Sep 19, 2012
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Mulberry whimsy, abstract Ilincic end London Fashion Week

Sep 19, 2012

LONDON - London served up a thick slice of cute, abstract and surreal themes on Tuesday to end its reign on the fashion calendar with the Mulberry, Roksanda Ilincic and Meadham Kirchhoff shows.

Mulberry - SS 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

British brand Mulberry, famously known for its convetable bags, offered up a collection of sorbet-coloured and floral-inspired outfits on the last day of London Fashion Week's spring/summer 2013 shows.

The collection saw Mulberry go back to its roots, taking inspiration from the rich florals of the English countryside, displaying clothes in delicate shades of peach, mint and cream, embellished with detailed floral motifs.

Creative director Emma Hill revamped a 1970s silhouette using flowing dresses with low backs and tailored jackets, but introduced a sexy edge with bonded leather.

Outerwear was inspired by English country heritage, with models in military pea coats and boxy biker jackets over evening dresses in tan and black leather. Navy prints and jacquard textures, added the whimsical twist that the brand has become known for.

As always, all eyes were on the accessories as Mulberry debuted its Willow collection of bags and clutches, centred around a tote bag with floral prints and detailed petals added to Mulberry's signature postman lock.

"It's a great British brand. It's timeless pieces that just go with everything. There's such a variety of colours and styles, it's a brand that I just really love," British Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis told Reuters from the front row of the catwalk.

The show was held at London's Claridges Ballroom, which had been transformed into an English country garden, with pastel-coloured garden gnomes and wheelbarrows dotted around, accompanied by lush floral hangings. Guests were treated to slices of angel cake and fruit juices.


Designer Roksanda Ilincic offered a more abstract-inspired collection of elegant day dresses, skirts and blouses with a modern graphic feel in the grand setting of the Savoy Hotel.

Sherbet lemons, burnt tangerines and dusky pinks were paired with crisp whites, pale greys and cobalt blues to provide sharp colour contrasts across the designer's spring/summer 2013 line.

Colourful tweed dresses, soft jersey maxi skirts and cute neckties also featured, along with delicate ruffled details, chic cardigans and knitted pencils skirts.

Ilincic told Reuters she was inspired the work of two artists, Niki de Sainte Phalle and Josef Albers for her latest collection, comparing the differences between their work and their personalities.

"Like feminine and masculine, sportswear with evening wear, something luxurious with something quite accessible and everyday, and it was a combination of everything really," she said.

The designer said she liked to mix different things to create interesting opposites, taking the colour palette from Albers and the shapes of the clothes from Sainte Phalle.

"The colour palette came from Josef Albers and he's known for his minimal colour combinations, which have lots of different shades of yellow, or white, honey colour, mixed with black and blue," she added.

Meadham Kirchhoff - SS 2013 / Photo: Pixel Formula

Meadham Kirchhoff presented a dramatically elaborate show entitled "A Cautionary Tale," which saw the catwalk decadently decorated with iced cakes, fresh floral bouquets and wallpapered screens printed with birds and flowers.

Models meandered down the runway in pieces adorned in rich textures and patterns, in hats or with flowers in their hair, and an abundance of ribbon and bows embellished the majority of the collection.

Denim, satin, taffeta and tulle featured heavily across the line, as well as woven jacquards. Jackets, trousers and skirts were covered with ornate embroidery, beading and sequin detailing.

"I just wanted to create something that was really beautiful and only beautiful," designer Edward Meadham told Reuters after the show.

Meadham and his design partner Benjamin Kirchhoff, are famous for their highly creative and surreal shows and did not disappoint with a surreal production and their offering of flouncy patterned dresses, lace bloomers and plush full skirts paired with beaded trousers.

"It's all about make-believe, it's all about making people want to desire and I think that's kind of maybe a reflection as well on that," Kirchhoff told Reuters.

The day ended with the crowning of new talent Haizhen Wang at Fashion Fringe, a fashion business that supports young designers to help them launch their labels.

Former winners include Erdem, Fyodor Golan and Corrie Nielsen. Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey, who was the guest judge this year, awarded the prize to the Chinese designer, who described winning as a dream come true.

Being mentored by Bailey was phenomenal, Wang told Reuters.

"He's a guy I have admired all the way, his direction with Burberry, fantastic. He's my icon, I have to say, I love him. He's a brilliant guy."

Bailey, who has just signed up for another year as a mentor with Fashion Fringe, said the choice was incredibly difficult, but he chose Wang for his well rounded skills and vision to be able to create not only a collection, but a brand.

"He just instinctively knows how the industry works and he's somebody that will be able to have a great vision, but also operate within that vision very professionally and execute," Bailey told Reuters after the show.

"You can have lots of ideas, but if you can't execute, it's pointless. But he's an executer as well."

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