C’est Magnifique!

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There are always many heart-thumping moments during London Fashion Week and before I suspected that it was because of will to want to love everything that comes out of London Fashion Week, my biased feelings towards designers who I've seen from day 1 at their graduate collections and just my general patriotic ties to London itself.  Now, I'm confident that those feelings are being stripped away and that I can stand a little further back to see these collections for what they truly are.  Let's stop swaddling London fashion week designers with praise because we are willing LFW to become an equal to their NY/Milan/Paris counterparts and give it where it is due.  Case in point, I can genuinely say there can't be enough shouting and hurrah-ing over Mary Katrantzou's latest A/W 11-12 collection. 

The bias is admittedly lingering but as a designer whose prints could easily have placed boundaries upon her from the get-go of her CSM MA collection, it's actually been astonishing to see it mature and develop in the way that it has done in the past two seasons and this one in particular is definitely a major gear stick shift up (similar to what Meadham Kirchhoff have done).

At first glance, taking the objects of art that inhabited the rooms that featured in the last collection and zooming into them, seems too simplistic a concept but it's the fantastic scope of opulence, richness, depth and ultimately, fantasy that makes it work and the fact that the prints never look flat or 2-D because as always, Katrantzou's print placement is spot on. 

Let's get the main event out of the way first.  Katrantzou does KNITWEAR, a prospect that had a lot of people getting very excited about loosening their purse strings.  It's not yer' average lazy jumper or cardi though as the momentary injections of lurex yarns as well as the intricacies of the prints make these pieces stand out before any of the statement dresses have even gone over them.  Might seem a little silly to get so excited over a cardi but Katrantzou's mainstay of dresses have in the past limited her offering and now her collection has that extra shade of depth, which perhaps she was missing before.  

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If you thought I was going to quibble about the Chinoserie passages that crop up in the collection, you'd be mistaken given that the context as well as application completely takes you away from the misapproprating zone and in fact I fully welcome Chinese poets under a tree watching the world go by with blooms all around them.  The William Morris-esque prints that don't seem to be shying away from this season, also make their way into Katrantzou's collection…

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…with the best use of them on this satin biker jacket paired with a contrasting shirt, again broadening the application of Katrantzou's prints to a more accessible piece than say a cocoon-skirted dress…

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Not that, cocoons aren't appreciated.  I'm still blubbing about the fact that I missed out on the S/S 11 lampshade boat…

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The precision of Katrantzou's print application can really be seen here in this bonded satin coat, an elegant rigidity that she has perfected since day 1…

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Koi carp lovers behold…

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The last few pieces strayed from the short and stiffened cocoons with the injection of chiffon skirts and dresses that flared out with the help of several crinoline skirts underneath which I suppose completed the buildup from daywear to extravagant showpieces, again, emphasising a range that Katrantzou perhaps didn't have before. 

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Let's talk about the shoes which area  collaboration with Christian Louboutin who went all out this season in making magic with Katrantzou's prints.  I also like the styling point of pulling the knitted leggings over the boots to make it more fluid…

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The digesting time of having these pics sit on my computer whilst I type this in between Milan and Paris fashion weeks is useful to see that my heart was thumping for a reason when I saw this collection.  Fluttery moments haven't been coming thick and fast (not has anything been terrible either…) this season but the ones that do have stuck around in memory.  And it's not just because I Heart London. 

Spot the Pradas

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>> My hotel roomie Phil Oh who's shooting streetstyle for Vogue.com says he's spotted these shoes on every third person – a slight exaggeration perhaps but yes, in the solid black, brown and burgandy, I have seen them on A LOT OF people.  You know when sales people tell you they're 'FLYING out of the stores', and you cynically think they're just trying to give you the final shove into handing over your credit, I do think in this case, they are zooming out of Prada stores all over.  It's a bit of a no-brainer shoe for me – the style of a Church's shoe combined with a slightly raised platform combining espadrille and coloured rubber – a potent pairing for a flat lover that wishes to 'clomp about' as opposed to 'walk elegantly'.  Shopping in that via della Spiga/Corso Venezia/Montenapoleone drag in Milan is just that bit shinier – the Italian superbrand flagships look more enticing and there's a feeling wafting about here where economic crisis doesn't seem to have touched it and dangerously, a freefall motion of shopping where you just hand over your card at a whim at any given moment without too much thought.

Last season, it was a giant pink sweater and this time round, it was a pair of these shoes at the Corso Venezia store where these colour combos are exclusive.  I'll go on thinking "Hey…I've worked REAL hard for this…" and hope for the best. 

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Eeny meeny miny… green/orange/brown with an orange sole? 

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It'll be four to five weeks wait before I start anxiously looking around my letterbox going "Oh crap… nothing's arrived yet.." (mail is notoriously hard to get through my fort knox flat) but sheathed in an initialled shoe-bag (yup, little personal touches like these really do tickle me despite their simplicity…), will be my clomping ground shoes…

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P.S. And yes, Bryanboy and I will be doing a Shoe Snap