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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

London Fashion Week S/S 2011: best of On/Off static stands

Best of the On/Off S/S 2011 exhibition at Victoria House: including RCA graduates Cecile Bahnsen and Frances Conteh, Romanians Carmen Secareanu and Iris Serban, plus Lithuanian Laura Theiss.

Written by Amelia Gregory


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Well, sales they’d really gone to town with this season’s menswear installations. Menswear Day is great, pharm but it’s bloody hard work – you get five days to absorb what’s on offer for women, thumb but only one for the guys – even though the quality and breadth of talent is just as vast.

So in between shows I managed to leg it around the installations, taking photographs, collecting press releases, bumping into people I knew and desperately tried not to steal Mr Hare shoes, all at the same time. It was hard work, I tell ya.

Katie Eary



I LOVE Katie Eary‘s work and this year was no exception. Moving away from skeletal masks and those joke glasses that have me in stitches whenever I see a pair, this season saw Katie collaborate with Lonsdale to create a 1950s boxing scene. It was GREAT – genuine boxers in Katie’s leopard-skin silk shorts, jewel-encrusted boxing helmets and embellished gloves fought on one side of the space behind traditional boxing ring ropes. A genuine coach jeered in his East End accent and Katie, resplendent in a leopard-skin number herself, styled the models/boxers like a glamorous ringside moll.



Tartans featured as boxers rested in the other half of the installation, surrounded by red roses and walls covered in the same fabric. Despite being mesmerised by the shirtless boxers I did also notice some neat tailoring, studded trousers and yet more leopard skin numbers. Amazing.

Mr Hare



Delicious shoes. Again. What else to say? It’s hard to stand out designing shoes exclusively for men, I’m sure, unless you design panto clown shoes – but Mr Hare managed it again – this season presenting an entirely black collection (strange, I thought, for S/S). Suede, patent leather and reptile skin all featured.

Matthew Miller

I am seriously excited about interviewing Matthew Miller in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. His unique fusing of modern tailoring with a sport-luxe aesthetic really gets me going. A model stood looking a little perplexed outside his little hut, wearing a double-breasted blazer in rich cotton with a banded white stripe straight through the middle. It seems this theme ran through his entire collection, giving well-tailored clothing a contemporary twist. Crisp white shirts with stripes are teamed with tailored shirts to achieve the MM look.

Omar Kashoura

Illustration by Antonia Parker

It’s no secret that I loved what Omar Kashoura had to offer last season, and it’s no surprise that he’d been awarded NEWGEN sponsorship this time around. Moving on from formal tailoring, this season he presented a more playful collection packed full of wit, humour and great checks.



A jazz band modelled the clothes, but every time I went in they were hanging around posing and not actually playing instruments (that modelling opportunity had obviously gone to their heads) but I’m told they were very good. Twill double-breasted blazers, some with piped lapels, toyed with the idea of English dressing, and whimsical handkerchiefs were placed in pockets. A general colour palette of tones of blue was enhanced with flashes of red and some pastel colours, while the models wore Edward Green shoes (HOT).

The rest of the room featured look-book shots (above) with hilarious catalogue-style captions – ‘Andreas looks comfortable in a viscose and cotton knitted vest with a zipper front…’

Christopher Raeburn


Christopher Raeburn fits into many categories, and his collection this year was his best outing yet. Spots were the key theme, as were coats of many colours. Read a little bit more about him in Amelia’s review here.

Baartmans and Siegel


Great colours up for grabs here, with pastel blue tapered trousers and silk scarves and navy trenches, teamed with pastel blue suede shoes. Ones to watch, I’d say, with their mix of European influences and luxurious fabrics.

Mattio Bigliardi

…wins the award for biggest jacket. Love this colour…

Christopher Shannon

Another season brings another collaboration with Eastpak, and even more silly bags, that I actually really like. The colours echoed his catwalk collection, featuring lemon, aqua and grey.

Morgan Allen Oliver


Last, but by no means least, Morgan delighted again this season with fabulous knitwear and polka dot shorts. As much as I loved his offerings in February, this time around he seems to have grown in sophistication and his collection seemed smarter and infinitely more wearable, while still maintaining that contemporary, humorous wit that we’re steadily gettting used to. Muted colours featured, along with luxurious-knit cardigans, spotted jumpers and said polka-dot shorts, modelled by previous fashion editor Jonno Ovans!


Illustration by Antonia Parker

Well, treatment they’d really gone to town with this season’s menswear installations. Menswear Day is great, but it’s bloody hard work – you get five days to absorb what’s on offer for women, but only one for the guys – even though the quality and breadth of talent is just as vast.

So in between shows I managed to leg it around the installations, taking photographs, collecting press releases, bumping into people I knew and desperately tried not to steal Mr Hare shoes, all at the same time. It was hard work, I tell ya.

Katie Eary



I LOVE Katie Eary‘s work and this year was no exception. Moving away from skeletal masks and those joke glasses that have me in stitches whenever I see a pair, this season saw Katie collaborate with Lonsdale to create a 1950s boxing scene. It was GREAT – genuine boxers in Katie’s leopard-skin silk shorts, jewel-encrusted boxing helmets and embellished gloves fought on one side of the space behind traditional boxing ring ropes. A genuine coach jeered in his East End accent and Katie, resplendent in a leopard-skin number herself, styled the models/boxers like a glamorous ringside moll.



Tartans featured as boxers rested in the other half of the installation, surrounded by red roses and walls covered in the same fabric. Despite being mesmerised by the shirtless boxers I did also notice some neat tailoring, studded trousers and yet more leopard skin numbers. Amazing.

Mr Hare



Delicious shoes. Again. What else to say? It’s hard to stand out designing shoes exclusively for men, I’m sure, unless you design panto clown shoes – but Mr Hare managed it again – this season presenting an entirely black collection (strange, I thought, for S/S). Suede, patent leather and reptile skin all featured.

Matthew Miller

I am seriously excited about interviewing Matthew Miller in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that. His unique fusing of modern tailoring with a sport-luxe aesthetic really gets me going. A model stood looking a little perplexed outside his little hut, wearing a double-breasted blazer in rich cotton with a banded white stripe straight through the middle. It seems this theme ran through his entire collection, giving well-tailored clothing a contemporary twist. Crisp white shirts with stripes are teamed with tailored shirts to achieve the MM look.

Omar Kashoura

Illustration by Antonia Parker

It’s no secret that I loved what Omar Kashoura had to offer last season, and it’s no surprise that he’d been awarded NEWGEN sponsorship this time around. Moving on from formal tailoring, this season he presented a more playful collection packed full of wit, humour and great checks.



A jazz band modelled the clothes, but every time I went in they were hanging around posing and not actually playing instruments (that modelling opportunity had obviously gone to their heads) but I’m told they were very good. Twill double-breasted blazers, some with piped lapels, toyed with the idea of English dressing, and whimsical handkerchiefs were placed in pockets. A general colour palette of tones of blue was enhanced with flashes of red and some pastel colours, while the models wore Edward Green shoes (HOT).

The rest of the room featured look-book shots (above) with hilarious catalogue-style captions – ‘Andreas looks comfortable in a viscose and cotton knitted vest with a zipper front…’

Christopher Raeburn


Christopher Raeburn fits into many categories, and his collection this year was his best outing yet. Spots were the key theme, as were coats of many colours. Read a little bit more about him in Amelia’s review here.

Baartmans and Siegel


Great colours up for grabs here, with pastel blue tapered trousers and silk scarves and navy trenches, teamed with pastel blue suede shoes. Ones to watch, I’d say, with their mix of European influences and luxurious fabrics.

Mattio Bigliardi

…wins the award for biggest jacket. Love this colour…

Christopher Shannon

Another season brings another collaboration with Eastpak, and even more silly bags, that I actually really like. The colours echoed his catwalk collection, featuring lemon, aqua and grey.

Morgan Allen Oliver


Last, but by no means least, Morgan delighted again this season with fabulous knitwear and polka dot shorts. As much as I loved his offerings in February, this time around he seems to have grown in sophistication and his collection seemed smarter and infinitely more wearable, while still maintaining that contemporary, humorous wit that we’re steadily gettting used to. Muted colours featured, along with luxurious-knit cardigans, spotted jumpers and said polka-dot shorts, modelled by previous fashion editor Jonno Ovans!

Carmen Secareanu On/Off by jenny robins
Illustration by Jenny Robins.

I didn’t make manage to take in the whole of On/Off exhibition this year because I was inevitably racing between shows when I passed through. And I always forget that it finishes a day before the other static shows. But here is the best of what I saw…

Iris Serban by Chris Morris
Iris Serban by Chris Morris.

Cecile Bahnsen
Two designers that I really warmed to were graduates of the RCA that we’ve already covered. Cecile Bahnsen is a Danish designer who works with complex textile combinations inspired by modernism and resulting in delicate laser cut dresses and geometric shapes galore. I loved the batwing oversized coats, sildenafil apparently a reference to her teenage years in the 90s.

Cecile Bahnsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Cecile Bahnsen photo by Amelia Gregory
Cecile Bahnsen photo by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Cecilie Bahnsen by Ella Masters
Cecilie Bahnsen by Ella Masters.

Frances Conteh
Frances Conteh could be found next door – delightfully colourful in the face of so much tasteful monochrome. Another RCA graduate who specialises in beautiful knitwear, for sale she produced a range of slim fitting graphic dresses, massive mohair cardigans and oversized patterned coats in a yummy palate of citrus flavours. Stunning stuff.

Frances Conteh photo by Amelia Gregory
Frances Conteh photo by Amelia Gregory
Frances Conteh photo by Amelia Gregory
frances conteh - lfw - ss11 - jenny robins
Frances Conteh by Jenny Robins.

Carmen Secareanu
Hailing from Romania Carmen Secareanu creates strangely shaped garments inspired by “angels or birds”. Her stand was buzzing when I passed, with lots of people trying on her bulbous big shouldered black jacket replete with massive over-sized cuffs. Do garments get larger as models get slimmer, I wonder?

Carmen Secareanau photo by Amelia Gregory
Carmen Secareanu- lfw - ss11 - jenny robins
Carmen Secareanu by Jenny Robins.

Iris Serban
Another Romanian designer, Iris Serban plays with subtle broken prints, beading and tasteful cream and beige ruffled textures like the carefully laid out pages of a very old book.

Iris Serban photo by Amelia Gregory
iris serban by chris morris
Iris Serban by Chris Morris.

Laura Theiss
My fifth and final On/Off tip is the work of Lithuanian born Laura Theiss, who first trained in business so she should be good at this fashion malarkey. She’s another knitwear designer and graduate of Central Saint Martins, and divides herself between the UK and Germany. She specialises in the combination of different yarns and colours to create unusual textures and feeling.

Laura Theiss by Ella Masters
Laura Theiss by Ella Masters.

I’m sure I may have missed other talent, but hey, if you close a day before everyone else what do you expect?

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