Greetings from London! Follow the daily adventures of our London Fashion Week correspondent, Alice Tate, as she covers all of the best collections across the pond.
9 a.m.: Oz Breakfast
This morning included a breakfast date with Disney. Celebrating the launch of the new animated film, Oz The Great and Powerful, Nicholas Kirkwood has teamed up with Selfridges for an exclusive four-piece shoe collection. With three pairs of heels and one sophisticated set of brogues, Kirkwood took direct inspiration from the characters of the film, as evidenced by his sketches and mood boards that were set out for us to view. Guests were treated to melon bellinis, green iced cupcakes, and yummy savory pastries. (Or, as they were cleverly intended, bricks from the yellow brick road.)
11 a.m.: Mulberry
Breakfast No. 2 took place at Mulberry with Bramley Apple muffins, cream-cheese frosting, and bottled juices. (And they said fashion people don't eat…) Always a popular show in one of London's most lavish locations, this season took place in Claridge's Ballroom. Fully decked out in Mulberry décor with a sculptural autumnal backdrop, front row guests were just as showy, including Alexa Chung, Lana Del Rey, and Juno Temple.
Looks came in wintery hues with a predominantly dark palette — navy, black, and wine, along with accents of evergreen, and thick florals on prints or jacquards underlined the outdoorsy in-the-garden theme. Well, that and the poodle who took to the catwalk for his second season, this time donning a checked coat in line with the rest of the models. Wide sleeves that cut at the elbow and stood from the body ran throughout and pulled the looks together. On sweaters, on dresses, and on leather ensembles, they made for bold silhouettes but softer shapes. A highlight was the matchy-matchy peplum skirt with shift top in wine.
Head designer Emma Hill gave in — like the rest of the designers for Fall 2013 — to elements of '90s nostalgia. Not as evident as in the likes of Henry Holland, the Mulberry girl was far more sophisticated. The bouncy skirt over cropped tailored pants was a look we'll be donning come fall!
12 p.m.: Temperley
No one does elegance quite like Temperley does and Fall 2013 was no exception. Ultimately, it was a pretty collection of silk skirts and flowing dresses, executed perfectly with tailoring and precision. After opening with monochrome, it gradually gave way to more color. Green made an appearance, as did royal blue in a Chinese-porcelain style print which came on A-line coats and skirts. Temperley then traveled elsewhere for inspiration as tribal patterns came through in golden and orange hues. Wearable, elegant, and beautiful British design. Bravo, Temperley.
2 p.m.: Vivienne Westwood
Then came something completely different. As bold a collection as ever from Vivienne Westwood's Red Label, with the make-up particularly eccentric! Black-outlined lips and eyes set the tone for the collection. Housed at the sun-filled Saatchi Gallery (just a stone's throw from Westwood's iconic '80s store), the crowd showed the diversity of true London style with all sorts of unusual options. Running 30 minutes behind schedule and causing quite the frenzy with those of us keen to run on to Topshop, the show finally opened with a swamping striped trench. Channeling a familiar punk aesthetic, Westwood's collection was full of all sorts: Tailored suits, clashing stockings-to-skirts, and prom dress silhouettes. Wearable? Debatable, yet fun all the same.
3:15 p.m.: Topshop Unique
The buzz surrounding the Topshop Unique show was unavoidable, as was the traffic surrounding the Tate Tanks location. Only 20 minutes behind schedule — that's on time by London Fashion Week standards — Cara Delevingne was first to walk in an all-black look with a mash-up of textures. "Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls…" sang from the sound system with lyrics that echoed the collection. Full skirts and sequined pinks were shown alongside floral knits and pussy-bow blouses. Silks and sequins gave way to girly looks, but this is the Topshop show we're talking about, and their girl has an edge.
This came from '90s grunge influences, as patent overcoats and chunky boots offered the element of juxtaposition. Heavy boots toughened up flirty dresses, a slouchy coat covered a sequin skirt and a mannish boiler suit came in a dusty rose silk.
4 p.m.: Mary Katrantzou
The Queen of Print took a moodier direction for Fall 2013, moving away from the digital prints that propelled her to fame. Putting color on the backburner, Katrantzou explored asymmetry instead, with structural silhouettes and architectural folds. Shapes were strong, cuts were slick and origami-style pleats garnered an Oriental aesthetic. While color was shy, print was not. Moody graphics came through on silks and sheers, with twentieth-century photographs printed on pieces — cobbled streets, misty night skies, lone streetlamps — an eerie world away from Katrantzou's color-heavy collections of the past.
6 p.m.: Matthew Williamson
New designer directions seem to be in the water today as Matthew Williamson took a completely new approach for Fall 2013 as well. As the first look emerged — Hanne Gaby Odiele in monochrome chevron coat — there was comprehension that Williamson was doing something crisper, sharper, and chicer than usual. Mustard hues underpinned the collection, which executed outerwear better than it did eveningwear. Nevertheless, it was a promising selection of looks for the contemporary woman's closet.
7 p.m.: Paul Smith
We saw an experimental offering from Paul Smith, who explored color-clashing, technical fabrics, and new silhouettes for Fall 2013. For the Paul Smith girl — a rather sensible lady who likes what she knows — next season will see her in something different as silver shell tops and sheeny minis invade her closet. Housed at the Tate Britain, tailoring was tip-top with skinny crops and even skinnier pants, while volume swelled up top, full of movement and slouchy coats. Color-wise, we saw an aptly wintery palette, full of scarlet red, petrol blue and deep saturated purples.
8:45 p.m.: Marios Schwab
A heavy dose of decadence to finish up the day, Marios Schwab closed Day 3 with velvets, capes and regal reds. Baroque motifs ran through the collection with leather appliqués and embroidery, and lengths were floor-sweepingly glamorous. Velvet made multiple appearances on slim-fitting skirts and gowns, and harked back to royal outfits of yore. Elsewhere, textured animal skins and patent leathers mixed it up, creating a historical–contemporary collision.
A highlight for me was a velvet teal number near the end. Simple yet sultry, with dropped shoulders, split sleeves and a high neck — perfect for winter parties. Full of vigour with a regal undertone, Schwab gave us a rich end for Day 3.