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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2010 Catwalk Review: Falguni & Shane Peacock

A review of the Indian designers Falguni & Shane, showing at Victoria House on Sunday 21st February. And my thoughts on why they would choose to show at London Fashion Week. Illustrations by Xenab Lone Jamil.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

The invite for Falguni & Shane Peacock showed a plethora of jewelled leopards photoshopping their way out of a bodiced mannequin, symptoms in a shower of what looked feasibly like a large quantity of blood. Rendered in soothing hues of beige, closer dissection of what appeared at first glance to be quite tasteful revealed an image that was a little more disturbing. What could it all mean?

Falguni invite

Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, the design of the invite bore little relevance to the Falguni & Shane Peacock show early on Sunday morning at Victoria House, notable in it’s organisation for being quite disorganised. Looked after by Blow PR this weren’t. People piled in and sat wily nily where they fancied. No press bitches to move us along… always good for a front row seat I find. And the audience was indeed very different from other shows – featuring a preponderance of bejewelled, sunglass-bearing Asians and identikit gay men with badly bleached hair and orange skin.

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

It came as no surprise to discover that Falguni & Shane Peacock are from India, with a publicity shot straight out of the Bollywood school of chic. “Where other designers travel thousands of miles for the luxury of the world’s largest selection of high quality fabrics and embellishments, the dynamic designer couple have it all at their fingertips,” trumpeted the publicity blurb. “They create and manufacture in-house at their factories and employ over 200 highly skilled seamsters and embroiderers.” Er, I’m sorry but I’m not sure that’s a particularly special feature if we’re talking clothing made in India. I think, for instance, that our very own Monsoon could probably claim the same kind of thing. Now what I would be interested in is the conditions of said employees, having spoken widely to designers working in the Indian fashion industry for issue 10 of Amelia’s Magazine, and being well aware of the level of equality (or lack thereof) for garment workers in that part of the world.

But maybe I’m just being mean, because Falguni & Shane also “support many charity causes relating to children and cancer.” Do you see what they did there? Children and cancer folks. You don’t get much more saintly than that.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Anyway, I digress. What were the clothes actually like? Well, there was no blood and no leopard print (very disappointing for an animal print fan like myself). Instead a succession of dresses in ultra sheer fabrics skimmed over naked bottoms unadorned with the bright geometrics applique and metallic frippery that adorned the fronts. According to the press release inspiration came from the abstract graphics of the 80s, but it’s amazing how an Indian sensibility can transform this into something so much more, well, glitzy. It isn’t hard to picture these clothes worn by Bollywood starlets – even, or perhaps because of, their revealing nature, for times have changed on the sub-continent, even if a taste for maximalist embellishment lives on.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

The most interesting piece was a sculptural turquoise dress, unfortunately worn by a particularly galumphing model who did its shape no justice. It was interesting to note that Falguni & Shane chose to totally eschew Indian models – maybe we don’t have enough, utter madness given the huge Asian diaspora in the UK – in favour of a host of slightly ropey models in every other colour under the sun.

Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil
Falguni & Shane by Xenab Lone Jamil.

But what really intrigued me is why Falguni & Shane decided to show in London at all. It must have cost a fortune to put this show together, and their sensibility is very much geared towards their home audience. Perhaps they have their sights set on a potentially lucrative ex-pat community, which further begs the question, why not find models better suited to show the collection? Or perhaps the presence of the orange over-coiffured gays signifies a desire to hit the ex Page Three girl market. I might mention Jordan briefly here. There, I just did it. Jordan. See, did it again. Wonder how this will affect my website stats? Move along now… Sorry, no fake boobs/badly dyed wigs/car-crash marriages here.

And I’m not sure about that legendary craftsmanship – apparently the runway was littered with beads and bits of applique once the show was over.

Falguni & Shane Peacock. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Falguni & Shane Peacock. Aw, they look very sweet don’t they? Have I been too mean…

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