Tag: Mel Williams

The blackness of Christopher Raeburn’s AW16 presentation was a stark contrast to the dazzling sunlight this morning at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. When I’d received the invitation, I’d been surprised to see that it wasn’t his usual catwalk show in the BFC showspace, but as my eyes adjusted to the dark room and the flashing neon structure in the middle of it, I suddenly understood that this is, in fact, the best way to see his collection.

Raeburn is perhaps most well-known for his innovative work with fabrics, having become a pioneer in his adaptation of different materials into his designs and promoting sustainability within the fashion world. This season, he has collaborated with The Woolmark Company to celebrate the versatility of Merino Wool, creating a varied collection showcasing each of its unique qualities. Temperature-regulating base layers sit underneath fluffy wool jumpers, topped with lightweight outerwear that can fit underneath heavier duty pieces to suit the wearer.

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Military jackets were the starting point for the collection, with elements from all kinds of ceremonial outerwear, from officer tunics to drummer jackets, inspiring each design. Lapels adorn jackets and roll-necks, repurposed from shoulders to add unusual decoration. Rope detailing provides texture on a classic duffle coat, and sheer embroidery adds delicate femininity to a military jumpsuit. The colours of the range speak of this military influence too, based upon autumnal greens, blacks and greys, with flashes of red nodding to its ceremonial side.


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As if collaborations with not only The Woolmark Company but also embroidery designer Jenny King and knitwear designer Sarah Sweeney weren’t enough for one collection, shoemaker Clarks continue to play a significant role in Raeburn’s designs. Practical yet stylish suede boots finish off each look, featuring wood panelling and rounded soles.

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Raeburn’s work is so hugely multi-faceted that it deserves to be enjoyed slowly, savouring each aspect as you move around the square of models and hear the man himself enthusing about his design processes. As enjoyable as his previous shows have been, it is only now that I really understand the sheer depth of each piece and their collective importance within the modern fashion landscape. Underpinning this significance, there remains a beautifully versatile and aesthetically pleasing collection, disproving the common myth that fashion can’t be functional. Quite simply, Christopher Raeburn has knocked it out of the park this season, leaving us looking on to see what genius awaits us in September.



Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett

Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photographer

Georgia Hardinge’s AW16 collection offered up what could be regarded as one of the more interesting sources of inspiration for next season so far…and most curious way of interpreting her findings. Titled ‘Hidden’, it combined an exploration into ‘the great unknown’ with her renowned specialism of sculptural shapes that’s already attracted attention from the likes of Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Iggy Azelia.

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Following last year’s meteor showers, Hardinge decided to look up to the sky for ideas and landed upon the theme of shooting stars. Seeking a way to represent the mysteries of the universe via her creations, she looked into lenticular techniques; ways of changing or moving images using different angles. This research resulted in an array of drop-waisted skirts and dresses that exposed dazzling metallic foils hidden within soft pleats as models twirled and walked. These stunning illusions were sometimes straight lines of colour, and sometimes structured to form star-like shapes.

However, in other pieces, this flash of metallic colour was a little bolder. Stars continued to be featured, however this time on tees and the back of chic bomber jackets. Foil was also hidden within a single statement side pleat on an elegant shift, A-line skirt and flared sides of wide-leg trousers, offering a more statement look. Small rectangles and triangles decorated scarves, long-sleeved tees and the occasional hem of a skirt.

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However, the 'out-of-this-world' references didn’t end there; images of galaxies influenced the entire collection’s colour palette, with the likes of cobalt blue, magenta and hot pink cutting-through a sea of midnight black. The theme also continued in the collection’s presentation, with three huge stars that made use of lenticular techniques to provide an interactive backdrop to designs.

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As well as effectively showcasing her awe-inspiring interpretations of the universe, Hardinge also managed to create a range of A/W wardrobe must-haves. The striking maxi and mini pleated skirts were paired with layered round-necked knits, while roll-necks were also presented in a variety of colours. In preparation for party-season, two ultra-feminine outfits featured an off-the-shoulder look a la Bardot; a black mini-dress and the bodice of a pink chiffon, floor-sweeping maxi that featured subtle zigzag detailing.

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Offering unique statement looks with a fascinating back-story… and that also seem surprisingly easy-to-wear, Hardinge’s AW16 collection is ideal for the customer who can boast a little star-quality themselves.

Words: Helen Lovett | Fashion Week Press | @mustardyellowshoes
Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photographer

The phrase ‘less is more’ is bounced around all too often, however it’s entirely fitting for PIETER’s vision of the modern man. He opts for the easy-to-wear with edgy detailing in evidently high quality fabrics; the kind of pieces that you may not notice immediately but when you do, they’ll ensure a second look, a raised eyebrow, a nod of appreciation. Grey tailored trousers that zip up along the side seams, scarlet red leather strapping that gather in crisp white sleeves, and a black nylon overcoat that boasts a zip in the cuff to conveniently store your travel card in.
Leaning against black rails, staring the audience straight in the eye with chiselled jawlines and not a single hair out of place, Sebastiaan Pieter’s models showcased each outfit in the way its supposed to be worn - with self-assurance. A palette of monochrome, grey, cream and reds featured across a wearable mix of sleek tailoring and contemporary active wear. A jersey top with two zips leading diagonally from the chest to the neck paired with skinny suit trousers, while a baggy hoody was slung on with tight Japanese leather trousers.
The collection’s slightly subversive undercurrent came courtesy of the London-based Dutch designer’s source of inspiration - a photograph by Robert Mapplethorpe. The 1979 shot is titled Brian Ridley and Lyle Heeter and features two men; one standing, one sitting in a leather wing-backed arm chair, surrounded by a conventional living area featuring vases, a table clock and an Oriental rug. Both are entirely clad in black leather, from biker boots and jackets to studded trousers and gloves, with the standing gentleman holding a whip in one hand and chains attached to the collar of the seated gentleman in the other.
Pieter took this juxtaposition and dialed it down with subtle leather tassels, belting and small straps featuring alongside Italian wool flannel overcoats and perfectly-fitting cotton poplin shirts.While two key pieces that referenced gay culture bucked the general understated approach of the collection but still felt coherent; a red knit adorned with the word ‘CRUISE’ and a white tee with ‘HH’ printed on it in black.
Now in his fifth season and with the backing of NEWGEN MEN; the British Fashion Council and Topman-run initiative; Pieter presented a confident and effortless approach to AW16... an array of seemingly timeless pieces that will take any wardrobe stylishly through next season and beyond.
Words: Helen Lovett | Fashion Week Press | @mustardyellowshoes
Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photographer
Walking down the stairs and into The Vaults at the RSA House, you’d be forgiven for thinking you may have fallen down the rabbit hole and wandered into an eccentric wonderland. Arched nooks were filled with an eclectic mix of painting equipment and brightly coloured silk neck ties, while plates full of melt-in-the-mouth macarons were politely poised under the nose immediately upon arrival. After eyes had taken a few moments to adjust to the darkened surroundings, the most exquisite blazers boasting statement prints and quirky detailing attracted attention immediately....and you’d realised you’d entered the wondrous world of Turnbull & Asser.
Celebrating its 130th year and boasting a Royal Warrant courtesy of Prince Charles, this is a brand that successfully bridges the beauty of creativity with brains and brawn that result in the finest quality, expertly tailored garments. Each of its sought-after bespoke shirts are made in England using 33 individual pattern pieces and 13 mother-of-pearl buttons; and its this eye for detail that’s attracted a superior clientele such as Winston Churchill, President Ronald Regan, and even James Bond himself. However, next season it’s its artistic acquaintances, which have included the likes of Pablo Picasso and David Hockney, that may be more relevant.
Exploring the juxtaposition between ‘The Artist’ and ‘The Architect’ using colour, form, pattern and texture, Turnbull & Asser’s A/W 2016 collection cavorted between rigid checks in monochrome palettes to vibrant explosions of blues, pinks, purples, reds and golds in playful designs. Think blazers adorned with seemingly hand-drawn squiggles skipping over blue and white stripes, or the embroidered tiny white outline of a forearm and upturned palm repeated thousands of times until it was only recognisable upon very close inspection. Inspired by literature including George Orwell’s 1984 and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this was a collection that reexamined boundaries and explored contrasts without losing sight of the standards and taste the brand is renowned for.
Beyond the wooden mannequins and busts, some of which held paint brushes and palettes, the key area of the presentation was worth navigating through the suavest of crowds for. The stage was split into the two conflicting worlds; to the left, the laid-back avant-garde artists gathered nonchalantly, chatting around an easel draped in a red silk scarf, while to the right, business-like architects huddled around a desk, flicking through paperwork in a self-assured manner. Their uniforms went from red and tan coloured chinos paired with checked blazers and jackets, to pristine grey suits with a dash of character thanks to the likes of a printed waistcoat.
With posters taped to the walls that took a tongue-in-cheek view on conformity with headlines such as ‘Stay Vigilant There are Artists Among Us’, this collection sought to encourage the customer to throw a little caution to the wind, and embrace their personality in the wardrobe they choose. Whether you go all out and opt for a blazer covered in a mosaic-like embroidery that evokes the works of Klimt, or a grey suit with a dash of red thanks to a silk tie subtly illustrating London’s skyline, it’ll be easy to express yourself next season from the array of stylish pieces on offer at Turnbull & Asser.
Words: Helen Lovett | Fashion Week Press | @mustardyellowshoes
Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photographer
Boasting an OBE and a fan base that includes the likes of Mos Def, Drake, Michael Fassbender and Robert Downey Jnr, it’s evident that father and son fashion house Casely-Hayford know how to impress. Their AW 2016 collection grabbed attention with bold prints, experimental pattern-cutting and an exquisite level of detail to ensure that come September, they’ll be the go-to label for party season.
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If turning heads is the aim of the game, Joe and Charlie will ensure you succeed. Petal-like shapes were dispersed with smudges and graffiti-like marks in a turquoise, pink, violet, white and orange design that adorned an overcoat, trousers, and a blazer; the latter of which was sleekly styled with a black shirt, tie and trouser ensemble. A red floral tapestry blossomed over a black-lapel blazer and chic hunting jacket, while a blue, black and grey checked two-piece suit will be a must-have for seasonal dinner parties later this year.
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Those seeking a more casual aesthetic that still packs a punch should look no further than the key design of the collection - a multi-paneled coat with a two pronged trail. This unique feature was seen on a variety of outerwear, from a lightweight beige and khaki coat with a peaked hood, to a denim patchwork piece... and what it lacks in practicality, it certainly makes up for in statement.
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Other notable inclusions included oversized detailing such as a rounded sheepskin collar and enlarged pockets that hung over the hem of a khaki wool coat, as well as huge cuffs and elongated back tabs on a jacket. Trousers were featured in both narrow and baggy cuts, while a monochome two-tone top will be an ideal understated piece. Meanwhile two outfits managed to take smart-casual to whole new level by pairing both a faded blue camouflage top and an almost dress-like grey jumper with draped gold military rope lanyards and embroidered blue velvet.
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Outfits were styled with the likes of a beige rucksack and chic sunglasses from Blanc, alongside an array of stylish footwear courtesy of a collaboration with American brand Sperry, whose founder invented the classic boat shoe. With expert tailoring skills, an ethos based around a fusion between an ‘...expression of free spirit with the very particular gestures of English sartorialism’ and a whole host of edgy ideas, Casely-Hayford can deliver a truly eye-catching wardrobe for AW16.
Words: Helen Lovett | Fashion Week Press | @mustardyellowshoes
Images: Mel Williams | Fashion Week Photographer