With Scottish designers still among the biggest draws at London Fashion Week, we review what the big four showed over the past week for Spring/Summer 2013.
Christopher Kane revels in the unlikely; his default setting is a twist on the ladylike, showing conventionally tailored and elegant shapes, subverted by his use of fabrics. For SS13, the look is clean and space age, with a dystopian edge.
Kane himself told us at the Scottish Fashion Awards in June that he is inspired by fabrics in the first instance, and in this case the use of plastic and rubber gave a sinister, cyber-tinged undertone to sugared-almond pastels and acres of white. The first hint that one is not to be deceived by pastels that are at first glance the epitome of innocuous femininity is the designer’s own description of his palette: “Colours that make you feel a bit sick.”
Lemon yellow, rose pink and ruffles are held together with gaffer tape, thus undermining the simple, feminine aesthetic, and rendering it surprisingly similar in intention and feeling, despite first impressions, to his current gothic, lavender and leather winter collection.
The delightfully manic panoply of influences we have come to expect from Louise Gray made a welcome return this season, in a collection that was equal parts Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat; Pierre Cardin’s 1960s-style futurism; cyber-tinged flapper and 1980s b-girls straight out of a Ray Petri editorial.
Gray’s usual cornucopia of prints and shapes and was on show too - with doodles, graffiti, polka dots and tabloid newsprint all competing for space - as was her customary refreshingly exuberant rainbow palette of tangerine, lemon, crimson and lilac, but notably in more subdued and muted hues than she usually employs – sage green and faded turquoise rather than their electric incarnations - and tempered by lots of pewter, silver and metallic charcoal grey.
The shapes too were more ladylike shapes, imparting a slightly more grown-up vibe than that of last season’s riotous punk-influenced collection, but that only serves to emphasise that the most exciting thing about Gray’s wild-abandon-approach is that it is in fact categorically not bonkers, but rather all perfectly wearable, albeit perhaps more as separates than in the ensembles seen on the runway.
Jonathan Saunders gave us the slickest and sleekest collection we have seen from him yet, abandoning the structure that was central to his equestrian-inspired looks for AW12 in favour of a fluidity that still lost him none of his trademark sophistication.
What hasn’t changed is that the pieces are as easy to wear as ever. Saunders is a progressive designer, showing new ideas every season, but they are consistently adult and made for women who live in the real world, with no room for froth or flights of fancy.
The strong jewel-toned shades of scarlet and emerald that served him well in the current season are back, part of a strong, clean palette that included white, cream, black, dusky blue, turquoise and lime green. Metallic silver and gold chevron stripes, and a slick charcoal chainmail-esque fabric added a futuristic touch that saw Saunders joining the ranks of designers for whom the space age was a defining fascination for the new season.
This season the Saunders woman has gone sexy, in a more overt, and yet still unstintingly elegant, manner than in previous collections. Models were given flowing locks and crimson lips, as if to drive the point home, but the slinky tank tops, pencil skirts and bomber jackets spoke for themselves.
It can be hard to find something new to say about Holly Fulton when season to season her collections retain strikingly similar shapes, influences, colours and prints, but she isn’t the first designer to stick to an aesthetic she likes, and fans will be delighted, if not surprised, by her SS13 offering.
The look is Lana Del Rey goes to St Tropez, with country club leisurewear shapes including pencil skirts, Capri pants, sleeveless shirts, shift dresses and shorts suits imparting the sunny optimism of the 1950s and 60s. The candy stripes and sorbet palette of sky blue, mint green and apricot confirmed the Americana feel, as did the addition of pin-up girls to Fulton’s trademark art deco graphics.
The standout piece was a waist-cinching princess prom dress, subverted by virtue of being executed in shiny bubblegum-pink plastic, appliquéd with glittering teal roses, however the metaphorical shine was somewhat taken from the piece in the face of overwhelming reminders of compatriot Chris Kane’s SS12 plastic flower pieces.
See above for a slideshow of the designers’ SS13 looks. All images by Getty.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 18 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east