Monday, February 22, 2010
The Ten Things London Fall 2010 Taught Us Yesterday: Day Two
1. Accessorize by raiding office supplies. Memo from Richard Nicoll: You can use a bull clip for more than just to keep your expenses in one place, as he did at his polished and precise show. His clips, gilded and fringed or set with stones, acted as fastener (securing the shoulder of a sinuous teal velvet and chiffon evening dress) or as cincher (defining the waist at the back of a masculine gray blazer—a witty wink to stylists’ practice of clipping clothes to get a perfect fit) or even, easiest of all, as a clip-on earring.
2. Belt everything. Which is what Margaret Howell did, buckling up shearling coats, khaki utility parkas, chunky scarves (creating a rather fetching “vest” effect)—even what appeared to be a plaid blanket, folded in such a way as to look like a kilt, the skirt shape of the season. Just make sure it is the right belt, though. Nothing studded or dark or aggressive; stick to earthy, natural, tan saddle leather.
3. The call to arms now means contrasting your sleeves. Today’s best example: Matthew Williamson’s superclose-to-the-body black wool jacket with black leather sleeves. Williamson also solved the quandary of this whole wear-two-pieces-of-outerwear-at-once idea that has been appearing here in London (and started in New York); this jacket looked like two, one on top of the other, but was, cunningly, a trompe l’oeil effect.
4. Just when you think minimalism is it, along comes Meadham Kirchhoff (above). Nothing severe, sporty, or sleek about the label’s magically maximalist offerings that made the heart beat that little bit faster at the gorgeousness of them all. Pale pastel felted cashmere sweaters were worn under vividly hued bias-cut dresses, or hand-painted leather biker jackets went over graphic-print silk dresses, or layers of lingerie-like lace and beaded chiffon with leopard skin—all of which were then accessorized with Indian wedding veils and more colorful, sparkly Erickson Beamon bangles than could rattle in a Bollywood epic. The collection is a brilliant reminder that no city does individualism and expressionism like London.
5. You’re going to remember your ankles fondly. Well, you will if Michael Herz has anything to do with it. His take on the newest silhouette—today we’re using the letter L; long and lean—was with floor-length felted-wool skirts, made manageable by a fishtail hem that swished as the models walked. It’s an extreme statement, but the subtext to it is clear: When you keep everything below the waist so spare and slender, the line of vision can’t help but be drawn upward to some kind of drama above. Luckily, Herz did that too, with Victoriana jackets sporting external pockets, or quilted, fitted anoraks appliquéd with lace—think HRH Queen Victoria in Moncler.
6. There are jackets that will make you quick march, quick march. Louise Goldin’s phalanx of coats and jackets had a kind of discipline and rigor that was fantastic and futuristic. Heading straight to front of the line: the dark-navy moleskin parkas, or the articulated armorial jackets constructed out of geometric panels of tech fabric.
7. It all starts at the shoulders. That’s what Todd Lynn thinks. He extended the natural shoulder line of his bias-fastening fitted jackets with fur, leather strips, or a harness or two. From there on in, the rest is tailored lean and clean to the rest of the body. Janet Jackson was at Lynn’s show, and I hope she was taking notes. No wardrobe malfunction in these jackets—guaranteed.
8. You can live by sweaters and lingerie alone. This according to Julien Macdonald, whose thinking for the autumn goes along these lines: for day, you need a really big Aran/popcorn sweater, perhaps one morphed into a shearling-trimmed parka; for night, a tiny silk-and-lace lingerie slip, short or long. (Actually, even the long looks seemed tiny, perhaps because they, too, showed an awful lot of leg.)
9. On boots, at least, there is consensus. Everyone is doing that new length boot for fall. But what do we call it? Not ankle—it’s too long. Not mid-calf—it’s too short. I’ve been calling it the high-rise ankle boot, which will do for now—unless anyone has any better ideas? The salient details: There should be straps, and there should be buckles, and a touch of shearling wouldn’t go amiss either.
10. Change is coming. In the 1990s, London was ruled by what was labeled aggro-chic: hard-edged (a pretty nineties term itself) jackets and viciously tight skirts, perhaps accessorized with a silver talon dangling from one ear lobe. The 2000s were all about the use of print; Apple and digital manipulation colored the work of the city’s designers. Now it is the 2010s, and the MA graduates of Central Saint Martins—whose students shaped the two previous decades’ predominant preoccupations—were united in their thinking by a few themes. Cubist shapes plus human curves is one approach; technology versus organic is another. And understated neutral colors were everywhere. So let’s see where London goes from here.