LFW A/W '11 Report: Issa

20 February 2011

If a fashion designer’s career can be defined up by one dress, then Daniella Issa Helayel has cemented her reputation already. The much copied, navy jersey dress by Issa that Kate Middleton wore to announce her engagement to Prince William has thrust the London based label into the spotlight after ten years as a popular, but in-the-know label. There was, as a result, a serious buzz about the designer’s A/W ’11 collection, resulting in a fash-pack skirmish to get into the show and some frantic last minute FROW adjustments of the kind usually seen at the big name designers collections.

And then the clothes came: Helyal’s trademark use of jersey was evident on a long scarlet column dress with a knotted waist, and in another Middleton-blue slash neck maxi. There was print, too, with a repeated peacock pattern in russet and moss green, and graphic looped feather prints.

Dramatic felt berets and Cossack hats by milliner Stephen Jones lent the collection a ladies-who-lunch vibe; this was Kings Road circa 1979, and Daniella played on this sense of nostalgia by employing the skills of veteran models Yasmin le Bon and Andrea Dellal, and a disco soundtrack that included Kool & the Gang.

This might not have been a collection that will redefine Issa’s oeuvre, but they will certainly appeal to the Issa customer. With customers like the future Queen, though, Daniella Helayel knows she’s onto a good thing.


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