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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week A/W 2011 Catwalk Review: Paul Costelloe (by Jemma)

The veteran designer opened London Fashion Week for his 10th year in a row with all his family in tow at Somerset House Catwalk Space on Friday 18th February.

Written by Jemma Crow

Illustration by Jaymie O’ Callaghan

He’s the long-standing fashion designer that, information pills website despite his teeny tiny height, shop you could spot a mile away. Much like his clothes, really. A spot-on show with a dark soundtrack, breath-taking texture and an etheral beauty about the whole thing. This was John Rocha A/W 2011…

The queues to clamber into the BFC catwalk space were pretty epic. It was more of a crowd than a queue! Upon taking my seat, I began to regret wearing layers due to sauna temperatures and not enough space around me to take off my leather jacket. People were literally using the programs as fans to cool themselves. REALLY. Not so glamorous. THE Blogging Power-Couple, Scott Schuman and Garance Dore, sat themselves on the front row along with Susie Bubble (of course) and Alexandra Schulman, Editor of Vogue UK. And then came Hilary Alexander in her signature fur hat (*growl*) who sat RIGHT there in front of me – oh the excitement. She had a good look around her, peering over the top of her glasses as she does, exchanged a few words with fellow Times writers and then sat quietly waiting for showtime.

Illustration by Mina Bach

And here we go! Alas, after spotting Neil Young’s Harvest Moon as John Rocha’s inspiration on the program I was half expecting Old Man on the playlist. Ah well. Instead some heavy dark beats a la Stone Roses boomed across the catwalk as the first model took to the runway, in black black black and a MASSIVE head piece. Most models were baring these great creations that looked like a jamaican man’s dreadlocks tied up in a heap with wool knitted into it and a ton of volumising hairspray thrown in. PHEW. How these girls were managing that AND high heels, i don’t know.

The girls’ hair were styled in sweet little braids with slick, neatly parted roots. With that and all the textures of wool and fur (*more growls*) and what appeared to be silk chiffon, I was beginning to get a rustic, hippy and elvish feel with a suitable addition of elegance. People living in wood shacks in a snowy forest sprang to mind. NATURE sprang to mind.

Model of the moment, Abbey Lee, graced the spotlight towering high and elegant above many of the male models and sporting a dread-lock-esque headpiece herself! After a series of floor skimming gothic-looking gowns, it was time for some colour injection with browns, creams and bold under-skirt splashings of bold red, including a big painted tribal design that followed the hem of a floor-length skirt. It was a show full of twists and turns and surprises.

The lights dimmed and there was a moment of stillness before John Rocha, hand placed on chest as if deeply emotional with gratitude, led all models and creations up and down the catwalk, linking arms with Abbey Lee. She bent down to kiss him on the cheek infront of the cameras before he rushed off stage, clapping the audience saying thank you. A gracious finale to a glorious show!

Photographs by Georgia Takacs
LFW Paul Costelloe AW2011 by Krister Selin
Paul Costelloe by Krister Selin

And it’s off! In fact it was Paul Coselloe that kicked off the eponymous London Fashion Week for AW11 and he didn’t disappoint. Well how could he with Janice Dickinson on the front row! With a modernised version of “In The Mood” as his soundtrack he sent his daughter down the catwalk to start the show in a loving fatherly way. Aww sweet. But I digress; lets get back to the clothes: mini dresses in bright pink hues, this glitzy jacquard mixed with bobbed pink wigs and very wearable men’s suits were the call of the morning interspersed with some mustard suits and patterned palazzo pants. The opening look was a quartet of emerald green swing dresses, ambulance a style Costelloe is famous for and knows he does well. And its safe to say (after New York Fashion Week too) that Mulberry, story and its various guises, is the colour to be seen in. Teamed with oversized checks and damson tights its perfect for next Autumn moving on from the 70s colours of Summer. It looks like the earthy tones are here to stay but this time there’s more to them than variations on beige.

LFW Paul Costelloe AW2011 by Krister SelinIllustration by Krister Selin

On the side Costelloe has mused about designing airline uniforms (is there really a desire to that?) and the not so subtle hint in his collection was perhaps the boxy swing suits with bracelet sleeves and flirty mini skirts. Who knows maybe we’ll see the staff of BA sashaying down the walk way in a Paul Costelloe burnt orange suit set. Then again maybe not quite what he had in mind…. in all seriousness though congratulations to Costelloe who has opened LFW for his 10th year and still brings wearable pieces straight off the catwalk that still have a fashion appeal. What a perfect opening to a very busy week, and of course Janice Dickenson waving to her friend as he took his bow was a not so subtle closer.

All illustrations by Krister Selin and more of his work can be found in Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration.

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