Irish designers have their catwalk day at London Fashion Week

Daisy Lowe (second left) and Eliza Doolittle at the House of Holland autumn/winter show

At just 29, Jonathan William Anderson is established as one of those designers that drags fashion forward.

The Magherafelt, Co Derry, native’s shows are directional: They never include anything you can identify elsewhere in the same season even as he divides his time between his eponymous brand and a creative directorship at Loewe, the Spanish luxury house.

His earthy autumn offering was inspired by “a woman from the land”. The monastic drapery left not a zip or button in sight, just the odd twist or fold. His midriff-baring tops were next-to-nothing knots paired with slim midi and maxi-skirts.

Waists were defined with forgiving bustiers pulled over tops and blazers. Shoes and bags were effortless, all slides and clutches with leather uppers and hand-straps. The fabrics were a mix of nubby wools, corduroys, linen, and shearling.

Saturday’s show drew the elite of the fashion press — Suzy Menkes, Tim Blanks, Stefano Tonchi — as well as trendsetters Leigh Lezark, Daisy Lowe, and Derek Blasberg. They won’t have been disappointed.

Meanwhile, if you miss your back-to-school Clarks and love a good mackintosh, Orla Kiely’s autumn/winter collection has you covered.

The Dublin designer drenched her street-scene show installation in fake rain and dressed models in colourful raincoats, woolly jumpers, cropped trousers, and chunky heeled Mary Janes.

The shoes are the product of a new collaboration with Clarks: Punch-detailed, sturdy things with rounded toes your Mum would approve of. I liked the cute polka-dot brollies and ’60s flower-print box-bags. The flower-print also featured on Biba-esque shift-dresses. The Bobbi Brown make-up, which was inspired by Catherine Deneuve in Parapluies de Cherbourg, was very pretty. Would you wear Kiely’s white wool tights? Well, it was raining cats and dogs.

As for John Rocha, he’s a true romantic and clearly loves a woman in silk chiffon. Whether it is piled on her head, gathered peplum-style at her hips, or nestling beneath her chin, he indulged in the stuff on Saturday.

In keeping with the burgeoning “art on fashion” trend, this collection was greatly inspired by Pierre Soulages, the French abstract painter who liked to use heavy black brushstrokes on white backgrounds.

Rocha showed heavy black velvets and layered black crochet, accessorised with organza corsages and chunky, black, buckled shoes. The high-waisted, wide-legged trousers that were so hot for autumn were present in black wool tweed. The dark mood was broken by the silk-floral appliqué he made use of last season.

Temperley London picked up on the growing “art you can wear” trend at the Savoy yesterday.

Graphic, slightly baroque tapestries woven directly into skirts, scarves, and bodices created a real feast for the eyes. This was a darker, sexier offering from Alice Temperley, often described as “bohemian” or “wedding-appropriate” (Pippa Middleton wore her to Kate’s reception).

She recently told The Observer it would be “a bit Guy Bourdin”; the sheer gold and silver-foil patterned dresses do speak to that photographer’s raunchy style, as does a totally transparent white number with swirled silk embroidery to conceal one’s modesty.

The coats were my favourite pieces: Quilted silk smoking jackets, a shell-pink swing-jacket, and a powder-pink rabbit fur.

Temperley has been building her brand for over a decade. This collection showed real maturation.


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