As fun and as exciting as a week of fashion shows might seem, after a few days the colors, sounds, and styles seem to blur together in my overstimulated brain. An Ashish show at the beginning of day five was just what I needed to get energized and excited about fashion week again.
Ashish Gupta a.k.a. the King of Trashy Glamor, is best known for his sequins. For the Autumn/Winter 2008 collection, he took traditional British patterns like houndstooth and argyle, blew them up to extreme sizes, and then covered them with sequins. There were also patchwork pieces and basic blacks, but every look was sparkly in one way or another. The large cherry baubles hanging from a few of the pieces were funky and fun. I wasn’t too keen on the bulky grey sweater with two tassels right on the bust (is this what strippers wear in Alaska?) but the slinky black skirt made out of what looks like a giant sequined fishnet was incredible. Lots of color, lots of originality, lots of personality. This is what London fashion is all about.
The shimmer and sparkle followed me to the next show I attended. Jenny Packham is perhaps the Queen of Non-Trashy Glamor. She has a strong celeb following and her clothing regularly walks red carpets. Her Autumn/Winter 2008 show began with several exquisite white feathered and sequined dresses—very Swan Lake. Then came the little black dresses, and then the longer, more elaborately detailed occasion dresses. Only the finest fabrics were used: silk charmeuse, chiffon, tulle, and lace. Feathers, sequins, beads, and rhinestones were used throughout the collection. As far as shape, most of the long dresses had a mermaid-style skirt but were a bit more sweeping “tail” than your standard mermaid. For the grand finale, out came the red dresses—all long, all exquisitely detailed, all beautiful.
I ran from the Jenny Packham show catch the second half of the Avsh Alom Gur show down the street. Gur uses a lot of fabric to create long, loose-fitting dresses and separates. The Eastern influence is apparent, with some kimono-style shaping and kaftan-type dresses. Colors are natural, with lots of taupes, browns, and a variety of greens from moss and olive to forest. Orange was another key color and it blended quite nicely into the collection. Funnily enough, I found myself less focused on the colors of the clothing and more on the color—finally—of the models.
This week, there’s been some criticism here about the lack of non-white models on the runway. There’s so much diversity in the styles and fashions in London yet there was none in the models on the runways of London Fashion Week. I recall that Ann Sofie-Back’s models were not only all white, but all blonde as well. Gur chose black women exclusively to model his designs and I must admit that I may have been a bit distracted by the newness of it. It caused quite a buzz, and I’m sure in view of what a hot topic model-choices are here this week, Gur’s models and clothes will get mega exposure.
And finally, there was Aganovich. The show began to the sound of a heartbeat, followed by a long, loud beep indicating a flatline. Then a techno tune came on as the first model emerged, wearing a wedding dress. I’m still not sure what they were trying to say with that. Wedding dress aside, the collection was cohesive—structured dresses and separates with sharp angles, long military-inspired coats, long skirts, leather patches on the hips of coats, pants, and dresses. Colors were primarily black, cream, gold, and orange. I wished I could walk away with the pearl holster draped over a long, sleek cream dress.
An excellent and entertaining day—definitely my favorite day of shows so far.