LFW: Simone Rocha, 16Arlington and Yuhan Wang
A poignant day of shows in London on Sunday, where 16 Arlington staged the last collection by the late Federica Cavenati, and Simone Rocha unveiled her collection inside the Great Hall at The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn.
Irish designer Simone Rocha took her latest ideas into the Great Hall at The Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn, one of the Inns of Court, dating back to 1422, on Sunday night and the jury’s decision is in: she just had another hit collection.
Presented in semi-darkness and underneath giant stain glass windows, this was a somber display by Rocha, a work of extreme fashion assemblage and brilliantly bold proportions.
Frequently, re-assembling her favored elements, white cotton Victorian frocks; massive ruffles; punky biker jackets; oodles of taffeta and lots of pearls.
“Two sons and two daughters. A dark lament. Crushed taffeta wings, and exploration of outerwear and what lies beneath. Bloodline and quilted blankets. Bitter sequins, blue velvet,” proffered Simone, in her latest lapidary program notes.
However, Rocha did break plenty of new ground with semi-sheer lingerie dresses worn over micro cable sweaters cut-off like a bra, and paired with black stockings trimmed with pearls. Adding in a naughtier, racier touch to Rocha’s romanticism.
Many of her models appearing in pearl trimmed balaclavas, their hair finished with enormous, floor scraping braids. Often marching on all-white platform sneakers that looked made of plaster of Paris.
Backed up by the best soundtrack of London so far, with a marvelous Sinead O’Connor remix courtesy of sound architect, Frédéric Sanchez.
All told, the most elegiac yet also coolly deranged collection of London so far, which the Grand Jury of front row of fashion greeted with thundering applause.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience at 16Arlington when designer Marco Capaldo took his bow, after presenting the final collection on which he and his late partner Federica ‘Kikka’ Cavenati had both created.
In December, Cavenati died after a sudden illness, fortune’s cruel hand ending the career of a very talented designer, who already at the age of 28 had created a special and particular fashion vision.
A standing ovation greeting Capaldo after showing a fall collection that captured all that is distinctive about 16Arlington’s cool take on modern glamor. Its key material the micro sequin, used skillfully in snug boleros, tanks, ankle-length columns and even sequined clogs.
Thoroughly sexy but never overly saucy, from the off-the-shoulder bustiers to the micro suede minis worn with funnel-sleeved Elizabethan knit jackets and knee socks.
Though the most memorable ideas were the snazzy tie-dye stretch tops, flared pants and mini cardigans; along with great moiré velvets jackets and suits. Also impressing were the languid, boyfriend’s pantsuits, cut with admirable volume, and finished with elegant miniature spidery beading.
The cast balanced on studded platform clogs as they toured Yeomanry House in Bloomsbury, to the mordant electronic music of Logarithmic Spiral.
Before Capaldo appeared to a standing ovation, a terribly sad finale to an impressive collection, that served to remind everyone of all Kikka’s immense potential and promise.
They love an eccentric in London Fashion Week, and the wackier the better, like Yuhan Wang, whose latest collection was all about the beauty of imperfection.
All his materials were unpredictable. Wang sent out acres of faux leather, overprinted with huge leaves, tabby cats and kittens, much of it perforated. Everything jumbled up with floral jacquards and meters of lace - all the way to lace socks and boots and super shaggy faux-fur slippers.
A truly eccentric fashion statement, where the best single look was a beige, faux-leather jacket, hyper perforated into a great leaf pattern, and worn over white lace tights that finished in a beige pumps – beguiling and rather beautiful.
A lot of looks really didn’t work – like Wang’s green knit top and hotpants over which was sewn an unfinished embroidery of a tabby cat looked daft rather than daffy. Plus, his silhouette was also mixed, and at times confused – in particular an ecru jacquard empire waist Jane Austen dress that added a half dozen kilos.
However, in a season of grandiose eccentricity this felt very in sync with the whole mood of London.
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