On a global scale, London, as it happens, really is the fantasy land, the land of dreamers, born and bred to be sent across the world and keep the magic going. It allows the freedom of creativity, forgives an occasional faux pas and wholeheartedly welcomes any form of invention: parachute fabrics, plastics, laminates, stones, feathers, metals - anything that can be moulded and shaped eventually finds its way to the catwalk. Understanding it may require, but, just like the good old English humour it takes time, effort and sincere desire to understand, embrace and let it be... because London really is the place where fashion can be a form of art and self-expression that gets into the deepest corners of your mind and touches the soul, the process so captivating it often feels like a one-to-one with a psychologist (or psychiatrist, in some cases).
The last five days were very nourishing for the mind, indeed. There were collections that spoke to me as a woman who looks for inspiration and something new to wear comes spring, and there were those that made me dream and feel excited about fashion, the idea of it, the sense of emotional escapism...
So lets just talk about some of them... Starting with the dreamers.
From the signature prints to couture is the way to describe Mary Katrantzou's five-year journey through fashion - the girl doesn't take a bus from one stop to another. She is a kind of traveller that has an access to a time machine - otherwise how would one explain this trip to the late Paleozoic era, 200 million years away when Pangea split into the continents. Katrantzou's imagination was a dance of fantasy, from the actual movements of the body that she saw as interlocking tectonic plates to the moment when the supercontinent was broken apart...
Her Spring/Summer 2015 was mesmerising... It was a kind of palpable beauty, from the lava-like catwalk and the music that bounced off the walls, melting into the emptiness, to the clothes, with all the lace and organza, the scrumptious softly sparkling beading and the embroidery resembling the skin of the ancient creatures or the crawling plants that covered the Earth, the sheer tulle gowns making it look as if the runway was cooling down and the organza was the smoke evaporating from the shimmering black chips.
Lucky those women who will be able to have these dresses, see them every time they open their wardrobe, touch the surface of the fabric, and, once in a while, wear them because, despite being so very couture in execution, it was still a ready-to-wear collection, down to the last stitch and button, just a very stunning one.
The enchanting wilderness, but of a more prosaic 19th century, and the works of Marianne North, the biologist and botanical artists, were behind the Erdem Moralioglu's dark and seductive collection. It began with embroidered dresses, covered in tropical patterns and the feathered creations, but then moved into the innocent, almost Victorian, lace and broderie anglaise frocks and softened, romantic and sensual silk gowns. It was a living painting: the background of uneven stone slabs, the sharp leaves of the plants that surrounded the runway and the models walking among this ravishing, whispering garden, so beautiful and fragile.
I don't want or cannot pretend to be somebody in-the-know when it comes to the certain moments that stir emotions within the industry, I didn't study at St Martins nor know enough about the people who did or those who inspired them, but I did know about Louise Wilson and have read the stories about her and the students she nurtured. She was one of those teachers I wish everyone had, at least once in their lives - the world would be a better and more beautiful place then, with less b.s. and more honesty...
Losing this woman so soon was unfair, and the event left a whole in many people hearts, including Christopher Kane, one of the Wilson's students. And so, without saying too many words, he turned to the language of fashion and his memories and presented one of the most beautiful and sophisticated collections he's even designed. Dedicated to Louise Wilson.
It was such a labour of love! The electrifying flashes of light created by the satin fabric and metallic accents... The gathered organza tamed by the cone-moulded tops and fitted jackets... The sheer lace dresses embroidered with ropes... It was Kane's geometry, but this time with a very European, almost Parisian, flair. Unforgettable collection and one of the most beautiful he's ever done.
Photo source: Erdem Spring/Summer 2015 by Shaun James Cox | Copyright British Fashion Council, Mary Katrantzou Spring/Summer 2015, Erdem Spring/Summer 2015 and Christopher Kane Spring/Summer 2015 collections via style.com and stylebistro.com