Illustration by Avril Kelly
Finally escaping the intermittent drizzle, I find myself standing in a beautiful hall within the restored Northumberland House in Trafalgar Square. The ornate ceiling is touching the sky and the splendour of its Victorian past hushes the crowd. The audience here appears slightly subdued. Notepads out, pens uncapped and eyes focused on the catwalk. Tiptoeing at the back, I strain to view the runway. I’m anticipating what Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro will bring to the catwalk to tease our fashion palettes. Spotlights alight causing the last of the whispers to subside and all gaze expectantly at the white path ahead, as the soundtrack strikes.
Enter structured jackets embellished with heraldic embroidery and printed silk skirts, jumpsuits and dresses in autumn colours, burnt orange and berry red. The prints vary, from pretty paisleys to luxurious leopard print. I’m not usually attracted to animal print, but I’m longing for the paisley meets leopard print dress, sporting blue silk detail on the neck and shoulders. It’s simple and elegant but not at all banal. High necks, low cinched waists and midi length skirts in vivid blue and red make for graceful dresses that suggest a marriage of Victoriana and 1970s styles. Bold and neutral colours follow, sheathed in dazzling gems that revive nostalgia for the 1950s.
Live catwalk illustration by Jenny Robins
The colours fade into cloudy greys, biscuit beiges and ice blues for the inconspicuous in you and luxurious brocades make up beautiful jackets, not unlike those gentlemen’s smoking jackets of a bygone vintage era. The catwalk darkens and we’re engulfed in black. Black lace, black wool, black silk – all combine to forge pretty, yet formal, dresses and blouses. I’m rarely taken in by designs in black, but these really are lovely. The vintage inspired shoes and patterned tights play a key part in the presentation, complimenting a largely conservative but beautiful collection.
My height has failed me and my photographs are painfully poor, but I leave contented and pleased to have spied a wonderful show.
All photography by Akeela Bhattay
A/W 2011, Avril Kelly, Catwalk review, Classic, Clements Ribeiro, Ethical Fashion, Formal, Inacio Ribeiro, Jenny Robins, lfw, London Fashion Week, Northumberland House, Suzanne Clements, The Show Space, Upcycling, vintage
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