London Fashion Week has a reputation for its bright young things and they lived up to it in the most literal way at the final day of womenswear shows in the capital yesterday.
Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff raised the roof with a collection entitled A Wolf in Lamb's Clothing, which promised to exhibit "a cosmology of women". Balloons were strewn across the show space and the audience was treated to a coven of Courtney Love lookalikes in sateen baby-doll dresses applying lipstick and dancing the cancan. Models in technicolor pinafores, cartoonish knits decorated with smiling anthropomorphised hearts and clouds, and empire-line negligees strode among them. The final phase of the show – which featured magnificent Versailles-esque brocades and boned stomachers, mini-crinis and pannier dresses complete with bodices
and bustles – was accompanied by a troupe of pre-teen ballerinas.
But there was a successful balance of princess and pragmatist at Meadham Kirchhoff: for every opulent gown, there was a clutch of eminently sellable separates, whether knitwear, kilt skirts or even denim hotpants decorated with crystal pendants.
The story was similar at designer Mary Katrantzou's show. Palimpsests of Day-Glo carnation meadow prints in acid hues came on blazers and tailored trousers, while underwater seascapes of shoals and coral reefs merged with photographic renderings of carburettors, metal drums and bolts on tulip-skirted cocktail dresses.
Demand for couture pieces is sparse in days such as these but red-carpet customers would do well to try Roksanda Ilincic, who also exhibited: here, eye-wateringly bright tones of fuchsia, turquoise and sky blue came on column dresses, cocktail shifts and even chic woven beanie hats. Silk, satin and crêpe spoke of the atelier tradition, while streamlined modern shapes referenced the golden age of the discipline in swing shapes, sack-backs and exaggerated bell sleeves, and dragged formal dressing into the 21st century.
More modernising came at Aquascutum, where creative director Joanna Sykes presented macs and cropped trenches coated with shiny PVC, and elegant satin palazzo pants came with sporty go-faster stripes down the legs.