This was one of the most polished outings from Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East showcase in recent seasons, with all three designers showing an excellent standard of finish, plus clear visions and polish.
Gareth Wrighton made a very promising debut, employing traditional techniques like latch-hook rug-making and hand knitting as a counterpoint to modern print-on-demand pieces and embellishments like the impressive cardigan paved in guitar picks. Though he said he’d looked to the Dust Bowl-era to inform the silhouettes, they was no hint of threadbare fustiness to the seductive, low-slung trousers that had tuxedo side stripes emblazoned with “Caution” or “Nervous,” a nod to dystopian themes. The two opening knits featuring bucolic scenes were fantastic, as was the stiff bolero done in a carpet weave with yarn.
For her second Fashion East collection, Yuhan Wang continued to explore femininity. In a romantic palette of lavender, cornflower blue, soft pink and primrose, she deployed silk satin, lace, velvet and tulle in deceptively prim outfits that had more than a hint of the Edwardian debutante about them — gloves and bonnets included.
Adroitly placed ruching and gathering, occasionally with the panty elastic visible, provided movement and a sculptural quality, while a rose print — painted by Wang herself — appeared in a dainty midi dress, and crochet trims were a nice whimsical touch.
In her three seasons as part of the Fashion East posse, Charlotte Knowles has really stepped up her game. She sent forth a polished collection that showed real promise of great things to come and demonstrated applaudable cutting skill, both in her signature corsetry and in lovely tailoring.
Hers is an indelibly sexy signature but there were moments of demure sophisticated in the mélange, too. A coat in a Prince of Wales check that swept to just above the ankle was cinched with a wide self belt, acting as a nice counterpoint to the bustier, girdle and garters beneath. Other hits included the padded corsets and teensy miniskirts.