The three designers taking part in this emerging talent platform may have shown very different collections, but they were all made for women on the move.
London designers, and especially the young ones, often prioritize form (and cool) over function — but not this crop of newbies. They’re taking cues from their own life experience, and from their customers, and pushing forward with innovative ways of approaching modern dress.
Michael Stewart’s label StandingGround made its runway debut with a lineup of spare, sculptural gowns that nodded to the classical world and the goddesses of Mount Olympus.
His simple, elegant silhouettes had complex interiors, with internal corsets, padded hips and molded fabrics. Among the standouts was a liquid pink strapless gown and a deep red one with a sculptural scarf-cum-drape at the shoulder.
The Brazilian designer Karoline Vitto showed off her feminine collection on a variety of body shapes, up to U.K. size 20. Like Stewart’s, Vitto’s designs were shapely, figure-enhancing and made for movement, especially the one-shoulder midnight blue bodysuit, and cropped jackets with origami-like folds.
More than 80 percent of the fabrics Vitto used were deadstock, the fruit of a partnership with Nona Source, the surplus fabric platform backed by LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Johanna Parv, a London-based Estonian designer, had her mind on daytime dressing, taking her cues from cyclists on the streets of London. Her clothing was practical, convertible — and not gimmicky.
Coats could be stretched over backpacks and handbags while garments could shape shift with the pull of a toggle. One jacket could be tucked into a belt that was concealed within the waistband of matching trousers. The multi-tasking piece also doubled as a bike lock holder.
Parv’s background is in luxury, having worked as a design assistant at Balenciaga, Dior and Burberry.
Parv plans to show off her diverse fashion experience later this year when she unveils a series of one-of-a-kind “action bags” — vintage handbags with added, functional straps. They’ll be offered as a limited run at Dover Street Market.