Monday, 1 March 2010

London Fashion Week: A Wish List

One more visit to London Fashion Week, and then I'm done.

For far too many runways, it was the same deadly story this season as last. Is there some central pool of ideas that is feeding the 'creativity' of our young designers? I can think of no other reason for the similarity of what we saw over and over again – or so it seemed.

Here's my list of things I hope not to see again for some time and certainly not next season (do feel free to make any contributions of your own):

• Pleats and peplums sprouting everywhere.

• Mindless draping. We are not talking of the sublimities of Madame Grès here but the cop-out of people who do not know enough about either dressmaking or tailoring and who believe that wrapping one bolt of fabric around another and roughly tacking it can be called an evening dress.

• Endless minis. As Mary Quant, cleverer in every sense than any young designer in London today, realised: they are as easy as falling off a log and always sell, but it takes more than that to make them into a fashion statement.

• Inserts of fabric – especially stiff shiny ones.

• Leather-capped shoulders.

• Short flirty skirts with little kick pleats.

• Panels and half garments.

• Coiled and twisted ribbons of leather, satin, wool… or anything else the desperate designer could lay hands on.

• Shapeless furs – or any furs at all, really, in these enlightened days.

Enough already. The fashion world is not a kindergarten. Let's try to remember that next season.


  1. I'm with you on so many of these points! These trends aren't so much as tired, as they are insulting to the women who wear them.

  2. Dear Colin,

    I particularly like your comment on 'mindless draping'. It reminds me of my tutor at college cursing 'blobs on stands'.

    Your London Fashion Week posts have made me consider all the flack young London Designers are getting.

    Why are we being encouraged to stage world-class shows, to be critiqued alongside well-financed and industry supported established designers when we are just beginning our careers?

    Why encourage young designers to show when they have a tiny budget and very little experience? A huge chunk of the budget goes towards shoes, models and PR rather than on excellent machinists and patter-cutters. Instead, students are doing this work, with predictably amateur results.

    Wouldn't it make more sense to have a solid platform to exhibit first, gain sales and then begin 'showing'. Sure, it's less glamorous, but better than getting bad press and not meeting expectation. I'd like to hear your opinion on this.


  3. There was that old comment from Ottavio Missoni ... "it's not that we're so good, it's that they aren't as good."

    Hearts race, pocket books and more open for the raw talent and houses are bequeathed on proven.

    It's just another lovely market and in a better economy rather ordinary designers do well because there is a market for, umm, poofs and drapes.

    But, grrrrrr, the moment of hyperbole and instant is swinging hard and fast, more and more difficult for the retail buyer/shop owner.

    Shocked at the marketing/affiliation/hotness of Vogue teaming up with an online retailer for certain "Vogue" looks.

    And I am quite cross that I have not read one interview of a retailer, ahem, on this past season but only a plethora of enthused and hot bloggers.


  4. Don't forget Madeleine Vionnet in the drapery stakes. Her less was much less and her 'more' infinitely varied, whilst at he opposite end, john Galliano's more is definitely much more.
    I disagree [dare I?] about minis. The more I see of them the less I flattering I find them. [Mark you, I enjoyed wearing them when they first appeared, thankyou Mary, but not any more.]
    And nor do I think the current 'on-the-knee' length does anything for anyone, and it looks pretty hideous when you see rows of legs sitting down, very tricky to do it well. Mid calf is so much more flattering and graceful. Obviously I am showing my age, and regretting the loss of my once shapely legs .... which is why I only wear trousers now.

  5. My own addition to insult. The combination of florals, or pastels, with soft and floatly 'silly little dresses'. Has the words ironic and contrast lost all meaning?

    I can'not help it, the pain of watching these predictable pieces float down the catwalk is almost as unamusing as watching a bond film. He won't die.