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Apu Jan: London Fashion Week A/W 2013 Catwalk Review

Royal College of Art graduate Apu Jan presented his LFW A/W 2013 collection in Fashion Scout venue Freemasons' Hall on Friday 15th February

Written by Jessica Cook

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013 by Karolina Burdon
Apu Jan LFW A/W 2013 by Karolina Burdon

“Did you see it?” Another writer asks me after the show. “See what?” I say. “I can’t believe I missed it,” I exclaim after I’ve been informed, shaking my head. “It would have been the highlight of my day.” There’s some kind of strange non-sexual delight that can be taken from witnessing a public nip-slip, perhaps because of how the British press deals with nudity, perhaps because there’s a trace of irony in an unintentional birthday-suit reveal during a show that’s meant to focus attention on clothes. This sneak-peek also undermines the potential wear-ability of garments, if with so much preparation the models still experience accidental over-exposure. I feel slightly disappointed in myself for being right there in the heart of the action and missing this accidental nudity mid-show. Although, I’m informed that rather than the full-package it was just a quick flash of some nipple-tape. I pledge to pay more attention in future.

Apu Jan LFW 2013 by Rosemary Kirton
Apu Jan A/W 2013 LFW by Rosemary Kirton

As one of the first shows of Autumn/ Winter 2013 London Fashion Week, I find Apu Jan‘s collection a little disappointing. This collection, entitled Petroleum, features some oriental elements with a twist of modernity. The ocean was a big inspiration, which is reflected in the palette. The oversized knitwear adds a touch of androgyny to the outfits and a pair of neon-blue heels on one model catch my eye and compliment her same-shade outfit. A few of the pieces are dusted with sexuality and have revealing cuts that seem out of place in this collection.

Clearly black is the new black. This is illustrated not just in the show, but also the audience. I can only assume that this slimming and stylish colour is the unofficial uniform of London Fashion Week and I missed the memo.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photos by Alex Kessler

The models sport blue braids woven into their hair, likely a continuation of the sea theme. The make-up has a tint of David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover, although perhaps unintentionally.

My first taste of the exaggerated polo neck, neck-brace like concoction appears here: I see something similar in later shows too. It’s not really to my taste, after all, who wants to look like they were just in a car accident? The most redeeming feature of this show is a grey print which is sky-like and busy; I would love to see it close-up. Although initially it has a grey ‘camo’ feel, on further inspection it seems a bit more magical. The aqua of the show’s theme is also echoed in a lone member of the audience; a young man clad in bright blue trousers and a turquoise cardigan paired with neon yellow shoes. A stark contrast to the black ‘uniform’ of other attendees.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013 by Melissa Angelik
Apu Jan LFW 2013 by Melissa Angelik

Despite the criticism, there are pieces I like in this collection, the theme is after my own heart; who doesn’t love the seaside? Blue is a calming colour after all. The big knitwear looks comfortable and I can imagine myself vegging out on the sofa wearing it. I also like the over-sized sleeves on one of the models. I love the pattern on a black and blue piece which reminds me of kimono and the colours in general make this collection aesthetically pleasing. One of the outfits feels a little air-hostess although I can’t put my finger on why. A piece I suspect of being the offending nip-slip garment is probably my fave, and manages to be both sensual and modest, although it perhaps needs some extra tailoring to prevent awkward moments! I can’t help but think that one of the cobalt blue dresses is a tad too short. Overall, the oriental style pieces are the ones I think have the most potential.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photos by Jessica Cook

As this is my first show the self-conscious part of me is more worried about what I’m wearing than the models. Picking an outfit for London Fashion Week is hard work and I was forced to veer myself from my natural impulse – an ironically sported Kigu dinosaur onesie – and towards the higher-end of the wardrobe. I’m wearing Cinderella silver ballet pumps (they cost £4… shhh… noone will ever know) with black leggings that have seen one wash too many and a silver dress which is probably from Miss Selfridge but no longer has a label. This is topped off with a plain button-down black cardie (embarrassingly this is from M&S). I’m wearing earrings too. I never wear earrings. I have an expensive brown bag by Osprey that’s been everywhere with me for the last two years and is probably the only thing with me that would pass the style test. It’s a little battered though from carting around the weight of the ‘kitchen sink’ that I carry with me everywhere.

Apu Jan LFW AW 2013
Photo by Jessica Cook

They say it’s not over until the fat lady sings, but at LFW a show’s not over until the designer makes an appearance on the runway. More often than not, the designers are what you least expect; sculptured cutting-edge femme designs are revealed to be made by petite men, risqué negligees by voluptuous middle-aged redheads. This show is no exception and the Taiwanese designer makes a seemingly shy, speedy appearance with a model towering above him at the end of his debut collection. Brief and anticlimactical, it feels comforting that your expectations of the face behind a collection can be shattered. If nothing else it’s a reminder to keep your assumptions in check, both on and off the catwalk.

Apu Jan LFW AW by Alex Fernandez
Apu Jan LFW A/W 2013 by Alex Fernandez


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