The atmosphere feels feverish outside the ICA on the Mall on a bright and sunny Friday morning. Being outside is a relief after the buzzy opening of the International Fashion Showcase in Somerset House the night before (and the many Proseccos that came with it).
We’re here to see Sadie Williams’ first ever presentation at London Fashion Week. If the name sounds familiar, it might be because she was one of Selfridges’ Bright Young Things in 2013, or because of her lurex filled 2014 capsule collection with & Other Stories. This time, she’s incorporated two looks created with UMd in her AW16 collection (available to pre-order soon).
The name of the collection, ‘Off Piste,’ gives us expectations of a ski trip down memory lane (should we say memory piste?). Indeed, once we get into the dark space, all the models are standing on a blindingly white simulated mountainside, complete with neon slalom poles and gates. Sadie’s signature lurex features heavily in the collection, which was inspired by a photograph of her parents skiing. This isn’t athleisure: when all dressed in foiled leather, sequins and chevron knits (by UMd), with killer carabiner clasp adorned bags, the Sadie Williams girl looks like she’s going somewhere, and that somewhere sure isn’t Chamonix.
Dian Pelangi x Nelly Rose x Odette Steele
What’s great about Fashion Week is that it allows you to visit places that you might not have any reason to otherwise: and the Fashion Scout shows, held at the Freemasons’ Hall is a great example of that. On the Saturday of London Fashion Week, sitting front row to witness new talent’s first exposure to the general public… now that’s what makes the trip into central London on a weekend morning worthwhile (particularly when you can see an UMd collaboration or two!).
The aforementioned new talent we came to see was a collaboration between Dian Pelangi, Nelly Rose and Odette Steele, who created a design for our International Fashion Showcase collection (supported by the British Fashion Council). Before their chance to shine, we saw a few looks by Fengyi Tan: beautiful, but almost scary since some outfits tied the models’ feet together. Then came Edda, with voluminous, outlandish, painted-on looks, and almost cartoonish shoes.
When our friends’ outfits finally came trotting down the runway, what we saw was a flash of colours, textures, embroideries, and delightful little details such as the Tinkerbell-like sound made by the paillettes sewn onto some of the garments. By the end, we were pretty much left blinded by the three designers’ beautiful smiles when they took their bow.
For the last day of London Fashion Week, we’re back at the ICA, to see our old friend Christopher Ræburn. Even though there wasn’t a new UMd piece on show, it’s always great to see what everyone in the Unmade family is up to. The pitch-black space, offering a stark contrast with the crisp and sunny winter morning outside, is only lit by flashing neon lights incorporated into a climbing frame-like structure in the centre. The models sometimes changed position to step on to the different levels and for once you don’t fear for their ankles, since they’re all wearing flat boots. The rest of the outfits reflected Ræburn’s signature utilitarian garb, all in military green and grey, occasionally broken up with a dash of crimson red. The result is a collection that you sense was created for a girl who knows what she wants and won’t settle for anything less. The coats aren’t messing around, but have super sophisticated details; the knits look crazy cosy, (since you know they’re all Woolmark approved); the jumpsuit looks like the easiest piece to live in, but it’s embroideries and cut-outs make it feminine enough that you wouldn’t confuse it for a boiler suit. You know what’s going on our wishlist for next Autumn!