Giles: An homage to the New Look is in the offing at the Victoria and Albert Museum at a show called "The Golden Age of Couture: Paris and London 1947-1957." But across town, in London's East End, those classic cuts and shapes have taken on a whole new personality. Like a mad scientist, Giles Deacon fiddled with New Look silhouettes, genetically modifying them for the early 21st century. The latest collection — his most wearable yet — showed off those classic shapes adorned with Monet-inspired or eerie, faded photographic prints; rubber appliqués; reflective fabric details, and thick wedges of tulle bouncing from under full skirts.
"It was kind of 'pink macabre,'" said Deacon after the show. "I wanted it very romantic, with a twist." Deacon's full skirts were covered in handfuls of bunched tulle, shredded fabric rosettes, laser-cut rubber leaves and prints that could have been Monet's water lilies passed through the fax machine. Shift dresses bore the melancholy, washed-out faces of pinup girls in prints inspired by the German photo artist Thomas Ruff, while sweet, damask baby-doll dresses shone with roses and hydrangeas.
But Deacon is far from a hopeless romantic, and there's always a subversive current in his work. He grabbed everyday rubber bands by the fistful, showering them over knee-length coats and pencil skirts, and spread a bloody Bambi motif, inspired by the Sex Pistols' "Who Killed Bambi?" over a stiff, sculpted silk skirt. He may be a couturier to his very core, but Deacon is clearly learning from his gig at the British high street retailer New Look. The complex and the wearable can fuse — even in a madman's laboratory.
Asprey: Hakan Rosenius turned out a well-crafted collection that screamed luxury from every ostrich feather and hand-quilted bit of leather. There were damask opera coats lined in ostrich feathers; shiny, hand-quilted leather jackets; silk jacquard ballgowns overlaid with rose-printed chiffon, and silk dresses for day with faded prints reminiscent of pressed flowers. This collection may be gorgeous, but it doesn't come cheap. Rosenius, however, said the prices haven't been a deterrent so far. A May trunk show in New York netted $350,000, and one of the biggest sellers was a skirt with a $7,500 price tag, he said. The line is currently sold only at Asprey stores, although Rosenius said the brand may start wholesaling to department stores next fall.Adidas by Stella McCartney: Stella McCartney made her London debut for Adidas on Thursday night, closing London Fashion Week with a presentation staged in her usual cheeky style. During the event, held at the Westway Sports Centre, models decked in McCartney's spring sports collections — short, featherweight raincoats, sweatshirts with chunky drawstrings, soft cotton cuffed jersey shorts — preened and stretched and pretended to warm up. Guests had a chance to train with pros at the driving range, because the event was also celebrating the launch of McCartney's latest category for Adidas: golf. And — surprise — McCartney's outfits look nothing like anything you've ever seen at the Masters: trench-style jackets, knit polo-neck sweaters and stretch cotton hipster Bermuda shorts. When they weren't putting, guests — including Paul McCartney, Mary McCartney, Kate Moss, Twiggy, Deborah Harry and Peter Blake — quaffed organic beer and nibbled on veggie sausages and burgers. McCartney said the Adidas presentation was a way of showing support for her home city, and she hoped to do it again. "It felt right to give something back to London," she said.
Richard Nicoll: Nicoll played with some strict silhouettes: a transparent, box-shaped skirt that moved seemingly mechanically as the model walked, and prim shirts with bib collars. But gauzy, transparent fabrics in shades of gray, pale peach and faded plum lent lightness to the otherwise sober collection. Dresses layered with lamé and chiffon softened Nicoll's more extreme shapes for real world wear.
Antoni & Alison: Nothing says I love you like a homemade gift — at least according to Nicole Kidman. To fete the 20th anniversary of the Antoni & Alison label, Kidman starred in "The Party Portraits," an art film made by designers Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts and shown Thursday in lieu of a runway show. In the 10-minute film, Kidman models the duo's spring designs against a studio backdrop, pretends to give the viewer a small package and dances to a song from a handheld radio. She wears jersey tank tops with pom-pom prints and dresses made from black taffeta or jersey with sequin details. Her final look? A T-shirt with the words "Antoni and Alison are brilliant geniuses." Now that's a friend.Fashion East: Fashion East, the young designer showcase, hosted collections for House of Holland, Louise Gray and Noki in a dusty East London warehouse. Henry Holland, who made his name with cheeky slogan T-shirts, showed patent leather microshorts with studded cuffs, fluorescent tiger-print jersey dresses and skintight jeans. Gray's first collection focused entirely on her skilful use of colorful and unusual embroidery, which incorporated vintage chains, screws and telephone cables. Meanwhile, Noki's JJ Hudson sent out a selection of customized T-shirts reminiscent of punk's pinnacle years.
Biba: The line is moving ahead and tightening up its act with snappier silhouettes, cleaner lines and a more contemporary look. A five-person team is now designing Biba, and Louise Goldin is doing the knitwear. This season, the Biba girl has taken a trip to the country club — a place she'd normally have scorned — wearing swingy tennis dresses, A-line trenches, seersucker trousers and silk tops with flower appliqués. It all hung together, except for the printed-covered maxidresses, a Biba staple, which looked too old and cumbersome for this spring-in-her-step girl.
Fashion Fringe: This year's winner of the Fashion Fringe contest for young British designers is Aminaka Wilmont, designed by Maki Aminaka Löfvander and Marcus Wilmont.
For spring, the pair showed a capsule collection packed with historical and sci-fi references, and took a playful approach to volume. There were Victorian frock coatdresses; jackets with Elizabethan collars; Obi-Wan Kenobi white hooded capes and voluminous — but lightweight — Windbreakers. As part of their prize, the winners will be stocked on Net-a-porter.
Osman Yousefzada: Osman Yousefzada took his inspiration from delicate birdcage shapes, which some models wore strapped around their bodies like corsets. There were silk dresses with ribboned bodices and crisp shirts with deconstructed collars sliced into delicate strips.
Modernist: Pleats were everywhere in Abdul Koroma and Andrew Jones' spring collection.They were layered into swingy, tiered jersey dresses and worked into bandeau strips on cutaway swimsuits.
Alberta Ferretti's "Rainbow Week" sweaters are back. The designer closed her #MFW show with a few day-of-the-week sweaters, which first debuted on the catwalk last January as part of the pre-fall 2017 collection. #wwdfashion (📷: @delphineachard)