Jasper shows the best of British is all about balance

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Contrast and individuality are what mark London as the wild child of the international fashion shows, a point made clear on day two of London Fashion Week by two very different designers, Jasper Conran and Jessica Ogden.

Conran, one of Britain's most established names, showed what he is best at: creating well-made wearability by employing quality fabrics.

Taking the legacy and palette of the recently retired Yves Saint Laurent, Conran produced a show that had faint whispers of a 1970s Charlotte Rampling. The softest sand or chocolate nubuck-coloured suede was sliced into coats with embroidered belts or skirts embroidered with graphic lines of contrasting rainbow colours. Pleated A-line skirts were created from shiny leather, tank tops and scoop neck jumpers from cashmere and flirty pussycat bow blouses from silk chiffon.

That Saint Laurent legacy appeared in the form of trousers cropped at the knee, in Conran's take on Le Smoking tuxedo, and his colour palette: amethyst with turquoise, tangerine with violet, toffee with marigold.

Conran might not be the most revolutionary offering on the London schedule but he is the commercial sensibility and style to balance Ogden's creative individuality.

Ogden, whose show was held in a tiny chapel to the tinkling of jewellery box music, is well known for the individuality and wholesome simplicity of her work, which takes a stand against everything that big brand conglomerates symbolise.

"It's about going back to my Mother's old dresses and how they make me feel," said Ogden amid a frenzy of camera crews. "I was also inspired by my recent visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. It made me look at small details and then design the garment from them." Those small details included smocking on simple tops and dresses, red piping on a denim-look wool sailor dress, fine linear embroideries on a white pleated skirt, and patches of antique fabric that appeared on fresh cotton or was tied around the wrist.

Ogden's signature use of vintage fabrics appeared as a poncho and a skirt in distressed and quilted floral print cotton. "My work just evolves," said Ogden. "I always like a certain amount of prettiness."