‘We’re growing up!’ says Henry Holland, from backstage at his just-finished Autumn/Winter 2012 catwalk presentation ‘that’s something we’re all doing naturally as a group of friends and obviously that’s translating itself into my work.’
And sure enough, there on the front row are Henry’s usual eclectic mix of famous faces, looking very in keeping with the show’s grandiose surrounding; Pixie Geldof in a chignon and white furry jacket, and not one, but two, British Fashion Council ambassadors – Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevigne. Ambassadors? Now that really is grown up.
Sophisticated crowd, seriously sophisticated collection. Forget slogan T-shirts it’s all about tailoring for House of Holland’s next season. And in a houndstooth print, no less. Okay, so the houndstooth is mega-sized and sometimes metallic, but any woman would die for the electric blue princess coat with deep blue houndstooth detailing, or a matching pencil skirt. Or the navy shift with sparkly baby blue houndstooth stitching, or beautiful navy goat hair coat with Charlie Brown-style zig-zags in cherry red. All of which was vaguely reminiscent of Patricia Neal, the wealthy, glamourous ‘other woman’ in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Or as Henry describes his new style ‘it’s a bit more elevated, a bit more luxe’.
A harder sell are the skin tight leather trousers with – yikes - fluting at the ankle ‘kick flares are back – deal with it’ declares Holland, unapologetically ‘forget buying new shoes you won’t be able to see them for a while!’ But there were also sexy pencil skirts in cherry or navy leather with a ruffled hem.
So there was still plenty for Holland’s younger client base (tomato red flared boiler suit, anyone?). But while he may have teased the press last weekend that part of the collection’s theme was supposedly based on ‘Mork and Mindy meets the Tour de France’ [and yes, there were 80’s style cycle caps; the flip-up brims featuring very-Henry slogans like ‘Ride It’]; the resulting stripy dresses (remember Mork’s rainbow top?) were sexy and fun and very chic, with contrasting coloured panelling and clever seaming to give a vintage feel to the halter-neck and body-con styles; ‘we used a really luxe wool- jersey mix, quite a heavy fabric with good structure so it really holds the girl in’.
Move over Pixie, you could imagine Olivia Palermo in some of these pieces. So less punk, more posh - rather like Henry’s front row.