London Fashion Week A/W 2011, Catwalk Review: Corrie Nielsen (by Helen)

From pencil skirted wriggles, to striding, enormous and dazed creations taken straight from a novel's fantasy. Vivienne Westwood's previous apprentice has proved herself a heroine.

Written by Helen Martin

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Corrie Nielsen LFW A/W 2011 Collection, illustration by Abby Wright

The BFC Tent is massive. Or a lot bigger than the other show spaces. But the benches are the same; white and hard. I went to where I was supposed to be seated and realised it was smack bang in the middle of an already super full bench. I went to the end of the bench; “Any…? No, no, ok then. Thanks.” Luckily a man on the bench behind saved me by shifting up a bit and motioning towards the space he’d made. “Ah wonderful, thanks!” I sort of wanted to chat with him, but found the non-moving up people – now before me- much more interesting. Yabbering and air kissing their faces off with some other people in another row. They went from exceptionally animated and friendly to bored and motionless in second. They reminded me of whippets. The BFC was packed, rammed, up to the brim. Before long, it went dark. The wall of photographers were in their pyramid, like hyeneas, eyes blazing, they were poised…some of them taking shots for no apparent reason. Or, just in case something ridiculous happens.

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Corrie Nielsen LFW A/W 2011 Collection, illustration by Jenny Robins

Big shoulders, high necklines, victoriana, huge circle skirts, sashes over shoulders, trouser suits with extra long legs and short jackets, balooning at the middle slightly, and beautiful midi length skirt suits with puffed shoulders. The shoes were angular or strappy, and the hair either blown up, or short and sharply pointed. But as the show continued, the more dramatic it became. The start featured outfits you could happily wear to a whole host of occasions, all fitted, 60s shapes with Victorian influences, in reds, black, grey and teal, but then it went MAD.

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It was fantastic. Everything got extremely vulumnious. Enormous jackets, enveloping the models in shells of silky, padded looking fabrics. Deep purples, teals and bold reds came streaming out. Waist and neck detailing included ruffles, pleats and knots. Skirts were bubbled and swathing. Some were paired with sheer, ruffling tops, others; tight corsets. Many of the models also wore wide headbands, which added to the historic, modern twist charm, mixing modern design with 60s and the late 1800s. And making it work surprising well.

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Corrie Nielsen LFW A/W 2011 Collection: Photography by Amelia Gregory

Then two show stopper dresses came out. One nearly pure, off white with a hooped top skirt, corseted top, long train and beautiful headpiece, wrapped around the model’s blonde hair. With ballet satin encased feet, this was ghostly, heavenly and adventurous in one. It appealed to me through its theatre, gracefulness and just off purity. The dress had character, frivolity and fantasy wrapped up. Spiced up innocence, a thrown out of her castle, princess. What did she do to be ejected? For me, although more Elizabethan perhaps in design than Victorian, this was Hardy’s; Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Walking over the hills, her boots worn through, her daze; a story.

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Corrie Nielsen LFW A/W 2011 Collection: Photography by Matt Bramford

In contrast, the next dress was BLACK. It reminded me of Queen Victoria herself, mixed with Queen Elizabeth I. Then with the addition of Helena Bonham-Carter and Tilda Swinton. Exploded hair, Elnett insanity, all rough, a bit haphazard and COOL. Together with the most over-ruffled, incredible dress, fit for a QUEEN, it was an explosion. Black as the darkest night, but with a slight shine, like the moon reflecting, the material was reminiscent of a glassy ocean at night. The neck was high, ruffled, starched and stretched down to the waist. The sleeves puffed at the top, then tightened to the wrists. Then the skirt was full and glorious, with a train behind. It was like watching the night fairy, or a stunning, black widow spider move along the catwalk. Deadly. She would have destroyed the off white, semi angel in seconds. It was the ‘other’ side of our heroine, Tess of the d’Urbervilles, downbeat on the moors. Or indeed, 19th century’s; Emily Brontë’s, Wuthering Heights. With Cathy, depressed at the Wuthering Heights estate, angered and serious, yet of course, utterly beautiful. I wish the show had been on the Yorkshire Moors (I don’t), as the dress would have looked sensational, with the wind whipping about and the layers of fabric billowing. The semi angel would have been on a deserted beach in Scotland, or a corn field. I wonder where Corrie would have placed them.

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Corrie Nielsen LFW A/W Collection, illustration by Jenny Robins

Dear Wuthering Heights, I quote thou: ‘Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!’

I hope you see what I mean.

Jenny Robins’ and Abby Wright’s illustrations can also be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration, available here.

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3 Responses to “London Fashion Week A/W 2011, Catwalk Review: Corrie Nielsen (by Helen)”

  1. [...] we have Corrie Nielsen and Orla Kiely. Do click on the names for my articles in Amelia’s Magazine. #LFW last day for [...]

  2. [...] FOR THE FULL ARTICLE CLICK HERE This entry was posted in Fashion and tagged Amelia Gregory, Amelia's Magazine, Corrie Nielsen, LFW, LFW Autumn/Winter 2011. Bookmark the permalink. ← Amelia’s Magazine FASHION POSTS from LONDON FASHION WEEK A/W 2011: No.3 Orla Kiely LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  3. [...] wrote about Corrie Nielsen’s A/W 2011 collection after attending her show in February. I wrote: Then two show stopper dresses came out. [...]

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