Fri, 17/02/2006 - 3:30pm
The Shop at Bluebird, 350 Kings Road, SW3
The venue was beautifully light and instead of a classic one-way runway, models walked around the edges of the audience, before facing the throng of photographers. First out was Meadham/Kirchhoff's collection. This British/French design duo trained at Central St Martins, launched a menswear label in 2002 and debuted at MAN last season. This was our first chance to see their womenswear - and there are some really strong elements. Floor-sweeping dresses with corset details, sexy pencil skirts with lairy plastic buttons at the back (and socks!), a powerful trenchcoat, sheer blouses, a white skirt combined with a reworked classic black DJ jacket.. Using belts and corset details, there is a huge emphasis on the waist here and, as you'd guess, the clothes were modelled by women with extremely tiny waists so the silhouette was super-skinny.
Men's pieces include soft, baggy cardi's, white shirts and tailored jackets worn with hoodies. Especially impressive is the use of colours here: deep greens, haunting and electric blues and muted, wintry tones. Gloves were the focal accessories and they complemented the outfits perfectly. Meadham and Kirchhoff's womenswear does not disappoint and we really look forward to seeing more next season.
Spijkers en Spijkers is a womenswear label from Holland which is designed by identical twin sisters, Truus and Reit. Last season, the twins travelled to London to make their LFW at Fashion East and were subsequently invited back again by the panel. You can see why. Inspiration this season came from Dutch artist Lizzy Ansingh, who is famous for her paintings of dolls. Lizzy owned an elaborate dolls house and the dolls which lived there were her muses. This for sisters Truus and Reit, translated into very short silky dresses with cross-panel details, sheer blouses, pencil skirts, and baby doll dresses that crossed the boundary into lingerie. There was a funky tension in the air. With a powerfully scuzzed-up, remix of Chris Isaac's 'Wicked Game' in our ears, we saw a girliness explored. Baggy shift dresses worn over just one shoulder, contrast with thigh-length sleeveless tunics. The collection is peppered with surprises that reminded me a little of Karen Walker (who has a great instinct for just 'hitting the spot' with an outfit). S&S glided effortlessly from Edwardian-esque blouses to a rock'n'roll sleeveless dress with side pockets (bomber jacket style) and a netted hemline. There's a real sense of play and pleasure these women get from their craft. Loved the long socks and gloves too.
Finally, Marios Schwab had the honour of ending the showcase with his second collection to be shown at Fashion East. Last season his dresses attracted much attention and as a result he's kept frocks as the focus of this collection too. Hitting us straight away with a powerful fitted dress (complete with plunging neckline, adorned with thick panels of gold metal) he followed suit with a lacy, curve-skimming jacquard number cut well above the knee and very close to the body. Other key pieces include a slinky, feline black jersey dress with a mini train, (like a tail), and with a truly breathtaking red dress with elongated, narrow sleeves, plunging square neckline and asymmetric hemline.
Schawb looks like he can really cut and create a sublime dress. For me, the gold adornments used in some of the collection, along with the crocheted circles on boobs, didn't appeal. But, there was so much else here to like: the beautiful cut-away theme that ran throughout, a classic pencil skirt combined with a cap-sleeve jersey top and neck scarf and the the velvet dresses looked beyond time and place.
Words: Marian Buckley. Photos: David Jones.