Phoebe English is first and foremost a craftsman within her trade. Just by looking at her men's and women's collections, it is always clear to see that her ethos is to not only create art but to engineer every aspect of it. The young designer is also a passionate advocate of underappreciated and sometimes even lost construction techniques. So it is always a fascinating experience to be able to learn about these processes that take place very often away from prying public eyes.
For SS18 English presented a collection that works closely with another long-standing craft: Puppets.
With models lining the room in English's visions for SS18, standing along side them were puppets (also named marionettes) hanging from strings and wearing miniature versions of each piece. In a theatrical sense, this setting was reminiscent of a Tim Burton film with dark romantic undertones cutting through. The faceless puppets mimicking their human twins were charming and yet hauntingly striking. The lighting, which created shadows throughout the room, heightened the dramatic air and drew attention to the careful construction of each piece.
Marionettes were not only used for dramatic effect, their entry into the SS18 collection was whole-heartedly a way for English to show the foundations of her craft and pay homage to the past techniques of design. It is this simplicity of her silhouettes, cuts and monochromatic colour palette that lets the eye see past whatever may be on the surface and truly look to the finer details. Details such as the careful draping of fabrics and textured knots of black bra- like tops, on top of clean-cut white shirts.
Muslin and poplin materials are overlayed with mesh and tulle that give textured feel, making the clothes unreservedly wearable but gives them that stand-out quality.
It was this clever decision to duplicate the designs which show just how adaptable fashion can be. Be it on the smaller scale, on a puppet for a showcase with an edgy punch. Or the life-sized version that will be worn by people within their daily lives over the coming season.
English pulled the strings behind-the-scenes to showcase her dark fairy-tale at London Fashion Week. Like all good fairy-tales its important to look to the message beneath the surface. In this case English's message is simple: We should all take the time to admire the methods that go into creating our favourite styles. After all fashion is above all else an enduring craft.
Words: Sophie Joaman| Fashion Week Press| @londonellagram
images: Rosemary Pitts| Fashion Week Photography| @rosemarypitts
Next generation utility-wear with an athletic vibe. Dumpty’s SS18 collection made functional, fashionable at LFW2017.
The Dumpty SS18 models stepped out with attitude on Monday morning, showcasing this to a pulsating electronic beat.
This unisex collection, used synthetic fabrics to create durable pieces which appear both functional and highly wearable, with playful cut-outs and asymmetric styling, giving the collection a 90’s kid edge.
White, black and orange provided a solid base to the outfits, while greens and greys occasionally dressed down the utility tone. Pink, a seasonal spring favourite, made a cheeky appearance, contrasted with a black, leather-look jacket to give the look a tougher aesthetic.
The incorporation of high sport socks and mint-green trainers gave the whole collection an athletic vibe, complemented by the slicked back hair and grungy bare-face styling. The casual added branding of “dumpty” stamped across the forehead of each model, an added quirk which spoke to the bold and mischievous personality of the brand.
Zips, Velcro and oversized pockets statemented the pieces, while accessories were alternatively worn with bun-bags fasted across the chest, their straps made from what looked like car seat-belts, an innovative supplement to the practical feel of the collection.
Words: Scarlett Sangster | Fashion Week Press | @scarlettgracehs
Images: Rosemary Pitts |Fashion Week Photographer|@rosemarypitts
The Daks catwalk show is always a true celebration of British style. Set in a quintessential London hotel, in a plush room with heavy closed curtains, the air is always thick with anticipation of what will be presented on the catwalk.
As suited and booted purveyors of English fashion look on, the lilting tones of music that instantly evokes lazy summer days announces the start of the SS18 preview and the first model comes sashaying out, bathed in warm light and framed by wooden oars that act as the backdrop to the show.
Inspired by the height of the British summer social calendar, the Henley Regatta, the clothes instantly transport us from slightly-chilly city to warm afternoons by the water. Fabrics are light and flowing, combining loose, textured linen with floating chiffons and draping knitwear.
Both female and male outfits are made in neutral or white shades, that could mix and match into any number of combinations. An soft brown and cream regatta stripe cloth, designed exclusively by Daks, brings warmth to the neutral shades, off-setting the plain simplicity of the designs.
Hair is loosened out of buns and the aesthetic becomes a little more glamorous as we move into evening. Linen gives way to silky patterned florals, with pleats and ruffles catching the eye on sleek silhouettes. White embroidery adorns white fabric, adding interest to the pieces without changing their minimalistic design.
Once again, Daks have created a collection that is at once timeless and fashionable; combining ease of wearing with instant style. The Daks woman will be immaculately dressed for all summer occasions, yet also approachable in her aesthetic; the smiling faces of the models contrasting with the usual fashion week pout to create a feeling of warmth that lasted well into the cool September afternoon.
Words: Katharine Bennett | Fashion Week Press | @misskatebennett
Images: Rosemary Pitts |Fashion Week Photographer|@rosemarypitts_
There have been so many great fashion moments in music, it's easy to see why Parsons educated Ge Yu has found inspiration there for her second collection for her brand Annderstand to be presented as part of the London Fashion Week calendar. Reminiscent of the military stylings of the garage rock revival in The Libertines, the gold brocade and fringing was out in force but softened with sensual velvet and blush hues.
The brand was only launched in 2016, and it's clear that Yu well deserved the attention of the fashion world as one of China's top emerging designers. This collection mixes classic masculine tailoring with edgy cutting - such as a tulip hem on a smoky grey water wave mohair overcoat - creating a clean cut silhouette that would be as appropriate for the office as it would be at an after show party. Feminine detailing from the black heart shaped buttons on an otherwise severe shift dress to the peekaboo glimpse of a black mesh bra under a leopard print coat which was created in collaboration with London designer Misa Wu presents an overall sense of a woman who can confidently command a room with her mere presence. Yet she remains approachable and unafraid to take up a place in the sweaty front row of an underground gig for a band that no one's heard of... yet.
A military cape combines rigid gold embroidery with luxurious navy velvet and black tailored shorts while a neatly tailored white trouser suit creates a sophisticated yet unique look with its zip detailing.
A smart and slick suit is given the Mick Jagger treatment with silver fringing and fluted sleeves while a pyjama style gown is slashed from collar bone to waist then from hip to ankle, presenting a daring take on contemporary London style.
A sheer and shimmering green bomber jacket stands out as a nod to current trends but with the raw ingenuity that makes Annderstand a brand to keep a close eye on in the future. Effortless in the way it intertwines rock 'n' roll sexuality with loose fitting, comfortable separates, the collection is wearable for the day-to-day yet demands the spotlight as only a true rockstar can.
Words: Niki Rooney | Fashion Week Press | United Agents
Images: Amie Charlot | Fashion Week Photograph | @amiecharlot
Walking into Judy Wu's LFW presentation at the RSA, I am instantly bedazzled by the bright stripes of colour running across lengths of fabric. The collection, aptly named 'Prism,' explores the idea of uncertainty as a response to recent world events.
Fearing that life no longer evolves in a linear narrative, Judy Wu expresses this notion through the way in which light refracts and splits into many different directions when travelling through a prism.
Coloured stripes and panels are printed across garments and fabric falls from the neckline in a zig-zag ruffle pattern. Direction is unpredictable, colours are vivid, and patterns are disrupted through folds and pleats in the fabric.
Nothing about the design is certain. The collection sits unsettled, the opposite of calm in every way. It's alive and constantly moving, keeping the eye guessing on where it's headed next.
Despite this sense of chaos, the collection does have a softer side in its use of fabrics. The craftsmanship is not as unexpected as the design. Smooth wool, cotton velvets, silk georgette and translucent organza help lighten the mood, taking the edge off of this harsh reality. The result? A play between nervous uncertainty and the comfort in what we know.
Words: Sunna Naseer | Fashion Week Press | @sunna_naseer
Images: Tegan Rush | Fashion Week Photographer | @tegan.photography