Thursday, 4 February 2016

Xander Zhou seemed to be playing toy soldiers with his aw16 collection, which crafted military staples into childish looks that were colourful and carefree. Bulky trench coats and overcoats that could have been worn by army generals were suddenly rendered less serious and sharp using a playful spectrum of psychedelic colours, which ranged from electric blue and cherry red to sugar-sweet blackcurrant cordial. One jacket featured an elaborate badge which looked like a military war medal, while sharply pointed boots made a fierce impression. But pieces were made much more frivolous when transformed by art and crafts accompaniments like Palma Violet trousers and shiny silver macs.  Then oversized silhouettes emerged like wide leg trousers and a boxy red military jacket to give certain looks a baggy fancy dress feel like a child in his dad’s clothing. But this was certainly not a bad thing, and rather gave the collection a sense of fun and fantasy which was equally supported by the rainbow colour palettes; just look to the multi-coloured sweater as a further fine example…J
toy soldier childsplay
xander zhou

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Sean Suen took ancient Mughal India into the space-age for aw16 with an exotic edit of adventurous ensembles. Model’s walked out onto the catwalk in a spicy mix of colourful clothing that captured the essence of the Indian sub-continent. Chilli red blazers mixed with ginger two piece suits while cinnamon-hued knitwear and trousers looked laced with flakes of edible gold. Saffron bomber jackets and cargo pants gave the collection a sporty edge, as emblematic medal studded jackets were made to look military with shoulder epaulettes and structured silhouettes, evoking the Renaissance Rajput armies of Rajasthan. But a futuristic feeling was rapidly induced with lashes of metallic fabric, from starlight silver to galactic gold, which gave certain looks a forward-thinking vibe. However, the ancient Indo-Arab atmosphere was definitely more pronounced with the inclusion of Arabic calligraphy tattoos on model’s chests in addition to Bollywood facial piercings…J
space-age sub-continent
sean suen

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Katie Eary pushed boundaries this season, but this time, in a more personal way. The print princess toned things down a notch without selling the soul of her label, which depends on making statements with sublimely surreal patterns. Initial looks were full-on Eary: space-age metallics, crotch-grabbing PVCs and delicious crushed velvets, which included chocolate brown jackets, clementine sweaters and sapphire overcoats featuring garish glossy panels. Awesomely absurd motifs also re-appeared such as goggle-eyed goldfish on jumpers, hoodies and shorts. But things then took an almost ornamental turn with what looked like Art Nouveau patterns and sharp Art Deco lines on pseudo-oriental silhouettes with kimono connotations. Creatures of nature such as butterflies and snakes were curved and twisted along fluid lines to make highly decorative graphics from these retro artistic eras. And despite the fact that the snakes were winking like rebellious teenagers, patterns were definitely more mature, with sophisticated and elegant paisleys in romantic aubergine filling up one look, while jagged geometric lines dominated loose shirts and pyjama-like trousers, which draped like the robes of Ming dynasty emperors. Colours were as soft and sensuous as the highly tactile fabrics, which included everything from lustrous silks to supple wools. It was perhaps Katie at her more refined and renegade, but we certainly weren’t complaining…J
nouveau nuances
katie eary

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Bobby Abley focused on the party for his bold and brash aw16 collection, while taking things back to tropical shores with a Rio de Janeiro themed Carnival colour clash. Lush tones burst onto the catwalk in an exotic extravaganza that featured colour-pop cartoon looks amongst Rio Carnival costume feathers in a range of Samba hues. Direct Rio references were aplenty with ‘Christ the Redeemer’ t-shirts and city slogans on passionfruit coloured tops, while Ipanema ocean blue hoodies made a nod to Disney’s awesome animated epic of the same city name.  Caipirinha green vests and coats fused with sports-luxe sweat pants that shone through in stand-out deep blues as a dusting of stars from the Brazilian flag transformed these casual basics into striking set pieces. The languidly lapping waves of Copacabana Beach were then hinted at through sea blue and lagoon green swirls on track pants and flowing shorts, while banana yellow trainers completed the sub-tropic streetwear vibe. But the ultimate tourist attraction had to be the cartoon sweats and hoodies featuring punchy Amazonian parrots and Daffy Duck on a jungle run. Christina Aguilera made a random cameo appearance too as the Carnival Queen in a tangerine orange ‘Dirrty’ crop top to complete the action-packed proceedings…J
rio carnival clash
bobby abley

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Christopher Raeburn indulged in a far-flung journey that headed far deeper into the Far East for aw16. His obsessions with remote and rugged landscapes took him from the forests of Borneo to the land of Genghis Khan, with its inhospitable mountains and panoramic plains. Mongolian meadows with moss green foliage were exemplified in the olive anoraks and hooded parkas, which contained flecks of brown in the prints, like the woody bark of a tree. The sandy prairies of the Gobi Desert were also clearly imagined in the design of the patchwork bomber jackets and fluffy shearling lined overcoats, which not only reflected the caramel colours of the earth, but also denoted the loose and enveloping silhouettes worn by nomadic herder tribes in Mongolia’s far north. This sense of remoteness was reiterated in shawl like cardigans with a Patagonian edge along with the ice-white shredded ponchos in the show finale, which looked pretty much like a Siberian snow blizzard. Eye-catching knitwear also added to the mountainous mood with white patches that resembled streaks of snow, and cute snow leopard prints that captured the wild and wondrous terrain of Mongolia’s most isolated areas. In this sense, it was a show that pushed boundaries by expanding visual horizons and making people think about places more unknown to the outside world…J
mystic mongols
christopher raeburn

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Maharishi embraced the Indian sub-continent for aw16 by going deep into the beating heart of the hypnotic Himalayas. The age-old military rivalry between India and Pakistan along the tranquil but tumultuous Kashmir border was expressed in ethnic inspired camouflage capes and rugged cargo pants, while the curvaceous snow-capped peaks of Ladakh and Leh were evoked in cosy padded outerwear of bulging proportions. Patchwork trousers and knitwear looked inspired by Nepalese Sherpa nomads with their rustic, hand-stitched clothing as the leafy green colours depicted picture perfect pine forests in the stunning Shimla foothills of the world’s tallest mountain range. Tibet’s sun-drenched steppes then emerged from a colourful cacophony of burnt cinnamon shades that submerged key clothing pieces in a swathe of Dalai Lama orange. Buddhist monk robes and shamanic patchwork shawls subsequently ensued from a monastic mirage of spiritual silhouettes that clearly aimed to demonstrate the drama and splendour of other-worldly looks. This was summed up most succinctly in some of the final show styles which diverted the route down to the holy waters of sacred Varanasi for an Indian sadhu insurgency; think combat camo pieces fused with spicy saffron hues, Hindu tika face paints and golden yellow yogi prayer beads plus obligatory Goa trance dreadlocks…J
indian escapade

Thursday, 21 January 2016

James Long’s collection touched upon tribal mystique again with an emblematic edit of organic florals and ethnic Aztec stripes. But this time, the mood was more Dalston dancehall and Brooklyn house party than the deserted beaches and temples of Burma or Bali. Key clothing staples revolved around the wardrobes of local cool guys who work hard and play even harder at the hottest gigs and clubnights in town. Think vibrant sweatpants, chilled denims, patterned shearling jackets and colour-drenched sweatshirts for those whacked-out weekend rave moments which are always in the calendar. Party loving local heroes were the centre of attention in the comic cartoons of the hoodies and jumpers while trippy turquoise sequin tops and glitzy gold embellishments celebrated their disco dancetime desires. Spray painted denims resembled tripped out tie dyes that could easily be seen at a Thai full moon beach party or just down the road at the downtown shisha cafĂ©, depending on your exact and preferred location. However, poppy printed trousers and dense green jungle jackets were certainly conjured from more mesmerising and mystical realms such as Afghan opium fields or Rarotongan rainforests. But such faraway distractions were brought back to reality with metallic tech bombers that glistened like the glass of urban skyscrapers. Adventurous escapades were still in the back of the mind, but weekend parties seemed far more pressing….;-)
party prints
james long