lfw fall/winter 17, day one: ashley williams, marta jakubowski, le kilt, caitlin price, csm
As London Fashion Week kicked off, the capital's bright young designers captured the spirit of the times.
Photography Mitchell Sams
"Go into the garden, go under the ivy / Under the leaves, away from the party." These Kate Bush lyrics were printed in a massive font across Ashley Williams's fall/winter 17 show notes. The words tie together Tony Hornecker's leafy, furniture-strewn, and traffic cone-punctuated set with the collection's cozy but closely-cut jersey tracksuits and bomber jackets. It's the ideal look for slinking away from a boring party and into the urban undergrowth, though the massive 'MISERY' motif could give you away. Returning from last season are the voluminous drop-shoulder leg o' mutton sleeves, seen on a baby pink shirt dress and a monochrome Hawaiian floral shirt tucked into straight-cut blue jeans. Williams's slogan hoodies this time arrive with 'Classic' or '¡GIMMIE FIVE!' emblazoned across the chest.
While American movie culture was a big influence for spring/summer 17, this season Ashley looked at it from one step removed. The designer lifted inspiration from the Paninaro, a European subculture that fetishized the States, which she wrote about for her university dissertation. "Paninaros are teenagers who lived in Milan in the 80s, and they were really into American culture," Ashley told i-D backstage after the show. "Anything preppy, like Ivy League schools, cowboys, Marlboro ads. They emulated that look, but in an Italian way, so it's super stylish," she explains. "Normally subcultures are associated with punk, emo — really rebellious, but [Paninaro] was just about being super mainstream!"
The Paninaro influence is felt in sporty cropped puffer jackets worn with colorful preppy kilts and wide pleated trousers, as modeled by Ashley's mate Claire Barrow. Fringed cowboy tail coats in leather and ponyskin also nodded to the Italian subculture, as did sporty black racer-neck tops and a dress with 'Save the planet' on the chest, worn by eco warrior Glacier Girl. Looks were topped off with a jaunty cowboy hat, or accessorized with glittering hair clips that read either 'Paradise' or 'Paranoia'.
Text Charlotte Gush
With a Gary Card-designed set, and a soundtrack featuring Chaka Khan and Sade, Marta Jakubowski stole the show on the opening day of LFW. Her fall/winter 17 vision was bright, bold, and full of color. It was a hymn to powerful women, told in Hillary-esque pantsuits, but reimagined in all the colors of the rainbow.
Text Felix Petty
Central Saint Martins
The CSM show is always special. Not just for the special talent it showcases (and as an institution, breeds), but because it really reigns in the emotive department. Friends, family, the whole fashion crowd come together to support, remember, and celebrate the past, present, and future generations of fashion superstars.
Winners of the L'Oreal prize were Gabriel Skucas (Knitwear) and Stefan Cooke (Textiles for Fashion) whose collections were impressive in skill and presentation. Skucas sent a beauteous procession of girls down the runway, clad in black, luxurious pleated skirts of varied lengths with cream cashmere blouses. The offering was pious and romantic, yet utterly controlled in a sharp, modern, and very intelligent aesthetic (#looks #lookstotry). Cooke's collection was a thought-out and crafted collection of trompe-l'oeil effects and tailoring. Denim and tartan prints covered soft chiffon blouses, with chic trousers.
There was a definitive disco fever in the womenswear designers' air, evidenced by Emma Chopova/Laura Lowena and Gabriela Sardena. Fuschias, red, bright greens, and embellishments — both collections were brave purporters of maximalist fashion. Something that can sometimes be missing in fashion, and especially what students should be experimenting with. Bold ladies, and we love it.
Menswear designer Robert Sanders's offering was a joy in styling and texture. He took staples (think big denims, wools, and jerseys), played with them, and made them look utterly cool. Oliver Thame's beautiful tribal prints and celebration of masculinity were powerful visual bombasts on the catwalk. It's only going to get better for all of these stars.
Text Bojana Kozarevic
Sam McCoach used her fall/winter 17 presentation at 180 The Strand to show what she does best: British-made clothes with a British sensibility. Entitled A Perfect Contract, the collection took McCoach's signature kilt skirts to the next level. The designer elevated her fabrics choices, (she used cashmere this time around) and hand-finished the skirts in Scotland. The attention to detail didn't stop at the skirts; badges and buttons on her hand-dyed sweaters came courtesy of Sam's close friend and Edinburgh College of Art named student Chris. Elsewhere in the collection, Sam teamed up with Mackintosh to produce coats, dresses, and jackets in rubber — all made for unpredictable weather in mind. All in all, the collection had a decidedly 60s feel about it. Makeup artist Thom Walker looked back to the beatnik girls of the era for beauty inspiration, and updated their thick lashes and kohl liner with a heavy brow. Groovy baby!
Text Lynette Nylander
Caitlin Price has grown up. For her fifth LFW collection, the south London-born former Central Saint Martin's student looked past the alcopop-fueled hedonism of previous seasons to an altogether more structural affair — a kind of power dressing for when the lights come on and the DnB ends. All the trademark fabrications and wrappings are still there, as is the now customary collaboration with art director Joseph Bond. But whereas before Price's work would feel teenage or adolescent, it now feels glamorous. Regal, almost. Of course, it remains a mix of high and low, Price's love of sportswear apparent in the high-necked tops and cropped bombers. But within the sleek skirts and taffeta touches comes a newfound maturity and elegance. We like what we see.
Text Matthew Whitehouse