Fashion East is a feast for every kind of fashionista and today’s show hosted a vast range of our fair nation’s top celebs, from the super elegant Yasmin Le Bon to the sexy Daisy Lowe. On the other side of the bench sat rainbow-haired stylist Anna Trevelyan, brightly dressed blogger Susie Bubble and the British fashion entrepreneur Lulu Kennedy, who started this showcase for young designers.
Last season’s hugely hyped show said goodbye to a formidable triumvirate: Ryan Lo, Claire Barrow and Ashley Williams, as Lulu told Grazia at the time, ‘they are adorable and a tight-knit trio, super supportive of each other and I know they're going to miss showing together, as its Claire and Ryan's last season with us. And I’m going to miss them too!' Autumn Winter 2014 is Ashley’s hotly anticipated veteran (her third and final) season, joined by the Fashion East first-timers Louise Alsop and Helen Lawrence. Whilst Williams’ show was a jubilant graduation, Alsop and Lawrence cut their (Topshop Show Space) teeth on grittier stuff, the three of them displaying fingers so firmly on the pulse they should be dubbed fashion surgeons. Here’s what we loved:
Louise Alsop AW14 - Getty
Skaters are hot right now - think Pharrell Williams' sportswear and all the sub-culture references of up-and-coming NY brands like Public School and Hood By Air. Lest we forget Celine's widely imitated slip-on sneaker, nor the endlessly papped statement sweatshirt. But Louise Alsop's skater girl look is discrete and diaphanous, elegant and modern. Alsop's layered long-shorts are inspired - she's taken Spring Summer 14's short of the season (wide-leg and below the knee) and given them multiple flat-lying hems. Worn with over-sized crisp tees, they sum-up our current obsession with layers, upon layers, upon layers. Her 'loveless' and 'hopeless' scrawled sweatshirts are not the big puffy statement numbers we're so used to seeing but thin, loose and softly ragged. A monochrome palette is broken by whispers of peppermint green in futuristic silks whilst Superga plimsolls are worn with grungey '90s holed socks. Louise Alsop looks both at our favourite trends, and beyond them - we can't wait to see what's next.
Helen Lawrence AW14 - Getty
Helen Lawrence described her collection as a 'dichotomy of a childhood yearning for sartorial maturity'. How does that feeling become a fashion reality? Well, her half-dressed girls walked with cropped jumpers half-tugged over dresses, coats slouching over one shoulder and trailing behind - they were all looks caught in a state of undress - or more like a state of dressing-up, with the five-finger discounted assistance of mother's coolest pieces. The loose layering of PVC, denim and Lawrence's trademark technical knitwear (she's already collaborated with Menswear designer Craig Green - her handmade lamb's wool felts say it all) is luxury and frivolity at play. Her long fray-edged white cotton coats and pastel knits are instant must-haves, worn by a nonchalantly magnificent woman we all want to be.
Ashley Williams AW14 - Getty
Ashley's last collection climbed heady heights with IT pieces like the Dreamboat sweater and cartoon mohair clutch-bags and this autumn's range stayed true to her fun sensibilities. Williams was inspired by Mississippi country girls and Calamity Jane but these girls are no rednecks - they're ultra modern, more grown-up than their foresisters and playfully chic. These women team synthetic sports fabrics with their rawhide leathers and kitty-kat prints, leather bows on skirts with their 'Golden Girl' tees and their graphic knitted pencil skirts are slashed with snakeskin. On-trend '90s references are dotted throughout via plastic pink bomber jackets, raw-edged blue denim and a cami-dress worn over a t-shirt - Ashley proves that her nostalgic dreaming is rooted firmly in what we want right now.
Fashion East is a foundation-laying force to be reckoned with.