LONDON – Newcomer Simone Rocha and veteran Jasper Conran are among the designers showcasing their latest autumn and winter styles at London Fashion Week, as British luxury fashion powerhouse Burberry prepared to round out a busy Day 2 with its show later Saturday.
Some highlights from the style extravaganza:
PRETTIFIED TAILORING AT SIMONE ROCHA
Dainty lace, ruffles, pretty bows: Simone Rocha’s latest collection may include every girly cliche, but there’s more than meets the eye.
The young designer, known for her modern take on sweet, doll-like looks, dressed models in frilly gold or black tulle and lace dresses over slim tailored pieces such as a buttoned-up shirt or a trouser suit. The outfits were finished off with mannish brogue shoes or furry flat slippers.
There were exaggerated puff sleeves, embroidered roses, fur trims and rich floral brocade fabrics, perhaps a nod to the John Constable portraits Rocha referred to in her show notes. They were certainly a match with the show’s venue, an ornate red and gold room adorned with giant candlelit chandeliers in London’s palatial Goldsmiths’ Hall.
Rocha did break away from delicate dresses, and those were some of the show’s strongest looks: Belted, double-breasted patent leather coats that came in a striking red or military green, as well as red and navy plaid outfits adorned with a tinsel-like trim.
ELEGANCE AND RICH COLORS AT JASPER CONRAN
Designer Jasper Conran pared down the in-your-face, bombastic style some rivals have adopted for London Fashion Week. Instead, Conran showed an elegant collection that relied on many monochromatic outfits with subtle shifts of texture and drape to set them off. The apparent simplicity, offset by the detailing and workmanship, made for an often captivating result.
“I think it’s very much what I’ve learned in my career. These are the things that I know,” said Conran, one of the founding designers of London Fashion Week. “So it’s an expression of quite a long time of learning.”
Conran described the basic elements he used as navy, white and sulphur yellow, with a wide variety of other unusual colors and textures weaved in. He found expressive ways to mix and match, but also relied on one color from head to toes walking the runway in matching, understated shoes. Most models wore their hair long and natural, giving the collection an airy, ethereal feel.
When shades were mixed, it was frequently striking — as in a surprisingly effective dress that paired olive green with dark brown.
Trousers and some dresses were often pleated, and lightweight parkas set off some outfits. Conran seemed to show a special flair in various shades of yellow, including a hooded yellow parka that seemed both practical and sexy.