Dispatches From London: Burberry, Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic

LFW: Burberry, Christopher Kane and Roksanda Ilincic

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By: Rebecca Lowthorpe Follow @Rebecca_ELLE

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Burberry (1), Christopher Kane (2) and Roksanda Ilincic (3)

Paloma Faith singing live at the foot of the catwalk may have hit a few shrill notes, but not Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, who put out The Bloomsbury Girls, a smoothly structured, richly crafted collection that took its inspiration from that very British set and Charleston, the country manor where writers, painters and intellectuals ritually met.

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As ever, the brand at the forefront of digital and social media had a few tricks up its sleeve – not withstanding Harry Styles whose irrepressible fans clogging the pathway to the Hyde Park show venue sent Twitter and Instagram into hyperdrive even before he’d reached his seat. There was live show music performed by Faith, Ed Harcourt and Rhodes (all available to download on itunes). Pieces from the collection were, as usual, available to buy off the runway on burberry.com. Plus the brand had collaborated with WeChat, the world’s second largest social media platform (600 million users) where exclusive content was downloadable via the app store, including front row guests sharing their show journey. As for the clothes, it was an art class in colour, print and paint – each bag, shoe and belt was a hand-painted one off. If the hand-painting idea recalled last season’s Chanel, the silhouettes couldn’t have been more on-brand – luxurious long layers, including contrasting scarves that were clasped at the waist with wide ‘duffle-toggle’ belts, the occasional blanket or rug slung over one shoulder. Add to all that, Cara, Edie and Suki modelling and it was visual-social-digital theatre befitting Burberry’s stature.

There is no doubt that Christopher Kane is London’s wunderkind. In a league of his own, he sets a self-imposed bar that is so high, only a top international designer can reach it. And it’s not just because Kering, the luxury conglomerate, owns 51 per cent of his label. His focus, consistency, execution and sheer breadth of ideas in a single collection is what makes him the hottest ticket at London Fashion Week. And so today’s exceptional show was, for Kane, business as usual: ‘We always focus on key pieces so there’s always a great dress, great trousers, great jackets – we do really well in those segments,’ said the designer backstage, matter-of-factly, while pinned to the wall by journalists. One asked: ‘Can you not restrain yourself from showing everything?’ To which he laughed: ‘Why would I? It’s better to get it out; it’s good to explode.’ The look was vintage Kane – quite literally so in terms of the utility buckles that fastened his new bags which he first developed for his 2006 Central Saint Martins graduation show. ‘It’s good to link back,’ he said. The attitude was pure Kane territory too – the cool girl, slouching down the runway in an inky oversized trouser suit with nylon ‘abattoir’ shoes. Nylon played a huge part – puckered, ruffled, wadded, embroidered, embedded with Hologram flowers and even trimmed with ‘Palomino’ hued fur. The last exits played on the theme of ‘moving sculpture’, inspired by flip books, they resembled pages of a book – one dress rendered in no less than 40 organza ‘pages’.
With Gary Card’s industrial-sculptural installation as a backdrop and taking inspiration from American artist Mel Bochner and sculptor Jessica Stockholder, Roksanda Ilincic’s stunning collection made her stock rise again. Just like the art that influences her, buying a piece would be an investment. She started out unexpectedly with a soft beige wool dress with a single abstract shape in burgundy cut into its skirt, then she built great odd angular blocks of colour from turquoise through claret and navy until she reached a great patchworked fur coat. The designer studied architecture before fashion and you could see this more clearly than ever, especially in the rich surface detail where she had embroidered plastic on dresses that stood away from the body. She called the one covered in shards of multi-coloured shiny plastic scraps her ‘M and M’s’ dress. Like Jonathan Saunders, she was interested in making luxury out of recycled leftovers – these, it turned out, were the remnants from pre-fall. Salvaged luxury – what a neat idea! Could this be the most interesting trend to come out of London?

See Burberry AW2014 here

See Christopher Kane AW2014 here

See Roksanda Ilincic AW2014 here

Read Lorraine Candy's exclusive LFW Blog

See all our coverage of Autumn/Winter 2014

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