A NEW POLISH
London’s runways and showrooms aren’t only about the cutting edge. In fact, several designers are making their names turning out refined, elegant creations with a nod to the trends.
Emilia Wickstead trained at London’s Central Saint Martins and is known for her simple and expertly cut silhouettes in luxurious fabrics. The designer creates made-to-order, made-to- measure and ready-to-wear designs at her London studio and already counts Britain’s First Lady Samantha Cameron among her clients.
This season, the designer said she’s inspired by “a bygone era,” and her collection draws on the idea of Paris and “harmonious Palm Springs summers.” Spring also marks the first time Wickstead will wholesale the collection.
Meanwhile, India-born Saloni Lodha’s label, Saloni, has become known for chic dresses that pop with inventive prints. For her third season at London Fashion Week, the designer has taken “Japonisme” as her inspiration — expect draped column dresses and painterly prints.
And designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones describe their Teatum Jones label as “a contemporary take on elegance.” The duo, who in the past have designed for the Luella Bartley, John Richmond, and Warren Noronha labels, will showcase dresses that run from tailored numbers to fluid silk designs.
Their spring collection takes its inspirations from “the tensions between the masculine and feminine” and what the designers describe as the darker side of “the sentimental perfection of 1950s America.”
Emilia Wickstead: Sept. 16, 12:30 p.m., The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, W1
Teatum Jones: Sept. 16, 5 to 7 p.m., RSA, 8 John Adam Street, WC2
Saloni: Sept. 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Royal Institute of British Architects, 66 Portland Place, W1
This label, which aims to bring “directional design” to shirting, is designed by Texas native Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding, who grew up on the outskirts of London.
The designers met while studying for their degrees at Central Saint Martins. Palmer earned a bachelor’s degree in men’s wear and Harding holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in women’s wear. They’re officially launching Palmer//Harding for spring.
Their line of men’s and women’s shirts is inspired by Thirties couture and the haunting images of German photographer Ingar Krauss. The two describe the collection as capturing “a feeling of melancholic confidence.”
Palmer and Harding have produced a film to showcase their designs, directed by Malcolm Pate, which will be shown at London Fashion Week’s cinema space at the BFC. Time of the showing was not confirmed by press time.
Add two new names to the Fashion East showcase for emerging designers this season: Marques’Almeida is a label by Portuguese designers Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida, while Dutch designer Maarten van der Horst will also make his debut as part of the Fashion East lineup.
After meeting at fashion school in Portugal, Marques and Almeida each gained master’s degrees in women’s wear at Central Saint Martins, and for their joint graduate collection earlier this year they showed a line of frayed, distressed denim dresses and jackets. For spring, the designers said they will continue their “search for the effortless raw aesthetic that we started last season.” The duo’s inspirations include “teenage girls, ‘Wildwood, N.J.’ [a 1994 documentary], Alanis Morissette and Nineties editions of i-D and The Face.”
Meanwhile, van der Horst, another 2011 Central Saint Martins M.A. graduate, filled his master’s collection with bold Hawaiian prints worked onto structured tunics, pants and shirts. For spring, his references run from “Lilly Pulitzer’s resort wardrobe” to the film “Downtown 81,” which chronicles New York’s underground arts and music scene in the early Eighties, from which he conjured up what he describes as “a playful DIY aesthetic.”
Fashion East will be held Sept. 18 at noon, at Haunch of Venison, 6 Burlington Gardens, W1.
San Diego native Shaun Samson’s designs riff on what he describes as “modern men’s street-wear.” After earning B.A. and M.A. degrees in men’s wear at London’s Central Saint Martins, the designer is showing this season as part of the MAN show for new men’s designers. While his 2011 M.A. collection was filled with oversize tunics worked in plaid and knits, Samson’s spring collection takes its cues from the designer’s Southern Californian childhood.
“It was the Nineties and grunge and gangster rap was on the rise — I wanted to dress like the older kids in my neighborhood, so I’d borrow their clothes which were two sizes too big,” said Samson, recalling his childhood garb. “There’s an oversized feel to the [spring] collection, but it’s still very tailored.”
Samson will show at MAN, Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m. at the Topman Venue at The Royal Opera House, Drury Lane, WC2.