"Respect your elders" was the message at Simone Rocha, whod taken inspiration from her grandmothers for Fall 2013. One Irish and the other Chinese, the collection offered an eclectic selection, spanning a Pepto-Bismol color palette with powdery pinks and dusky nudes, and brighter hues of bubblegum.
Beautiful it was. Ladylike, too. Silhouettes revolved around cropped-leg suits and classic knee-length skirts, but it wasnt just a rehash of history. Instead, Rocha achieved a new-world type of timelessness, with neoprene for tailoring and sparkly tweeds for evening options. Yes, fabrics were modern whilst shapes were classic, but ultimately it was fresh and current. Historical elements came through with bustles on skirts, but were given the 21st Century treatment with asymmetry and dropped below the hip.
Testament to all that, veiled headdresses wound into hair nests, glittering brogues and leopard fur skirts supported the neo-classic collision. Proud Daddy and designer himself, John Rocha sat front row and looked full of parental admiration as Simone came out to take a bow. As you would be when the collection was cast on the family DNA.11 a.m.: Roksanda Ilincic
Soapy pinks reign this morning and its demure Barbies at Roxy. Set at The Savoy, with a tiled pink carpet backdrop, Ilincic bypassed the trend of borrowed from the boys, instead sticking to her failsafe, feminine signature. With skirts for daywear and pouffy coats on top, Roksanda resonated 50s fashions, though brought a sharp pinch of modernity with color and fabrics. A classic shirt saw bright vinyl lapels and ankle length skirt was reworked in a glossy techno fabric. Opening with demure looks in matchy, polished ensembles, it quickly moved in to something far more adventurous. Womanly, we got that, but slightly witchy too, with green fur-collar capes and PVC skirts, set against prim knit sweaters and A-line shapes. The juxtaposition was like a sinister fairytale. Throughout fabrics and color palettes, contrast was key and somewhat garish, as green met brown, and pink met orange.
Arriving back at candy-floss dresses for the finish, it wasnt all about spun sugar. Tougher, winterier looks came briefly into play, with shiny burgundy on edgier dresses. Nevertheless, it was the plastic powder pink overcoat that sold it for me.
Back to the Topshop space at lunch, and into Meadham expecting something much kookier to kick-start the afternoon. Kirchhoff didnt disappoint there, with veiled Victorians being the premise for the season. A black and white collection with twentieth-century tendencies was brought right up to date through the heavy use of PVC. Without that, or the navel-flashing look, it could have easily been 1891, with cloaked models, high necks and flounced ruffles turning us back into Thomas Hardy heroines. Wearable? Im not so sure about, but it was certainly something different. It came over as rather gothic for the 21st Century, which is likely to filter through into mainstream styles for retailers come fall. Expect shiny, silver shoes and crowns to trickle down, too.2 p.m.: Ashish
Ashish, London's creative spirit, dished up a strong selection for Fall. Moving away from the sequin-heavy, college-kid looks of last season, the Ashish girl gets a grown-up closet update, full of houndstooth checks and slate gray plaid. Silhouettes were slouchy and lengths were kept long, cutting the ankle or the calf with demure and sophistication. She is an Ashish girl after all, so it wasn't all that prim. High-vis jackets modernized co-ordinates, and a hanging yellow harness wrapped around an androgynous boiler suit. Graphic prints were used in monochrome - on sweaters and slouchy knits - with bold 'X' shapes similar to those seen at J.W. Anderson.
Another one to go nutty for the Ninteties, Ashish opted for a more literal rehash. There were denim dungarees and skirts over trousers (Brits, remember skousers?), and patchwork denim was used like it was '99. For showgoers mainly students and children of the Nineties and fans alike, the collection offered a way to get to grips with the working world. Be it in the office or on a construction site.5 p.m.: Aminaka Wilmont
For Fall 2013, Aminaka Wilmont was hell bent for leather. Casting a collection with a kick, Angelina in roles of Tomb Rader and Salt sprung to mind for inspiration, as dominatrix undertones carried the looks. Predominately black, Maki Aminaka Löfvander and Marcus Wilmont laid out layered looks, made up of sheers, silks, sheepskin and leather- which came quilted, baby-soft and fur-lined. It was a womanly collection, and it was seriously grown up. These models had curves- real hips and breasts. (We were surprised to see it all through sheerer-than-sheer shirts.) Backcombed ponytails, wing-tipped kohl eyes and black fringe ear cuffs polished off looks with a gothic, sultry edge.
7:30 p.m.: Waving cheerio to the London shows
And its a wrap. Shows over, heels off, fingers finally off our iPhones. In celebration of a stellar week, there was one final port of call and that was champagne toasts at the May Fair hotel. Kicking back in what they were calling the Style Lounge, guests sipped bubbles, munched on sea bass canapés, and repaired our feet with much-needed pedis. Fashion-weak and in need of sleep, until next season, cheerio from London!