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London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Jasper Conran

Jasper Conran showed a Barberella inspired collection at the BFC tent, Somerset House on Sunday 20th February 2011. Beautiful, good quality design wins every time.

Written by Nick Bain

Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Emmi Ojala
Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Emmi Ojala.

I’ll be honest writing this review has been a massive challenge. Shortly after enjoying the sublime craftsmanship, skills and undeniable beauty of Jasper’s show I ran to the On|Off venue and managed to get in to Charlie Le Mindu’s extravaganza. Had I written up Jasper before the manic sprint to Charlie I could have waxed lyrical on every piece. I remember being enthralled and excited by the collection. I even went backstage and saw the clothes up close. But the cold hard fact is that these two designers and as such shows, inhabit two very different worlds. After being left reeling and inspired by Charlie Le Mindu, it has been hard to do justice to Jasper Conran. For it was a stunning show.

Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Kerri-ann Hulme
Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Kerri-Ann Hulme.

Last year Carnaby Street celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, rejoicing in a time when London was the centre of the trendiest youth movement at the time. Something tells me this has subconsciously filtered into the minds of several designers. The swinging sixties are back and the models at Jasper Conran definitely reflected this. A mix of Bardots, Shrimptons, and gamine girls filled the runway.

At first glance this collection was perhaps a little too literal in its inspiration. Barbarella meets fembot catsuits were there a plenty. However on closer inspection the craftsmanship that went into each piece was of an inordinately high order. Succeeding in simplicity and clean lines is no mean feat. This was no shock and awe show, allowing instead both the playful and sophisticated nature of the girls to shine through. So from a designers perspective seeing the precision binding and, the open seams held together with just the odd bartack here and there was beautiful.

Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Kerri-Ann Hulme
Jasper Conran A/W 2011 by Kerri-Ann Hulme.

The muted chocolate, copper and aubergine tones balanced out the otherwise monochrome palette, and prevented the collection tipping over into a mere regurgitation of times gone by. Suede was laser cut to give a crocodile effect. Leather was cut into small squares that bounced playfully with model as she walked. The silhouette may have been familiar but the working of the fabric and the surface decoration was right up to date. In particular one minidress matt white sequins were mixed with opalescent ones to create an otherworldly reptilian skin. The final pieces consisted of light flowing chiffon dresses that continued the sixties feel and the playful element of the collection.

It’s been said that when a woman with cheap perfume walks past that’s all you smell, but when woman wearing a beautiful fragrance walks by you smell a beautiful woman. If the same can be said about clothes all you’ll see from this show are beautiful women.


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