London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Bernard Chandran

I never miss Bernard Chandran's shows, even if they are a schlep to get to - and I wasn't disappointed this time on Friday 16 September at Il Bottaccio.

Written by Matt Bramford


Bernard Chandran S/S 2012, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

I feel like myself and Bernard Chandran are good pals. He’d probably see it differently, but the first show I ever saw during a fashion week was his, and since then I haven’t missed a single one. I almost did this time – cruelly his show clashed with one of my other favourites, Jean Pierre Braganza. I was worried sick – who would I choose? In the end, the Amelia’s Magazine team had got JPB more than covered and I decided that I couldn’t miss Bernard after all.


Bernard Chandran S/S 2012, illustrated by Cruz

It’s a bloody good job I was so desperate to see it, because his show was at the Il Bottaccio venue on Grosvenor Place. If this doesn’t mean anything to you, it’s basically a 20 minute cycle by Boris from Somerset House, fashion week’s epicentre. It might not sound much, but when you’ve got less than twenty minutes to get there, it’s boiling hot on the Strand and rammed with buses churning emissions in your face and you’re prone to perspiration, it’s less than entirely ideal.






All photography by Matt Bramford

I arrived at the venue in a complete state. Perspiring, thirsty, hungry and miserable, I just wanted to get inside and get it over with. Luckily entrance was a breeze, and I found a good seat on which to waft my invite frantically and avoid glares from immaculate fashionos free of any perspiration. I sat next to Lida from The First To Know – I’ve spoken to her electronically a few times, and it was great to finally meet her. We chatted about a recent article of hers for the Ecologist where she speaks to Chandran about the lack of available craftsmanship in our country, and it’s definitely worth a read.


Bernard Chandran S/S 2012, illustrated by Gabriel Ayala

Bernard’s invite featured a duplicated picture of a glamorous woman from the 1950s. I had already guessed (naturally, as myself and Bernard are so friendly) that it was his mother. She had the same delicate bone structure and exotic appeal. It turns out that these two subjects – the 1950s and the matriarch of the Chandran dynasty – where Bernard’s inspiration this season.





The show featured many of Bernard’s now signature styles, but this time he’d cranked up the glamour factor and it really suited his unique dedication to sculpture and proportion.


Bernard Chandran S/S 2012, illustrated by Cruz

Look after look brought glamour, sophistication, elegant craftsmanship and a unique approach to dynamic cutting. Floor-length silk numbers, beautifully simple, sat happily with futuristic blazers with angular oversized lapels and a-line dresses with feather panels. The colour palette was a varied as it could be – pale pinks and blues, gold, silver, and vivid cobalt and fuchsia. Chandran’s evident bravery in his use of colour was a dominant feature once again.

It was quite a mix, and that’s what I quite like about Chandran; you can’t label his collections with this season’s buzz words and you could try to squeeze him into a box but he’ll burst out of it, wearing feathers and glittered fabrics and assymetric cuts (metapohrically speaking, of course).





The finale brought a stunning black model onto the catwalk wearing a red-carpet finest – a dazzling body-con number with a sweetheart neckline and a fishtail train. Delicate petal shapes in a complimentary colour had been applied all over the frock, teamed with high-gloss evening gloves. The model glided past us oozing sex appeal with a look of confidence that only this sort of piece can give.





Bernard, you didn’t let me down. Until next time, pal…

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