Words and Images by Laura McKinnon for shareitwearit
And with that, I was unceremoniously roused from my nap and forced to draw myself back into the world of the “Megabus” – otherwise dubbed as the “Megahell”. As I detached myself and my drool from the poor, unsuspecting passenger that had the misfortune to sit next to me, I noticed that an abundance of “Pret-A-Mangers” had begun to pass the windows – which could only mean one thing.
I had indeed survived the horrific eight hour bus journey to London. It was not long before we shuffled off the bus and into Victoria coach station, ladened with luggage and I began on my journey of shoes, bags, and clothes as for this season, I was fortunate enough to shoot London Fashion Week on behalf of shareitwearit.
To understand London Fashion Week from a photographer’s perspective, the job in itself is physically challenging on a level that makes any other runway event (apart from perhaps Milan and the other fashion weeks) look like mincemeat. We average about three hours of sleep a day, eat once a day and then pack into the press pit like a tin of sardines for the rest of it – all in the name of fashion. It sounds like a gruelling task, but in the end, it is every bit worth it when we catch our first frame of an ethereal model floating down the runway in a beautiful haute couture gown and fall in love with every aspect of our job all over again.
So with big, fresh eyes, I plonked myself down in the press pit, greeting a few old friends and snuggled down for my first show of the season and could not help but smile to myself when the opening peals of “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Junior blasted from behind the runway.
Autumn and Winter Trends for 2012/2013
With a jammed-packed schedule of catwalks, I honestly had no idea what to anticipate. The previous season in September had marked the return of the brighter and bolder colours that have been somewhat absent in the recent years gone past as well as bigger accessories including avant-garde feather millinery. Another popular trend that had emerged was the ghost of the refined woman, empowered through vibrant yellows, reds as well as much to my horror, sportswear. Following the return of fruitful colours, I was optimistic about this season and needless to say, it did not disappoint.
So when I say tribal, I’m going to guess the first imagery that springs to mind is vibrant cerulean and burning tangerine, set over the plains of Botswana, sweltering heat and thin fabrics – right?
This season of London Fashion Week, fashion collective House of Evolution made sure to pay homage to our Asian brothers and sisters in the colder climates, sourcing inspiration from countries such as Mongolia. Layering remained popular as a trend, building on a neutral white and introducing colour pops of blue and orange. Earthy detail was drawn from the ground, replicating root and branch like patterns as well as leafy forage which was used to illustrate and set this particular collection.
Biology enthusiast and French label, Florian Jayet, also made sure to contribute to the tribal theme, this time portraying elfin styled girls in heavier, structured dresses, complete with ruffling, folding and well-designed bodies. As opposed to House of Evolution, Florian Jayet opted to embrace patterns from the Aztec period, and applied print, comparable to tribal costume jewellery onto significant portions of the garments. This collection focused on more understated colours, however, blue sprang up again as a predominant colour throughout the runway.
It has been due a long time – print is back and it is most definitely here to stay. That means it is time to ditch the Cath Kidston and move onto the bigger and bolder. Print was fairly dominant through the majority of catwalks this season, however, surrealism art fanatics alike will kill in cold blood for Leutton Postle’s brilliantly bizarre collection. Using expressive blues, yellows and oranges, the house has produced prints that are reminiscent of Pablo Picasso’s iconic canvases as well as clashing juxtapositions of drooping shapes, not dissimilar to Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory”. Leutton Postle also saw fit to draw in more texture this season, following the winter trend of layering, using a collage-type effect to build up garments.
Spijkers en Spijkers jumped onto the print bandwagon this year, bringing us a blast from the past with 70s inspired gaudy prints, using empowering traditional silhouettes, bringing hemlines down and tailoring clothes to fit the hourglass figure. Once again, orange presented itself as a favoured colour of the runway and was teamed up with chocolate browns, greys and yellows that screamed something about a ballroom blitz.
For those of you who lead lives that do not allow for quite so an exuberant choice of clothing, fear not as monochrome was seen to be making a return once again this season. Carlotta Actis Barone sourced somewhat unusual inspiration from the past, taking her inspiration from the Holocaust of the World War Two. The catwalk itself was of theatrical proportions, with models shuffling down the runway at a pace not unlike the zombies seen on “The Walking Dead”, wading on through an eerie fog. The house looked to enhance strong womanly silhouettes, with sharp fitting torsos and big, puffed out skirts. There was a hint of metallic present throughout the runway, however, very much played down in comparison to earlier seasons.
House of Evolution also contributed to a monochromatic theme, dressing models in somewhat androgynous outfits as well as simple elegant black gowns. Lako Bukia contributed an element of metallic this season, opting to dress futuristic styled models in steel greys and black, ending the runway with a rather appropriate explosion.
If the return of colour was not already increasingly apparent, Fam Irvoll made sure to make an impact with her new collection, “Monster Mash”, mixing jazzy purples and pastel hues with wonderfully childish and outlandish monster-inspired shoulder pads, skirts, creepers and chunky cartoonish bags. Fam Irvoll aimed to embrace the inner child, providing without a doubt the most playful runway of the season.
In a more understated bid to bring colour back onto the runway, designer MATH Collective contributed beautiful, slightly geometric silk pieces, splashed with colour pops of mustard yellow, midnight blue and poppy red. Elements of the runway were suggestive of an influence of sportswear, however, MATH kept the sophistication by applying a structured cut to the textiles used.
As with every season on London Fashion Week, I always look forward to the plain zany and wacky creations designed by true pioneers of fashion. Scottish designers came out top this season, with Obscure Couture and Pam Hogg proving that there is definitely something more than just tartan and wool north of the border.
Pam Hogg brought an eclectic mix of material to the stage including latex, fur and chiffon and unbelievably managed to cover just about every trend this season. The show was kicked off by sending models down the runway, made from head to toe like Russian Babushka dolls, followed by slightly more sinister and revealing monochromatic body suits. For the finale, the audience were greeted by glamorous gowns of pale pastel hues. By the end of the show, it was absolutely no surprise that press and buyers a like had come from far and wide to catch a glimpse of this simply astounding exhibition of work.
Obscure Couture released their brand new collection “The Lithium Party”, surprising audiences with an entirely different, yet equally as impacting theme. This season saw the duo take a step away from neon and embrace a more refined and mature approach, mixing gold and silver amongst pastels. Furs and chiffons were particularly favoured fabrics, topped by trademark bright hair and illustrative headpieces by collaborating milliner, Jenivieve Berlin. This collection had a less obvious, more macabre undertone, with some garments suggesting an element of androgyny whilst others provided a throwback to the Victorian era.
Throughout this season of London Fashion Week, it became increasingly apparent to me that the days of conserved tones and short skirts are slowly but surely being ousted out by the return of colourful and more vivid hues as well as ladylike structured outfits. For the next season, I know I will be heavily investing in designs that rest just above the knee, in tones of blue, orange, red and yellow. One thing I will be looking to scrap are metallic fabrics and close-fitted outfits that do not flatter the hourglass figure as I am confident they will gradually fade out of fashion within the next six months.
To sum up this season one sentence?
Quite frankly, the lady is back.