Tuesday is traditionally one of the most eagerly anticipated days of London Fashion Week - three days in, buyers, journalists and models are well warmed up, but it’s still too early for catwalk ennui to kick in.
Aquascutum showed the most beautiful look of the day, a lightweight if sombre collection of belted kimono tops, sports luxe coats which paired voluminous silk with lace cuffs, and finished off with a dash of electric blue on stiff satin coats and geometric print dresses.
Eley Kishimoto’s print credentials were shown off in an offering which saw stripes hemmed with floral prints, gingham shirts, and butterflies and stars in rainbow colours. Other highlights included Lurex shift dresses, toy-soldier blazers and slim fit safari dresses.
The afternoon descended into a set of reworked signature looks for designers. Over at the Topshop-sponsored space, Christopher Kane swapped his oversized sequins of autumn 08 for large semi-circular fish scale-like plastic discs as adornment, which featured on bubble skirts, cutaway halterneck dresses and paired with pleating. Leopard print looked fresh in an egg yolk yellow and lipstick red colourway, threads of draping suggested a 1920s flapper influence, tiny Swarovski crystal embellished padded panels, and a gorilla print T-shirt explained the Jungle Book music choice.
For commerciality, Amanda Wakeley was the show to see. Again, a distinct reference to what she produced for autumn 08, Wakeley’s chainmail on eveningwear for last season was replaced with medieval style copper discs on cafe au lait goddess satin which plunged deep on necklines and flowed beautifully behind models. Daywear was sexily body con and panelled in a white or grey-hued mesh lycra.
Best front row of the night was definitely the Giles show, where the OC actress Mischa Barton talked Blackberrys and bangles with Jamie Winstone and model du jour Daisy Lowe, Lizzy Jagger laughed animatedly with Leah Wood and mum Jo (also seen marvelling at Aquascutum’s collection earlier on in the day), and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson was overheard telling model Erin O’Connor how “amazing” she thought the Giles collection was. Watson was right, although Giles opted for a more grown up feel in parts for spring 09, referencing less of the wood nymph looks of last spring, and concentrating more on structure - bright body con dresses, high waisted plastic pencil skirts, putty coloured leather biker jackets and a demure black and white print on a Roland Mouret-style capped sleeve dress all showed a more wearable aesthetic.
But just as the audience was thinking they might be disappointed by a less than usually extravagent show, Giles pulled out his creative wand, sending models out with shiny, oversized Pacman character helmets in huge ball gowns of structured, puffed satin, wearing black plastic peplums giant enough to require at least two seats on the Tube in the morning, and in a white 1950s dress with a skeleton motif in multi-coloured Swarovski crytals. And for those who know their Deyn from their Donaldson, both models were on hand to help showcase Giles’ spring 09 looks, as well as Brit model Jourdan Dunn and catwalk favourite Jessica Stam.