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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Daks

A review of the Daks Spring/Summer 2010 catwalk show at Somerset House at London Fashion Week, illustrated by Abi Daker.

Written by Lauren Smith

Illustration by Eugenia Tsmiklis

After pegging it down the strand, ampoule I arrived at the BFC tent with less than 30 seconds to spare. My desperate dan demeanour must have won me brownie points somewhere as I was ushered into the catwalk seating area so fast my feet barely touched the floor. Expecting the Issa show to begin, erectile imagine my suprise when Basso and Brooke creations started to walk their way down the catwalk…there must have been some awful mistake?…yes, troche indeed there was Mr Matt Bramford (who must be reading his timetable upside down last night).

A 9am Sunday morning treat: great turnout (including model Amber Rose – front row), amazing prints and a seamless show. To be able to mix so many colours, prints, patterns and styles into pieces of clothing is a talent few can boast. I have never trained as a fashion designer but I imagine that there comes a time early in their lives, perhaps as a kid choosing between a pencil and a box of crayolas, when their speciality is set for life. In my view, all designers have not so much a signature look as a part of the DNA clothing they excel at: silhouette, colour, print, cut. Some designers can change the way we see the body – I’m thinking of Miuccia Prada –and some fill in the outlines of fashionable shapes with their own individual colour, pattern and texture.

Illustration by Eugenia Tsmiklis

Prints were the order of the day with a slight All Saints (edgy brand not 90s girlband) feel to some of the ones with italic scripting and antique maps running across. After reading the press release, it turns out that the writing is actually handwritten notes by Da Vinci, Tolstoy, Balzac and others in a nod to the non digital past. Digital prints are then sliced into the notes and maps, creating more dramatic, eclectic mixes. Other prints included trompe l’oeil images of ruched fabrics, mainly used in larger panels on the back of dresses but occasionally inserted onto the front. I am personally a huge fan of print design (I was a colour-change felttip pen sort of kid), which I think often gets ignored in favour of more flashy, and by definition, flesh-revealing options (anyone designing an elaborately printed bikini has rather missed the point). There’s something depressing about an off-the-shelf pattern you end up seeing on clothes everywhere, from high street shops to market stalls. I want someone to have sat down and designed the images that appear on the surface of clothes with as much care and dedication as they did every other aspect.

Basso and Brooke’s S/S11 show didn’t pioneer any particular dress shape, although all their clothes look wearable: lots of skater-skirted party dresses, a collared blouse and skirt and filmy jumpsuitst. The skirts had great shape and movement to them, especially the shorter kicky ones; the dresses made use of clashing prints on the front and back and thought had also been put into matching shoes to each look. However, what they do to a tee is the print; everyone knows that when you go to their show you’ll get lovingly rendered prints galore. This also means subtle use of colour, and when the models took their turn all together, it added up to a handwritten, map inspired rainbow.

Shoes at Basso & Brooke

Some of the choices surprised me at first: leopard print? Hermes-scarf style illustrated floral squares? But because they were digitally chopped up with gold foil sections that seemed to creep over the garish parts, or set against a background of pearly grey silk, I think it worked. There is a trend now for mixing up complicated prints, which when it works, looks incredible. One good thing about animal print is that you can’t really beat nature for creating a pleasing whole and by sticking to the silvery sheen of water, brown and rusty orange of animals spots and mineral metallics, there’s a good chance an outfit will hang together, just like Basso and Brooke’s show.

LFW Daks Catwalk Show Spring Summer 2011

I rolled into Daks at the bright and early time of 9am on a Saturday morning – expecting to be one of the few who made in out of bed. But the crowd was bright eyed and bushy tailed – shame some of the models looked pale and in need of some shut-eye!

When the Daks press release proclaimed the collection was inspired by a “British traveller on a journey through India” I envisaged either a ‘gap yah’ nightmare or colonial outfits complete with G&T’s. Thankfully what ended up on the catwalk was far from it. Daks S/S 2011 was an easy, symptoms breezy collection of crisp designs in white, medicine pale grey, and stone.

Daks Spring Summer 2010 collection illustration by Abi Daker

Rather than going for swathes of layers, embroidery and hippy trippy designs, Daks decided to translate the ‘traveller’ theme in a much more sophisticated way – splashes of mustard yellow (my FAVOURITE colour) were meant to represent the spices of India, and the lightweight fabrics were chosen to be suitable for hot climates. I can’t see myself donning a drop waisted skirt and chic leather satchel to trek through the Himalayas, but Dak’s ‘grand tour’ was fun to watch – and felt oh-so English.

Daks Spring Summer 2011 fashion illustration by Abi Daker

Referencing the 1930s, there were some gorgeous mid length pleated skirts, high-waisted trousers and a standout mustard yellow shirt dress. I was even convinced that I needed the knitted shorts and onesies in my life. But considering how great the accessories were in the rest of the collection – with little round sunglasses and convertible leather rucksacks – the shoes (cheap looking wedges and flip flops) seemed a bit of an afterthought.


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