Lon­don Fash­ion Week hits cli­max with Burberry, Erd

Malta Independent - - FASHION - Sylvia Hui and Gre­gory Katz

Lux­ury Bri­tish fash­ion house Burberry un­veiled its highly an­tic­i­pated dis­play at Lon­don-Fash­ion Week Monday, an op­u­lent af­fair fea­tur­ing frilly blouses, vel­vet blaz­ers and silky pa­jama shirts - for both men and women. Else­where, Christo­pher Kane and Erdem were among de­sign­ers show­ing off their new­est col­lec­tions to the fash­ion pack be­fore they jet off to Mi­lan.

Some high­lights from Day 4 of the fash­ion week:

POST-GEN­DER OP­U­LENCE AT BURBERRY

Soar­ing live or­ches­tral mu­sic, opera singers, an im­pos­ing new show venue com­plete with clas­si­cal sculp­tures: Burberry’s lat­est dis­play is a very grand af­fair in­deed.

So it comes as no sur­prise that the clothes on show are just as op­u­lent. Min­i­mal­ism had no place here: The lux­ury Bri­tish brand’s new col­lec­tion fea­tured flam­boy­ant mil­i­tary coats, frilly high col­lars rem­i­nis­cent of por­traits of Queen El­iz­a­beth I, rich vel­vet and bro­cade, and silky pa­ja­mas lay­ered un­der flo­ral jack­ets — de­signs in­tended for both gen­ders.

For the first time, the tar­get au­di­ence isn’t just fe­male fash­ion fans. Monday’s show marked a move by Burberry to merge its tra­di­tion­ally sep­a­rate women’s and menswear shows. Fit­tingly, cre­ative di­rec­tor Christo­pher Bai­ley said he was in­spired by Vir­ginia Woolf’s novel “Or­lando,” whose hero is a poet who changes gen­der from man to woman.

“I was look­ing for this idea of flu­id­ity of gen­der, flu­id­ity of travel, and I love the po­etry in ‘Or­lando,’” Bai­ley told The As­so­ci­ated Press back­stage.

The her­itage brand also in­tro­duced an­other first: Fans can “shop the show” straight­away, both on­line and in-store.

The move, also in­tro­duced by sev­eral other brands this season, is seen as an in­dus­try game-changer.

Tra­di­tion­ally, fash­ion shows are exclusive pre­views in­tended only for in­dus­try in­sid­ers, and or­di­nary con­sumers have to wait months be­fore the new styles are re­leased.

Not any­more. An elab­o­rate python and os­trich leather hand­bag shown Monday went on sale im­me­di­ately — at a for­mi­da­ble $2,660 each. The new strat­egy may stoke more buy­ing in­ter­est from fash­ion­istas, but whether it brings in more profit is some­thing that re­mains to be seen.

RO­MAN­TIC SHIP­WRECK AT ERDEM

A ship­wreck has never looked so el­e­gant or darkly ro­man­tic.

Canada-born de­signer Erdem Mo­rali­oglu al­ways in­fuses his shows with a sense of drama and haunt­ing beauty, and this time is no dif­fer­ent. Mod­els wore large floppy black hats that ob­scured their faces, glid­ing on a weath­ered board­walk that ap­peared to weave in and out of wa­ter.

The dreamy clothes re­flected the brood­ing nau­ti­cal theme, crafted in washed-out shades of blue and sil­very grey, and all the frocks seemed to be cov­ered in miles of rolling ruf­fles, lace, frills and vel­vet rib­bons.

As al­ways with Erdem, the devil is in the cou­ture-like level of de­tail. Lit­tle gem­stones twin­kle on bro­cade gowns, and some of the em­broi­dery is stun­ning in its in­tri­cacy, es­pe­cially the rich Ori­en­tal-style flo­rals over­laid on sheer del­i­cate fab­rics.

For many, Erdem’s creations may be too much like cos­tumes for a pe­riod drama. But at a time when much of fash­ion is so dis­pos­able, it’s pleas­ing to see a de­signer in­sist on mak­ing every piece a work of art.

FASH­ION­ISTAS TAKE OVER THE TATE MOD­ERN FOR KANE

Mu­seum-go­ers could be for­given for won­der­ing where all the odd, funny shoes came from as the fash­ion crowd de­scended like a cloud of over­dressed lo­custs at the usu­ally staid Tate Bri­tain on the banks of the River Thames.

With Amer­i­can Vogue ed­i­tor Anna Win­tour pre­sid­ing in the front row at the Christo­pher Kane show, guests ar­rived with an em­pha­sis on sparkly boots and heels, with green and sil­ver se­quins pre­dom­i­nat­ing. There were mus­tard thigh-high boots, sil­ver patent leather shoes with tas­sels, and pointy black-and-red suede an­kle boots with heels shaped like a sail­boat’s winged keels.

Once the show be­gan, the shoes were quickly over­shad­owed by Kane’s eclec­tic creations. Known for his edgy de­signs and his ref­er­ences to mod­ern art, some of the dresses took a Jack­son Pol­lack ap­proach to color and re­lied on wildly clash­ing pat­terns to carry the look.

De­spite the mu­seum set­ting, there is noth­ing safe or con­ven­tional about Kane’s ap­proach. Some of the three-quar­ter-length coats were ripped for im­pact’s sake, and some of the el­e­gant dresses had cut­aways and high­tech mesh pan­els.

Long black gloves were meant to be icon­o­clas­tic - not a nod to bal­let days - and were dec­o­rated with colors and cutouts.

The former wun­derkind’s own la­bel is now 10 years old, but he isn’t re­peat­ing him­self. Some of the mul­ti­col­ored coat de­signs had a fresh, fevered look, cov­er­ing dresses that evoked a sim­i­lar mood if not sim­i­lar colors or pat­terns.

Some of the dresses sported dozens of metal­lic hooks, some closed to keep the en­sem­bles to­gether, oth­ers serv­ing no ap­par­ent struc­tural pur­pose. Many were set off by Stephen Jones’ dis­tinc­tive hats, of­ten in solid colors to off­set the con­trolled chaos of the en­sem­bles.

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