Dispatches from London: Simone Rocha, Anya Hindmarch & more

Including Osman and Marques’Almeida

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By: Leisa Barnett Follow @leisabarnett

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1. Simone Rocha 2.

High drama on the closing day of London Fashion Week yesterday, where Elizabethan dress was filtered through the Simone Rocha lens. The result? A gloriously grown-up collection that’s arguably our ELLE/Cointreau Bursary winner’s most accomplished yet.

Sumptuous ruffs and ornate gold bands add flair to the elbows of heavy pea coats and pannier-hip dresses. That frill shape bloomed its way out of everything: in the two distinct sections of yellow and green snake, it stopped jackets with a frill at the elbow, and the series of navy taffeta twill separates saw it edge the pockets of smart trousers and peel away from the shoulder of dresses like a disjointed sleeve. For die-hard Simone fans, the bubblegum pink was still there in windowpane-check, full-skirted dresses that came in pink and tartan, while this season’s shoe of note is, in fact, a boot, which laces up to the knee. It was a bit punk, a bit posh andtruly, utterly terrific.
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Anya Hindmarch continued the feel-good vibe with her Counter Culture show. We knew it would be cool; we were, after all, summoned to the venue by way of a personalised electronic badge and the catwalk was a giant barcode. But nothing could’ve prepared us for the musical extravaganza the designer laid on. Think Supermarket: The Musical!

Girls with bags emblazoned with the familiar design of kitchen packets, from Frosties to pilchards, piled high in their trollies were whisked by us on conveyor belts. They walked down the catwalk aisle with little dress bags in the shape of custard creams and bourbon biscuits slung over their shoulders. Boys in braces tapdanced across the set.
Just when we thought it couldn’t get any more bonkersly brilliant, arms punched through the back of the set to play the double bass, and jazz hands popped out of the floor in front of our feet. It was a see-it-to-believe-it show - watch it for yourself here.
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‘The supermarket conveyor belts are a playful take on those small unforeseen events that can change your life: a sliding doors moment and the luck of a chance encounter,’ Hindmarch explained. ‘It’s about celebrating the small things and seizing the moment to “get happy”.’ Trust us – this will do it for you.

Elsewhere, Marques’Almeida invited us to a glamorous sleepover at New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel. The collection was inspired by ‘struggling, free-spirited minds and artists’, with the duo creating a fantasy wardrobe for the occupants of the hotel during the time recounted in Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe’s memoir Just Kids. So there were lounge-y pyjama sets in crushed velvet and satin, and long tube dresses with feathers clinging to them, as if they been present at a pillow fight. And, of course, there was denim. This season’s jean shape is a lavishly-proportioned bell-bottom, which came paired with easy-wearing denim dressing gown coats - perfect for the 'middle class misfits' among us.
As expected, Osman treated us to an altogether more polished and ladylike show – ‘jet-set Bohemian’, he called it – albeit with a ramped-up sass factor.

The show closed on series of pieces painted with a graphic eye. A bold statement – for both the designer, and girl who chooses to wear it.This is a fresh Osman; a graphic Osman. Cobalt blue and yellow was the dominant colour play-off, often clashed with a refined floral jacquard was cut into shell tops, cropped cigarette trousers and princessy coats. There was lots of fur – coats, and scarves with almost everything. A beaded lattice, often cut with an asymmetric hemline, added texture and depth when thrown, sarong style, over dress pants. A bejewelled woman’s arm stretched down the front of midi-length day skirts and swing coats and came knitted into sweaters; if two were a trend, he and Holly Fulton would have nailed it.

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