‘I’m drawing out the theme, but I can’t help it,’ laughed Hannah Weiland, clutching a glass of prosecco. Standing in front of her A/W 18 presentation, the young designer was clearly giddy. And no wonder, she’s getting married this June. Where Weiland’s last presentation drew on the moment she was proposed to, this collection was a continued celebration of love. A mere six days after Valentine’s Day, Weiland brought us ‘The Romance Collection’.
Less romantically, London Fashion Week had resounded with chants from anti-fur protesters all week. ‘SHAME, SHAME, SHAME. SHAME ON YOU FOR WHAT YOU DO,’ they screamed in unison outside a number of shows. Standing outside the likes of Faustine Steinmetz and storming the runway at Mary Katrantzou, it seemed that they were protesting the industry at large, rather than the fur trade, given the designers they picked on. The demon inside me willed them to ignorantly storm Shrimps, to be met with a smug set of fashionistas in their jewel-toned fake furs. But there was only love on show at Shrimps A/W 18.
The strength of this collection drew on Weiland’s increasing ability to evolve. Proving she’s not only the princess of faux fur, her designs took us on a tour of her tastes. There’s something a bit Miu Miu, something a bit Simone Rocha about Weiland’s work. It looks like she takes notes from the things she wears and wants and re-jigs them. The sheer dresses in tulle and chiffon were layered in a manner resembling Rocha’s recent offering. The stacked sliders in black fur with pearls had a distinct touch of Miuccia. But, as the words around the backdrop of the presentation stated, ‘A Shrimp Is A Shrimp Is a Shrimp Is A Shrimp.’ Referencing Gertrude Stein’s famed phrase, ‘A Rose Is A Rose’, this mission statement was also printed on two long dresses in red and black. Illustrated prints of flora and fauna, nodding to the work of Otto Dix and Jean Cocteau further asserted Hannah Weiland’s distinctive touch. Each Shrimps design is, in some way, marked by the hand of the artist herself. Flared, silk trousers were a new piece on show, sporting abstract red roses. These sweet notes were also found on the chest of a short, currant-coloured dress and a circular bag.
The signature fur was not to be missed! A faux fur trifle in red and blush-pink formed a long dress coat. Sugary, Powerade-blue clashed magnificently with the cherry carpet and the coat it came on fell in folds at the feet of the model. The Shrimps collections are a smorgasbord for the modern magpie. Her collections sell out; the Antonia bag had exceptional commercial success and the pearl reappeared here in a larger form, a smaller clutch and a baguette-style.
The models wore cropped, slightly itchy-looking wigs, another nod to Stein, the muse of the collection. The effect was light removal of the kitsch at hand. This collection was very signature Shrimps. It was crafty, it was romantic and fundamentally, it was cleverly commercial.