London Fashion Week AW17: Day 1
21:30 PM - CSM is the Place to Express Yourself
"It's about individuals making clothes for individuals." Leave it to Iain Webb, the fashion writer extraordinaire and judge of this year's L'Oréal Professionnel Creative Award to describe Central Saint Martin's (CSM) MA Fashion course.
Tonight, 16 of the best students from menswear, womenswear and textiles pathways showed their final collections at 180 Strand, and showed why CSM is reigning every list of fashion schools. This year's graduates didn't shy away from the fact that they are students. Actually, they celebrated it. Beaded, transparent capes walked next to conservative knitted cardigans in a celebration of the youth, talent and excitement that fashion brings out in all of us.
Gabriele Skucas gets playful with maxi-length pleats
Head-to-toe-tartan from Stefan Cooke echoes the look of a marvel superhero
As it happened last year, the 2017 L'Oréal award was split between two graduates. One of the winners, Gabriele Skucas' subversive knitwear took mundane ideas into a territory of covetable clothes, playing with skirt lengths, sex-appeal and traditional ideas of femininity. The other winner was Stefan Cooke, who used menswear as an opportunity to experiment with plastic textiles and formed a new kind of superhero. A non-winning highlight? Peter Movrin's fouled clothes, twisting the traditional elements of 1980's and creating loud clothes - in more ways than one.
Potentially a Molly Ringwald fanatic, Peter Movrin takes "Pretty in Pink" to another dimension
On the third page of the show notes, the college shared names of their most established names. Everyone from Alexander McQueen to the late and honoured Richard Nicoll, all the way to newer names like Sadie Williams and Phoebe English were in there. Central Saint Martins is a hub of creativity that keeps on giving.
19:15 PM - Sadie Williams' Glimmering Gang
If fashion week was a dance floor, then Sadie Williams would be the ultimate disco queen. Her "sparkly stuff", as she likes to call it, always put a smile on people's faces. And tonight was no different.
For autumn/winter 2017, Sadie has decided to eschew any concepts or themes, and focus on what she enjoys doing the most. "I decided to reflect my personal style and approach to design," she tells us with a big grin on her face. And she definitely has the right to smile. The 1970's textile combinations are fun in a very wearable way, like they are urging for you to take them and make them your own. Williams is one of the designers who never suggests to her customers a way of living, but proposes highly desirable pieces that you will want to wear with your old Levi's jeans or pair with a simple black turtleneck.
And even though it's not about talking to just one type of woman, between the Swarovski crystals, the Hainsworth wools (becauselondon.com/fashion/2017/01/weaving-through-yorkshire/) and the Converse All Stars, we really want to be that Sadie girl and sparkle away.
16:00 PM - Sleepy Time at Steven Tai
It's all about sleep at Steven Tai. A familiar theme for the designer who has previously explored the downy world of the duvet in his work, but for autumn/winter 2017, he decrees that we should "sleep now, work later". The hyper real bedscapes of the French artist Gerard Schlosser were the starting point, but in typical Steven Tai fashion, the slumber themes were wide ranging. From sweet watercolour portraits of sloths drawn by an 8 year-old, meandering around pyjamas (yes, pyjamas again!) to pillow-leg trousers in woolly cashmere, and a cocoon coat finished with the edges of a quilt.
These are clothes to "yawn at the responsibilities of the waking world", he says. Or perhaps they are the clothes for us to hide away in, hibernate and gently snooze until the world becomes a brighter place. Wake us up in a year or so... Nighty, night.
15:10 PM – International Fashion Showcase Brings the Global Game to London
Czech Republic's Hall of Mirror called 'There is only You'
Local/Global is the theme of this year's International Fashion Showcase on display at Somerset House. The exhibition, clearly designed by Faye Toogood, is a whistle stop journey through five continents, featuring the work of over 80 designers from 26 countries. The brief was to explore the influence of place on their design. If you want to get a snapshot of what is going on in the world, there is no better place to go.
From Jakarta in Indonesia, the artisanal brand Lekat is part of the Next in Line platform curated by Shonagh Marshall. Amanda Indah Lestari plays with hand woven textiles made by the women of the Baduy community, a protected indigenous group who live away from technology, electricity or any of the trappings (and efficiencies) of modern life.
Lekat's woven dreams speak to indigenous heritage
From Taiwan, Shao Yen's pink striped dress looks like it's made from plastic bags and is a comment on a move towards a more sustainable future away from an industrial past. The theme is incarnation.
Shao Yen's candy-striped sustainability
For the Czech Republic a hall of mirrors evokes a world without borders. The title is the installation is There is only You.
The Kerala based, Studio Bercot trained Alan Alexander Kaleekal was on hand in the vibrant India room to talk us through his extraordinary feat of craftsmanship. The central theme was in celebration of the Pastoralists, nomadic groups around India whose way of life is being shaken by increasing industrialisation. His menswear outfit featured a tunic that took one man 60 days to embroider, and the most luxurious cashmere shawl that took 3 days to weave. "This is slow fashion," he said. "You need to appreciate the time it takes to make these clothes." We do. We really do.
Alan Alexander Kaleekal gives the word patience a new meaning with his remarkable craftsmanship
14:01 PM – Marta Jakubowski's Fluorescent Adolescence
Chaka Khan, Tina Turner and Sade. No one else makes a better presentation soundtrack than Marta Jakubowski. But don't think her clothes are any less fabulous. For her autumn/winter 2017 presentation, Jakubowski swapped a dramatic set for something way more simple, thereby focusing on the clothes. And what cool clothes they are. Layered and monochromatic, her looks seem more wearable than ever, which corresponds to the story behind the collection of going through adolescence and becoming a woman. "I want the person who wears my clothes to feel confident and comfortable," Marta says, adding "and to be able to move," in reference to her body-con spring/summer 2017 collection. We can totally see her velvet cropped tops swaying to the bass of the Smooth Operator.
13:33 PM – Eudon Choi's Effortless Universe
Ornament and Crime by Adolf Loos is all about clearing the body and mind of anything unnecessary. And that's exactly what Eudon Choi's autumn/winter 2017 collection is all about. Clean lines that appear literally seamless are combined with menswear structure. Suits are powerful and feminine, speaking to a new kind of power dressing. And then there were the bags. A variety of shapes, sizes and colours (some of which are ready to buy right now through his website www.eudonchoi.com) elevating the look and making it a perfectly styled story by TANK's senior fashion editor Nobuko Tannawa. The party trick of the show? Wear only one sleeve in your jumper. Chicness guaranteed.