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Tom Ford, Huishan Zhang, Fashion East, Ashley Williams, Christopher Kane, Peter Pilotto

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Peter Pilotto AW13

Is it just us or do Peter Pilotto knock it out of the ballpark every time? The AW13 collection – complete with everyone’s current model crush Cara D – was an affirmation of why the design duo has achieved such vaunted status for their masterful creations. Smoothly sculpted dresses, architectural shapes, mannish tailoring and bold lines marked a super feminine show of dresses and skirts with capelet shoulders and high round necks something of a theme.


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Then of course there was the print – those eye popping, mouthwateringly bold digital prints that are so 3D they make the models look almost alien. The work of Spanish renaissance artists provided the basis for AW13 prints and there was a feel of the matador to some of the tailoring too, especially the boxy bolero jackets. We loved the bulky puffas and diagonal cutting – if they can do for the asymmetric hem what they did for the peplum, pretty soon we’ll all be wearing them.

Huishan Zhang AW13

The danger of revisiting another decade is that it’s easy to stumble into old hat territory. Where a master class is needed on how not to do that we would recommend Huishan Zhang teach it. The 1960s vibe was strong in his AW13 line, but we didn’t get wafts of joss sticks or even a whiff of Patchouli, rather a series of elegant, fresh looks that focused on shift dresses, cigarette pants, and lots of lace.

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In fact, other than the shapes Zhang used, the looks were almost entirely ‘modern,’ with wet look, sheer, sequins and embroidered flowers just some of the textures cleverly incorporated, and a mix of primary, pastel and metallic hues. We particularly loved the cornflower blue coat dress with the peek-a-boo panel – technically entirely inoffensive and yet wonderfully rude.

Christopher Kane AW13

The buckles. It was all about the buckles for us at Christopher Kane on Monday – they were everywhere: cute on kilts, decorating the décolletage, and holding their own against some of the most covetable fur trim we’ve ever…well…coveted. Camo prints, sultry velvets, 3D poppies and plenty of flesh flashing sheer gave AW13 a very grown up, sexy feel – luxuriant almost.

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Whilst it’s clear that the PPR investment in the label is already reaping dividends, we wouldn’t want to take anything way from Kane’s own vision, as he provided us with some fresh thinking this fashion week, where many others did not. Brain prints, scientific beading and several dresses that looked like they had been rubbed up against a balloon brought a science project feel that was entirely unexpected and armour-like structures made models seem like a tribe of techno glamazons ready for a coup. It wasn’t a shouty collection but it was certainly one we’d shout about.

Fashion East AW13

With Fashion East alumni such as Gareth Pugh, House of Holland, Holly Fulton and Simone Rocha (to name a few) everywhere on the LFW schedule, there are expectations to be met by this year’s current crop. Props seemed to be the accessories of the moment at Fashion East on Tuesday, from toy dolls through to rabbits clutched by the ear, and each of the three designers had a very specific vision in mind for their work. 

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Ashley Williams was our stand out talent from FE this year, with a sweetly retro series of shapes and styles that incorporated Elvis’ face, preppy stripes, ladylike gingham and a swinging lipstick print. We particularly loved the Brownies style badges, the knife sharp collars and the Presley dresses - and we’ll fight anyone for the teddy bear bag. 

Tom Ford AW13

Tom Ford’s London debut at Lancaster House was one of this year’s highlights for us (and for Mr and Mrs Timberlake, Anna Wintour et al on the FROW…) and from the array of meet n greet mini Tom Fords waiting on arrival, to the opulent location, it was a gala of gauche from the word ‘go.’

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With a theme of ‘cross cultured’ and ‘multi ethnic’ (translation: anything goes), the collection stomped that fine line between good and bad taste that Ford achieves so effortlessly. Prints (Inuit, Native American, Mexican) and colour in abundance, magical monochrome, mismatched textures, breathtaking fringing and a fair amount of bejewelling sashayed down the catwalk on glossily smoky bronze-eyed, strong browed models.

We adored the sequined ponchos, the thigh length wader boots, the knock out use of colours and that thematic comic book ‘Pow’ motif that was beaded onto maxi dresses in something of a Lichtenstein moment. And then there was the Jaguar Mink Parka – a thing of such beauty that it may even have drawn gasps.

In a time of recession, some may have expected less over the top-ness from Ford (although if you did, more fool you frankly) but as he said himself, “I got tired of minimalism, I'm not in the mood for it.” Ah-men to that.

TF Show report: Jade Stokes

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