The Autumn/Winter 2008 London Fashion Week closed last week, but what were the ‘messages’?
Well, as per, there was some daft stuff. London is always the edgiest of the fashion weeks and this year the designers had decided to lose the plot with eyewear – masks, silly glasses, monocles and eye patches were everywhere.
But, as per, there was some good stuff too.
As befits an autumn collection, the palette was mostly black and grey (with Julien McDonald doing wonders with a very restricted palette, as if he’d learned his craft watching Hitchcock movies with costumes by Edith Head), though the all-pervasiveness of it looked to me like it presages a recession. For other colours, Paul Costelloe did his signature tweeds in shades of brown, and everywhere there were odd bits of weird colour thrown in.
It was these that really caught my eye, as they were very much a case of back to the future.
They what we all wore back in the 1980s – screaming, hard pinks and magentas, equally hard purple, a virulent swamp green and ochre yellows. They were seen in coats and in separates, mostly teamed with black (Trinny and Susannah must be livid), and sometimes in suits, belted with black, exactly like I wore back in 91. In that year, I had a suit from Alexon that was almost the exact same colour and shape as this blue coat from Aquascutum, right down to the big black buttons – it’s like getting deja vu. The season’s reds were quite a good though – scarlet and true red and a deep crimson with orange undertones that will suit a lot of women. But I think most of us over 40 will pass on the vibrant coloured tights.
There was more of the trend to volume too – bigger shoulders, wider skirts, big wrap belts, kimono-style sleeves and some asymmetry and Japanese-style fashions. The fashions generally are beginning to feel quite enclosing – again, probably the sign of a recession. These are clothes for wrapping yourself up in while you gather your nuts and wait for spring.
A lot of the younger designers produced clothes that most mature women wouldn’t want to wear, but we were well served by our own generation, including Jasper Conran – clean lines, some assymmetry and butter-soft leathers in an ivory shade; Julien McDonald who produced gorgeous arran-style knitwear in shades of charcoal and pewter grey; Jaeger, which made its first showing at London Fashion Week under the aegis of Karen Boyd (anyone remember Boyd and Storey?), with lots of black and grey but also vibrant mustard-coloured items, including a very nice coat; and Aquascutum, whose gold-splashed mustard coat I would buy like a shot if I still lived that kind of life…
To see the collections, visit London Fashion Week’s website : www.londonfashionweek.co.uk