1. by Alexander Fury .

    Jens Laugesen

    The final part of a trilogy of collections he calls 'Interior' Jens Laugesen's A/W 2008 collection managed to tread a tricky line between historicism and modernity, integrating elements of Victorian costume into beyond-contemporary tailoring. Working with his usual, highly-restricted palette - black in a multitude of finishes and two shades of blue were all we got - Laugesen used fabric and seam detail to draw an analogy between his garments and costume of the past. A short jacket had raised seams like the boning of an Edwardian bodice and brocade was everywhere, albeit reinterpreted with specially commissioned geometric patterns. The only other decoration were Swarovski crystals, bonded to fabrics and detailing lapels and harness-like angular shoulderpads inspired by the work of architect Zaha Hadid. The high-waisted strong-shouldered line Laugesen excels in has been on virtually every catwalk this season, but his version had real conviction - he has been refining it since the inception of his label. And maybe that was the issue - nothing looked especially new. But with this show marking the closure of the trilogy - and with his recent sponsorship by Fashion Forward - the most interesting part of this collection was wondering what Jens will do next.

  2. by Alexander Fury .

    Fashion East

    Past incubator for now stellar talents such as Marios Schwab, Gareth Pugh and Jonathan Saunders, Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East show has become know as a hot-bed of futues stars - much like that other London fashion institution, Central Saint Martins. Only one graduate showed tonight - Louise Grey, whose block-coloured shift dresses in soft silks embellished with faux-naif applique (her leitmotif) were sexed-up somewhat with suspender-belts and some crotch-flashing bodysuits, though it was the new focus on tailoring that moved her look on. Recyclist extraordinaire Noki opened the show and pulled the biggest cheers from the crowd for his collection of reworked sliced and diced t-shirts and ballgowns. Titled NHS - for Noki House of Sustainability, in case you didn't know - the look didn't plow his aesthetic forward anything much: but with a show manifesto decrying modern throw-away culture, maybe that was the whole point. David David's playful, 'Carry on Camping' collection acted as a perfect counterpoint to both Gray and Noki, showcasing light-hearted graphic prints - a huge London trend, and one young David Saunders has already mastered. His first showing at Fashion East, the rapturous reception of his work bodes well for his future success.

  3. by Alexander Fury .

    House of Holland

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    The hype was almost as frenzied as the scrum for the door at Henry Holland's first runway show away from Fashion East, and in typical Holland style it was riotous over-the-top fun. A blast of bagpipes opened a collection dedicated to Bonnie Scotland - and I'm sure Holland's vision of her homeland brought a tear to dear Penny's eye (perhaps she should have sported the rather fetching plaid eyepatch as opposed to Agyness?). This was Edinburgh on Ecstasy, a thumped-up super-Scotland with lashings of tartan, exaggerated tam-o-shanters and more sporrans than you could shake a haggis at. Amongst the highland fling thing, intricately pleated kilt-trenches, leather buckle details and a clever way with printed velour showed that House of Holland had managed to mature without losing the fun. At the finale, Ms Deyn emerged as a Brigadoon Bride in tiered kilt-dress and Holland-clan tartan antlers: HOH's new crest states 'PASSIO FACTIONIS,' and there are few with such a passion for fashion as Mr Holland.

  4. by Alexander Fury .

    Roksanda Ilincic

    You'll have to be content with a fetching snap of my deranged fash mag slag scribblings in lieu of footage of the Roksanda Ilincic show as, alas, the finale circumvented my seat and by the time I fought my way through the photographers' scrum there was barely a slither of silk-satin in sight. The collection was shown in the sophisticated setting of the atrium of the Aurora restaurant at ANdAZ, to a champagne reception around which the models wound their way, dressed in... well, classic Ilincic. The draped satin and crepe-de-chine gowns were beautiful, but really they weren't anything we hadn't seen from her before. Ditto the exaggerated angles at peplum and poitrine and twists and fins of fabric, sometimes in acid-bright zibeline and gazar with the selvedge left intact. That said, Ilincic has an international fanbase of women consistently wearing - and buying - into her extreme vision of modern couture season after season, so perhaps the old adage is true: if it ain't broke don't fix it.

  5. by Alexander Fury .

    Backstage at Marios Schwab

    Due to the frenetic schedule of this years London Fashion Week, I didn't have time to upload these sneakily snapped pictures backstage from Marios Schwab's sensational winter collection until today. By sheer coincidence both me and Penny papped the same blue jersey dress, savagely clawed open to reveal Schwab's Morris-inspired fleshy print beneath. Please also note Schwab's new square-toed shoe and boot shape: as throughly emphatic a statement as his ankle-grazing tube dresses.

  6. by Alexander Fury .

    Husam El Odeh

    Besides showcasing his talents at the Marios Schwab show on Tuesday - the silvered ponytails and articulated, attenuated sheaths across fingers were his painstaking work - Husam El Odeh also displays his jewellery pieces at the London Fashion Week exhibition tent. Unconventional is always the term for his work, which fuses jewellery into aggressive accessory - leather gloves are reworked with attached silver rings and bracelet, a visor becomes a razor-sharp silvered peak and sunglasses are rendered with dark Swarovski crystal lenses or entirely in silver. Slightly sinister but wonderfully covetable nonetheless.

    Recent comments

    1. KuriKuri
      15:16 17 Feb 2008
      Please check accessories of Marios Schwab for Top Shop by Husam El Odeh.
      The hair-band is awesome!!!
    2. alex.fury
      18:03 17 Feb 2008
      the hairband is amazing - I've already bought the cigarette-case, and I think I may go for those solid silver sunglasses too.
  7. by Alexander Fury .

    Vivienne Westwood Red Label

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    Yes, I'll admit it - I willingly vaulted a chair in the buyer's stand without a second thought to get a halfway-decent shot of Vivienne's post-show triumphal march (please note Paul Hetherington subtley peeking out of the corner). And that was pretty much what this show was about - the homecoming of La Vivienne, the jewel in our fashion crown. With the entire hall ram-packed to over-capacity, it really didn't matter what she put on the runway: although the saleable, covertable and classically Westwood pieces will no doubt be snapped up by whichever buyer's seat I stole, and the Westwood tradition of headline grabbing was ensured by protest-chic placard carrying models and a bare-breasted finale. Nevertheless, this all seemed like garnish: this show was all about Westwood the woman as opposed to Westwood the label, and the hysteria of her procession could only be compared to the coronation of that other national institution, HRH Elizabeth II. And rightly so. God Save The Queens!

  8. by Alexander Fury .

    Philip Treacy at Westwood, on Westwood

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    Master Milliner Philip Treacy (and his friend Marlene) offer their views on Westwood's return to London after her Red Label show yesterday evening.

  9. by Alexander Fury .

    Hilary Alexander at Westwood, on Westwood.

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    Hilary Alexander cuts straight to the heart of it.

  10. by Alexander Fury .

    Lisa Armstrong at Westwood, on Westwood

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    I asked Lisa Armstrong for a sound byte - she gave me an intelligent, considered, concise review of Westwood and her return to London worthy of, well, The Times.


    1. GalileosUniverse
      11:57 15 Feb 2008
      Yes indeed,!!! ... a real good and intelligent analysis ! She's just wonderfully FANTASTIC !
  11. by Alexander Fury .

    Central Saint Martins MA

    The Central Saint Martins MA seems a fitting close to a week in which its alumni form so many of the leading lights. Marios Schwab, Christopher Kane, Peter Jensen and Ann-Sofie Back are just some of the success stories, while other graduates form the backbone of brands as diverse as Lanvin, Calvin Klein and Giorgio Armani. Accordingly, the MA show - the only graduate show on the fashion week schedule - holds particular importance with a fashion press always ready for the next big thing. This season, the MA show served to underline the themes we have seen throughout fashion week: shoulder emphasis was all the rage, whether it was the rounded dolman of Simon Machabeli or Kari Landen's boxed shoulders. Sequins festooned trousers and skirts, and there was a predillection for crafty knits - witness L'Oreal prize winner Simone Shailes' cabled 'Working Girl' Power-Arans. There were many shades of Nicoll, Kane and Schwab in the graduating year, but originality did shine through: Mary Katrantzou's bold prints Constructivist prints sliced with golden zippers were as sharp and graphic as her popped shoulderline; Steve Jung's all almost-white First Communion menswear was exquisite; and Joanna Vanderpuije's pailletted and epauletted Estonian Air-hostesses gave a jolt of glamour. Despite the slim chance, the audience is always papably disappointed when another Kane fails to explode onto the catwalk - but perhaps this is a good thing, as one star can often overwhelm a year brimming with talent yet to bloom. Central Saint Martins should represent fashion future, epitomising the diverse range of talent which will - hopefully - keep London at the fashion forefront. At least until next season...

  12. by Alexander Fury .

    Stella McCartney

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    Two of the biggest stories this week have been fur and sex - naturally if Stella McCartney had to pitch her tent in any camp it would be the latter. Accordingly, this was a far more overtly sensual offering than we have seen from her in a number of years: trend-bucking super-short hemlines, fitted silhouettes and peekaboo chiffon, lace and macrame on the highest leatherette heels outside of a marital aids shop. Unfortunately, the resulting precarious gait of the models detracted from what was, at base, a classic collection of saleable Stella staples like chunky knits, flyaway chiffon and subtle smocking. What was a welcome new addition was genuinely gorgeous tailoring - equal to anything from her much-feted Chloe days - running the gamut from tourniquet-tight to trapeze and scoring every time.

  13. by Alexander Fury .

    Pierre Hardy

    These laced and leather-lashed Rosenquist confections were just some of the goods offered up by Pierre Hardy - I am loathe to use the phrase 'highlight' to describe them as Hardy's wares are so diverse (and beautifully designed and flawless, but now i'm falling into hyperbole) each piece stands perfectly alone. Ever the design maven, Penny fell in love with the technically virtuoso Origami sandals, while I was thoroughly smitten by jewel coloured moire men's oxfords for those frankly very Ferry moments of self-indulgent dandyism.

  14. by Alexander Fury .

    Giambattista Valli

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    A lacquer-red backdrop set the scene for Giambattista Valli's A/W 2008 collection, seemingly inspired by the kind of hobble-skirted, bound footed Chinese courtesans found populating Coromandel screens and suspiciously East Anglian willow pattern plates. His models emerged dressed as Oriental princesses, swathed in fur, teetering atop slant-heeled platforms, and bound - for there truly is no other word for those chopstick-slim hobble-hem pencil-skirts - in all matter of exotic fabrics. Valli played with texture as opposed to decoration: ruffles were packed tightly to quivver across surfaces like lotus petals, and highly-textured old-world couture fabrics like matelasse and metallic cloqué were crafted into ballooning shapes. The cloisonné colour palette of jade-green, pearlescent rose-beige and every shade of porcelain was exquisitely delicate, contrasting with the strong wedge-shaped top-heavy silhouette emphasised by necks swathed in fur, 3-D blooms or puffa-padding - a preview of Valli's Montcler Gamme Rouge range due to be unveiled tomorrow, maybe? It may be this design split that pushed Valli towards the couture for his own line, saving sportier, easier-to-wear elements for the Moncler range. And credit where credit's due, the beauty of Valli's vision was almost enough to silence the niggling question of what modern woman could wear such restrictive, hampering and overwhelmingly impractical clothes. Almost.

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