London Fashion Week S/S 2012 Catwalk Review: Spijkers en Spijkers

Dutch sister act Spijkers en Spijkers brought a touch of old glamour to the BFC Show Space in Grosvenor Place on Saturday 17th September. The collection was a beautiful blend of luxurious silks, tassels and some very striking stars.

Written by Miranda Williams

Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Emmi Ojala

Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Emmi Ojala

I’d found myself in unfamiliar surroundings for this show, over in West London at the Show Space on Grosvenor Place. The queue outside had been pleasantly short, and I was ushered smoothly into the building, with none of the usual cattle herding behaviour experienced at other London Fashion Week shows. The room was grand, with decorative white walls and high ceilings. I read from the press release that the inspiration was the Middle Eastern tale One Thousand and One Nights – a story about a young girl who uses her wits to enchant and win over a King. I wasn’t overly familiar with the Spijkers sister’s work, but had previously read Sally Mumby-Croft’s review of the sisters’ S/S 2011 collection, and was excited at the prospect of some opulent Persian splendour on a Saturday afternoon.

Spijkers en Spijkers photo by Tim Adey
Photography by Tim Adey.

The show was running late, by about 10 minutes, and I got chatting to the girl next to me, an illustrator from Access Fashion, about the rush to get over here from Somerset House from the Ashish show. This down time was ruined by a chirpy PR girl, who perhaps could sense I was slightly hungover, and playing on this vulnerable state, kept asking me and my new illustrator friend to shuffle up and down on the very wobbly bench. She tried joking and laughing, but on the 4th move, with no new people to be seated, it wasn’t amusing anymore, and I scared her off with a look, and a fierce rattle of the bag of popcorn I’d found in my goody bag.

Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Miranda Williams
Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Miranda Williams
All photography by Miranda Williams

The lights finally dimmed, and I was surprised. The first look was an ivory and black star panelled dress with a fringed hem. It was completed with a wide head scarf, which also had the heavy black fringe. This look emanted the style of early 1930′s flappers, not a Persian Queen as I had expected. Nevermind I thought, as the next look pleased – a tapered leg pantsuit with an oversized silk satin blazer, again in ivory and black, which had a sort of Katherine Hepburn feel to it.

Spijkers En Spijkers S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester
Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Gilly Rochester

As the looks continued, I understood that the collection was deeply dress focussed, and alot of the intricately panelled dresses looked like sophisticated underwear to me. With an added tease, cheeky hemlines were split right up to the top of the thigh, and the silk twill and satins of the bias cut dresses clung neatly to the models bodies. This was definitely more F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it didn’t matter, I was enchanted by the glamorous flapper girls walking before me. The models were also completely gorgeous – and the romantic styling helped. Their hair was tousled, and they were made up with a slick of lime green eye shadow, glossy bronze cheeks and neutral lips. Perfect.

Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Miranda Williams
Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Miranda Williams

One of the first looks that I really liked was a beautiful deep cut satin dress, in cream and ivory. It was made up from diamond shaped panels, and didn’t cling to the body, but held against it, showing chest, but just the right amount. This was also featured with one of the heavily tasselled headscarves, which became a real addition to each outfit. Creatively draped around the models head’s, I did understand some reference to the exotic Middle East with these accessories. Pop colours were also brought in as the palette developed on from the base of black and ivory, with the addition of coral and lime green.

Spijkers en Spijkers photo by Tim Adey

Star panels emblazoned the front and sides of most of the looks, in neutral creams and ivories, but also in black and silver. I much preferred this detail when the star panels were in the muted colours, across some of the simpler silk dresses. As I felt there was a sort of costume effect in some of the looks that had the bright silver stars splashed across the chest. The metal chains on the back of the dresses were a clever and fine detail, acting as both the construction and decoration of each. This reminded me of the costumes of exotic dancers, with gold chains wound around their bodies and limbs, attached to their clothes, and doubling as ornamentation.

Spijkers en Spijkers photo by Tim Adey

Vibrant colours filtered through towards the end of the run – pink, and also a colour that seems to be very on trend for S/S 2012, purple. One of the signature looks was a purple silk satin dress, with thin straps, lime green panels and a pink star on the right side of the chest. Worlds apart from my usual choice of black, and more black, I thought it was simple, super pretty, but importantly, fun. Another detail that the Spijkers sisters used in excess, and which has appeared across other catwalks this year was tassels. They were heavy and stitched onto to the bottom of hems. They added great movement to the dresses, with the addition of one or two splits running up the front legs of dresses, helping the fringing to sway with every pace.

Spijkers en Spijkers S/S 2012 by Miranda Williams

What I felt really worked in the collection were the loose fitting jumpsuits with crinkle silk satin blazers, and simple cut dresses with fewer panels. These were classic shapes that were sleek and sophisticated. I wasn’t so keen on the last couple of looks – which introduced brown linen, in a blazer jacket and a pair of ¾ length trousers. It felt out of place in the collection – was it a last minute addition for another fabric or element? Bit of an odd choice I thought. However, the shoes were great – high platforms with black or metallic star panels that screamed 1970′s glamour!

Although the show had lacked the richness of the Persian fairy tale I had read about, it certainly brought a taste of the compelling and hedonistic 1930’s. Since the labels conception in 2000, the sisters have become known for their use of graphic prints and colours, and they certainly delivered on that level. They have not strayed from their ‘signature’ style – which worked in its own charming way. Truus and Riet Spijkers showed a S/S 2012 collection that was feminine and fluid, wearable and well designed pieces, which looked as beautiful from the back as it did from the front.

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