It goes without saying that we adore Lulu Kennedy and her gang at Fashion East! We wouldn’t have been sponsoring this amazing initiative for the last 20 seasons if we didn’t. Not only do we love giving three up-and-coming designers the chance to show their collections on-schedule, but it’s also one of the hottest shows in town. You can be sure that London’s most eccentric will turn up to show their support, usually dressed in some amazing ensemble by one of their designer pals. Take Lulu who looked amazing in Louise Gray and Tallulah Adeyemi who was cute as a button in Marteen van der Horst.
After the style set had enjoyed a pick-me-up or two at the Topshop café – scones, éclairs – you could feel excitement in the air. Maarten van der Horst, Marques’ Almeida and James Long all showed on the Fashion East catwalk last season so the fashion pack we’re excited to see how they’d progressed a season on. Well let us tell you, they certainly didn’t disappoint.
Maarten van der Horst may have burst on to the fashion scene with his bright Hawaiian print and nylon frill petticoats but this season he left them far behind. The collection was still retro-kitsch but it didn’t take place on the shores of Mexico, but back in the office. If the girls in any office Mararten worked in dressed like that then we’re glad we didn’t work there – the competition would really be on! Suggestive blue, pink and white shirting – often in City stripes – was cut into sharp little dresses that had dropped-waists and finished at the thigh, while slinky satin covered in blooming pink roses made for the slinkiest, sharpest suits we’ve ever seen! Fusing the boyish with the ultra girly, it was a love it, or hate it kind-of look. Obviously, we loved it. Anything that fuses a bit of Bruce Weber with Ellen von Unwerth gets our tick of approval.
Marten Marques’ and Paulo Almedia are the newest design duo on the London scene! Their SS12 debut at Fashion East won them a bit of a following with those girls who have a thing for grunge and like to dress nonchalantly. Paying homage to 90s teens who love to wear raw easy pieces, this season was a continuation of last season as they sought to perfect the art of dressing in distressed denim. We loved the denim parka fraying with acid yellow and know a few Topshop girls who will be after a piece of their boyish, yet darkly sexy aesthetic!
James Long took the menswear scene by storm and started designing womenswear after too many cool girls to mention started wearing his knits! It debuted with Fashion East two seasons ago and since then he’s made his mark on the scene with knitted texture clashes and leather inserts you won’t find anywhere else. While his signature was still very much there, for AW12, James was inspired by a trip that he took to Russia with Lulu Kennedy and Louise Gray and sent out a seriously luxe vision down the catwalk. It was the Russian roofs of the Red Square that inspired him to integrate shimmering gold into his latest collection and oh was it stunning! As it said on the show notes, “Disco in a Russian Velvet Underground” probably sums it up best. Now who else will be wearing a beehive and a metallic James Long knit come next season?!
Well done Fashion East – what a show! If you missed it, make sure you watch it below. These are London's new names to note.