London Fashion Week AW17: Day 5
16:00 PM – A Tropical Winter at Tata Naka
Tata-Naka was, firstly, the joint nickname of identical twins Tamara and Natasha Surguladze when their classmates couldn’t tell them apart. Today, it’s a luxury fashion label inspired by Tribal Africa and the duos’ many travels. Their autumn/winter 2017 collection was shown with a live photo shoot, filled with flawless hair and make-up looks.
15:30 PM – The Spotless Elegance of Merchant Archive
Sophie Merchant only founded her brand a couple of years ago, yet it has grown immensely with an audience fixated on her luxurious simplicity. What began as a curated corner of a Victorian Lipton Tea Shop in 2008,swiftly transpired to become a renowned vintage shop just three months later. With a steady adoption of her own designs, Merchant Archive became exclusively that by September 2014. Fast-forward to now and it seems only natural that she would look to vintage designs to reinvent for her current collection. Inspired by the still life photos of plantswoman and landscape designer Isabel Bannerman, we could totally picture a Florence Welch type twirling in her silk chiffon dresses or duchesse satin coats that are simply made for a ball. Sophie Merchant is giving us London's finest lesson in formal dressing.
14:30 PM – Dark, Dreamy Times for Isa Arfen
'With so much going on in the world I was feeling a little dark,' Serafina Sama told us during her presentation of looks for AW17. She was thinking about the different personas women create, the endless permutation of faces we present to the world, which often might as well be masks to hide what we are really feeling or thinking. She was thinking about Fellini, clowns, the happy/sad playfulness of the Pierrot, a touch of decadence but also a bit of a discord. She was reading the psychoanalyst Joan Riviere's 1927 essay Womanliness as a Masquerade (we'll be reading that too) and was messing about with cliches of femininity. It was pretty but never too pretty, with exaggerated comic elements like some crazy ceramic glasses, and rough harlequin prints by the illustrator and collaborator Helen de Bullock. Slightly off, a touch surreal, and really rather dreamy...
14:00 PM – The World of Toogood is.. well.. too good
Designers Faye and Erica Toogood
Sisters Faye and Erica Toogood have their own little universe. Since just recently it's been tucked away at 71 Redchurch Street, a beautiful multi-storey home-like building that breathes the spirit of Toogood. For their seventh collection of what they like to call "unisex outerwear", the duo opened the doors to their working space and let us have a taste of their magic. With enamel cups of foraged herbal tea and slices of rye bread with apricots, dates and nuts made by one of the Toogood employees...but enough about the atmosphere. Let's get to the clothes.
13:00 PM – Girls Do it Better and Marques' Almeida
The duo who is Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida knows what they're doing. What is a smarter move for a young brand with an army of fangirls other than to basically let those fangirls design for themselves. “It makes sense that it’s made for real girls as we started being inspired by the whole fashion world, but then really wanting to translate it to real girls. Then we began meeting all these girls and it became a full circle, so now they inspire us with their diversity.”
Eschewing the idea of a full theme, the young Portuguese creatives got inspired by the eternal elegance of old black and white photographs of the late Nina Simone, whose birthday was in fact today, and the style and taste of their MA girls. The outcome? A diverse group of young girls with attitude walking down the runway, looking like they belong in their stripes, prints, asymmetrical cuts and textured go-go boots. We wanna go party with them.
11.45 Dorateymur and the Case of Unassuming Bourgeoisie
In Dorateymur's suburbia, housewives wear buckled mules and boots with elephant heels. They are sexy, nostalgic and have an outlandish taste in shoes. For the endless brunches and trips to hypnotherapy, Dorateymur is their pick.
11:25 PM – J.Js.Lee's Reinvented Classics
Between a white shirt dress, a black dress and a camel coat - J.Js.Lee has got you covered. Korean-born Jackie Lee is known for her simple lines and interesting details added to classic pieces. And her autumn/winter 2017 collection is no different. After last season's multimedia presentation, Lee stripped it back and showed on a stark white runway at the official BFC space. And it really worked. Her minimal colour palette and almost-minimal designs were perfectly timed for the last day of London Fashion Week. It let us take a deep breath, calmed us down and took us back to what we love: well-made clothes.
10:15 AM – Richard Malone and the Art of Movement
Very rarely does a designer use words like "function" and "pattern-cutting" in their show notes. Today, Richard Malone did. And proved both words can stand for something beautiful.
Inspired by upholstery and soft furnishings found on public transport, the Fashion East alumni continued his experimentation with shape, colour and pattern. But as he moves away from the Lulu Guinness' initiative for young and upcoming designers, his designs seem to mature. The clothes are more wearable than before, in-keeping with his established ideas on fashion design and his favourite colour combination of blue and orange. It's great to see more and more young designers thinking like that - less is truly sometimes more.