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London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Kingston MA

So, Kingston MA decided to show in the Freemasons' Hall on Friday 17th September. Was this a wise idea... we went along to find out.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Daks Spring Summer 2011 fashion illustration by Abi Daker at London Fashion Week
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, remedy breezy collection of crisp designs in white, medical pale grey, look and stone.

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.

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.
Amelia_LFW1_Yasmin Siddiqui, <a target=here gaarte” title=”Amelia_LFW1_Yasmin Siddiqui, page gaarte” width=”480″ height=”480″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-25158″ />
Yasmin Siddiqui opens the Kingston MA show. Illustration by Gaarte.

Sometimes it’s hard to be heard amongst all the chatter and noise of LFW so it’s either very foolish (who’s got time to come?) or very inspired (you’ve got a ready made captive audience) to hold your MA show at the same time. I suspect Kingston University leaned the latter way, thinking why not jump on the fashion week bandwagon? They’d even secured a slot in the hallowed Freemasons’ Hall.

Kingston MA by Katherine Tromans Helen Taylor
Helen Taylor by Katherine Tromans.

Kingston MA by Katherine Tromans Alison Firth
Kingston MA by Katherine Tromans Alison Firth
Alison Firth by Katherine Tromans.

But it was late in the day, those of us who had been trogging around all day were pretty bloody knackered. Then the show was running behind and it was bloody hot in the hall… and we didn’t even have seated tickets. It seemed those had gone to the copious quantities of friends and relatives brought along by so many participants. Note to PRs – if you give us shit tickets you’ll probably get shit photos – I was hardly able to snap anything decent from my vantage point. And if you desperately want to be heard it really does pay to get the press on your side. With pretty pics.

Abby_Wright_Kingston_show Stacey Grant
Judy Zhang by Abby Wright.

Luckily we’ve got a crack team of illustrators who can make a proverbial silk purse out of a sow’s ear, or a beautiful image out of… well… not very much to look at, (which is just as well). But still, I like to have the option of good photos too. Pick ‘n’ mix and all that.

Amelia_LFW2_gaarte Yasmin Siddiqui,
Yasmin Siddiqui by Gaarte.

Amelia_LFW3_gaarte Faraz Hussain
Faraz Hussain by Gaarte.

And then the show went on… and on… Okay, so there’s a bonus to seeing several designers at once – when they’re of a very high calibre and you haven’t got a million other things to see and do. But I have to say, Kingston Uni, that this wasn’t up to the standard that London Fashion Week has become accustomed to. People were sneaking off all around me. Which leads me to my second piece of advice. Only go up against the best of what London design has to offer if you’re sure you can match it!

LFW-KingstonMA-Gemma-Milly Victor Chan
Victor Chan by Gemma Milly.

I’m sure many of the Kingston MA students are very talented, but I’m struggling to remember anything that stood out, and that is a bad thing. A lot of it was very similar in feel, nondescript in colouring with draping, oversize accessories and protrusions everywhere (they seem to be very much du jour) And I’m sorry, but a load of polygonally moulded leathers do not a fashion designer make.

LFW-KingstonMA2-Gemma-Milly Raine Hodgson
Raine Hodgson by Gemma Milly.

Stand outs, if I’m pushed? Obviously the first piece, courtesy of Yasmin Siddiqui, was a great piece of statement jewellery. There was some strong colouring combinations in the menswear from Faraz Hussain and Helen Taylor’s male jumpsuit was fun, as was her styling with wooden head frames. Generally I had a strong sense of shapelessness going on. But hey! I’ll let you make up your minds for yourselves, and in the meantime I think you’ll agree that my illustrators have done sterling work.

Kingston MA Yasmin Siddiqui photo by Amelia Gregory
Kingston MA Yasmin Siddiqui photo by Amelia Gregory
Yasmin Siddiqui. All photography by Amelia Gregory.

Kingston MA Stacey Grant photo by Amelia Gregory
Stacey Grant

Kingston MA Faraz Hussain photo by Amelia Gregory
Faraz Hussain

Kingston MA Judy Zhang photo by Amelia Gregory
Kingston MA Judy Zhang photo by Amelia Gregory
Judy Zhang

Kingston MA Alison Firth photo by Amelia Gregory
Alison Firth

Kingston MA Helen Taylor photo by Amelia Gregory
Kingston MA Helen Taylor photo by Amelia Gregory
Helen Taylor

Kingston MA Victor Chan photo by Amelia Gregory
Victor Chan

Kingston MA Patricia Osbahr photo by Amelia Gregory
Patricia Osbahr


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3 Responses to “London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Kingston MA”

  1. grthink says:

    Great job from all the illustrators on this piece – impossible to pick out a favourite :)

  2. Love the photos, love the illustrations, love the designs! Wish I was there, but luckily can read all about it thanks to AM.

  3. [...] with Matt and Amelia, only to be herded into the surprisingly over subscribed and crowded, yet rather disappointing Kingston MA show at Freemasons Hall. To make amends, I was politely asked (*cough* coerced) to attend the last presentation of the [...]

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