Irish stage invasion as fashion week starts

London Fashion Week kicked off yesterday at Somerset House with Dublin-born designer Zoe Jordan opening the autumn/winter ’13 season preview.

The Irish headcount was evident with TV presenters Laura Whitmore and Amanda Byram sitting front row. Inspired by a love of architecture, Jordan’s fifth collection Foundations paid homage to the postmodernist and modernist masters with punctuated nods to baroque cathedrals, both in shape and print.

Clean lines and ovoid shapes made for a sharp outerwear offering; while bicolour-blocked tunics and slim leg trousers curried favour to a ’60s aesthetic. Jordan’s boy-meets-girl signature found telling expression in dissonant pairings: Floor-sweeping skirts and slub knits, corsets with tuxedo trousers, and mannish blazers layered over structured mini dresses.

Snake print embossing, iridescent jacquards, and Duomo prints also created thoughtful visual interest in this commercially tailored collection.

In contrast, a dark opulence greeted style seekers at the Bora Aksu runway. Taking influence from ’20s Vaudeville twins ‘The Dolly Sisters’, the Turkish Central Saint Martin’s alumnus stayed true to his romantic roots. Contrasting fabrics and silhouettes referenced the era’s modernisation of women’s fashion while also casting a light on the sisters’ speakeasy lifestyle. Structured corsets made yet another appearance, this time over loose chiffon shifts, while exaggerated ruffle capes provided feline foil to the rigours of leather skirts. Although less ‘wearable and saleable’, Aksu’s trademark fabric manipulation made for charming morning theatre.

By far the most show-worthy offerings lay sequestered in the Lancaster Ballroom of The Savoy Hotel. Fyodor Golan’s tribute to Belle du Jour parlayed itself in a strong yet sensitive frisson of frothy chiffons, temp-ered leathers and dramatic cocktail silhouettes.

Following suit was newly lunched luxury demi-couture and ready-to-wear line Gyunel. Erin O’Connor opened the catwalk cavalcade supported by fellow supermodel Jodie Kidd in the front row. The Nordic vibe — evident in white shadowed eyes and snowy brows — evoked images of Tilda Swinton — a muse to Argentinian designer and über craftsman Haider Ackermann. This flattering parallel makes the London label one-to-watch.

Wrapping up the tent-filled action was Canada’s Jean-Pierre Braganza whose juxtaposition of sci-fi and samurai took girl power to a new level.

Saturday sees Ireland’s John Rocha and Orla Kiely on the schedule; not to mention the hotly tipped Rihanna or River Island show. The celeb headcount starts now.

In brief:

*The Designers: Zoe Jordan, Bora Aksu, Fyodor Golan, Gyunel, Jean Pierre Braganza

*The Inspiration: ’20s Vaudeville, Italian architecture, geometry, Samurai style

*The Shape: Slim leg trousers, floor-sweeping skirts, waist-cinching corsets

*The Colours: monochrome, ultra pink, amber, orange, deep plum, petrol, cobalt and oeacock blue, cream

*The Details: illusion panelling, bi- and tri-colour blocking, origami folds

*The Fabrics: Tuscan sheepskin, leather, woven and silk jacquard, silk satin, cashmere knits, fur,

*The Celebs: Laura Whitmore, Amanda Byram, Kate Nash, Jaime Winstone

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