Saturday, 2 March 2013

LFW's New Design Darlings

Call me fickle but here's 5 LFW designers I fell in love with...from the far east to Fashion East to Topshop's NEWGEN

1. J. JS Lee

Minimalist shapes ranging from masculine, simple t-shirt structures to the feminine, such as the not-so-innocent ivory skin tight roll-neck number below. The CSM 2010 graduate and A/W13 NEWGEN winner is back with an easy-to-wear collection of muted pastel, cream and black artisan-inspired knits. Of course there's her signature statement collar, which this time cosies all the way up the neck. What I like is her understated, sleek-tailored aesthetic that is shared amongst some new Asian designers. I was lucky enough to see her live presentation at Somerset House's Portico Rooms, packed with fans including critic Sarah Mower, boutique owner/TV personality Brix Smith-Start and London-Korean blogger Shini Park from Park & Cube.

Photos: londonfashionweek

2. Sister by Sibling 

Like mince pies at Christmas, knitwear is an A/W staple that never goes away (and a godsend too during those arctic month). However the latest NEWGEN winning knitwear trio - Sid Bryan, Joe Bates and Cozette McCreery have taken anarchic knitting to the next level - body engulfing loopy scarves and oversized pom-pom woolly caps that evoked heavily of childhood soft toys. Personally I favoured the top-to-toe, blue and red Cadbury Roses choc box ensemble and dalmatian spotted lilac striped twinsets. Beyond cute when paired with high-top sneakers.

Photos: londonfashionweek

3. Ashley Williams (Fashion East)
Fashion East is the hottest, most unpredictable showcase of young stars before they, well, explode. This season Westminster University graduate Ashley Williams' acidic, garish neon pieces offered a refreshing antidote to the dreary greys of winter skies. How could you not feel awake in that green collared orange peacoat? Slogan type, Elvis newsprints seemed to reverberate current pop-art nostalgia (Tate Modern's new Lichtenstein exhibition for example). Topped off with stuffed animal bags, her collection's more hyper than a juiced up Duracell bunny.

Photos: .londonfashionweek

4. Sophia Webster

The fashion scene has literally fallen head over heels for this young shoe-godfairy who debuted just one season ago. How do you top a first collection worn by models as Barbies in lifesized boxes? Well a Rainbow Winter Wonderland of course. Titled after the Bob Marley song 'I'm a Rainbow Too' the Topshop NEWGEN recipient showcased her sole confectionery at the Tate Modern. I'm loving the eclectic clash of reworked classic prints, colour, details like frills, sheer polka dot mesh and zips located where you wouldn't expect them. Plus who hasn't dreamt of having a pet unicorn?

Photos: .londonfashionweek

5. Ji Cheng

The Chinese designer may be new to London audiences, but 'Jenni Ji' Cheng is a well-established name in Asia, having shown at Shanghai Fashion Week many times. The new collection 'Koi's Whisper' is inspired by fish; more specifically the calm, beauty and elegance of carp folk myths in Asia. Glistening black, ruby and emerald fabrics to sheer, floaty, translucent sleeves and giant handcrafted scales on dresses - this was a testament to her avant garde tailoring skills that appeal to both East and West. Witnessing the backstage hair/Bodyshop makeup preparation (cue tight, glossy fish pleats, sequined eye 'patches' on models) and rehearsals for her Fashion Scout show, sponsored by 'Design by Shanghai', was a surreal, humbling experience I'll never forget.

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