We speak to Heikki Salonen, Felicity Brown and Simone Rocha after their Fashion East presentation
For its tenth anniversary, Fashion East and Lulu Kennedy celebrated with a selection of London’s top of the crop designers. Finnish-born Heikki Salonen started with a collection in earthly colours, focused on frayed linen tops and printed skirts. Often using cropped jackets and over sized T-shirts, Salonen created an attractive silhouette. Cargo pants and linen biker jackets added to a quirky show that was made even more intriguing through dresses with tussled fabric bits at the bottom. Definitely one to watch!
The second designer was Felicity Brown. An ex-employee of Lanvin, Mulberry and Loewe, Brown took her artistic knowledge in a more poetic cocktail dress direction. Out of her 12 looks, ten were short dresses in navy, pink and mustard yellow with dozen of fabric layers attached, making the torsos resemble silk roses. Simone Rocha finished off the show with collection of over sized tailoring made more interesting through cut out fabric. Most white and pink pieces were missing square fabric patches somewhere. Also net mesh was used to deconstruct the formal silhouette. Silver metal collars and perplex plastic bags added an exciting touch to the accessories, but it was the feeling of minimal clothes made maximal that impressed the most.
Dazed Digital: What inspired you for S/S11?
Heikki Salonen: It was mainly about Native American culture and skaters, but it was more about creating a wearable collection. I’ve always designed from story telling, but this time it was more about the clothes.
DD: So less conceptual then?
Heikki Salonen: Yes, definitely. There were no jokes or gimmicks in there.
DD: Tell me about the prints…
Heikki Salonen: It was about Vision street wear and 90s culture in general.
DD: What about the fabrics, there seemed to be a lot of treated linen?
Heikki Salonen: There were lots of mixed linen synthetics and cotton synthetics in there, I wanted to go a bit beyond plain cotton and linen, because these move differently.
DD: Do you have a fave piece from the show?
Heikki Salonen: It’s hard to say now, but I think it’s the total mood that I like the best.
Dazed Digital: What brought on this season?
Felicity Brown: I’m always looking to see what you can do with fabric from a sculpture point of view, and that’s sort of what I was doing this time around as well
DD: What sort of fabrics are we talking about?
Felicity Brown: A hard and thick organza and a really soft silk mixed in together to get that structural look.
DD: Is it all hand stitched on?
Felicity Brown: It’s all hand dyed, hand cut and hand stitched on – it takes weeks to do!
DD: Is there a piece that sticks out for you?
Felicity Brown: The blue and red dress…it sums up the whole collection.
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for you?
Simone Rocha: It was the traditional Chinese mourning, everyone wears white. I visited my grandad’s grave in Hong Kong and it was stark white but had highlighted flowers and that’s where I got the colourful accessories from and the pink clothes. It’s tough but with a feeling of romance.
DD: You got a feeling that you it was originally quite minimal but made advanced through cutting out fabric etc
Simone Rocha: Exactly, I really admire traditionally garments, like crombies, and I like taking tailoring and trying to elevate it to something new and fresh. It’s about bringing them back to life again!
DD: Do you have a favourite piece from the show?
Simone Rocha: I really like the skeleton coat, which is exposing the interiors of the garment.