If there was a common thread running through the collections under Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East banner — Asai, Charlotte Knowles, Supriya Lele and guest brand Symonds Pearmain — it was a gentle poke at the codes of luxury fashion.
For London-born and based A Sai Ta’s brand, Asai, this meant cheeky little subversions like the silver spoons poking out of models’ mouths.
This was his third Fashion East outing, and the show read like a nomadic visual journey, beginning in the fishing nets of Vietnam (lattice patterns on clear plastic sleeves), rambling across the British outdoors (open-weave plaids), and yee-hawing through American rodeos (intricately patched and frayed denim).
Standout looks included a camel duffel coat with off-kilter panels; jeans with a sequined turn-up in the shape of cowboy boots, and a distressed and fringed blue vest over a white pie-crust collared shirt.
Lele again mined her British-Asian cultural heritage, marrying elements of sari draping techniques with sporty details. A photograph she found of her grandfather, who worked for the Indian Forestry Commission, wearing a long hunting jacket and trousers formed the basis of this collection. A gorgeous flyweight nylon was used in a sweeping trenchcoat, worn with a matching jacket and trousers, while a black wet-look nylon dress had a tracksuit neckline and sleeves, but was draped sensuously around the waist.
Knowles said her collection was inspired by chimaera, the mythical creatures with bodies composed of parts from multiple animals. She translated this into hybrid garments and experiments in layering.
There was a strong Nineties vein running through the collection, seen in the hipster boot-cut trousers and low-slung minis, as well as the flashes of sheer mesh lingerie that echoed Calvin Klein campaigns of the time. Knowles has yet to hit her stride.
Special guest brand Symonds Pearmain, from designer and artist Anthony Symonds and stylist Max Pearmain, embraced a strong graphic look, throwing stripes and checks together, sometimes embellished with gold leather curliques.
Edie Campbell opened the show in a round-shouldered, striped rugby top, paired with a skirt with a rose vignette overprinted with white arabesques, followed by a fast and furious line-up of stripes and checks in sporty shapes occasionally given a historical twist, as in the track pants styled with ties in either knickerbocker or full bloomer proportions.