Everyone is more than aware of the young fashion talent that London has been producing since you could care to remember. The British capital has an attitude to style that is surpassed by none. Yet to this day, it is one of the hardest places internationally for an emerging designer to survive. For multiple reasons it is not an easy task for a new label to turn their creativity into the business it eventually needs to be. While we do have more than our fair share of talents that are recognised on the international stage, the age old fashion adage that London is about excitement and New York is about money is something that is hard to shake. And it would be even harder was it not for fashion's fairy godmother, Lulu Kennedy, and the Fashion East initiative.
For good reason, the expertise offered by Kennedy and her team is highly sought after, the show itself giving three selected designers the opportunity showcase their collections to visiting press and buyers as part of a proven platform.
This time saw James Long show a patchwork of textures, colours, patterns and materials, all built up to effect. Embroidered embellishment, beadwork, tasselling, Eastern and Aztec inspired motifs featured
Autumn/Winter 12 saw Maarten van der Horst, Marques' Almeida and James Long taking the catwalk. Horst opened the show with a collection of soft embroidered and printed silk and satin pieces. Softer florals made up his bodices, cropped trousers, and cigarette pants, pared down from his bold Hawaiian brights, the inspiration coming from the restrictive uniform of city workers. The stilted, Talking Headsesque sound of LCD Soundsystem's 'Dance Yrself Clean' accompanied, and it never sounded better. In the words of van der Horst: "boardroom, but never boring." And he was right.
Marques' Almeida too progressed their distressed denim pieces, maintaining the deconstructed – practically unconstructed – ripped and frayed signature they're quickly establishing. This season it fell away to reveal a bruised, acidic yellow.
Finally, James Long returned to the catwalk. Originally emerging as a menswear designer, making his mark through leather, knits and prints on LFW's MAN day, Long launched his womenswear line for A/W 11 and has been showing consistently with Fashion East since. This time saw a patchwork of textures, colours, patterns and materials, all built up to effect. Embroidered embellishment, beadwork, tasselling, Eastern and Aztec inspired motifs featured. Shapes were both boxed out and contrastingly svelte, quilted cropped jackets sat on mohair layered dresses, pleated skirts gave volume to form fitting sheepskin gilets and pretty printed chiffon blouses.
Read our interview with Lulu Kennedy HERE