Some designers are responding to the dire political mood in the U.K. by darkening their color palettes and toughening up their fabrics.
Michael Halpern is instead delving further into his fantastical world of sequins and all things shiny and over-the-top.
For his fall range — shown in the Deco ballroom of a Mayfair hotel — he referenced Russian illustrator Erté to create striking Twenties-inspired silhouettes and colorful, multilayered prints echoing Erté’s fantastical illustrations.
“There’s nothing rooted in reality here. Why can’t a fish have wings?” said Halpern, pointing to a print featuring leopard patterns mixed with illustrations of fish morphing into birds.
He wanted to flex his muscle beyond his signature sequined creations, applying his fantasy prints on voluminous duchesse satin coats; showcasing his draping skills with a series of more pared-down jersey maxidresses in bright yellow or fuchsia; or playing with a striking gel organza fabric and working it into a draped minidress or a one-shouldered top featuring a long train.
Yet Halpern is not ready to completely let go of sequins just yet. In fact, he thinks he has “barely scratched the surface with what you can do with sequins.”
He sprinkled a healthy dose of sparkly creations here, renewing them by cutting or layering the sequins on top of each other to create a three-dimensional effect on dramatic gold capes or bustier tops. A ruched maxiskirt done in purple sequins and layered underneath a knit jumpsuit was another standout — and highlighted the young designer’s skill at clashing color, pattern and all sorts of texture. These joyful pieces were a welcome antidote to the sea of beige dominating the streets and the catwalks this season.