Each and every season (AW10, SS11, AW11) I wax lyrical about how much I love Ada Zanditon and naturally this season is no exception. As anyone who has met the designer will testify, she is one of the nicest designers around, however it is and always will be her brilliant designs that garner the most attention.
“In the fragile seagrass beds of England’s southeast coast, lives the mythical Poseisus. She begins her metamorphic journey towards the distant tropical shores of Haiti as the rumbled call of the Haitian Kanaval drums ripple and swell the ocean tide, drawing in the ornate Seahorse. She finally emerges from the glistening crystal water, her outer skin transformed into a magnificent Kanaval dress as she steps onto the sand in human form.”
Having presented a film showcasing her SS12 collection entitled Poseisus at Somerset House on the inaugural day of LFW, in some ways you could say that this offering is a departure from what one might expect from this innovative brand. Fusing an East London graffiti cool backdrop with a contrasting colour palette of rather wintry charcoals and blacks, the kooky digital presentation created in collaboration with film makers Andrew and William Ho is fun, memorable and is a great example of how Ada’s eponymous brand continually reinvigorates itself, diversifying and growing with each season.
Another ingenious title for SS12, Poseisus explores themes surrounding Poseidon, the Greek God of the sea, and the fantastical Pegasus, the gleaming white winged horse. Anchored solely in mythology, perhaps more than in previous collections, the fairytale and eccentricity of the collection really shines through, not offering clothes to merely dress-up-in, instead a chance to adopt a piece of theatre into your wardrobe.
Also referencing the form of Greek Goddesses and the elegant structured beauty of the two native species of British seahorse; The Spiny Seahorse and The Short Snouted Seahorse, Poseisus yields enchanting and breathtaking results. Highlighting several new shapes that mimic the structural form of the seahorse and the fluidity of its aquatic environment Ada has created structured crisp outerwear and light, fluid, and voluminous dresses alongside pieces that play on the designer’s trademark geometric cuts. Quirkily referencing the shape of the exoskeleton and the elegant fanned dorsal and caudal fins (that seahorses use to propel themselves as they dance through the water), each appear on the garments as crisp cut shapes and ruffled details extruding from sculptural and heavily structured silhouettes.
The showpiece of the collection, the Athena dress fuses contrasting fluid kaleidoscopic prints with three dimensional structured organza detailing and a distinctive voluminous shoulder. Thematically the collection expresses the interconnected global fragility of island coastal environments in linking British coastal life with the strength, resilience and fierce spirit of Haitian Island life. Echoing both British regality and the creative tribal energy of the Haitian Kanaval in the style and ambience of the pieces, the juxtaposition is also achieved through a combination of luxurious fabrics such as Crepe de chine, French chiffon, a mixture of organic fair-trade materials; cotton shirting, crossweave, denim and jersey. End of the line up-cycled Cumbrian linton tweed and vegetable tanned leather complete the designs and further qualify Zanditon as one of the most prolific S&E designers of her generation.
Choosing the darker side of Hollywood as the theme for their SS12 collection, design duo Jena Theo displayed once again how they never fail to entertain and excite. Echoing classic film glamour with a seductive take on mystery, the collection is a heady assault for the senses.
A theme after my own heart, the structure of their sexy silhouettes is inspired by the leading ladies of film noir. In the spirit of The Big Heat, Kiss Me Deadly and Mulholland Drive, the Fatale collection contextualises the allure of the anti-heroine.
With lots of sheer silks, floating backless dresses and exposed breasts, fabrics were fluid and Jena Theo signature prints were back in full force. Hand-painted silks, created in collaboration with artist O. Two enhanced a bright and fresh colour palette consisting of golden yellows, sepia and peach tones.
Juxtaposing colour and fabric tones with loose cuts resulted in the models possessing an ethereal quality as they wafted down the catwalk. A wonderful range of flowing evening dresses mixed with denim, Fatale is the ultimate master class in the art of seduction.
A designer I thoroughly look forward to seeing during LFW, creates clothes so full of life and bursting with flamboyance that they are the epitome of fun. Yang Du has created yet another of her unique tongue-in-cheek collections inspired by the ‘throws of love’. Entitled Wink Boy, Yang’s SS12 offering features a plethora of eye-catching animals, witty slogans, and ‘cavorting characters’.
Inspired by the street art and architecture of Berlin, expect Yang’s trademark sense of humour, wit and sex appeal. Oversized shapes dominate with hooded embellished jackets created exclusively for the British summer, which I learned after asking the designer why they were on the thick side for SS.
Playful 3-D animals adorn cable-knit cardigans and appear on school-inspired rucksacks, with intricately beaded trinkets given a new lease of life in the form of necklaces and bag charms. True collector’s items in their own right, Yang is like a magpie, pulling together the most exciting of materials with each collection.
At just three years old the Yang Du label goes from strength to strength each season, spearheaded by the designer’s desire to ‘blur the line between art and fashion’.
A designer I came across at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout exhibition, I fell in love with the bold and daring colour palette of Malene Oddershede Bach. Presenting an intriguing collection of what appeared to be cell prints; I was really impressed by Malene’s vision and strong brand identity.
Having just launched her label for SS12, as part of VFS’s Ones To Watch, Malene’s collection draws inspiration from the sensation of loss and the feeling of unfulfillment mixed with the psychedelic films of Gaspar Noe and David Cronenberg.
A mixture of vibrant acid hues; ‘dark fuschia, luminous yellow and vivacious turquoise’, a variety or organism inspired prints peppered the collection; the intestines of a mouse and the scales on a butterfly’s wing.
With a plethora of deft techniques under her belt, such as the beautiful two-way pleating of silk georgette, hand-knitting and pieces comprised of more than 25 metres of fabric, Malene’s is possibly the most exciting new brand I discovered at LFW.
With beautiful touches such as embossed leather tags, intricate layering, unusual cuts and bright prints, Malene’s eponymous brand certainly stands out from the crowd. Don't even get me started on the amazing shoes!
All photographs on this site are the property of Creative-Idle/ Rachael Oku. Other images taken by third parties are credited within the relevant post. If you would like to use any of my photographs please ask.