By: Emma Sells Follow @evjsells
Christopher Raeburn, Eudon Choi and J JS Lee
Given the howling winds and pouring rain that the fashion crowd had to battle between shows today, it seemed appropriate to see what Christopher Raeburn had in store. He's carved out a niche for himself designing seriously desirable utility pieces, and his love of techno fabrics certainly struck a chord. His girls looked as though they might step right off the catwalk and hike up a mountain, dressed as they were in cropped trousers with deep, contrasting hems, clompy, rubber-soled Dr. Martens and a smorgasbord of functional outerwear. Quilted bomber jackets in high vis orange or muted wools, a cape in iridescent camouflage, a Japanese landscape printed mac with contrasting sleeves, sporty looking trench coats, parkas with synthetic fur panels and huge sheepskin military coats. We felt warmer just looking at them.
Eudon Choi is another London designer who loves a good coat, especially one with a masculine slant. Boyfriend-sized navy crombies, little checked wool bombers with zipped hoods, and a huge dove grey Mongolian coat just the thing to keep out the current weather all hit the catwalk this afternoon. He'd been looking back at the 1960s and the hysterical screaming schoolgirls that mobbed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. The references may have been well-trodden but he cleverly managed to avoid retro rehash, instead sending out cropped peg leg trousers paired with cropped polo neck sweaters, masculine shirts and tunics that felt modern and just right for now.
Earlier in the day, all eyes were on J JS Lee as she opened the five days of shows. Using an escape to the English countryside as her starting point, she dreamed up a simply beautiful collection. Princess cut dresses in wool and fuzzy checked mohair had selvedge seams or were pieced together and covered with subtle tyre track prints. There were full length dresses and sweeping coats with funnel necks, gently pleated skirts with polo necks and blazers in earthy tones and dip-dyed, houndstooth-print silk trousers and skirts. Her pieces are precisely cut and elegantly refined. Here's hoping she really gets noticed this season.
There was houndstooth too over at a packed-out presentation by former Fashion Fringe winner, Haizhen Wang. His was a more stark take, strictly monochrome and zigzagging across sculptural coats and jackets in tiny and oversized prints. Combined with the architectural folds of his woollen pieces, long, sheer black shirts and spray on leather trousers, the effect was arresting.