While the Olympics brought out London's patriotic side, yesterday's London Fashion Week shows appealed to its punk heritage. From last year's riots to polythene bags, inspirations were vigorous, varied and vibrant, and designers revelled in a different side of British culture.
The former came in a reworking of a classic French toile de jouy by the irreverent knitwear collective, Sibling: traditional pastoral sketches were replaced with images of hooded ruffians torching phone booths and looting shops, scattered across a fine-gauge woollen sundress, mixed in with otherwise prim tennis whites. Striking touches also came in the form of a giant raffia puffball dress, knitted face masks and a hot pink lurex cardigan patterned with grinning golden skulls, in a collection called "Warriors in Woolworths".
Acid tones of chartreuse and bubblegum pink toughened up feminine sportswear and delicate broderie pieces, in what was a streetwise and witty showing from a promising label still only in its second season of producing womenswear.
There were further flashes of teenage rebellion at the Fashion East presentation. The foundation supports young talents at the beginning of their careers, and this season's freshest name was 22-year-old Claire Barrow, who graduated last June from Westminster University. Her capsule of graffitied separates was inspired by "alcohol packaging and the bland generation", she said.
Meanwhile, laundry bags, old adverts and Tesco logos formed part of the patchwork of prints at Maarten van der Horst's spring 2013 show, which spoke of everyday vandalism and the ironic appropriation of corporate uniforms. Pinstriped tailoring was deconstructed and inlaid with metallic panelling, while denim separates came in an eye-catching swirled union flag palette.
The punk movement's godmother, Vivienne Westwood, shows her Red Label collection today. Henry Holland meanwhile revisited the days of 1990s rave culture in day-glo and digital, abstract floral prints on biker jackets, drop-waist skirts and a selection of eye-shocking chartreuse and jacquard pieces that were both hip and elegant.
Holland's label, launched as a line of tongue-in-cheek slogan T-shirts in 2007, goes from strength to strength, maturing in style but never losing sight of its youthfulness. The schedule also includes Topshop Unique, Paul Smith and the milliner Philip Treacy, who returns to the catwalk for the first time in 12 years.
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