Who: One’s to Watch @ Vauxhall Fashion Scout
Where: Freemason’s Hall, Covent Garden
When: Friday 17th February, 4.30pm
Who: Susie Lau, the blogger behind Style Bubble
You could tell this was one of VFS’s most popular shows of the season, what with the half-hour delay and unusually busy crowd waiting in the foyer of the Freemason’s Hall. I counted over a dozen blue-rinse chignons and six trays of complimentary SNOG frozen yoghurt pass me before we were ushered into the catwalk space.
Stomachs and tempers soothed, this year’s OTW show opened with the work of Koreon-born Heohwan Simulton, whose collection echoed the designer’s background in menswear design. On offer this season, we saw cropped scoop-necked jackets with leather panelling, ankle-grazing tailored trousers and tangerine silk shifts (well it is THE colour of the year, apparently). But what started as a beatnik influenced collection – thanks to a remarkable number of plain black polo necks featured – slowly turned into the abstract. There was a hint of black velour on separates and a smattering of multicolored perspex tassels on shift dresses. It wasn’t unwearable, just an unexpected turn and one I’m sure could provide a nice shot of color in our otherwise dreary autumn wardrobes.
Next up was Myrza de Muynck and my second favourite of the lot. With her trademark buoyancy, the collection was a youthful, sporty and a real visual delight. Yes, a lot of what we’re seeing on the high street is saturated with the ubiquitous pastel trend, but Muynck modernised the candy palette using sporty materials and some interesting black paintbrush detailing.
Favourites of the show included padded mint trousers, exaggerated knit tank dresses – which reminded me a bit of the House of Holland AW11 collection – and a nice sky blue jumpsuit. Perhaps some critics would have found it a bit saccharine for their liking but I’ve always had a sweet tooth.
Anne Sofie Madsen went next and the contrast between this and Muynck’s collection couldn’t be more marked. As the first model walked down the catwalk in a leather dress with a Navaho-inspired skirt, I thought the collection was heading towards the Americas. Text-book error. If I had done my homework thoroughly, I would have known that Madsen’s aesthetic silently echoes her Scandanavian roots.
What followed was a series of latticed leather dresses, cocktail dresses embellished with delicate gold and silver chains and a healthy selection of chiffon blouses – softened by the occasional bit of floral rope arrangement. I know. It sounds bonkers and, quite frankly, at points it was. I didn’t know if I was watching a Gareth Pugh in-the-making, a master couturier in-the-making or someone who didn’t trust her talent enough (and it was there, in shed loads) to distill the collection further before showing.
The final hurrah came courtesy of fourth and final designer Nova Chiu. Having had previous stints at Matthew Williamson and Richard Nicoll, you can see where Chiu has developed her knack for using eye-popping color and sumptuous fabrics. She also uses digital printing techniques, which is probably how she achieved such a masterly mash-up of Asian, American and Oriental prints, seen on her multilayered dresses or structural jackets.
The whole thing was like watching the lovechild (or children, whatever) of the East. She also nailed it down to every detail. We saw Yeti-styled ear muffs, blouses that used protruding origami pleats and even some tassled earrings that looked like they same straight out of a Moroccan silk souk. Definitely my favourite from this year’s OTW collective.
Photos taken with Olympus Pen E-PM1 – see here for further details