Tradition is the key as the Empire strikes back
Tweed, tartan and classic reds rule at Fashion Week
Sunday 20 February 2011
Red was the colour of London Fashion Week, along with traditional materials such as tweed and tartan. It all invoked a mood of the classic county clan and set, well, a rather regal tone. There has been a great appetite for such hyperbolic Anglophilia, with the British Empire as a reference at Jaeger London and the great outdoors as an inspiration at Daks.
Founded in 1934 as a menswear label, Daks used its newly opened in-house museum to resuscitate its signature archive checks. Outerwear detailing, such as large buttons and lining fabrics, informed many of the pieces; full skirts appeared to be made from the quilted lining of a shooting jacket. Models recalled Carey Mulligan in An Education, although bluestocking styling contrasted with loose gauge scarves and ponchos with plenty of bounce.
Jaeger London meanwhile showed tomato-bright blazers cut in collarless, minimal shapes and fiercely creased crimson cigarette pants. These were matched with camel blouses and jackets, sleeveless navy waistcoats and crombies that featured oversized cartoonish lapel detailing.
And national treasure Betty Jackson showed bright and fleecy wool coats belted atop more muted terracotta shades and knitwear of varied weights, which gave structure to a looser classic silhouette. There were ox-blood leather jackets with bow-back details, and hooded scarlet blousons offset by much lighter tiered chiffon dresses in swirling floral prints.
Tradition prevailed again at Daniella Helayel's Issa, which has come to the fore since Kate Middleton wore an Issa dress on the day she and Prince William announced their engagement. Inspiration came from Audrey Hepburn and Wallis Simpson – a combination that conjures Ms Middleton's own blend of demure and daring.
But the next generation were using colour and traditional fabrics in quite a different way. Clothes were riotously bright at collections by young designers Louise Gray and Henry Holland. Gray's tweeds were laced with metallic flashes and large gold polka-dots on girlish wool coats. Tartan and plaid were spliced together on boxy jackets and shorts, further decorated with tassels and fringing.
Those tweedy clichés were spun again at House of Holland, reworked on herringbone wool bustier dresses embellished withpearls and in a near-trompe l'oeil denim shade. There were fuchsia herringbone skirt suits, too, with vinyl detailing on lapels and pockets, and psychedelic orange, pink and purple-checked coats over tights printed with bingo balls. It was the perfect whimsical-with-a-hint-of-retro collection for Holland's cool kid and socialite clubgoer clientele.
London Fashion Week continues tomorrow with shows from Top Shop Unique and Matthew Williamson
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