One Sweet Thing

Out of the frosty temperatures (in the clothes as well as the weather?) of New York Fashion Week, yesterday comparatively speaking, London felt tropical.  The same could be said for the clothes.  Not tropical in theme but in that collectively, a trio of young female designers showing on the first day of London Fashion Week, doing their one sweet thing, made me feel warm and fuzzy all over.  All three of their presentations had personality and character, and they managed to draw us into what felt like an alluring brand universe by specialising in one solid idea, done very very well.  As one presentation segued into the other, and with all three designers being women, it did feel like something of a movement.  A positive one that taps into nuanced aspects of girlhood, be it cuteness, prettiness or uniform preppiness – they’re ideas that translate for women as well as girls.

Let’s start with Shrimps.  Apparently it was Star Trek meets Wizard of Oz.  Although it wasn’t quite as spacey or costume-y as one might imagine.  That’s down to Hannah Weiland’s 60s slash 70s tinges affecting  both the colour palette and the expanded range of garments which included sweet embroidered knitwear, featuring more of her hand-drawn doodled characters (one of them is called Frenchie after Grease) and kilts.  Beyond her faux fur antics, Weiland employed silver lurex fabric, faux shearling collars and big chunky crystal buttons to broaden out her outerwear.  Anyone accusing Shrimps of being a one-winter wonder can just put that thought aside.  Shrimps fans keep growing in numbers (judging by the room full of Shrimps wearers) and the unpredictable sub-zero weather frankly means she has a duty to fulfil a need for winter-warming cheerfulness.

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Molly Goddard‘s one sweet thing are her tulle dresses – ruched, smocked and made with plenty of love.  From last season’s awkward prom party, Goddard’s girls goes to art school – a life drawing class complete with a slightly rotund naked man, to be specific.  They’ve grown up a bit.  Just a little though, as there’s still an imperfect messiness to the way they wear these pretty frocks, now available in mustard velvet and black cotton, especially when worn with Fair Isle and grey slubby knits underneath.  It’s the spirit of scruffy art school attire contrasted with Goddard’s innate love of all things pretty and pink.  Goddard is clearly on to a good thing as Dover Street Market are currently selling out of her S/S 15 dresses.   From her BA to that ASOS collaboration to her debut prom party, and now to sell-out collections and New Gen sponsorship – it’s been fantastic to witness Goddard’s ascent.

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Up in the cosy enclaves of L’Escargot in Soho, Samantha McCoach presented a new interpretation of the Scottish bonnie lass with her kilt-focused label Le Kilt.  Yup, it’s one thing done well again and that focus is yielding supporters like Dover Street Market.  After all, who else can you turn to for kilts rendered in lurex flecked forest green tartan or patchwork clan checks.  McCoach somehow managed to avoid the clutches of costume territory, despite introducing her new tam o’shanter caps.  My mum tried to make me wear one whenever I’d go up to Edinburgh to visit her side of the family.  She’ll be pleased to know that thanks to Le Kilt, I’m now half-swayed by the proposition.

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With thanks to Mercedes-Benz for providing transportation