LONDON – London Fashion Week swung into its second day Saturday, with models showcasing an array of new season styles from designers including Sibling, Simone Rocha, Emilia Wickstead, Jasper Conran and Julien Macdonald.
Some of the highlights from Day 2:
DISCO FEVER AT SIBLING
Sheer skintight body-stockings, punchy lilac and lemon yellow clashing with black, huge tinsel-like collars: Sibling’s latest offerings are sexy, sporty and not for the faint-hearted.
The brand, known for its young, urban styles, showcased plenty of revealing disco wear with a whiff of the ’80s — think a clingy, neon blue bodysuit that leaves little to the imagination, worn with matching headphones or a giant sparkly collar, or micro shorts paired with an open cardigan and sequined stars covering bare breasts.
Not everything was so outrageous. More wearable outfits included loose mannish jackets over print dresses, fluid rolled-up trousers and a wrap coat with a bold, flattering brushstroke print.
EMILIA WICKSTEAD DOES MAD MEN — HER WAY
Emilia Wickstead says her new collection is inspired by the “impeccably dressed ad age of the 1960s” — but it’s not quite Mad Men costumes she had in mind.
The designer opened her show with a series of sculptural high waist gowns in a dense, colorful horizontal stripe. Those colours — earthy, rusty tones like mustard, teal, brown and moss green — recurred throughout the display, as did retro prints reminiscent of ’60s couches or curtains. Mini shift dresses, dark denim, turtlenecks and cozy cable knits complete the showcase.
Still, Wickstead didn’t stray too far from the elegant, feminine style so beloved by her customers — including fashion show regulars Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung, both in the front row. There were plenty of romantic full skirts emphasizing a tiny waist, and pretty dusty pink ensembles such as a body-hugging knit paired with flared trousers.
SIMONE ROCHA SHOWS ROMANTIC DRESSES IN FANTASY MODE
Simone Rocha has become one of the most prominent young designers on the London Fashion Week scene by pursuing her distinctive vision, shaped perhaps by the years she spent helping her father, designer John Rocha, and learning how to knit and crochet at his studio in Dublin. But she’s carving her own way, winning plaudits for fanciful, romantic designs that are easy to like but difficult to categorize.
Her knitting and crocheting skills serve her well, and there is a drama to her full-length dresses, including many with off-the-shoulder designs or the sheer, gauzy fabrics currently in vogue. Her colour palette is simple and straightforward — mostly beige and blacks — with two sheer red dresses making a strong impression.
Others had an element of Goth, an element of whimsy, and a certain Midsummer Night’s Dream ethos. Rocha is a designer who likes to surprise, mixing, for example, a semi-sheer long skirt decorated with black floral appliques with a short, faux-fur jacket and setting off some of her outfits with golden shoes.
She described her work this way: “Tailored tulle, tinsel tweed, female form, adorn, adorned.” Her tweed outfits were indeed unusual — this most traditional (and British) of fabrics in a nicely tailored pants suit, but covered with a white lace gown.
SINISTER POWER DRESSING AT GARETH PUGH
Leather power suits, vampy lipstick, dark glasses and sinister Hannibal Lecter-like face masks: The models at Gareth Pugh’s show look like they’re dressed to kill.
Pugh chose the imposing Freemasons’ Hall in London as his catwalk venue, and set the stage with mysterious music and dark lighting. It was a long wait before the clothes were revealed — the show was delayed by an hour, possibly to wait for the arrival of television star Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.
When the models finally showed, they didn’t disappoint: All sharp shoulders, bustier dresses, severely tailored dress and trouser suits with matching coats and dramatically draped scarves. Chilly expressions, coiffed up-dos and killer heels complete the femme fatale look.
The ultra-feminine silhouette, elegant palette of black, camel and blue and the luxury fabrics — think buttery camel leather ensembles — evoke bygone, more glamorous times, though Pugh put his own stamp on things with a star print.