There’s something refreshing about encountering designs with clear eyes and a mind wide shut. Without preconceived ideas of designer or brand identity (those prejudices that tell me that anything Victoria Beckham makes, even if I like the shapes, is not for me), we can just look at the clothes. We’re easing our way into London Fashion Week with three standup collections from relatively newcomer designers we know little about. The tabula rasa approach feels good. It’s like my bald, leather-vested Berlin art history professor used to say, “I don’t care what you know. Tell me what you see.”
Eudon Choi is a Royal College of Art grad, a few seasons into commercial viability. Mod sixties and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey were evident themes in Choi’s Spring 2013. A fascinating game of temporal hopscotch: a young contemporary interpreting past ideas about the future for now. We also detect a nineties filter but what isn’t filtered nineties these days? There was something Barbie doll like about the flat cuts and plastic materials Choi employed, like when you’d cut rectangles out of felt and wrap them around your Barbie’s waist and voila a skirt, craft-time fashion design. The marabou feather heels were a definitely a little girlie kid’s dream.
Australian brand Willow showed a lotta lingerie construction for spring including an impressive single wire bustier which, when not right out there, was visible under sheer everything. The element that made Willow make our list though was the fiery brushstroke print that looked an awful lot like Elsa Schiaparelli and Salvador Dali’s Tears Dress print from 1938, a trompe l’oeil of flayed flesh through fabric. Dali designed the graphically flashy and numb, comic book version of torn skin and Schiaparelli tailored it into a long white evening dress with veil, a could-be wedding gown. Schiaparelli is in the zeitgeist after her Prada Conversations Met show. We wonder if that’s what Willow was thinking.
Gotta appreciate a collection that has its male and female models walking in the same shoes. Bonus appreciation when those shoes are whiteout Dr. clunky oxfords. Unconditional is designed by Philip Stephens, owner of the Carnaby Street boutique Concrete, and we can see this collection going straight to the racks. The ethereal sweatshirts worn by both girls and boys reminded me of the tulle of Jil Sander by Raf in SS ’08. There were also Acne familiarities. That stoned frog face is novel and cute though and exactly how we’re feeling with the US-UK jet-lag.