This story first appeared in the February 11, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Elliot Atkinson, a graduate of Edinburgh’s Royal College of Art, is making his debut on the London Fashion Week schedule, where he’s showing as part of the Fashion East group show.
Although he’s a new name on the schedule, Atkinson’s fall 2010 collection was carried exclusively at Browns Focus in London. The designer — who describes his look as “tough and feminine” — said this season he was inspired by the idea of “Americana,” from elements of Native American costume, to Westerns, to extreme body art.
“It’s sharp tailoring and shirts, and then mixing fabrics like animal skins against fine woven jackets — it’s a very sleek silhouette,” said the designer.
He has also refined his aesthetic by working with the stylist Vanessa Coyle of British Harper’s Bazaar, whose edgy look is a favorite of street-style photographers. Though Atkinson has now planted his flag in London, he noted that studying in Edinburgh — well away from the British capital’s bustle — had influenced his work. “You have that space to really think about who you are and who you’re dressing,” he said. “You are really isolated there — that’s very me, a bit of a misanthrope.”
— NINA JONES
James Long has already made a name for himself showing men’s wear in London. This season, the designer known for his leather and knit creations is taking on a full women’s wear collection, too.
The women’s line was conceived because Long found himself selling a lot of his men’s designs — such as oversize, intricate knit sweaters — “to girls” he said.
“We thought maybe we should translate what we do into women’s wear, but with a new twist,” said Long, a Brit who’s a graduate of London’s Royal College of Art’s master’s of arts course.
The fall women’s collection will feature plenty of Long’s men’s wear signatures, such as knitwear, embroidery and leather. His touchstones this season include Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks and Nancy Spungen. He will show as part of the Fashion East lineup.
Among the looks: chiffon shirts with macramé details, Aran knit dresses and leather biker trousers.
“There is an element of glamour to it, but it’s not in-your-face,” said Long. “It’s understated, but still very sexy.”
Pringle has teamed with master’s degree students at London’s Central Saint Martins to put a fresh spin on some of its vintage designs. As part of the Pringle Archive Project 1815-2011, students have reinterpreted argyle knits from the Fifties and updated the fit and colors for a collection of 14 sweaters in lamb’s wool or cashmere.
“It’s rare for us to get a project where we are working in tandem with a company, and the students were very aware they were working on designs for the market,” said Professor Louise Wilson, head of the master’s program at the college. “The learning curve was steep: One student’s design took 40 hours to make.”
The collection will be displayed inside trunks and wooden crates at a static presentation on Feb. 21 — in the same venue as the Pringle runway show. Prices will range from 295 pounds, or $475, to 595 pounds, or $958.
— SAMANTHA CONTI
Launched three years ago as an in-house tailored clothing collection for the East London designer boutique Start, Mr Start is stepping into the spotlight with a runway show and plans to grow.
Its creator, Philip Start, who owns and runs the multibrand boutique with his wife, Brix Smith-Start, said his mission is simple: “It’s about men dressing in their own style, but smartly — not schleppy.”
The runway show will feature tailored shirts, woolen outerwear, suits and cotton or silk ties. “The focus is on a beautiful fit. There is nothing superfluous about these clothes,” he said.
Start added that a women’s apparel offshoot is in the works, and will likely bow for spring 2012. He said he hopes the runway show will give him the exposure to form partnerships, and open opportunities with other retailers worldwide.
Tali Lennox may have been born into a high-profile family — her mother is singer and songwriter Annie Lennox, and her father is Israeli filmmaker Uri Fruchtmann — but recently she’s been seeking her own fame, as a model.
Lennox’s strong features, high cheekbones and willowy frame won her a number of coveted spots in the spring 2011 runway shows, when she walked for Burberry Prorsum, Prada, Miu Miu and Christopher Kane. She’s also starring in the spring ad campaign for Burberry, and has already appeared in Acne’s pre-fall and Topshop’s Christmas ones.
She said she’s looking forward to London Fashion Week, although her shows have yet to be confirmed.
“It’s home, so I get to sleep in my own bed, which after living out of a suitcase is a real treat,” said Lennox, who’s signed to Next Model Management in London.
She said she’s particularly looking forward to Christopher Kane’s fall show — either as a spectator or participant.
Despite the glam aspects of her job, Lennox is plugged into the more prosaic side of her life as a model. She cites her wardrobe essential for the shows as “Nude thongs — it’s very unglamorous, but they’re what every model has to wear for fittings and shows. I always stock up before I travel.”