British thrills and frills and Stateside buzz
It's called symbiosis. The hottest American designers added their own glamour to London Fashion Week, as they revelled in British creativity. By Tamsin Blanchard Pictures by Ben Elwes
Tuesday 01 October 1996
The work of our creative young designers has paid off. The Americans are keen to see what all the fuss is about and get in on the action. London is abuzz, thanks to Hussein Chalayan, Antonio Berardi, Clements Ribeiro, Pearce Fionda and, above all, Alexander McQueen.
The 27-year-old designer, who is hotly tipped to take over at Givenchy if John Galliano is moved to the House of Dior, showed his most accomplished collection to date. The front-row representatives from LVMH, owners of both Dior and Givenchy, could not have failed to be impressed. Models, faces frosted with blue and silver glitter, waded through a purpose-built lake in the middle of the huge Royal Agricultural Hall. Every pair of fine brocade trousers, each dusty pink catsuit, and every stitch of his bias-cut evening dresses, was masterful. Not only were the pieces creative in cut and thought, they were wearable and desirable. A fine, sheer mesh dress embroidered with dragons; a razor-sharp, shiny, sea-green trouser suit; a bias-cut dress with a train trailing out into the dark ripples of water. This was a collection to leave no one in doubt that the designer could take on a couture house and breathe fresh life into it.
Similar precision tailoring was apparent in the collection by Pearce Fionda. There was a slick, Seventies, woman-on-a-cruise appeal to the immaculate white suits with their ultra-wide-legged trousers, the black- and-white-striped knitted boob-tubes and the sleek, long tunic dresses.
Indeed, the Seventies just won't go away. This time, the look is more chic YSL than flower-power hippie. New name Justin Oh showed safari suits and Seventies kick-flared trousers as well as picking up on the ubiquitous knee-length, pedal-pusher trouser length. Clements Ribeiro defined the look of next summer with an upbeat, snappy collection of bright, floral- printed chiffon wrap-front dresses and tops edged with ruffles and frills. Garish paisleys worked best in luxurious cashmere knits. Indeed, knitwear stole the show at many collections: Katharine Hamnett's was lacy and sexy, adding to the general return to a softer, prettier, more "girly" feel to clothes for next summer.
Soft frills edged otherwise simple tops and skirts at John Rocha; and even the hard-edged People Corporation showed a collection that, despite its New York Doll's trash glamour, included pieces - a fuchsia-pink wrap dress, a T-shirt laddered and beaded into a sparkly spider's web - that also had a warped innocence and sweetness.
Life & Style blogs
Pakistan vs Paul Smith: Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300
Hundreds of Scottish women to launch damages claims against makers of the vaginal mesh implants which have left them in constant pain and even unable to have sex
Son attacks Apple after it refuses to unlock his late mother’s iPad
Apple's iOS 7.1: How to get the iPhone update, and what to do once you've got it
Is the secret to liberation from the cares of this world a two-word curse?
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Watch: The student election Macklemore parody that isn't completely awful - and all the others that are
- 3 Son attacks Apple after it refuses to unlock his late mother’s iPad
- 4 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 5 First Kiss: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: One of the largest mobile advert...
£20000 - £23000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: Our client specialises in creati...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Private Cli...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residential...