sixties that made up the Happenings era in New York City, during a time when everything was, well, happening. A range of intricate patterns made for double jacquard swing coats, matching skirts, jackets and shift dresses teamed with psychedelic knew high printed boots. You can always rely on Gray to turn carrier bags (designed by none other than Stephan Jones) into couture-esque hats that at first seem amusing, but oddly acceptable – a concept that is the epitome of London fashion and what it is renowned for.

The marmite style collection (you either love or hate it) also featured detailed accessories, amongst which lay a toilet roll brooch with a ring to match. The mismatched looks that did not abide by any particular trend inspired colour palette seamed strangely wearable, hence the Louise Gray influence that inspires you to put together your own eccentric style as you please. From metallic foil pencil skirts, through to cello tape bracelets and foil tray belts, Louise reiterated the importance of the creative flame that appears to be low on oil in London at the moment.

LCF MA – Na Di
The Royal Opera House gave way to LCF MA menswear and womenswear students who had the opportunity to showcase their vision and prospective talent for the future of fashion design. Standing out in particular was Na Di who recently graduated in MA Fashion Design Technology, Menswear with quirky menswear tailoring teamed off with a relaxed streetwear and boyish appeal.

Hailing from Beijing, Na Di’s strengths lay in experimenting with prints and the juxtaposition of this with more traditional tailored silhouettes. The collection named “Power and Beauty” referenced Chinese realist paintings combined with luxury, bright and colourful prints that resembled the works from the Ancient Tang dynasty. The exploration of flowers allowed Na Di to imprint them into her designs in way that a painter would, making them come to life as they walked down the runway.

Combining this with more Western culture, the young talent managed to create sharp and structured tailored silhouettes reminiscent of Savile Row and down played them with hip hop influences through the use of printed snapbacks and caps. The result was an innovative collection that embraced the colourful history of a cultural past met with the modernisation of menswear that looks to use more casual accessories with tailoring, such as a hat and in a way paid homage to the hip hop culture that became popularised in the eighties. Slightly exaggerated shoulders met slim collars and lapels and overall the collection felt need and well constructed. Na Di is definitely one to watch not only for innovative use of print but the combination of this with tailoring also.

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