Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular shows of London Fashion Week was Minnan Hui’s AW ’15 collection presented in The Gallery of the Freemason’s Hall. Inspired by the famous Pandora’s Box found in classical Greek mythology, the collection predominantly featured materials exuding those qualities of the most luxurious, impossible-to-ignore gift wrapping. The tempting twine and delicate ropes, the shiniest of red ribbon shorts, and freshly cut, gold lamé skirt falling just below the knee all contributed beautifully to the theme, while at the same time arousing that universal empathy we all share for Pandora’s predicament.
Hui also went a step further by adopting textiles with the grid-like lines found on the reverse side of wrapping paper. Even carefully structured white, layered fabrics resembling tissue paper found inside goodie bags and unwrapped boxes all suggesting this present has been opened and is beginning to release the chaos inside. Looking at Hui’s collection, it’s really no wonder why Pandora caved (and why we know we probably all would cave eventually too).
Dublin-born designer Paul Costelloe has been a mainstay of UK fashion for more than 30 years. No wonder his AW ’15 presentation with all its handcrafted tweed overcoats and sophisticated jacquard dresses with oversized shoulders felt so undeniably British. The Gibson Girl hairstyle of the models also distinctly reminded me of an exceptionally kooky librarian I used to see traipsing around Oxford dressed like she was straight out of the 1890’s (with the exact same Gibson-Girl-walk-of-shame hair every single time).
However, Costelloe’s collection did have a noticeably late ’60s French style undertone with dramatically short mini-skirts and eye-popping colors. Combined with the runway music, at certain moments it felt like I was floating in a British aristocratic version of that Foux du FaFa video by Flight of the Conchords. It’s no wonder then that Costelloe is quoted as having said he “learnt the most about fashion while living in Paris in the era of Ungaro and Cardin” as a 23-year-old in 1969. Yeah, Costelloe may be a pretty old dude, but to stay on top of the game as long as he has, you know the man has truly proven himself as one of those rare timeless designers.
Portugal Fashion Showcase
There is something so effortlessly put together about Portuguese fashion, which here is perfectly exemplified by young up-and-coming designers Daniela Barros and João Melo Costa. When not straightforwardly breezy, it is at least relaxed. Nothing feels overly fussed over or in-your-face, and yet it still captures your attention as something new, fresh and innovative. I mean, come on, have you ever seen a fanny pack look that dignified and classy, without being try-hard? Didn’t think so.