Illustration by Gemma Randall
Aiming to promote recent graduates onto a more commercially viable platform, Fashion Mode launched this September with a show on the 19th amid a lot of glitzy PR and press releases. The initiative is aiming ‘to bring back cutting edge fashion to London’, enabling our ‘young fledgling designers…to be cultivated, supported and cherished’. Aside from the rather slushy blurb surrounding it, the ensuing show was enjoyable and a few gems were sent down the catwalk. Celeb top spot of the day must go to Nick Knowles of DIY SOS fame, who turned up with a man wearing a huge paper sock hat on his head. If anyone can shed any light on this guy, I would be so happy to find out more.
See background for ‘man in hat’ with Nick Knowles
First onto the runway was Carlotta Actis Barone with a collection that reminded me of the kind of clothes clichéd royals in storybooks wear. Dark dramatic reds, with big shoulders and lots of dangly bits hanging off, the collection featured draped and knotted dresses, plus work style dungarees. The hair, which usually passes me by on the catwalk, was amazing (up do’s with lots of boof) so congrats must go to Toni and Guy who styled the whole event.
Illustration by Michelle Urvall Nyren
The Wear My Skin collection is based on the fight against racism and the clothes attempt to represent workers clothes on the plantation fields. The skin element is portrayed using scribbled-print, black-and-white body con dresses, polo necks and leggings under all of the garments. A bit like those sleeves you buy when you want to look like you have a tattoo but an interesting way of pulling together collection none the less.
Next out was James Hillman, who based his collection on the 59 Bike Club, Teddy Boy look and a desire for simplicity. I will remember it for different reasons: the poor male model who had to walk down the runway in a see through dress, the adorable grandma bursting with pride as her grandson (not in a see through dress) walked down the catwalk, and the stifling heat taking hold of the hall. NB Most people had picked up fans from the previous show and were fine…not me though.
Illustration by Michelle Urvall Nyren
His collection was very neutral and very beige/grey/brown. The use of fabrics generally reserved for womenswear was a promising idea but wasn’t used to a great effect. The semi-opaque trousers and jacket/dress were fun but I expected more from someone who defines themselves on their use of simplicity, tailoring and well styled masculinity. I did however, love the army boots which were worn with every outfit including the smarter tailored suits.
Illustration by Gareth A Hopkins
Elson Figueiredo is inspired by 19th century European carnies and uses 100% organic fair-trade cottons. He presented a really strong collection with nicely tailored jackets, mid length coats and loose fit chino-esque trousers. His self-description of ‘quirky and distinctive’ is perfect. The jackets are well cut and the added elbow pads and red edgings on pockets and lapels were definitely a bonus for me in terms of well thought through details.
The beige knee length coat worn with characteristic edging details was the highlight of the show for me, and slightly different from all of the other pieces he sent down the runway.
The star of the show (kept till last) was Florian Jayet. I really enjoyed his collection and many influences were prevalent in his styling – he interned with Alexander McQueen. Jayet’s S/S 2011 collection is inspired by insects and armour style garments. Mainly white, black and silver his pieces were futuristic yet very of the moment with sculptured shoulders, padding and defining shapes.
Using metallic fabrics and leather, his robust exoskeleton pieces are often softened with a long draped skirt or a flimsy top. Also, again with the noticing of the hair, I like the sharp pulled back ponytails sported by all the models.
My ones to watch are definitely Figueiredo and Jayet. They presented collections with distinctive yet restrained looks rather than over designing pieces a la River Island chic.
All photography by Florence Masssey
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