By: Emma Sells Follow @evjsells
1. Sophia Webster 2. Pringle of Scotland 3. Nicole Farhi
'Beverly Hills brats meets a modern fairy tale that doesn't really have a happy ending.' That's how Sophia Webster explained the appearance of her chihuahua-cuddling, Clueless-like wardrobe owning, tiara-wearing, pink-and-fluffy loving models to us this morning. The presentation, held at Webster's pop-up shop in Covent Garden, was brilliantly irreverent. The girls lounged on beds, one took a bath under a neon sign that read 'Cinder f?*!!ing rella', another chatted on her sparkly phone, the aforementioned dog (also dressed in pink) tucked under her arm. The shoes? Everything from knee-high gladiator heels with furry pompoms and fluffy, glittery mules, to zebra-striped ankle boots and rainbow bright sandals Webster doesn't really do understated. Proof, if proof was
needed, that you can build a killer brand that everyone wants to wear while having lots of fun.
A heritage label embracing 3D printing? It was only a matter of time, but would you have placed bets on Pringle of Scotland leading the vanguard? Possibly not. Creative Director Massimo Nicosia, though, is determined to make the brand modern and relevant while still keeping one eye on its rich history. Example: the first sweater in the collection, a chunky, cream cable knit with ladders of 3D printed nylon coursing down the front and arms. Or the mid-length black dress, an echo of Pringle's iconic polo shirts, with a printed frill along the hem. But, as Nicosia told us backstage, 'You can't just have a high-concept collection. You have to want to wear the clothes'. And we did.
Left to right: Toga, Ryan Lo, Toga
Nicole Farhi has had its ups and downs of late. The label went into administration last year before being bought by Maxine Hargreave-Evans, daughter of the founder of Matalan, but Creative Director Joanna Sykes has stuck around. Good news for us, as she's a whizz at crafting really beautiful, wearable clothes with just the right amount of easy polish. Chic jersey dresses cinched with thick elastic, wide-leg satin trousers, wool and leather biker jackets, cashmere coats and chunky criss-cross knits these were classics with an extra kick.
Much delight greeted Toga Archives' first appearance on the London Fashion Week schedule, and not just because they roped in a rockabilly band to pep up our Sunday morning or plied us with hot chocolate. It was the incredible attention to detail, the cleverly cut shapes and unexpected fabric combinations; the masterful way that a crisp white shirt was layered with a navy wool skirt and pleated black leather, or light-as-air tulle embroidered with colourful flowers and leaves wrapped around a stark monochrome T-shirt and leather trousers. And, given that there were almost as many of the label's pieces on the assembled press as there were on the models, we'd say that Toga's getting it very, very right.
Piles of white A4 sheets piled up on the floor, reams of paper hanging from the ceiling it wasn't hard to guess what the Palmer//Harding theme was for the season. But it was the textural possibilities of paper that really got them going, shredded and scrunched and spliced open with tiny cuts. They translated them onto white cotton and neoprene shirts, adding in dresses with paper clip details and neon highlighter stripes, ultra mini skirts and iridescent biker jackets for good measure.
For Ryan Lo's first season out of the Fashion East stable, frilly panelled denim, glittery dresses, pink and white frills and pompoms galore, all set amidst a clutch of potted cacti. Downright bonkers, really but we loved it anyway.