Racing to House of Holland, it became clear that the day was going to be an intense one. Why? Two words: The Block, a track of the East End where each of the designers in publicist Mandi Lennard's stable would show within trotting distance of each other. Even more convenient, a bar-equipped contraption called the Moet Tour Bus would be available to zip people from venue to venue should their stiletto-shod feet give out. It was going to be a bubbly ride.
With last season's Axl & Stephanie leather à gogo collection, Henry Holland deftly moved from slogan tees to tailored clothing, but without forsaking the unique irreverence that has made the House of Holland
a home for many of his bright young fans. Literally. For fall, Henry took the tartan kilt, stuck a pin through its nose and put a tab on its tongue in a retina-burning show that, as one onlooker observed, launched Henry as Britain's Jeremy Scott.
I then hotfooted it from Great Eastern Street to Brick Lane’s Old Truman Brewery for Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East show, featuring Noki, David David (staging his first catwalk show) and my favorite young Londoner, Louise Gray. Noki
punched us in the face with a serious bass soundtrack and heaps of fuck-off attitude in another warrior take on recycling (his line, NHS, is short for Noki House of Sustainability). But here, the ethical on parade wasn't Bono's wife "designing" organic yet boring, overpriced day dresses; it was a slow swagger, killer stares and menacing fashion-art hybrids. It was “f-i-e-r-c-e,” as Wonderland magazine's Kit kept telling me, especially when Skin walked out in a crochet and leather pouffy white floor-length wonder. Erin O’Connor, beaming from the front row, looked like she was having as great a time as we were.
Turning sportswear on its head, artist-turned-designer David Saunders of David David
distilled his familiar op-art patterns into a collection revolving around outerwear. Highlights included a three-piece look (T-shirt, padded jacket and pants) in his signature triangular dark-cherry print, an Yves Klein-reminiscent blue rubber mackintosh and hiking bags with a sports bottle and coordinated David David blanket.
Lancôme Colour and Texture Award winner Louise Gray
continued her soulful journey, in this, her second consecutive Fashion East season. Clever though naïve appliquéd shift dresses, suspenders and her brilliant eye for color were here, as was, for the first time, a selection of all-black looks and tailoring in the form of ankle-length pants. A black coat with colored pockets will surely get her on the backs of new clients. Needless to say I loved it all, yet again.
After a quick chat in the lobby of ANdAZ hotel with Caryn Franklin (i-D alumna and a legend from the BBC's The Clothes Show), it was time for Roksanda Ilincic
. Known for her clean, crisp femininity and precious dresses, Roksanda said she was inspired this season by a recent trip to Brazil. Thus her colors were richer and even tastier, and their application was acute in a collection with a breadth of sculptural, sometimes voluminous shapes. Like so many designers this season, she also included fantastic fur.
A quick swig of water and it was back to Brick Lane for Gareth Pugh, where the queue was already building. I bumped into Seven’s Joseph Quartana and his glamorous wife Sophie Na. To say I was slightly jealous of Joe's Raf Simons coat would be an understatement, not only for its gorgeously lacquered black sheen, but because in my oh-the-weather-will-be-great-today haste, I had on only a T-shirt and a neon green hoodie from Hedi Slimane's "Luster" Dior Homme collection.
Oh right, Gareth Pugh
. Like Noki, the vibe was fierce and warrior-like, but that's where the similarity ended. This was a different world, a world where The Wizard of Oz meets Predator. Coco Rocha opened, robotic in white facepaint and blue lipstick, wearing a highly structured silver dress that was actually made from zippers. Yes, zippers. It was stunningly executed, as was the second zipper look, this time cut as a jacket with a kick-away waist and the same huge, capped shoulders. The later looks managed to wow as much as the first, with hundreds of black leather triangles sewn into squares and contorted into cubist-like volumes. The Block, indeed!
Labels: David David, Dean Mayo Davies, Fashion East, Gareth Pugh, Henry Holland, House of Holland, London Fashion Week, Louise Gray, Noki, Roksanda Ilincic, The Block