Tag: Katharine Bennett

As we arrived into the vestibule of Freemasons’ Hall ready to take our seats for the Ashley Isham SS17 show, it was hard not to trip over the giant inflatable flamingos and the swimsuit-clad models that were sunning themselves across the catwalk. As we say a firm farewell to the warm sunny days here in London, Isham is already in the midst of next summer, enjoying scorching heat set against a disco soundtrack.

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The show kicked off with the models casually getting up and dressing themselves before sauntering through the room in groups as if winding their way back to their hotel after a long day at the pool. It was a stark contrast with the usual ‘glue everything down’ backstage catwalk prep, but one which added a bit of entertainment and humour to proceedings, as well as showing off just how wearable the SS17 collection is.

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As the music transitioned into another seventies hit that had the frow dancing in their seats, the collection bounced down the catwalk in time to the beat. Featuring both mens and womenswear, the clothes were a feast of patterns, textures and colours, clashing together in the best way.

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For daytime beach chic, women had the option of fabulously floral bikinis or sultry satin swimsuits, finished with ruffled, lacy coverups and hats adorned with glitter or pompos, while men sported matching three-piece bomber jacket/short suits and caps with even bigger pompoms dangling from each side.

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As the sun goes down, things get a little more subtle, with prints being paired with single-colour wide leg trousers, long and flowing draped dresses over a glittering leg and tasselled, shimmering metallics, all still paired with cascading pompom earrings. Men follow suit with monochrome printed shirts and shorts and all-in-one velour.

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As the models once again discarded their clothes for a disco-dancing swimsuit finale, the room seemed uplifted with the prospect of Isham’s pool party plans for next summer. She’s combined all our favourite things from the age of disco into one, well-rounded package that somehow turns chintzy into chic. With its bright colours, sense of fun and endless possibilities of mixing and matching, there should be no SS17 suitcase that doesn’t contain a few faves from the collection. We’ll take one of those pompom visors please.

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Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Ellen Offredy | Fashion Week Photographer | @ellenoffredy

It might have been a blustery, grey day in London as we headed towards the Amba Hotel at Charing Cross, but that soon lay forgotten as Ollari’s SS17 collection started to make its way down the catwalk. Inspired by the ruins of the Tulum and Frida Kahlo’s iconic style, we were quickly transported to a long, hot summer in Mexico by the designs that appeared before us.

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Bold, tropical floral prints covered chic wideleg trousers, fitted crop tops, all in one catsuits and flowing dresses, with cutouts and tied fronts adding a flirty undertone to each look.

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Pleats and frills gave way to sultry fitted colourblock shapes adorned with beaded borders, emulating the shape of the Mayan temples that sit against blue sky and yellow sand.

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Colours become more saturated for evening, showing off silhouettes with fitted crop tops set against ruffle-waist trousers, striking the perfect balance between sophisticated glamour and showing off that tanned holiday bod.

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Bold shades gave way to more subtle pastels from the palette in simple shift dresses. Fabric became more textured, showing off the detail of its yarn-dyed stripes and intricate beaded necklines.

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Designer Meagan Ollari has delivered a perfectly-formed collection of summer pieces, showing off the female form in the best way – much like her muse Frida Kahlo. Paired with a simple coral lip and on-trend braids, the collection is flattering, easy to wear and finished to the highest detail, blending multi-faceted influences into one seamless set of designs.

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Eloise Peachey | Fashion Week Press | @eloisepeachey

Lights were dimmed, music was thumping and drinks were in full swing as we were shown through Phonica Records on Poland Street and down into the On|Off space below. It was late on a Saturday night, day two of LFW, and it was time for the PA5H SS17 show, Tyred. A screeching wheel spin brought the babble of the room to a halt, announcing the arrival of the first model onto the catwalk.

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Taking inspiration from an old racing jacket found at a vintage fair, the collection was centred around all things motor, nodding to Formula 1 with racing stripes, bold reds and jumpsuit styles. The key was in the details; shorts became works of art with thousands of beads hand-stitched into a checkerboard design, while dresses were held together with seatbelt-style tapes that unclipped in the middle.

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Hair and makeup, too, reflected this stylised theme – hair flirted with the nineties trend with tightly-crimped sections forming tyre tracks amongst red go-faster lines, which were repeated on minimal faces above eyes and across cheeks.

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Contrasting with the sleek, vinyl textures were distressed denim accents, featuring on cuffs and elbows and revealing just the right amount of skin as loose legwarmers, as well as soft, cosy sweatshirts branded with wordplay slogans that fitted the title of the collection.

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We all love a good theme, and PA5H have hit the sweet spot between inspiration and overdoing it. Watching the collection as whole whilst the models did their final walk (to a car-themed soundtrack, of coruse), it works cohesively as an ode to motorsport, but each piece is individually crafted to have its own unique identity. The designs are fun, fashionable and functional, offering options for day or night, with as little or as much car as you require. And, after all, how could we possibly resist a bit of word play?

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Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Zac Mahrouche | Fashion Week Photographer | @zacmahrouche

With previous winners including the likes of Phoebe English, Eudon Choi and David Koma, the Fashion Scout Merit Award show is always one to watch at LFW to discover fashion’s next rising star. Despite only recently graduating from Parsons, this year’s recipient Han Wen has already been featured on vogue.com with his thesis collection An Escape from Tradition, leaving an expectant hush over proceedings as we took our seats at Freemasons’ Hall.

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One by one the models appeared, gliding almost imperceptibly down the catwalk in a slow and steady sequence, their faces dusted in silver, making them seem almost like living statues. Each one was clad in highly-structured swathes of material, ranging from soft, silky textures to strong, robust leathers.

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The outfits were incredibly intricate in their design. Each separate piece was joined to the next through a combination of straps, hoops and gravity, holding them in place just so and giving the designs a slight bondage feel. Most of the designs were off the shoulder, with super-loose sleeves and baggy necklines giving a fresh take on this current trend.

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The models filed out for their final walk, pausing along the catwalk and turning in synchronisation to stand motionless for us to appraise the collection as a whole. They seemed almost like troops of an incredibly fashionable robot army, nodding to the traditional Chinese armour that inspired the collection with robe-like and tied belts. Rather than becoming an extension of the models’ frames, each design formed an outer shell over their bodies, providing a modern day armour for anything the world has to throw at them.

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As the show ended and we came out of the trance that Wen had hypnotised us into – a pleasant relief from the hubbub of Brewer Street – the room was abuzz with discussion of the collection and Wen’s successful juxtaposition between tradition and modernity. We’re certainly looking forward to seeing what challenge he takes on next – it’s sure to bring something a little bit different to the scene.

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Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

The theme to Jurassic park welcomed us into the BFC showspace on the first day of LFW SS17 for  Ashley Williams’ catwalk show. The darling of athletic chic, Williams is loved by the likes of Alexa Chung, Pixie Geldof and Clara Paget – they were of course sat front row, wearing the current season’s collection like a cool girl uniform. Bright balloons, bookcases and mirrors were scattered across the catwalk, and as the lights went down, models entered the scene and busied themselves with reading books, recording with retro camcorders and fiddling with trinkets.

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Coupled with a slouchy strut and a whole lot of attitude, the clothes started coming down the catwalk. The designs combined loud and proud eighties influences with girlish glitz and and undertone of dark romanticism, evoking that not a girl, not yet a woman teenage headiness – Williams’ inspiration for this collection was her adolescent obsession with River Phoenix.

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The range spanned everything from casual to formal, with some crossovers in-between. Loose dungarees, chunky jumpers and long sweatshirt dresses emblazoned with slogans offered fully functional weekend wear, while huge gigot sleeves and swaying tassels gave a more sophisticated, evening feel.
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Each model had their own identity, showing it off one by one through bubblegum pink hair, dip-dyed mullets and sparkly ‘GIRLS’ and ‘BOYS’ hairclips that indulged our inner teenager. Each outfit was finished with pointed, buckled creepers, treading that fine line between delicate and stompy. Accessories were a themselves a statement; some models sported sunglasses – sleek wraps that made them seem almost robotic or pretty cats-eyes style frames – and large, dangly earrings, while some carried large animal bags with beaded handles.

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Ashley Williams’ teenage bedroom was a wondrous place to start fashion week. Full of fun, colour and a healthy dose of adolescent angst, the show reflected a different image of fashion to the one we’ve come to expect on the catwalk, which is perhaps why this relatively new designer has such an impressive reputation and a fanbase of some of our favourite names. As the pink-sweatshirt clad frow headed backstage to congratulate the designer, it was clear that Williams is only at the beginning of her trajectory into a household name.

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Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Ellen Offredy | Fashion Week Photographer | @ellenoffredy