Betty On The Scene: London Fall 2012 Fashion Week!
We see Elisa Palomino, Teatum Jones, Assya, and more at London Fashion Week.
-Kathryn H. Cusimano
Cheerio, Bettys! I’m back at London Fashion Week again, and I’m thrilled to have plenty of great fashion news for you. I had the opportunity to check out a whole host of fabulous new designers, from Elisa Palomino to Teatum Jones.
I started my Saturday at London’s imposing Freemasons’ Hall, where the Vauxhall Fashion Scoutshowcase presented fresh talent. I had the pleasure of attending Elisa Palomino’s runway show, which was an extraordinary sensory experience. Palomino’s Autumn/Winter 2012 collection, entitled Crystal Flowers, inspired by Florine Stettheimer’s book of the same name. Stettheimer hosted one of New York City’s great salons in the 1920s and ‘30s, and played host to the likes of Marcel Duchamp and Georgia O’Keeffe. Models paced the hall in lush, elegant dresses as opera played overhead. Palomino presented flowing, floor-length gowns in velvet and chiffon, with bright floral prints and feather embellishments. The collection also included several dramatic headpieces, including large purple flowers. It was a collection Zelda Fitzgerald would have loved. In addition, Palomino created scents for her audience. I received Rendez-Vous, a deliciously spicy, sexy scent that made me want to don one of Palomino’s gowns and launch a salon of my own – I wonder who I could invite?
I also had the chance to see a few of the other Vauxhall Fashion Scout designers. Dutch designer Myrza De Muynck presented sweet, quirky dresses and sweaters with delicate hand beading. She even showed a sweater made of terry cloth covered in elaborate beading, saying she loved mixing the intricate embellishments with the inexpensive, comfy fabric.
Christina Hamilton is another designer to watch. A trained saddler, Hamilton presented sumptuous equestrian-inspired handbags made with traditional saddlery techniques – a very authentic way to wear the equestrian trend.
I also fell in love with Charlotte Simpson’s beautiful beaded dresses and jackets. Simpson told me her collection, “Biological Dimensions,” was inspired by surface to volume ratios in internal biology. I was surprised to hear that her gorgeous collection found its roots in biology, but she wasn’t the only designer to find inspiration in the sciences.
After seeing the offerings at Freemasons’ Hall, I popped into the Exhibition at Somerset House, where I ran into Sara Ebbett, a favorite of mine from last season. Ebbett told me her new collection of scarves was inspired by a visit to Charles Darwin’s house – bio-inspiration strikes again! Each lush scarf is adorned with beautiful plants and flowers, and dotted with “creepy crawlies” – bumblebees and beetles pop up among the flowers, but bugs have never looked this beautiful.
The Exhibition was chaos as always, but it was a wonderful opportunity to check out some great up-and-comers. Teatum Jones was a favorite of mine. Designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones showed beautiful pieces in dreamy digital prints inspired by Grimm’s fairy tales and 1940s Hollywood crime scene photography – quite the combination! Justin Hawkes, a new shoe designer, was another standout, with arch-free shoes inspired by footprints in the sand. His delicate, modern shoes are definitely on my wish list. The North Circular’s cozy creations also made my must-have list. The North Circular is a British company that produces eco-friendly wool accessories right here in the UK. There’s nothing I wanted more than a North Circular scarf later that day, as the wind and rain nearly blew me into the Thames.
Of course, it isn’t the Exhibition without extraordinary jewelry. I fell in love with Assya, a London-based jewelry company. This season, Assya’s designers produced beautiful, modern baubles inspired by Studio 54. In addition to their core collection, Assya produced a 1920s-inspired collection called Gatsby. I hope you are all big fans of Fitzgerald, because Gatsby has been popping up on everyone’s lips, and it looks like the Roaring ‘20s revival is here to stay. You won’t hear any complaints from me! I was also blown over by Mawi’s opulent costume jewelry – from chunky faux-emerald earrings to sparkly panther pendants, Mawi pieces are meant to make you the center of attention. Last but not least, I must mention Renaissance Life, a Swedish jewelry company that produces whimsical, sweet pieces pendants, rings, and more. My favorite piece is a heart-shaped pendant that contains a box big enough to hold a short message. It is certainly the most romantic necklace I’ve ever seen – I hope my other half is taking notes!
As always, London Fashion Week has been a whirlwind, but this year, I didn’t go home empty-handed. Topshop is celebrating its decade-long partnership with NEWGEN by releasing limited-edition t-shirts designed by NEWGEN recipients, and I was lucky enough to snag one. What do you think of my new Mary Katrantzou top? I can’t wait to wear it!
Well, that’s it for me this season.
Tell us: which London Fashion Week designers are your faves? Let us know!
Kathryn Hayden Cusimano is a London-based writer and web producer.