Designers opt for classic case of boy meets girl

IT was a classic case of boy meets girl at London Fashion Week yesterday as designers juxtaposed the tough and tender with surprising results.

“Baroque ‘n’ Roll” set the tone for Antonio Berardi’s skilfully ornate collection which married fluid femininity with sharp, unapologetic details. Robust rococo embellishments made fitting body armour over sheer tulle and chiffon; with corset- inspired hemming in the more vagabond silhouette.

Sheer panelling over Berardi’s signature tailoring created a subtle peek-a-boo allure while uncompromising PVC jackets, patent shoes and bags in crimson and turquoise belonged to the ‘keep ‘em guessing’ kind of gal.

Fittingly, Peter Pilotto showed his far-flung colour fest at the old Eurostar terminal in London’s Waterloo Station. Inspired by tropical flowers of Indonesia, the Austrian-born designer channelled this exoticism into elaborate floral jungle prints.

Much like Berardi, Pilotto used diaphanous fabrics and glittering pailettes with feminine aplomb, while touches like racerbacks and neoprene (synthetic rubber) balanced the extravagant with a luxe sportswear feel.

Christopher Kane evoked a sportier vibe with cricket vests slung over metallic minis; and leather shifts sporting angular slashes and metallic embellishments; not to mention those plastic floral appliqués jackets and rubber-soled sandals. It’s no wonder the Scot draws the front-row big guns likes US Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Central Saint Martin’s grad and former Fashion East alum, Michael Van Der Ham, on the other hand, curried favour with the frock. By modernising vintage silhouettes and combining them with his signature collaging, Van Der Ham tapped into a deliciously laissez-faire vibe. Think abstract brush strokes, confetti, feather print, geometric designs on crepe de chines, open weave cottons and textured silk satin.

Day-appropriate layered dresses; striking, full-length gowns; slim trousers and collage print silk t-shirts all made the grade, polished off with Louboutin shoes in six variations of the Dutch designer’s prints.

Stars like Bjork and Tori Amos have already discovered his talent. Looks like he’ll have a new raft of fans very soon.

Today’s show schedule includes the hotly-anticipated S/S 12 collection, Plastiscope, from Galway girl Joanne Hynes. Did I mention the Irish have been hitting some serious fashion home runs in London? Ah sure, never hurts to say it twice.

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