Tag: Katharine Bennett

In the shadow of the Horse Guards Parade and the Ministry of Defence, Markus Lupfer invited us into the barren wasteland that was the set for his SS16 collection.

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Sipping on a Peyote chilli margarita, served with a little bottle of Ambar Tequila to pour at will, we wandered through the wild flowers sprouting up between wooden floorboards, coming across models set against the rocky, arid landscape as we moved around the room.

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The collection is playful yet moody, setting fun motifs of cacti and Mexican luchadors against sheer, dark organza, reflecting the contrasting nature of the Mexican deserts which inspired the designer. Whites, taupes and light pinks filter through, reminiscent of early morning sky, bringing lightness to the collection.

Almost as if growing out of control, flowers creep from the floor onto the garments themselves, enrobing shoes, adorning pockets and even cascading from the models’ ear lobes. A clear favourite in the room is a sheer bomber, embroidered with florals, layered over a dress of yet more delicate flowers.

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As we’ve come to know and love him for, Lupfer’s chosen motifs recur throughout the collection across a range of garments, from laid-back separates to dainty evening dresses. He once again astounds us with his intricate craftsmanship, using masterful techniques to apply them in patch, printed and embroidered forms.

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Regarding the collection as a whole from the balcony overlooking the Thames, it is a gorgeous array of fun, yet sophisticated, femininity. Through his use of contrasts, Lupfer has turned Spring florals into something fresh and exciting, appealing to both our senses of fashion and humour.

 

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Kaye Ford | Fashion Week Photography | @fordtography

WJ Photographer Kaye Ford has been delving around behind the scenes to get in on the backstage action.

Angel Chen's punky line was complemented by every aspect of hair and makeup. Another dim memory of the 90s leaping back into fashion, temporary body art, was being applied everywhere from necks to eyebrows.

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Hair was woven into tufty braids, sticking out rebelliously.

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Eyes were rimmed in pink, reflecting a trend that has taken over Soho this week, spotted on street stylers and models alike. Even those who would be covered by Angel’s unusual pink headpieces were made up, expressing attitude from every pore, even if unseen.

 

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Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Kaye Ford | Fashion Week Photography | @fordtography

Upon entering The Swiss Church for Renli Su’s SS16 presentation, the manic buzz of LFW ebbs away as you are drawn through glass doors and into the Church Hall.

The room is bright and airy, lit by the evening light streaming in through windows in its curved ceiling. It is beautifully calm, almost as if time has stopped - and not just for the spectators. Four models are dotted around the room, standing perfectly still, almost an extension of the room itself.

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Neutral colours layer over one another, warmed by rich, deep hues. Organic cotton combines with luxurious silk and woven edges, perfectly embodying Mark Rothko’s contrast between drama and simplicity, which was the inspiration behind the Renli’s use of colour and texture.

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There is a definitely an air of nightwear glamour to the range, with long silk striped shirts and draped folds of material, cinched at the waist with a belt. Stiffer, high necked jackets in deep colours contrast with the neutral, once more evoking sumptuous elegance.

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Speaking of the range, Su says she was inspired by Britain’s golden age; the Victorian era. She wanted to use Victorian sophistication and finesse to create an elegant, independent and modern woman, quoting her design philosophy of Wabi-Sabi - the acceptance of transience which rejects meaningless design in preserving the preciousness of tradition.

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Renli Su's vision for SS16 is one of muted grace, providing an understated yet luxurious aesthetic which will almost certainly be a wardrobe staple next year.

 

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Zoe Lamb | Fashion Week Photographer | @z0elamb

 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, there is a small door leading down stairs to the 100 Club, legendary music venue and home to the Le Kilt SS16 presentation, Stupid Girl.

In the warming glow of the red walls, covered in photos of the incredible artists who have played in the venue since its opening in 1942, models hung out on stage, pouting, chatting and moving to the music.

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All looked as though they could have been members of a band in the club’s heyday; they channelled a rebellious, Shirley Manson vibe, draping themselves over one another in a defiant stance of sisterhood, kicking out their Converse and chewing on the arms of their sunglasses.

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As expected, kilts were the centre stage of the collection, but not as we know them. Once again, designer Samantha McCoach has put her refreshing spin on the traditional Scottish garb. Plain pleated camels sat next to snakeskin-effect leathers, in all different lengths. Tweeds became monochrome, channelling 90s chic.

The kilts were accompanied by simple tops, draping casually with threads hanging in a beautiful state of disarray. Tailored jackets and completed the look, epitomising the contrast in the aesthetically girly yet fierce attitude of punk, and the women who championed it.

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It was difficult to leave the loud darkness of the club, finishing up a whisky cocktail which perfectly befitted the ambience of the event, and rejoin commuters and shoppers in the comparatively dull real world. Yet knowing that, somewhere below London’s most famous shopping street, punk is alive and well and will live on through Le Kilt’s collection brought a great deal of satisfaction to the rest of my journey - and the desire to pull out my tartan.

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Kaye Ford | Fashion Week Photography | @fordtography

On a tiny street somewhere behind Oxford Street, behind an unremarkable door and up a winding staircase is a chapel. And this is where Phiney Pet threw her Everyday Birthday bash.

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Inspired by the birthday parties of her youth, offering donuts and Calypso drinks, Pet has channelled her inner kid with her SS16 collection.

Framed against the solemn beauty of the chapel, models stood in groups, posing like children who had been asked to take yet another photograph at a family occasion.

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The clothes were fun and clashed charmingly; gingham worn with bright illustrations, tartan with brocade, bold stripes with patterned chiffon.

And the accessories complemented the aesthetic perfectly; pink slides held back fringes and the shoes were beautifully adorned flatforms, covered in ribbons and bows.

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Within a few minutes, Pet was gathering her team and models together to take delightfully fun polaroids, celebrating her unofficial birthday party and adding to the youthful excitement in the room. She animatedly explained that she never had a Sweet Sixteen, so this was her chance to relive the experience.

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Her favourite piece from the collection? A leather jacket which perfectly illustrates how to bake a cake from start to finish, covered in sprinkles - similarly, in fact, to her favourite Krispy Kreme doughnut.

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Skipping off to my next show, I felt lifted by the fun and vibrant collection that Pet had shared at her party. Fashion can be terribly serious at times, and it was delightful to meet someone who’s excitable dynamism is written all over her clothes. And as for that jacket - who could ever object to mixing fashion with cake? I know what I’ll be baking next year.

Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Celine Castillon | Fashion Week Photographer | @petitefable