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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Betty Jackson A/W 09

London Fashion Week, 22 February 2009

Written by Audrey Rogers

The day started off with London transport, buy visit this site as usual, doctor ruining my life. The district line was delayed/suspended/just took bloody ages, meaning that I missed the first show I intended on seeing. This was due to over-crowding at South Kensington, as Fashion Week started during half term week, cue 6 million children/parents/tourists trying to get to the Natural History Museum, along with the fashionistas….not a good mix.

By the time I got to the BFC tent, the fashion pack were filing in for the Esthetica launch. Esthetica is the only show of its kind in the world, dedicated to celebrating ethical designers. Noir kicked things off to the not-so-subtle sounds of Hole’s Celebrity Skin, with a polished but edgy collection of, perhaps obviously, black clothes. There was then a drastic music change, a choir singing Creep by Radiohead, a strangely haunting rendition to accompany the more delicate shape of the second half of the collection. With the much quieter musical accompaniment, the unfamiliar sound of hundreds of camera shutters going off can be heard and fittingly adds to the ethereal quality.

Best discovery of the day? The Fashion Bus! When I was told about it, it conjured up images of a magical, playdays-style bus of couture. In reality it’s a coach with London Fashion Week written down the side but still, it served its purpose of getting us from the main South Kensington location to the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, without having to cross the path of my arch-enemy, London transport.

The reason we trekked across town was for Ashish. And it was completely worth it, as what unfolded was far more than just a fashion show. There was live music provided by VV Brown (wearing a dress from the collection), acrobats, a big circus setting and clowns….well, not actual clowns but the pom-poms on some of the looks combined with the hyper colour clash styling surely owed a debt to Coco somewhere along the line.

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And here are some snaps of what we’ll all be wearing come Autumn:

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Perhaps not that last one so much…
Particular note should be taken of the amazing wedged, animal print shoe boots that all the models – and VV Brown were sporting:

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This show was brilliant escapism, with some very wearable individual pieces once you separate them out from the styling. It felt like an afternoon at the circus, rather than just a fashion show, and in such a competitive week, Ashish has ensured that his show will be one everyone remembers this season.
It’s funny seeing the different crowds the different shows draw. The morning started off at the Margaret Howell studio, sick where the British establishment of fashion journalists turned out to see her A/W 09 collection. It was very, stomach well Margaret Howell, order country cosy, duffel coats, blues/greys, some cute over the knees socks and silks mixed with wools. A well put together, safe collection.

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I was, excitingly, sitting opposite Alexandra Shulman though, which did take up most of my attention. British Vogue has been wiping the floor with American Vogue in recent times, and it was thrilling to be in such close proximity to her, lets face it, what fashion journalist doesn’t secretly want to be editor of Vogue?

Now onto the different crowd part. Across town, in a swanky church in Marylebone, a full scale production was taking place in aid of the Qasimi A/W 09 show. Not so much journalism elite, more, well Simon Le Bon. But his presence was so to be explained as the show began…

Melinda Neunie was also there and here’s her review of the show:

I must say the Qasimi team managed to pull in quite an impressive crowd. Their pre-show champagne reception outside the beautiful St Mary’s Church was ablaze with bold prints and bright colours, with attendees clearly taking advantage of the nicer weather.

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The catwalk show was equally remarkable. Set against an exotic woodland backdrop, Qasimi propelled us into a world of fantasy, romance and passion with their A/W 09 collection. The all black luxury range exuded wealth, elegance and sophistication through sumptuous cashmere and Italian silks complete with gleaming outsized diamond accessories.

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An opera sound track opened the show alongside a fantastically poised Erin O’Connor clad in a sculptured corset gown and extravagant feathered headdress. The model was closely followed by Lily Cole, Yasmin Le Bon and Jade Parfitt.

Draping gowns, corset tops and intricate stitching dominated the show, which was closed by the spectacular Carmen Dell’Orifice who couldn’t help but give us a cheeky bum shake on her way out.

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We didn’t recognise final model Carmen Dell’Orifice but everyone else did as she got whoops and cheers as she sashayed down the catwalk. The show was not at all what I was expecting, but it was epic! Seeing those famed models in the flesh, the dramatic music and, as Music Editor Prudence put it, the general Zoolander quality of it made it entertaining in the extreme.

We were penned into the lobby at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout like (well-dressed) sheep for an hour, viagra dosage but it was worth it to experience Horace’s A/W ’09 collection. The label’s founders, web Adam Entwisle and Emma Hales, website like this have made a welcome return to their androgynous roots.

Classic Horace is synonymous with distressed hand washed leather and oversized separates, and there was plenty of that to be seen. Baggy trousers contrasted with beautifully cut jackets, all accessorised with leather totes and large knitted scarves.

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Entwisle and Hales continue to play with the idea of gender in their designs. Pale-faced men in tunic dresses followed women in combat boots down the catwalk to pulsing rock beats. The collection is said to embody the spirit of 18th century monks, and the modesty of a monk’s attire was reflected in the voluminous hoods and clean monochromatic palette.

Such an abundance of black layers and boots could have become repetitive, but thankfully vibrant plaid prints provided bursts of colour, evocative of London’s punk heritage. It’s small wonder Horace has built up such a cult following.

Lebanese born designer Hass Idriss showed his first collection at London Fashion Week yesterday to a very odd crowd at Belgravia’s Il Bottaccio. I say odd because the majority of the black-clad crowd sported face-lifts, symptoms and I was amongst a very small percentage of the audience who weren’t wearing any make-up (yep, the boys did too – some even applying YSL lip gloss as a pre-show fixer).

They were, however, resplendent and I’d like to thank the fabulous woman who sat three seats down from me on the front line wearing the largest, roundest hat possible. Differing from the usual up and down runway, Idriss presented his collection in an L-shaped room, with myself and the mad hatter on the second, final arm of the catwalk. I am nursing a bad case of RSI in my neck this morning as I type: straining around that hat was quite a feat.

Visual obstacles aside, Idriss’ collection was a brave and opulent one. Credit crunch? What credit crunch?

Inspiration for this first collection had been drawn from Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid. The show kicked off with a booming soundtrack and two airbrushed-gold Adonises slowly glided along the runway, followed by the first model who hopped in a skin-tight fish tail dress, aided by the Adonises and a pair of gold embelished crutches (mermaid overkill, I’d say – and a little bit silly. I mean, honestly!)

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Gradually the collection grew in maturity whilst retaining the theme of the sea – luxurious weightless fabrics such as organza and tulle were enriched with sea water pearls and Swarovski crystals, reminiscent of early John Galliano for Dior Couture.

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The palette was mixed, ranging from organic pastel colours, golds and creams, through to shocking reds with black to contrast. A brave craftsman, Idriss pushed his capabilities to their limits across a range of techniques, heavily reliant on embroidery to the highest standard. Cuts were quite disparate – some gowns were a-line or floated gently to the floor whilst others were sculpted around the body with severe hems. The black satin and velvet mini dress with a charcoal chapel train, titled ‘The Mermaid’, was a particular highlight.

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Throughout, most of the ensembles were hits, especially with the whooping audience. A couple of misses, though – and the award for unwearability goes to this little number – a plastic transparent poncho with beaded corals (and blood, sweat and tears according to the press handout). Hans Christian Andersen will be turning in his grave. Bonkers. Overall, a daring and immodest first outing for Hass Idriss. Keep a look out in the future – you saw him here first.
At 9.15 on a Sunday morning, stomach it seemed only the most diligent (and probably least hungover) of the fashion clan that made an appearance at the Betty Jackson show. It was worth the early rise, case to say the least.
We were bombarded with a visual palette of textures, soft colours and hemlines; resembling a painting whose medium changed by the paint stroke, from smooth watercolours to thick, rougher oils to scratchy pencils. Betty Jackson kept her collection airy, light and colourful- perhaps in an effort to float past or ward off next winter’s approaching cold and heavy credit crunch scenario.

Main colour themes drifted from cupcake and candy pastels to darker, richer shades;conjuring up autumnal images- like those in Monet’s more wintry landscapes. Fur, frills and subdued shades were combined in adorable, snappy pencil skirt and blouse/knitwear combos, very Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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Jewellery was designed exclusively for Betty Jackson by Alexis Bittar, this included hand carved, hand painted lucite earrings and necklaces, whose sheer extravagance reminded us of Edie Sedgwick’s outrageous choice in accessories.

Purple tights and red belts are two of the most notable components of the collection, while some of the models wore versatile backpacks- probably Jackson’s effort to incorporate utility in what is becoming a very non-frivolous time.
Statement coats and fur boleros were thrown in for the warmth factor. Best model of the show was hands down, Jourdan Dunn.

Betty Jackson believes that “every new collection presents a new challenge, but most people feel more confident and sexy if they are comfortable” and we can see a huge representation of this in her latest designs, the bright and often outrageous colour schemes are juxtaposed in a variety of simple styles- which maintains the conservative nature of her clothes. These are garments that not only appear comfortable, but also versatile- they are not only adaptable to real, working life but also pieces you could and will wear for seasons to come.

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