LONDON WEEKEND UPDATE: PLENTY TO LOOK AT--BUT NOT ENOUGH TO RAVE ABOUT.
LONDON--It's climbing in the fashion ranks, but London has a way to go before it's back in the ascendancy again. The three-day London Fashion Week, which closed here Sunday, lacked the expected pizzazz despite a strong American retail presence. The fashion message--like the hemlines--was all over the place as some designers abruptly--and not always successfully--changed directions.
Bella Freud: Bella was simply Bella-issima. Freud is London's most feminine designer, and, though things haven't always swung her way, the New Glamour in the air makes her dainty elegance finally right. This season, she went in for flirty looks and sharply tailored suits that suggested the heyday of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire; her floaty floral dresses, cropped jackets and tailcoats could have come straight from "Flying Down to Rio." Freud also infused a new sophistication and quality into her collection, which was a little too girlish in the past. The giant purses and chunky-heeled sandals only added to the tongue-in-cheek approach.
Abe Hamilton: If you're looking for light, airy clothes with an ethereal elegance, Abe Hamilton's your man. This season the designer cut his signature featherweight fabrics with a modern edge. In a nod to nudity, Hamilton sent out rhinestone-dusted, puff-sleeved blouses, wrap skirts and ballerina looks, all in barely there flesh tones. The entire collection was shimmery and feminine, even when it veered sharply into bright colors. There was also a new body-consciousness, with floral hipster pants, teeny tops and bikini bottoms, done in sleek nylon, a favorite fabric this season.
Alexander McQueen: McQueen took his audience on a road trip--literally--complete with a two-lane blacktop runway and tons of tire-mark prints. The collection itself was filled with raw sex--and should help resuscitate London's reputation for street fashion. There were see-through plastic dresses, indecently cut bumster pants and sheer tops, worn with tire-mark-print jackets, tailcoats and plaid blouses. Take away all the tricks, though, and you discover why everyone's talking about him--McQueen can cut with the best of them. That isn't surprising since his background includes stints at Savile Row's Andersen & Shepard and Romeo Gigli.Philip Treacy: Another of the hottest tickets in town was a little cooler than expected--especially after an hour-and-a-half wait. Still, Treacy's millinery inventions can't help but dazzle, even if the big hat isn't the main message for spring. Petite and saucy looked best on his runway, from the striped Hershey Kiss creations to little satin meringue mounds perched on the forehead. Feathers were flying all over the place, and color was the big message--underscored by a giant yellow UFO shape that glowed in the dark.
Red or Dead: Cigarette-puffing biker babes in studded leather and the blare of Seventies' hard rock gave London a much-needed boost of energy, as Red or Dead roared down the runway with a collection dear to a clubber's heart. It took a Forrest Gump-style zip through the decade with motorcycle and stock-car-inspired jumpsuits; glittery HotPants, and butterfly-print velour minis. The accessories kept pace with big patent leather bags, neon-bright nylon running shoes and Folies Bergere-style head-pieces.
Xavier Foley: This was inventive simplicity at its best. Xavier Foley's collection hit on the more commercial notes of the London beat with well-tailored linen suits, organza T-shirts and fabulous silk sweaters in washed-out earth tones. But designer David Foley doesn't just create for the conservative. He also wraps a simple satin blouse with an offbeat air, and cuts beautiful, asymmetric, marble-print silk slipdresses. It's too bad the designer himself missed the applause; he's in the hospital recovering from a brutal run-in in Barcelona.
Sonnetag Mulligan: Seventies' glam is everywhere--and there were more than a few traces of it at Sonnentag Mulligan. The bright, floral-printed plastics are a drastic departure from their former sobriety. The design duo of Tracy Mulligan and Barbara Sonnentag took a funked-out trip to Polynesia this season with New-Length togas; straight, strapless minidresses, and low-slung, stretch satin low-slung pants.
Betty Jackson: Jackson's approach to the Seventies was to recreate the look of one of the decade's quintessential movies, "Shampoo." With Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley of "Absolutely Fabulous" looking on, the designer paraded a series of sharply tailored white pantsuits with logo T-shirts; long pinstriped jackets; A-line dresses, andday and evening knits. Meanwhile, HUSSEIN CHALAYAN beamed-down a space-age collection of glow-in-the-dark paper jackets and tunics mixed with spaghetti-strap dresses in mottled, cloud-like prints, and NICHOLAS KNIGHTLY sexed up his collection with slinky jersey numbers hailing the season's New Length. It was all glamour, ruffles and tiers at WORKERS FOR FREEDOM, who delivered a collection perfect for their customer. JEAN MUIR stayed true to her minimalist credo with elongated knits and fit-and-flare jackets. Easy sportswear with few surprises but a guaranteed sell-through turned up at NICOLE FARHI. Some of the season's best lace looks were at ALLY CAPELLINO. FLYTE OSTELL injected Technicolor and better pricing into their luxurious spare style.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty