Fashion East is as important to London Fashion as the British Fashion Council. Without it and its Director, Lulu Kennedy's talent-spotting talent, we may never have heard of Richard Nicoll, Gareth Pugh, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Louise Gray or Danielle Scutt. And after today's Fashion East show, we can add three new names to that list – Natascha Stolle, Maria Francesca Pepe and Holly Fulton. It was an all-girl moment, but each had a totally different style.
We have been fans of Natascha since her Fashion East debut last season (buy this week's Grazia to read more about her) and her A/W '09 collection has just added fuel to our fire. She makes clothes that are cool (in the best sense of the word), that you actually want to wear – you'd be surprised how many designers don't. They are all ‘sexy-girl' clothes, without baring flesh or clinging to the body. Oversized sweaters, loose tailoring in coloured silks, toned down by a thin layer of black chiffon, and graffiti prints, aren't obviously sexy, but on the body they transformed the models from streaky teenagers into hot women. Who knew a jacket with twisted lapels and a grey cowl neck had such power?
Maria Francesca Pepe
Maria was a jewellery designer first and has just recently moved into ready-to-wear, and although there was still a lot of focus on the accessories (including bags and winged shoes), the clothes held their own against the oversized headpieces and fierce angular metal necklaces and visor. The narrow tailoring was cut perfectly, especially the black asymmetric jacket and the fuchsia-pink petal minidress, which was strong enough on its own without the armour.
Holly's style is described as ‘art deco gone pop', and we really couldn't put it better ourselves. Crystals formed graphic patterns on simple-shaped dresses, colours were bright and Perspex shapes graced the front of skirts and dresses. While the dresses that were covered in Swarovski crystals weren't exactly practical, they will look amazing in all the magazine shoots that they will be requested for.
Some other things we loved...
Cabaret performer, Jonny Woo, compered the show, introducing himself as Lulu, resplendent in a black and white kaftan, big jewels and copper heels (which we have definitely seen the original Lulu wear before). Genius.
Maria Francesca Pepe's models, bless 'em, got a little bit confused about where to exit the catwalk. One walked through the wrong door, but thankfully a PR was on hand to direct the others the correct way.
Róisín Murphy's companion proudly wearing a piece of Maria's jewellery on the FROW.
Bumping into Henry Holland as we left – he was setting up his show which started two hours later in the same venue.
Natascha Stolle's soundtrack – ‘I was made for loving you baby'. When will designers realise that the audience will enjoy a show far more if they recognise and like a song? An oldie but a goodie is always better than a depressing plinky-plonky soundrack, regardless of the theme of the collection