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London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Elliott J Frieze (by Matt)

Elliott J Frieze presented his third solo collection at The Charing Cross Hotel with a nod to the 1970s and an unsettling camel toe. Illustrations by Jo Cheung and Bryony Crane!

Written by Matt Bramford

Illustration by Bryony Crane

From Bernard Chandran’s glorious and vibrant show at The Show Space, it was a mere moment to hot-foot it around the corner to Elliott J Frieze’s show at the Charing Cross Hotel. Now, I can’t deny that I’ve spent many an evening down the unsavoury alley at the side of this grand building, but I had assumed that it was a pretty generic, sterile hotel. It is, in fact, quite something – grand sweeping staircases and rows of rooms with Baroque decoration and plush carpets. I love this about fashion week – being able to enter buildings you didn’t know existed is a real treat.

Illustration by Jo Cheung

Ushered into a side room and handed a glass of champagne, I met up with contributor Georgia and a little later Amelia, and a charming woman led us to our seats. This wasn’t an ordinary catwalk – in one of the larger rooms a circular catwalk had been formed with the use of chairs – pretty much all front row, with models to come out at one end. It was a real shame to see seats unfilled – when a designer has put so much work into a collection (as we were about to discover) it’s pretty heartbreaking to see that people just can’t be bothered to turn up. But the arrangement meant that Amelia (sitting opposite me) and I could narcissistically take pictures of each other, which made the waiting time pass very quickly indeed!

When the first model appeared, it was a little chaotic. Racing in front of us, models took a brief pause at the end, then sprinted around the other side, then back across the front, then around the other side, returning back down the middle and occasionally colliding with the next model out. It was a nightmare to decide where to point my camera, and I left with a bit of a headache. But, it’s easy to become tired of watching models walk backwards and forwards, so to see them turning and navigating their diminutive, hot frames around a room became captivating.

Illustration by Bryony Crane

The collection started with some exciting corduroy tailoring in a natural cream colour. High-waisted trousers with enormous waistbands and double-breasted macs appeared on the ladies; for the gents the fabric had been tailored into trousers and a onesie with buckle details and an unsettling camel-toe…

Next up came luscious camel coats for both genders with a deep brown lining – the lady wore hers open as she swaggered in a floppy hat, the gent had his firmly fastened with a thick belt that synched in the waist. If I had any money, I would probably buy this.

Illustration by Jo Cheung

After a bit more chocolate tailoring, styled with chic aviator sunglasses, came the show piece – a grey multi-layer dress that swept the floor as the model walked. A definite winner, if you ask me.

Elliott finished the collection with some classic black looks – body concious dresses for women and structured tailoring for the guys. The whole aesthetic nodded to the Seventies and the women especially oozed sex appeal with figure-hugging outfits and super-chic styling.

All photography by Matt Bramford

See more of Jo Cheung’s illustrations in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration!


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