By Alice Tate
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.: Peter Pilotto
We got an early start at the Topshop Tanks with Pilotto opening Day 4. Any bleary eyes from the night before were gone as this collection kicked like a strong shot of caffeine. Maximalist and more seems to be the secret to success in the atelier of this London-based duo, with this season stronger than ever. Opening with a confident Spanish matador look, they followed through with a kaleidoscope of colors. From printed puffer jackets to painterly embroidery, Pilotto and De Vos spanned not only the rainbow but also their skill set for Fall 2013 — 3D printing, embroidery, and artful silhouettes were all included.
10 a.m.: Antonio Berardi
At Antonio Berardi, it was a room with a view — the location, that is. Up on the 11th floor of a nondescript office block, London sunlight did us Brits proud, lighting Berardi's collection beautifully. Berardi's sophisticated tailoring was impeccable — the collection put the "power" back in power dressing and proved the value of an expensive cut. These bold ideas came through with structural cocoon sleeves that swamped the models but made for striking silhouettes. Similarly, embellished capes trailed off pantsuits, which weren't exactly practical, but wonderful nevertheless.
10: 45 a.m.: Pringle of Scotland
In an intimate presentation complete with hors d'oeuvres and champagne, this season saw Pringle pare down it's offering. For Fall 2013, the label showed long-line gilets, argyle knits and cosy roll-neck sweaters. We would have loved to see more, but the new direction is all about less.
12 p.m.: Christopher Kane
London's prodigy and PPR's newest investment, Christopher Kane is hailed as one of British fashion's best assets. Offering a creatively rich collection that was inspired by a healthy MRI scan, Kane successfully transferred his inspiration into intricate braiding details, textural appliqués and feather-spouting seams. Taking the "explosions in brain" to push his creativity up a notch, he used disconnected hems and frilled tulle-trims, alongside Art Nouveau motifs to execute a decadent and gothic collection.
The collection had plenty of variety. Along with moody-blue cocktail dresses and refined suits, we saw cartoonish brain tees with colorful motifs. Kane was another one of the London lot to get nostalgic, by way of camouflage prints we donned circa 1997. Teamed with oversize furs and made up in raggedy appliqués, this was no Spice Girls-era camo — it was all very luxe.
1 p.m.: Louise Gray
At Louise Gray, loud was the word with all the over-the-top accessories. Polystyrene ball earrings, gaffer-tape bangles and plastic bag headpieces, it was the upcycled accessories that colored the collection. Creative, inspired and full of all-things-wacky — not that we were expecting anything less from Gray — models stormed the catwalk at the Tate in clashing prints, clashing colors and a futuristic aesthetic — one that I'm not sure we'll be ready for come Fall '13. With reflective panels and foiled motifs, separates were key and created mixed mish-mash ensembles. Titled, 'Hey Crazy,' it was certainly nothing of short of that.
4 p.m.: Burberry
The pinnacle of British design and by far the highlight of the week, 4 p.m. prompt brought the spectacle that was Burberry. Reading like an encyclopedia of good taste, the front row saw Rita Ora, Olivia Palermo, Michelle Dockery and Kate Beckinsdale, alongside long-standing Burberry girls, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Freida Pinto. A star-studded crowd, but how did the show compare?
As you can imagine, it was equally impressive. There was no rain like last year — instead, Christopher Bailey opted for something even more dramatic: A gospel choir and acoustic pianist. As for the clothes, it was heart-shapes and leopard prints that shaded the show in animalia affection. Titled 'Trench Kisses,' Burberry took a walk on the wild side for Fall 2013, adding animal prints to their oh-so-British aesthetic. Underpinned by camel tones, this season took a more playful direction for a heritage brand, with the likes of laminated leathers, shiny gold belts, and that translucent pencil skirt that Cara Delevingne modelled.
7 p.m.: Tom Ford
There was a buzz in the air all day and after Burberry, and it was Tom Ford's debut that got people talking. What to expect from his London debut was the question on everybody's lips as they made their way over to the majestic rooms of Lancaster House.
Defined as a "cross cultural, multi-ethnic" collection by the man himself, Ford's collection certainly coined in on 'multi.' A somewhat excessive offering, it seemed that he'd struggled with editing down his inspiration with the collection giving way to all sorts. Zebra prints, digital florals, sequin ponchos and comic-book style 'Kapow!' embroidery were all among the collection — some looks even attempting to cram those all into one. "Eh?" was the look on most people's faces as the show closed and editors didn't really know what to do with themselves.
Extravagant and rich, yet slightly bizarre, there's no denying it was very well done. With a mighty 42 looks, there was endless variety in texture, color, print and pattern with sequin cartoon-stars and super-bright furs as the stand out statements. You could call it sexy superwoman, or you could call it crazy. Either way, it wasn't without hype. Justin Timberlake was in town for the show — along with wife Jessica Biel — who both took golden house seats before sipping bubbles at an exclusive after party.
8 p.m.: J.W. Anderson
Fashion likes what's in, and at the moment, that's J.W. Anderson. Helped by his Topshop collaboration, Anderson drew a full house — impressive given his short history on the LFW calendar. Debuting an interesting collection, full of split-skirts and gaping back dresses, the collection had a clinical tone. Crisp fabrics and a heavy dose of asymmetry, whilst he's one to focus on practicality, there were numerous looks with abstract, detachment details. Papery fabrics and knot fastenings harked back to ER gowns, with white plimsolls throughout confirming the on-the-ward aesthetic.
Despite a cartoon print making a colourful interlude, all in all, it was far more minimalist than his Spring '13 collection. Pared down, stripped back and androgynously clinical, J.W Anderson just upped his odds for being voted London's most interesting newbie.
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