- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
While the fashion crowd may have moved onto Milan, FashionUnited is reflecting on a strong autumn/winter 2019 season of presentations from London Fashion Week, where designers brought their collections to life with playful static concepts - here are our six favourite moments from emerging designers including Nabil Nayal, Steve O Smith and Paula Knorr.
Nabil Nayal’s ode to Marie Antoinette
For autumn/winter 2019, Nabil Nayal continues to be inspired by powerful historical women for his ‘Let Them Revolt’ collection, this time the decadence of Queen Marie Antoinette and the exploration of eighteenth-century dress.
The controversial Austrian dauphine became a source of great fascination for Nayal after read Caroline Webber’s ‘Queen of Fashion’, which explores the journey of Marie Antoinette from her childhood home in Austria to her controversial reign in France and subsequent execution.
He worked with the School of Historical Dress, a school founded in 2009 by world-renowned dress historian and author, Jenny Tiramani, which offers historical classes on accurate historical reconstruction. The collaboration has led to the exploration of accurate artefacts from the late 18th century which have been filtered through Nayal’s contemporary lens.
This is showcased through modern interpretations of the era including frock coats dresses with an integrated waistcoat, crisp woven white shirt dresses his take of the ‘chemise à la reine’ made popular by Marie Antoinette, panier dresses featuring delicate lace from Sophie Hallette, as well as new dramatic versions of his signature white shirt with added volume and ruffles.
There were also some sporty elements coming through with his outerwear with puffer coats showcased in black as well as black, white and red print featuring Marie Antoinette.
His London Fashion Week presentation started moments after the news broke regarding the sad passing of Karl Lagerfeld, with Nayal explaining that the death took him by surprise as the iconic designer was one of his first customers, snapping up one of his white shirts when they met at the LVMH Prize in 2015.
Images: courtesy of Nabil Nayal
Markus Lupfer reflects on twenty years
For twenty years, Markus Lupfer has been wowing fashion editors and buyers with his quirky dose of fashion, he’s been inspired over the years by the great British cafe, the seaside, bunnies, and even a 90’s teenage girl’s bedroom, for autumn/winter 2019 there was a more reserved, pared back approach to his collection.
Rather than colour blocking vibrant pints and masses of embellishments, Lupfer has instead opted for mono-colour looks in pillar box red, blue, black and cream, with a few token faux fur looks and neon touches.
In the designer’s show notes he explains: “This season marks a new chapter, one that balances innovation with continuity, and strong references to the brand’s roots.
“There is a focus on protection from the elements. Comfort aligns with style; soft layering creates an ease of dressing. Joyful, celebratory colours sum up the spirit of the collection.”
There are still elements of the old fun side of Lupfer, with embellished arrows and flowers on the skirts and tops, you just need to look a little harder under the mammoth coats, with the humble duffle coat sized up and sculpted with details from the parka to create a new hybrid of two British staples.
If you loved the quirky knits, no slogans at the presentation, but one model did have a cat knit draped over her shoulders for a little of the personality we expect from Lupfer.
What’s changed in the last 20 years? “An innovative twist to the Markus Lupfer handwriting and a new considered casual attitude for the modern woman,” added the brand in the autumn/winter 2019 show notes.
Images: by Danielle Wightman-Stone
Steve O Smith presents the fashion week pantomime
Following on from his London Fashion Week debut last season, emerging London-based contemporary womenswear designer, Steve O Smith presented his very own fashion pantomime as part of the British Fashion Council’s Discovery Labs series.
Known for his tongue-in-cheek aesthetic, for autumn/winter 2019 he reimagined the pantomime exploring who is behind who, what really is going on at the top of that beanstalk and how it is that we ended up trying to climb it in the first place.
His assembled cast, featuring what the designer calls “goodies” and “baddies” included a politician, a banker, a Lord, a soldier and a princess set against a traditional country house backdrop, to place emphasis on Smith’s signature tailoring and patchwork designs.
Smith showcased exaggerated silhouettes, corsetry and oversized millinery on the Lady and the Vamp, with the idea to make them “noticed even from the very back row of the theatre,” while the Revolutionary and the Politician sported tailored pin-stripe patchwork, and The Banker was dressed to impress in a full PVC look.
The Patchwork technique continues in leather on the Fox, contrasted by the sharply tailored Hunter in hot pursuit.
Smith has a way of modernising historical references brilliant alongside his wit, while showcasing dramatic and elegant silhouettes that have been beautifully crafted, with the Lady, in her hand woven floral Banarasi silk print dress at the centre with her Waitrose bag and oversized hat.
Images: courtesy of Steve O Smith
Paula Knorr makes eveningwear comfortable
Emerging designer Paula Knorr showcased her modern take on eveningwear for autumn/winter 2019, incorporating materials such as jersey and Lycra alongside lavish fabrics in elegant designs and rich tones, to show how cocktail gowns can provide as “much comfort and ease as leisurewear”.
At the core of the collection are bold figure-hugging silhouettes with avant garde drapes in a mix of delicate sequin fabrics are all finished with Lycra back panels to allow flexibility and movement.
There are also hints of ‘sporty’ detailing injected throughout with relaxed shapes like deconstructed Tunica’s and Palazzo pants, in sparkly oversize sequins, featuring Sportive lurex Ribbing, and the focus on comfort continues with luxurious silk gowns and kaftans featuring flexible drapes and rushing allowing for that fluid movement.
This season, as part of her collaboration with Swarovski, Knorr also adorned Lycra jersey in neon tones Swarosvki crystals to give the easy-to-wear fabrication its evening wear treatment. The young designer has also worked with the brand on new jewellery featuring geometric silver shapes to complement the luxurious oversized sequins and asymmetric cuts.
Images: courtesy of Paula Knorr by Zoe Lower
Livia Tang Japanese tea ceremony
London-based young contemporary designer Livia Tang made her London Fashion Week debut at FashionScout with a presentation based around the Japanese tea ceremony, where the models were posing in her romantic and edgy while blowing bubbles.
The starting point of the autumn/winter 2019 collection was historical images of sisters and brothers, with an emphasis on the special bond between twins showcased in the idea of a twin look through the use of fabrics. With dresses featuring different panels of the same fabric, Tang used both sides of fabrics such as tweed, houndstooth and jacquard to translate the connection between siblings.
There is also a durability to the designs, with the dresses and wrap skirts reversible for versatile styling, with Tang explaining that “everything was made with an aspect of duality in mind”.
In addition, all beading and trimmings have been created with natural materials and processes, mainly jade and shell, as well as cord used as straps and fastenings to add contemporary and sustainable detailing to the romantic collection.
Images: courtesy of FashionScout
Simon Mo emphasis the chemistry of life
Set in a science class, Simon Mo took inspiration from the UN Environmental Programme for his autumn/winter 2019, where he showcased his signature, smart-casual style alongside an awareness message of on personal consumption, high dependence of drugs, and self-prescribed pharmaceutics.
Emphasising the chemistry of life and medicine, Mo’s collection sat alongside a science-lab type set up, complete with an array of mixing chemicals, with his collection of 60’s style and elegance shining through, with details of oversized buttons and pockets piecing together contemporary textures and silhouettes.
He combined splashes of deep red with orange, blue and pink on his relaxed jackets, statement dresses and tailored separates, which featured asymmetrical hemlines and tulle ruffles along the sleeves, as well as oversized hounds tooth prints in navy and red.
Highlights included mint-green chiffon oversized shirt with cascading ruffles, styled beautifully over a matching skirt, oversized check prints, a short sleeved mini dress with ruffles in a burnt orange check, and luxurious velvet track pants.
Images: courtesy of Simon Mo