Tag: Presentation

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She was topless and painted a glossy black. I thought I was staring at a mannequin, until I noticed her breathing. Nestled in Old Spitalfields Market at the Topshop Show Space, the Faustine Steinmetz presentation was like a cave of wonders.

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The model was wearing jeans, if we could even call them that. They were encrusted with Swarovski crystal rock formations, turning her into an enormous geode. The stiffness must have made them incredibly uncomfortable to wear or move around in, but when has fashion ever been comfortable? The denim on display was clearly in a league of its own and Collection 008 was all about the denim.

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Gone are the days of Ed Hardy, gaudy logos, and bling being the height of ‘cool.’ I’m not sure if they ever were cool to begin with, but Faustine Steinmetz turned this concept on its head to make denim decadent. The designer plucked us from our safe sartorial options and plunged us into something that, although unknown, was far more alluring. Rather than diamanté lettering, we were given Swarovski. Say no more.

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With the help of creative collaborator Georgia Pendlebury and set designer Thomas Petherick, dioramas emanated blue light from where the models were lying. They resembled helpless modern-day mermaids who were confined to their boxes without their tails, soaked in pools of blue. Even some of their faces were awash with the hue, which carved out their icy, chiseled cheekbones.

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Calvin Klein better watch out, because soon Faustine Steinmetz will be the name that everyone wants jutting out of their jeans or emblazoned across their clothes. For those of you who are a fan of double denim (I personally see nothing wrong with it), or the Canadian Tuxedo as it has come to be known, it looks like Faustine Steinmetz has just given you the green light to layer until your heart’s content.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Phoebe Fox | Fashion Week Photographer | @_phox_

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Omer Asim’s presentation, ‘Reversed Sensory,’ at the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms was anything but a sensory deprivation for those in attendance. It did take us back to basics though and to Asim’s architectural training.

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Asim was born and raised in Sudan and went on to study architecture at The Bartlett School of Architecture in London. He also dabbled in psychoanalytic studies, which fostered his interest in the relationship between the mind and clothing.

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Androgynous male and female models were raised up on blocks with sooty hands and feet. The lines of the clothes remained clean, wearable, and minimal. My attention was drawn to the accessories, which appeared almost primitive in their construction and placement.

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Oversized belts looped back on themselves to provide structure to the garments. Discs balanced on the models’ ears or in their mouths, while rods hung around their necks or stretched across the jackets. They acted as the focal points of barely-there clothing that seemed to be draped across the wearers’ bodies like art.

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The collection consisted entirely of black and white shades, because there is no grey with Asim. What you see is what you get. The clothing was stripped down to its most practical level, with sections of the models’ skin left bare. The use of any superfluous material was neglected.

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Asim doesn’t create new collections by steering them in the direction of a specific source of inspiration or theme. Rather, he works on a continuum, honing and altering his craft bit by bit each season. Then it’s up to us to take his pieces and make them our own.

Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

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The Asli Polat presentation was held at the Topbridal as part of On|Off. While bemused shoppers browsed through records, they showed a vague interest as people were ushered downstairs into a whole other world – one that they might not have even known existed.

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This season marks Polat’s fifth showing in London. With a head office based in New York, Polat splits her time between the two cities. If the Ryan LO show reminded me of prom, Polat’s certainly did. Big silver balloons spelled out the designer’s name in bubble letters against the backdrop of a metallic fringed curtain. Ruffles, ruching, and pleating added to shirtdresses, crop tops, cocktail dresses and jackets further amplified this vibe. The models walked the runway with strappy silver heels on their feet and glitter on their faces.

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The Polat woman conveys a youthful innocence, but with this collection, sexual undertones gave the clothes an edge. They were crafted using velvet, satin, cotton, and…PVC.

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A raincoat and top and shorts were completely see-through, which caused a second look. The harnesses, which were either blue or floral, made for a pleasantly unexpected detail on crisp white dresses. The floral theme was prevalent throughout the collection, in printed and literal form. Some of the models sported flowers on their arms and legs, which could be seen through sheer panels.

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I am also glad to report that off the shoulder and shoulder-baring tops are here to stay, as well as our beloved chokers. Well, if Asli Polat has anything to do with it. I predict that the large black choker with a bow at the nape of the neck will be on everyone’s lust list.

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After a flowing, iridescent cape closed the show, the models all lined up to pose, not a cheesy prom picture grin or outfit faux pas in sight.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photographer | @amiecharlot

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Carlton House Terrace at the Institute of Contemporary Arts gave the impression of being submerged under water, with jellyfish and coral taking temporary residence. Alice Archer’s presentation highlighted the beauty of the sea. The designer was there, along with stylist Pandora Sykes, and they were both beaming. They were the sirens that lured us to the majestic collection, where we fell hard for the clothes.

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The embroidery on the garments was modelled from marine invertebrates, sea flowers, and a range of corals. Even the vibrant colours and textures were authentic to the ones you would find in the ocean with velvety pinks and ruffled indigos. Archer uses a technique that combines print and embroidery, allowing for the simultaneous use of colour and texture. Work can then be transferred onto fabrics like double duchess satin, gingham, and chiffon.

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For Spring/Summer 2017, Archer has created a range of styles suitable for a range of occasions. She has made me reconsider the pyjamas as daywear trend with a slinky pair that quite frankly looked too good to be worn just for bed (nor do I think they were intended to be).

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A dress made from fine lightweight leather means that the versatile fabric no longer needs to be confined to the chillier months. A jacket and skirt combination awash with jellyfish could easily become an updated workwear staple.

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Sheer fabrics moved with the wearer like the ebb and flow of the sea, while delicate beadwork done by hand crept up as coral. When what’s normally underneath the waves became reimagined on land into ladylike silhouettes, the result was pure magic.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Tegan Rush | Fashion Week Photographer | @tegan.photography

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Tourne de Transmission cryptically urged, ‘CHOOSE YOUR ESCAPE ROUTE ->>>,’ at the first floor presentation space at 180 The Strand on Monday. I was led into a bare, dimly-lit room, all but for a wall lined with black and white photographs. Some of the faces were instantly discernible, such as McFly band member and LCM regular Dougie Poynter, while others were not. The palpable tension began to build and I fervently looked for an escape route, in case I might actually need one.

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Tourne de Transmission translates directly to ‘rotating transmission’ and stems from the desire to marry visuals with the written word. For the SS17 collection, Creative Director Graeme Gaughan liaised with New York City-based contemporary artist Chris Dorland. Although they did not collaborate on this project, an idea manifested, as is often the way after two creatives interact. The result? Sliced and diced billboard imagery from the 90s-00s, a bombardment of visuals, and then the comedown.

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Relocating to the next room, I was greeted by a set design constructed by Johnny Buttons. The peeling posters and rundown structures comprised of various materials reminded me of an abandoned skate park, not least in part because of the ramp situated at the far end of the room. The models were nowhere in sight. Imagine my delight when I discovered that we were not witnessing a strict presentation, but a mini catwalk show with the added benefit of examining the garments afterwards.

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The models fiercely stormed out, men on a mission, in what I would call derelicte chic à la Zoolander, but done right. Pink and blue war paint was smeared across their legs and faces. At the end of the show, they marched to their positions on the set and the crowd just tentatively stared at them, while they purposefully didn’t make eye contact with us. Gone was the carefree spirit I’d witnessed from previous models, replaced instead by an intimidating embodiment of l'enfant terrible. They all just looked painfully cool in their luxury grunge attire. A voice from the crowd prodded us, ‘You can go up now!’ He didn’t have to tell us twice.

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Oversized rain ponchos and military parkas were designed using tailoring fabrics. Biker jackets were stripped to their bare bones, because who needs frivolous add-ons? Jumpers with overextended arms might have been given a fleecy texture, but there was nothing soft about them. Kimonos and long shirts were awash with plaid, that eternal angst-filled favourite. Unfinished, frayed edges, patchwork, and stepped hems gave the illusion of a ‘throw it on and go,’ ‘I haven’t buttoned my jacket correctly, but I don’t care’ philosophy to the clothes, but you know that each outfit was designed meticulously, consciously. Gaughan thought of it all, from the floppy Simon and Mary hats, to the Ace & Tate sunglasses, all the way down to the choice to lace models up in Converse footwear.

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The most inspired element from the collection, in my opinion, was the ‘ejector seat’ ripcords. They were scattered all throughout the designs, either hanging conspicuously on an arm sleeve or hidden more discretely. On the back of a jacket, the words ‘ESCAPE ROUTE ->>>’ materialised again, the arrows angled up towards the model’s head, while another was branded with the tag, ‘THE LATEST VERSION.’ On the bottom of shorts or tucked away in a waistband were the words ‘CHOOSE YOUR ->>>’ peeking out just enough to be visible.

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I think we all know the answer to what the escape route of choice is in this case. It’s to find your way to the nearest Tourne de Transmission stockist and pick up some new clothes. This is an emergency, after all.

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Words: Laura Rutkowski | Fashion Week Press | @Laura_Rutkowski

Images: Phoebe Fox | Fashion Week Photographer | @_phox_