After such a hectic first day of London Fashion Week attending shows and enjoying myself for a little too long at the Grooming Room launch party last Friday (17th February) – I had to pull myself out of bed on Saturday to head off to see some more shows and incredible talent.

Once I was up I couldn’t get to my first show of the day fast enough! I arrived at Fashion Scout to watch Dubai Design and Fashion Council’s showcase featuring Shaikha Amal Al Maktoum’s Emirati brand Azzalia and Dubai-based designer Deborah Henning.

I thought Azzalia preseted a very cohesive collection, but the designs appeared to be slightly more High Street than the pieces I had seen yesterday. While I did like the show, the pieces were a lot less outlandish than what I saw before, and they didn’t catch my attention as much as I had hoped, but it was a very elegant collection. It was simple and stylish and clearly incorporated elements of the United Arab Emirates where the designer grew up.

Next I saw Deborah Henning’s AW17 collection. Again the pieces were a lot less extravagant than the shows I had watched yesterday – but Deborah’s collection was very stylish and accommodating for the modern woman.

My favourite piece had to be the final look – a stunningly beautiful wedding dress. The dress was a masterpiece and it definitely stood out from the rest of the collection. I was glad the designer chose to save it until last – it was a perfect end to the show. I felt the entire audience react to the dress, and it changed the atmosphere of the room for a few seconds. It was pretty cool to experience that and see how much of a statement fashion can really make.

I have to admit these two shows were the first time I saw a model nearly trip up. I was impressed that no one did it yesterday! I honestly don’t know how they do it – especially in the killer heels they wear – I would barely make it two steps!

But it was amazing to see how the models responded to a slight trip – recovering straight away and remaining calm under the pressure, even with hundreds of eyes watching them. It reminded me a lot of the pressure I would feel performing on stage.

The next show I went to was Ashley Isham’s. What really got my attention during this show was the music – it was a fascinating part of the show and really brought the clothes to life.

Ashley Isham AW17 collection

The music began with a church choir before shifting into modern techno and opera – the changing music kept altering the atmosphere of the show, in perfect timing with the changing outfits. At one point Ashley played songs from Lady Gaga’s new album which really got my attention – and I couldn’t help mouthing the words and singing along.

Moving on from the music – another thing that I found interesting was the mix of models that featured in the show. The designer selected a real variety of male and female models that all had very different looks, but were representing the same collection. She also chose to use two identical twins, which looked really cool.

The AW17 collection involved a variety of themes from Japanese fashion and culture (which I believe cleverly reflected the inspiration of the collection, the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho). I also really liked the eye-catching accessories – gold decorative chains, bold bright earrings and winged caps.

Malan Breton’s Fantome collection really stood out for me. It was a dark – almost sinister looking collection that clearly reflected the intentions of Breton – to convey the arrival of intolerance in modern America, and increasing suppression of the arts.

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Although the collection lacked colour, which I love, it was in no way boring. I felt it has a futuristic feel, and I really liked the use of shiny and matte leather trousers.

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Once again I was also very drawn to the music. I thought it was ingenious and reflected a melancholy time of New York in the 1930s alluding to a recurring theme of lack of hope, which again Breton was successful in demonstrating through the collection.

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It was the type of music you’d imagine playing in a run down blues bar and it worked perfectly. It was simple but effective and extremely emotive.

Finally I went to see shows by London School of Trends and the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFID). It was so inspiring to see such a variety of young and upcoming talent on display. I thoroughly enjoyed the shows and it was interesting to see the differences between each of the designer’s ideas and how each had taken different creative direction. I was fascinated each designer’s distinctive style, and while I am no fashion expert – in my opinion all of the collections were extremely well designed and executed.

 

Words by Freddy Parker