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London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Carlotta Gherzi for Sado

Carlotta Gherzi treats us to ‘Frozen Flora’, a beautiful collection of tailored dressed, leather jackets, wool coats and ball gowns. Illustrations by Emma Block and Natasha Thompson.

Written by Emma Block

Illustration by Emma Block

When I asked a friend for London Fashion Week advice, I was told that I would need a pair of sensible shoes and a pair of killer heels. On my way to Carlotta Gherzi for SADO at Vauxhall Fashion Scout, my killer heels were safely stashed in my official London Fashion Week tote bag and my sensible brogues were getting soaked. I attempted to power walk through the rain in a ladylike manner, which resulted in something resembling a trot, and made my way towards the impressive and mysterious Freemasons Hall.

Illustration by Natasha Thompson

This was to be my first show I had attended solo, and I was very conscious of being late. I waited in-line with some reassuringly non-scary fashion types, and when I said I was from Amelia’s Magazine I was immediately whisked away to the front row. As an occupier of a coveted A- list seat, I was entitled to a Fashion Scout goodie bag, which included a bottle of water, a Vauxhall notepad (surprisingly quite nice) and a can of hair shine spray. People around me chatted, but I was only focused on my sketchbook. As I waited in eager anticipation, feet resting on the edge of the white catwalk, the lights began to dim.

Gherzi’s collection, named ‘Frozen Flora’, “for the wicked gal whose secret dream is to be the ice queen”, started with distinctly wearable, rather delicious pieces in soft tones reminiscent of mochas and iced lattes.

I quickly realised what a fantastic seat I had; taking unobstructed photos was effortless and if I had been creepy and inappropriate I definitely could have touched the models. I was definitely close enough to tell that texture was a big element in Gherzi’s work. Silks were draped and ruched, metallic fabrics pleated into undulating waves, and my favourite had to be the beautiful organic wool that appeared almost quilted.

Illustration by Emma Block

The make-up on the models was minimal, with only subtle white highlights in the area between eye and nose, and hair had a crisply ironed in crease in the middle of its lengths. The choice of music was poppy, and tunes included the likes of Snow Patrol and Plan B.

As the show went on, richly textured blacks and pleated metallic greys crept into the soft, otherwise neutral tones of the clothes, rather like the sun going down on an icy day. Shimmering dresses shone like a cold night sky full of stars, with the occasional snug grey sheepskin cape. By this point I had already compiled a mental shopping list of pieces I’d like to own.

Illustration by Natasha Thompson

Gherzi has designed her own floral prints, which looked like sparkling jewels, and featured in both of asymmetric, flowing silk numbers and short paneled dresses. All of Gherzi’s pieces struck me as very feminine and incredibly wearable. The textured wool capes and jackets were a particular favourite of mine, as they were stylish statement pieces guaranteed to keep you toasty warm on the most miserable of London days. Gherzi herself says, “A female of distinction always looks her best, when she’s completely at ease whatever the weather throws at her”, I’ve got to say I rather agree with her. 

The final piece was a full length sparkling creation worthy of any ice queen or red carpet starlet; low cut at the back, empire line and ruched across the bust, with subtle hints of pink glitter.

As the show ended, models cascaded on to the runway along with the heavily pregnant, and very lovely looking, Carlotta Gherzi herself, and the crowd erupted into applause. 

All photography by Emma Block

You can see more of both Emma Block and Natasha Thompson’s illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.


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One Response to “London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Carlotta Gherzi for Sado”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    This is excellent Emma, I love it! And I want all of those pieces, both from the pictures and your fantastic descriptions. I especially liked the bit about the weather- and the back of the finale dress – wow!

    Well done on a great piece.

    Hels xx

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