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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Fashion Fringe: London Fashion Week S/S 2013 Catwalk Review

My very belated final report from the S/S 2013 shows at London Fashion Week: Fashion Fringe featured three finalists: Haizhen Wang, Teija Eilola and Vita Gottlieb.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by faye west
Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Faye West.

I was very excited about this year’s Fashion Fringe: it’s always a great place to discover the talent of years to come (think Fyodor Golan and Corrie Nielsen) but this time there was also the chance that my acquaintance Vita Gottlieb might win. So it was with some anticipation that I took my seat for my last show of the season in the BFC tent at Somerset House.

Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Haizhen Wang S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Haizhen Wang photography by Amelia Gregory
First up was the collection from Haizhen Wang, with expert tailoring based on the tabard structures of Japanese armour and historical costumes alongside deconstructed asymmetrical layering in a graphic print. The garments came in a predominantly black colour palette with flashes of textured steel and rows of cobalt beading. Models wore Geisha influenced platform heels and severe haircuts or conical headgear. Haizhen Wang is a graduate of both the London School of Fashion and Central Saint Martins - since when he’s had a good grounding in the industry working with labels as diverse as Max Mara and All Saints.

Teija Eilola S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Teija Eilola S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Teija Eilola photography by Amelia Gregory
Second up came the collection from Finnish designer Teija Eilola, who describes her inspiration thus: ‘A Finnish girl arrives at the party: shoes in her bag and a huge, crisp mackintosh over her little silk dress. On the way to the party she crossed a forest and a couple of fields.‘ In practice this meant a finely tailored range of sensible separates in muted mushroom and flesh tones. The range featured double breasted detailing on a short blouson sleeved trench coat and mini cropped version, rucheing on a demure bodice and plenty of capacious bags: an eye on brand extension already? Her sensible approach could be explained by the fact that until recently Teija Eilola was joint head of womenswear at Ted Baker. Prior to that she worked at smaller labels after graduating from the RCA.

Vita Gottlieb S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin
Vita Gottlieb S/S 2013 by Lo Parkin.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
Rounding up the trio was the work of relative newcomer Vita Gottlieb, who styled her models in high backcombed quiffs and classic courts. This was an exciting collection that successfully showcased her prowess in textile manipulation. High waisted pencil skirts featuring poured curves at the waist and elongating vertical ruches were paired with cape shouldered tops covered in subtle printed detail or sculptural spikes: all accessorised with bold leather jewellery embellished with metal rings and studs. Hers was the brightest colour palette of the three, although that wasn’t saying much as she had worked mainly in subtle golden tones and soft browns, highlighted with dashes of teal and luxurious red.

Fashion Fringe SS 2013 Vita Gottlieb photography by Amelia Gregory
By now everyone will know that Haizhen Wang won the award, presented by guest judge Christopher Bailey of Burberry. But I of course think it should have gone to Vita Gottlieb; her tailoring may not have been as clean and precise as the others, but her experimental approach won hands down; resulting in an innovative collection that showed great promise for the future. Read my exclusive pre show interview with Vita Gottlieb here.

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