Fashion East is as much a hot ticket as any during London Fashion Week and today the temperature rose just a few degrees more within the Topshop tent as a certain popular man was on the front row: Harry Styles. You may have heard of him. But GraziaDaily’s focus soon turned to the job in hand…
“I'm very proud of them for being as creative as they are - they take risks and push things forward,” founder Lulu Kennedy told us after the show, “I'm also loving how their personalities shine through and their sense of humour. 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!”
From the cheers that rose from the Styles & Co. vicinity it was clear to hear that there’s a love-in amongst the FROW and Ashley Williams, one of Lulu’s most recent discoveries. Ashley’s homage to ‘80s Americana included a suitably saxophone-filled soundtrack and plenty of filmic fashion references. The kind of OTT title typeface you’d find on a poster of a cheesy 1980s Hollywood flick featured across boxy jackets and t-shirts – ‘Dreamboat’ and ‘Lady Lilo’ - while Jaws may have played a part in not only the appearance of swimwear, but also shark-toy bags and some nautical detailing. To avoid full-on Miami-Vice crumminess, Williams carefully balanced things out with chic, raw-edge denim dresses and separates. ‘Come on in, the water’s fine!’ exclaimed the show-notes, the collection is mighty fine, too.
An equally tip-top music choice came from Ryan Lo, with Whitney Houston’s ‘I’m Every Woman’ blaring, his models arrived in a fantasy feminine wardrobe. The Sylvanian Families were a reference we’ve not yet experienced on a runway, but instead of a matriarchal figure, Lo’s light-hearted girls were independent ladies quite happy in their own fluff’n’stuff. Furry bunny ears and face=-painted animal only emphasised that Lo’s version of kitsch was super-young; it came rose-tinted and with a slice of the Japanese ‘magical girl’ cartoon genre via one of his on-going inspiratons: Chibiusa from Sailor Moon. This resulted in twee cardigans, pastel lace confectionary frocks like petit four, candy-striped coats (a highlight) and strawberry intarsia knits. Mmm, yummy.
Breaking against all of these niceties was Claire Barrow. Her high profile collaboration with Matches has been repeatedly spotted on the front row and she has an impressive A-list following, but her gang continues to grow stronger both on and off the runway. This season’s redux-punk gang – an idea she’s long been into – are into all things otherworldly. You can’t help but feel like these clothes and their barefooted ladies would be great for a modern-day version of that cult Pagan classic, The Wickerman: her scrawled-on unfinished denim pieces and painterly leathers hide faces, horoscopes and iconography. It was uncompromising – just as a young designer should be.
“I want to wear Ryan's pastel lace slip dresses, Ashley's denim pleat dresses and I need some of Claire's tees in my life to mix in with my wardrobe,” Lulu told us. All good choices, yet again.
Watch the full Fashion East SS14 show below.