Fashion International shows are a chance for both emerging and established designers to showcase their designs on a professional catwalk during London Fashion Week. This does mean, however, that some collections are more successful than others, a fact which is painfully obvious this evening.
Indian designer Daniel Syiem kicked off proceedings with a flourish with his eco friendly designs made from Ryndia, a handwoven eri silk made by weavers in Meghalaya. Off whites and earthy shades of green and yellow were offset with gold accessories and sparingly used traditional print, which adorned the asymmetric looks. Trouser-skirt hybrids, subtly textured fabric and ragdoll gypsy skirts were just some of the reasons we loved this collection, and the overall aesthetic was a uniquely modern take on “ethnic” (his own choice of word) fashion.
The second collection of the night, ‘Shades of White’ by AGA Couture seemed somewhat lackluster after the impressive opener. Lace trims paired with pearls and flouncing ruffles are only cheapened by the addition of rhinestones, which cheapen the collection. We prefer it when the shades turn into a muted gold colour, and an off the shoulder top and skirt combo which combines this colour with white seems much more cosmopolitan.
Forever Devine’s collection was an attempt at elegance and evening opulence, but although this did come through, it fell a little short of the mark with mostly ill fitting, unflattering and unfinished garments. As a designer, one either has to have a strong skill for cutting techniques or a deeply creative vision. Unfortunately, we could see evidence of neither with this collection.
Thankfully, celebrity couturier and bridalwear designer Yuvna Kim is up next with her fairytale creations reminiscent of Elie Saab’s heavily embellished full length sheer gowns. They really are the epitome of opulence as 3D embroidered flowers and intricate beading swirl around the models’ legs. A completely over the top yet deliciously fantastical ruffled train looks like something out of a Victoria’s Secret show and the muted pastel colour scheme stops think looking too Barbie-ish. A sheer flapper dress in candy pink is a delight to behold with vintage style beading although a couple of satin garments feel too prim and slightly dated. It would also have been nice to forgo the very wedding appropriate hats to move away from bridalwear and into the throes of high fashion.
In complete contrast, Lenie Boya’s futuristic ‘Dramatique’ collection is an entirely different beast, wowing guests with silver brocade and intricate laser cut coats. If there’s one thing you can’t deny about Boya it’s that she takes risks, as evidenced by her swan bridesmaid dress, a garment that wouldn’t be out of place in an Elsa Schiaparelli retrospective. In a surprising twist, Paralympian Stefanie Reid became the first ever British amputee to model at London Fashion Week. Her highly technical and frankly beautiful silver prosthetic leg was a welcome addition to the show.
Pakistani designer Omar Mansoor’s Russian-inspired Imperial Romance collection rounded off the evening with a series of off-white, embellished garments (white to symbolise post revolution peace). Influenced by the history of Russia, military elements seems a little too obvious (were the caps really necessary?) whilst jewel encrusted broaches shone against the white canvas of shift dresses and jumpsuits. We would have omitted a couple of the looks but overall it was a charming effort.