Dispatches from London: Erdem, Thomas Tait, Giles and Antonio Berardi

Read the latest reports from the front row

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Above: Getting Images

The Old Selfridges Hotel had been transformed into a jungle for the Erdem
show, complete with low lighting, densely packed rich green plants in the
centre of the runway and sounds of the wild in the air. His intrepid girl
was on a Victorian expedition - or maybe she was just hanging out in the
nearest hothouse. Either way she'd embraced her surroundings.

The surface textures on her dresses were incredible: palm fronds and
tropical florals were embroidered onto light-as-air dresses, tiny flowers
were individually stitched on to create a kind of camouflage effect and a
green feathered dress blended perfectly with the foliage. She wore white
cotton dresses with high necks and tiered skirts, and carried tiny bags
shaped like leather-bound books that came from her real life back home.
And all paired with flat shoes, too – all the better for trailblazing in.

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The theme over at Giles was equally as exotic, if somewhat more
tongue-in-cheek, with fauna rather than flora taking centre stage. Snakes
in 3D or printed illustrations coiled around silk dresses, gowns were
covered in collaged photo prints of leopards and claws were, first subtly
and prettily, embossed in miniature, then boldly across sequin dresses in
candy shades (as seen on Gwendoline Christie, watching from the front
row). As for those laser-cut leather dresses etched with flowers – some
metallic, some appliquéd with leather petals – they were truly beautiful.

Left to Right: Erdem, Giles, Thomas Tait. Photos: Imaxtree

It wasn't just the earlier time slot that drew a bigger and more senior
crowd to Thomas Tait this afternoon. Since his February show, the London
designer has won the first LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize, giving him
the seal of approval of Karl Lagerfeld, Phoebe Philo, Nicolas Ghesquiere
and other big names from the luxury stable - not to mention €300,000 to
invest in his brand.

The young Canadian had commandeered a derelict building on the Strand,
along with the partnership of artist George Rousse, who had created a
painted art installation for the occasion, splashing primary coloured
shapes across columns and concrete walls. They were echoed in the
clothes: the checkerboard dress with cut-out and sliced pieces, the
tunics with winged shoulders, the printed stockings-cum-boots, the
henchman leather jackets and split long satin dresses with their
contrasting facings. It was refreshing to see a young designer who, while
clearly wanting to grow his brand, doesn't feel the need to play it safe.
And we're sure that team LVMH were taking notes.

'A vision of opulence within turbulence' was how the Antonio Berardi
collection was described in the show notes. Having built his reputation
on architectural power dresses, the designer was trying to loosen up a
bit, and he'd looked East for inspiration. Painterly prints were splashed
across narrow trousers and slim-fitting jackets and embellished with
electric blue crystals, bold florals covered his take on the traditional
tea dress, and there were some softly sculpted silk pieces in hot reds,
pinks and oranges. Dressed down it certainly wasn't, but it did have a
more relaxed air about it.

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