LFW S/S ’11 report: Hannah Marshall

18 September 2010

Hannah Marshall’s show opened with the audience, which included the designer’s own muse/collaborator Erin O’Connor, superstar photographer Rankin, plus her own gang of quirky, impeccable Brit pop star followers, Shingai Shoniwa from Noisettes, Paloma Faith and a new recruit this season – Coco Sumner – all sitting to attention. When the lights went down, no models appeared, but instead a pervy/sexy/cool short film was projected onto the back wall. As the footage ended and Rankin’s name flashed up, the front row arrangements made sense.

With Marshall, we expect sleek, hard-edged LBD’s and when the girls started to parade out, we saw that with this collection added two further themes to the repertoire; sheer fabrics and floor length skirts. Both Rankin’s cinematic intro and the collection itself featured enough nipples to keep Zoo Magazine happy for days worth of counting, seen both through the tailored sheer chiffon blouses and peeking from open-to-the-waist tailored bold-shouldered suit jackets.

As the show progressed the tone of the outfits lifted into a palette of very soft stone grey. Nice for a Spring Summer collection, and a good counterpoint to the hard, linear silhouettes of the fitted dresses and trouser/blouse ensembles. The grey dresses were embellished with elaborate pleated add-ons, giving a strikingly architectural finish. This folding technique is one which has expanded in scale from previous seasons’ creations. The resulting exaggerated outfits will be targets for outré pop stars and the more avant-garde fashion editorial stylists, though maybe not by so many buyers and Marshall’s established minimalist followers.

As the last pale looks came on, followed by the finale, the Visage track Fade to Grey blasted out. Severe though her designs and bold-eyebrowed appearance might be, Hannah Marshall is self-aware too, seeing as last season's very noir collection concluded to the strains of Paint It Black. It’s a sign of her attention to detail, as well as a subtle yet effective way of sticking the collection in the memory.  Bravo.

- Naomi Attwood


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