FAULT at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012

FAULT at London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012

The juggernaut that is London Fashion Week has swept by once again in a blaze of glory, leaving onlookers dazed and inspired in its wake. Join us as we begin to decipher what it was exactly that made the events of the 17th to 21st September 2011 such an undeniably vibrant, blatantly British melange of the world of sartorial design…
Whilst stylish events unfolded all around the capital city in honour of the week’s showcases, the nerve centre and undeniable starting point of all that went on was Somerset House. Armed with a plan and a rough idea of what to see, FAULT was ushered inside the venue by suave security guards. Proving to be an apt choice of venue on the part of the show’s planners, the House provided a regal structure for the rich and multi-faceted showcase of talent on display.

There is something slightly different about each week of showcases, and this September was no exception. The organizers decided to base the layout of products not on their physical form but instead by designer position. This meant that we found recycled paper false eyelashes at PaperSelf fluttering alongside punchy 80’s inspired shoes, courtesy of Cleo B. Next to these, an assortment of sparkling Chinese silver necklaces caught our eye. The three were grouped together on the basis of being ‘up and coming independent accessory talent’, and in such a labyrinthine wonderland, it was almost too easy to lose oneself amongst the trinkets and risk failing to reach the legendary ready-to-wear section.

On leaving the thicket via a flight of stairs, however, it became blatantly apparent that the quality of output yet to unfold would put our past encounters out of sight, out of mind. George Angelopoulos grabbed our attention with his luxury, art-deco handbags and rampant expansion plans, whilst fashion designer Elizabeth Lau, cousin of the renowned style blogger Susie Bubble, had us trying all the tricks of the trade to ‘borrow’ some of her bold motif-printed sweatshirts.

A level up again, and the choice became yet more impressive. Inside the TopShop NewGen tent, it was possible to glimpse this years’ winners of the desirable prize. A huge melange of the work of distinctive young designers managed to peacefully co-exist, David Koma’s bold prints blazing next to Louise Gray’s distinctive tailored offerings. Each exhibitor in this space was rewarded with a huge grant towards the cost of the seasons ready-to-wear shows, as well as invaluable exposure to the mass market (Gray previously gained the opportunity to design a collection in collaboration with the high street giant sponsor). The extrovert expressionism of this crop of creators is something that has become a trademark of the NewGen Tent, and with former alumni including Alexander McQueen, it is easy to predict who will be big in years to come by glimpsing the work inside.

Topshop NEWGEN Selection L-R: Michael van der Ham, David Koma, Holly Fulton, Christopher Raeburn, Louise Gray.

The practice of these young designers’ catwalk showings echoed the happenings outside, at the most vibrant and exciting place to be at London Fashion Week 2011- the BFC Show Space. Set up at the rear of the building, this mammoth pavilion hosted designer after designer for the integral catwalk shows. New talent paraded alongside old hands- Burberry’s beautiful summer pullovers in berry colours, paired with sun visors and knee high socks, had us considering outfits usually confined to golf courses, whilst Teatum Jones’ darkly beautiful Spring Summer ’12 Collection derived it’s inspiration from Mad Men’s Betty Draper, and was rich in lost dreams of perfect harmony. The Show Space buzzed with all the types of fashion insider- buyers, bloggers, models, and media melded together into a fierce and formidable scene, impossible to traverse without seeing and being seen.

Our own sartorial choices aside, the clothing being modelled by this crop of industry personalities could show even the designers a thing or two. Alongside the various, immaculately groomed fashion girls, our favourite outfits included a guy in a zinging power blue tuxedo; a Japanese female in a suit made of plastic bubbles, and several German interns whose mastery of minimalism had us wishing for their secrets whilst silently quivering under their laser-beam like gazes. With a Toni and Guy blow-dry bar and a MAC Makeover stall within immediate proximity, it was possible to at least begin to comprehend how some of these people had attained such a photo-ready finish. Resplendent like the event itself, they helped to represent the professional standard and the order of magnitude that keeps London Fashion Week high on the agenda of all serious industry players. It’s safe to say that the five days worth of events will keep us thinking until at least the time when Spring/ Summer 2012 itself actually rolls around. Now we just have to wait for the weather to catch up.