Fashion East

What do you get when you pile three young, high-energy designers into a heritage building in the heart of St James? A party-like atmosphere that can only mean one thing: it’s time for Fashion East.

Let’s start where our circuit through 50 St James began: the Claire Barrow room. Styled to look like a bar, it was populated with models wearing tough, unisex garments inspired by spirits (the drinkable kind).

That translated into crinkly, brown-paper ‘TEQUILA’ shirts, a zip-down abstract-printed ‘GIN’ parka, and lots of glossy leather, a good bet for Rihanna’s next buy from the young designer (she already owns one of Barrow’s hand-illustrated leather jackets).

Then it was upstairs and into a long salon for a packed Maarten van der Horst catwalk show. The veteran Fashion East designer stuck with his characteristic print clashes, this time with leopard print, florals and Tesco graphics. The look was at its wispiest in printed pack-a-mac plastic dresses, and at its most substantial in leopard-bodied trenches with collaged sleeves. Those, and khaki pieces embellished with Swarovski crystal bats, looked ready for van der Horst’s Topshop devotees.

It wasn’t the most real-life-friendly collection, but it didn’t have to be. As one young assistant said to another on the way out—approvingly, we think, ‘That totally sums up the aesthetic of people who spend all their time at the Joiners Arms in Hackney.’

The wild whirl culminated back downstairs, with Ryan LO. His disco tinsel party dresses looked like just the things all the interns will want to wear for their first post-LFW night out. Long may they dance.