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Friday, September 21, 2007

Fashion East: House of Holland, Louise Gray and Noki House of Sustainability

Dean Mayo Davies gets the message(s) at Fashion East...

In case you don't know the score, for spring, Henry Holland got inspired by early nineties pics of Axl Rose and Stephanie Seymour to produce his first full House of Holland collection. Flicking a V-for-victory with the clothes his fans are craving for, Holland also flicks a V-for-F-off to high-street chains across Britain that have been ‘inspired’ by his work.

Consisting of patent biker jackets, studs, bright colors and crazy dyes, the collection was indeed Axl, but on acid. Skintight jeans interspersed with stretch panelling hit the spot as did the bags (by Stuart Vevers) and shoes (by newcomer Atalanta Weber). Who needs words when you’ve got action? Though Holland, ever the man of humour, clearly couldn’t resist a tongue-in-cheek reference to his roots, pasting hyper-scale letters (’T’, ‘E’, ‘A’, ‘L’) on the front of pieces. It was a textbook lesson in how to move on but not move away from yourself.

Louise Gray is my favorite new name on the schedule. With her simply-shaped dresses—variations of shifts and t-shirt dresses—her work is not, in fact, simplicity of experience. With looks often multi-layered and her ephemeral appliqué at first a little challenging, Gray succeeds with an eye for color as prominent as her eye for shiny things (think of her as a tastemaking magpie). Run the gauntlet and it's a proposition that pays off. Ask Fashion East’s goddess (and Hint contributor) Lulu Kennedy, who worked a Gray dress at The Hours’ gig at the Prada store recently (scroll down to read her report).

If we've learned anything from these bright lights, it's that it’s gonna be a colorful Summer 2008. Except where Noki is concerned, that is. With a collection that is ‘Green’ in terms of recycling and sustainability, his work is very much dark at the core. With slashed, overworked and oversized second-hand T-shirts as the uniform, the hair was the most inspiring I’ve seen on the runway this week.

Not for one second am I suggesting you cobble together an orange afro with blonde, black and whatever-the-hell-color-you-want extensions, but maybe you could take a leaf out of Noki’s book and sew some bits on your t-shirt. This was ‘Green’ as grotesque, and in a world where sustainability means political points and a soul lobotomy, it was all the better for it.