London Fashion Week: Lessons in English from Christopher Kane, Giles Deacon and Christopher Bailey


The Englishness of English dress is a very interesting concept, especially as manifested during London Fashion Week. Although maybe it’s the London-ness of London dress, given that most of the star designers come from further afield. Nevertheless they are all the product of the British capital’s fashion schools – Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art dominated today, Christopher Kane and Giles Deacon of the former, and Erdem and Burberry’s Christopher Bailey of the latter.

Part of that Britishness is the disparity of inspiration, the variation of theme, the multifaceted ideas. Look at Christopher Bailey and Christopher Kane: two visions of woman whose only similarity was in their pastel palettes and persuasive power. Kane’s shtick was stems, but he turned the cliche of spring florals on its head. You got the message from the get-go, petal cut-out shapes tumbling artfully down the front of crepe dresses. The cut-out was followed by cut-aways, scientific biology diagrams dissecting flower heads as sequined and embroidered motifs on sweatshirts and brief embroidered evening dresses. It was a consummate display – and, with the Kering luxury conglomerate now a majority stake-holder in Kane’s business, it was a compelling example of financial might and creative muscle fusing perfectly.

Burberry Prorsum is the largest and loudest example of financial clout on the London fashion week menu. Sometimes that can overpower the clothes, but this season Bailey’s delicate theme – the English Rose – was handled with an admirably light hand.

The palette was succulent, Queen Mother shades of primrose, periwinkle and powder pink, cut into swingy cashmere-knit trench coats, slouchy blazers and slender cocktail dresses in chiffon and intricate granny-doily lace. It was deft, despite the heft.

As his surname suggests, Erdem Moralioglu is not a Brit, but he looked to Eton schoolboys for his inspiration. Of a fashion, “Schoolboys in uniform with something feminine on top,” Moralioglu said backstage. “A flawed androgyny.”

The flaw was that it skewed to the unabashedly feminine, fluttering chantilly lace, rippling layers of feathers and panels of organza and tulle. Even when Erdem did a rugby shirt stripe, it alternated between chiffon and duchesse satin, crusted with feathers. Girlish? The boy can’t help it. He also can’t help making the effort – the handiwork in every single Erdem piece is awe-inspiring. If London has a new couture guard, Erdem is one of the leaders.

Georgia May Jagger walks the runway for Giles Deacon last night Georgia May Jagger walks the runway for Giles Deacon last night

The other is indisputably Giles Deacon, celebrating his 19th season. His label was founded on dressed-up rather than messed-up, when that was the exception rather than the rule. They went with ball gowns too, feathered and frilled and spangled, sometimes pock-marked with a gap-toothed lipstick pucker, brocaded, embroidered and printed.

That was reminiscent of the Rolling Stones “Sticky Fingers” artwork, and Georgia May Jagger was a keynote model. That was ironic, sarcastic almost. But it all still looked great. Deacon is the quintessentially English designer, our very own cari-couturier. Carry on frocking, Giles.

The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    SSRS Report Developer - Urgent Contract - London - £300pd

    £300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...

    KS1 Teacher

    £95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...

    HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

    £32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?