Here are six designers on the rise, getting set to present their collections during London Fashion Week.
Richard Malone, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in fashion last year from Central Saint Martins, has already attracted the attention of some of the industry’s big guns — in 2013 he was awarded the Grand Prix LVMH scholarship, which supported his graduate collection. After launching his own label last February for fall, the Ireland-born, London-based designer will show in September for the first time as part of the Topshop-sponsored Fashion East collective on Sept. 19.
The designer has built his aesthetic on inventive, sculptural silhouettes. Among his fall looks were a jacket and skirt executed in structured swathes of houndstooth, and cropped flares done in blue and white stripes. Calling his approach to design “intuitive,” Malone said, “I’m constantly photographing, sketching, speaking to people, taking in my surroundings. Strange things usually excite me.”
Prices run from 180 pounds ($277 at current exchange) for an embroidered T-shirt to 2,350 pounds ($3,617) for a quilted puffer dress. Malone’s collections are sold at Brown Thomas in Dublin and Centre for Style in Melbourne. — Lorelei Marfil
Lecoanet Hemant started in 1979 as a Paris couture house that fashioned dresses for royalty, aristocracy and dozens of Crillon Ball debutantes. In 2000, founders Didier Lecoanet and Hemant Sagar, who met when they arrived at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de Couture Parisienne and are life partners, moved to New Delhi and refocused the business on private clients and producing luxury ready-to-wear, showing their collections at presentations in Kuwait, Athens, Dubai and Mumbai. In 2010, they opened a flagship in Delhi, and in 2013, they developed luxury rtw collections for Europe, which were sold in London for the first time in 2014.
The rtw is characterized by embellishment and sophisticated silhouettes. The house will show its spring collection at its London showroom during the city’s fashion week. The designers said they chose London because the city, “with its multitude of fashion tribes, offers a unique platform…to build upon our couture heritage.”
The duo’s couture background comes across in the clean, modern silhouettes and handcrafted detail. Among the designs are a laser-cut stone gray leather pencil skirt; a navy skirt-and-top ensemble that’s fringed with seaweedlike tassels, and denim pieces with patchwork details that lend a sense of youthful craftiness to the collection. Retail prices range from $315 for a simple top to $4,250 for a hand-embellished silk organza gown. Hand-embellished suede pieces with leather fringing — inspired by Manewha, a Maori chieftain painted in 1882 by Gottfried Lindauerrun — run from $1,105 to $2,125.
Appointments run from Sept. 17 to 22 at the designers’ showroom at 34 Seymour Street, W1. — Julia Neel
This is the Uniform
Jenna Young, a fine arts textiles graduate of London’s Goldsmiths University, had notched three years of working in the luxury textiles field before starting her own label in 2013. Young also worked in fashion styling, for a printmaker and in costume design after college. But it was through her styling work that her designs came to the attention of British Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers, and wound up being used on a shoot for the title. Young will now show for the first time as part of Fashion East’s group shop on Sept. 19.
Her signature is “natural, luxurious fabrics, in particular silk organza.” In past seasons, Young has worked those designs into streetwear-inspired silhouettes, and noted the label’s sheer tracksuits have been bestsellers.
“The human form under a subtle layer of silk is unbelievably powerful in a way that you wouldn’t initially imagine,” Young said. “I love exploring a sense of value, imbuing worth into very typical everyday items.”
The designer, who was brought up in Blackpool, a seaside town in northern England, added that her spring collection also takes its cues from “the current social and economic situation that we as a youth culture are surrounded by. Graduating into a recession has been very tough for creatives in London. They say creativity is born of hardship, but it has been difficult getting this far. This collection will reflect some of that journey.”
Prices range from 150 pounds ($231) for a top to 1,200 pounds ($1,847) for a coat. The collection is sold on its Web site, thisistheuniform.com. — L.M.
After graduating with honors in jewelry design from Central Saint Martins in 2008, the London-based, Ukrainian-born Natasha Zinko started making clothes for friends, which led her to launch her label. “It grew organically,” she said.
No stranger to fashion — Zinko’s father was a tailor — it was “a natural pursuit” for her.
Stripes, color and form are key to Zinko’s designs. “I love experimenting with fabrics in a unique and unusual manner — almost destroying them to re-create something beautiful and feminine.” She said she’s inspired by her travels and by “nature, people I meet, my hometown of Odessa and the wonderful London eccentricities. I love small details — they are very important for me.”
To wit, her resort 2016 collection featured ruffles cascading down the back of a roomy military jacket, small colored pom-poms dangling from dress hems or sprouting from slippers, and multicolored fabric polka dots sprinkled over sheer sleeves, tops, and even a belted men’s-style dressing gown. All of those primary colors and tactile fabrics hang alongside cuffed, rough-edged jeans and denim dresses held up by baby blue suspender belts.
Zinko also continues to design jewelry. Among her signatures are jaunty skeleton earrings and rings with abstract bunny heads or ears.
Her collection ranges from 155 pounds, or $238, for a slogan T-shirt to 1,250 pounds, or $1,924, for a dress or a coat, and retails at Harrods, Browns and Matchesfashion.com.
Zinko will stage a presentation on Sept. 19. — L.M.
A recent graduate of the Masters of Arts program at the Royal College of Art, Marta Jakubowski believes it was work, rather than study, that set her on her path.
Polish-born and German-raised, the designer honed her design skills working with Hussein Chalayan, Alexander Wang, Jonathan Saunders and Bruno Pieters before setting up her own label last year, after earning her degree.
“Work experience was a big part of my fashion education: I learned things I could have never learned in college,” she said.
Last December, she was selected to show her fall 2015 collection as a part of the British Fashion Council’s NewGen initiative, sponsored by Topshop.
Her upcoming collection will focus on women’s hardships. “I was looking at women in mental institutions, shelters and prisons,” said Jakubowski, who will host an installation from Sept. 18 to 22 at the Brewer Street Car Park. “I read some of their stories and feel they are sometimes very misunderstood. It’s about women with a hard shell and a soft core. These elements will be visible in silhouettes and materials. I want to create garments and silhouettes, that don’t follow or rely on a trend, something you always want to wear,” she added. “Like a favorite piece you keep in your closet and never want to get rid off.”
Big trousers are a key part of her line, topping out at $600 for a pair in cotton velvet. Prices start at $180 for a cotton jersey top. Her collection is stocked at Opening Ceremony in the U.S., Sister in Tokyo, and D-mop in Hong Kong. — L.M.
A stalwart of British knitwear design, John Smedley is finally taking the leap, and launching a full-blown women’s wear collection.
Pip Jenkins, head designer of the John Smedley women’s range, said the collection will take in “a lot of lighter, sheer fabrics designed for layering, and cuts that feature wrap and split detailing designed to drape and flatter the female form.”
Women’s clothing isn’t entirely new to the brand; it introduced a women’s underwear line in the 1800s.
Jenkins said tactile details and excellent fit are important to the brand’s customers. “Simple details — like our merinos that can be machine-washed — all provide those everyday moments that make investing in a quality knit worthwhile.”
Smedley also plans to incorporate luxury fabrics into the line, such as mercerized merino and silk that drape on the body. “The collection also features our fashion capsule, Spectrum, that covers three main colors: white, sloe [a dark blueberry] and blue glass. With these colors, we created full looks with a range of stitches, textures and fibers,” she said.
Prices range from 50 pounds ($77) for a pair of merino wool gloves to 295 pounds ($454) for a silk and cotton striped dress. The range will be sold at the John Smedley flagship in Mayfair, on the brand’s Web site and at Fenwick on Bond Street, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.
John Smedley’s presentation will take place on Sept. 18 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Hus Gallery. — L.M.