Dispatches from London: Peter Pilotto, Michael Van Der Ham & Issa

The latest reviews of the s/s 2015 catwalk shows

MOST POPULAR
ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Above: Getty Images

So to an Arts and Crafts revival at Peter Pilotto, where guests were
admitted to the show via a pink acrylic rectangle of an invitation with
curvaceous cut-outs. (Look out for the #ELLEmakes stencil prints, coming
soon.)

This season, über-talented twosome Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos
had been considering light alongside - as ever - colour. ‘Craft elevated
beyond print,’ is how they described their tactile offering, which saw a
traditional paisley reimagined as acrylic speech marks, sewn onto the
front of slinky macramé minidresses and show-stopping (not to mention
saleable) coats that looked to be worked of stained glass. Bursts of
metallic dandelion powered across exaggerated biker jackets and a Sixties
Op Art vibe swung through quartered jackets and tunics dotted with
Swarovski crystal daisies. The show closed with a strong series of knits
begot by geometric paint palette drips. It was something new, and yet
distinctly Pilotto: an impressive achievement.

MOST POPULAR

Earlier in the day saw Michael van der Ham in the awkward pre-Burberry
slot (and nowhere near the Burberry show venue). Which is a shame, because
the benches were quiet and this was actually a very pretty collection,
dedicated in his notes to his late Central Saint Martins tutor Louise
Wilson. It wasn’t ground-breaking, but it was ultra-feminine and
incredibly wearable: the lace coats with bouclé fronts were strong, as was
one white short-sleeved top with a clever ruching across the throat,
paired with a high-waisted tailored silver trouser.

Essentially, a van der Ham collection is about dresses and, this season,
they're not overtly of the designer's collagey signature, with curls of
silver sequins appliquéd onto floaty, bias-cut gowns and square patches
distributed neatly across shift-shaped day dresses. The jacquard cocktail
pieces with a length of chiffon spliced in were clever and desirable, as
were the skirts that came solid at the front, sheer lace at the back.
Keira Knightley projected van der Ham's name onto the international stage
when she wore one of his dresses to the Toronto International Film
Festival last week - surely the biggest sign yet, alongside the imminent
launch of his first e-commerce site, that that he's on the right track.
Across town at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Issa
revolution continued apace. Blue Farrier’s second season at the helm saw
her cautiously move the brand aesthetic yet further away from the Issa
you’d know (all conservative maxi lengths, blaring prints and Pippa
Middleton in the front row). Inspired by that spirit of movement and
energy, a squiggly line ran through many of the opening pieces before
yawning open to reveal a graphic running horse print inside. Colour came
reservedly - a cross-front, backless, fuchsia jumpsuit seemed incongruous
- with chic monochrome taking centre stage. Unusually for Issa too,
Farrier had thought out of the box with fabrications - a 3D organza flower
appliqué bloomed across a simple dress top, and Issa’s first macramé made
an appearance vis a Sixties-esque dress - continuing to add, quite
literally, texture to a brand still finding its feet following the
departure of its powerhouse founder.

More from ELLE UK: