IF beautiful fabrics, eye-catching patterns and glossy pages of designer look-books is what you’re after, look no further than the London showrooms at this season’s Paris Fashion Week. In its week-long debut, the AW17 Women’s collection showcased hot designers such as Mimi Wade, Caine London, Ryan Lo, Roberta Einer, Nabil Nayal and Marta Jakubowski. With Mary J Blige blaring through the warehouse as my trusty backing track, I got chatting to the designers about the inspirations behind their new collections:
1. Marta Jakubowski
Bold and bright, this collection was all about showcasing strong looks for women, which the outrageous colour palette certainly did not let you forget; with bright blocky oranges, yellows, purples and reds dazzling your retinas.
That said, the collection did feature classic tailored shapes assembled with a modern twist. Standout pieces included fuchsia boiler suit and a simple straight-legged jumpsuit with a beautiful cut-out design, which made for reconstructed updates on classic looks.
2. Roberta Einer
Inspired by the 1940s, Roberta’s collection was all beautiful embellishments, fringing, and embroidery.
The Central St. Martins graduate burst onto the fashion scene after relocating to Paris to study under Balmain’s Oliver Rousteing; and from her attention to detail and outstanding craftsmanship, the Balmain influence is crystal clear. Speaking of which, her collection sparkled with Swarovski, the collection’s sponsor, adding an element of glamour to her otherwise earthy collection.
Colours were cooled down with green, camel and salmon pink tones, working to emphasise the quirkiness of her embellishments, slogans and embroidery. My favourite pieces included embellished sock books, structured white shirts with an embroidered slogan on the back, and a beautiful camel dress which mixed materials in the body and featured a sequined turtleneck.
3. Nabil Nayal
Nabil Nayal truly embodies the importance of the story behind the collection. Growing up in Aleppo, Syria, he was surrounded by materials as a result of his father’s work in a textile factory. Nabil’s collection was definitely one of the most interesting to learn about. I chatted with Jennifer Davis, Nabil’s business manager, about the inspiration behind ‘Elizabethan Sportswear Part IV.’
Fusing classical Elizabethan garment structures with modern sporting fabrics, such as perforated neoprene, the pieces come together to form an exciting, if not conflicting aesthetic. The monochrome palette was supported by bold and charismatic shapes, incorporating elements from ‘The Rainbow Portrait’ of Queen Elizabeth I from the 1600s. Interestingly, the exact fabric from the dress she was wearing has recently been discovered and put on display in Hampton Court.
Although old fashioned in its influences, the collection is exhilaratingly modern and one to watch.
4. Samuel Gui Yang
This collection was an experiment in the human body’s relationship to fabric and textile.
Gui Yang used a single mould to create his iconic rubber shoes, and the plastic used was the closest material to that used in plastic surgery on humans. This material was featured in small elements of all his designs, including on the sleeve of a minimal white top, and on the pocket of cigarette trousers.
5. Caine London
Loud, proud and East End inspired; my favourite designer of the London showrooms.
Established in 2015 by Matt Allchin and Hayley Caine, the duo use reworked items representative of the London they know and love. The pair is best known for their hand-painted denim jackets, as seen on Lady Gaga on the London leg of her tour.
This season, pieces featured motifs, animals and embellishments inspired by cockney rhyming slang, such as ‘Apple and Pears’ (stairs) and ‘monkey’ (£500). One of the jackets featured a ‘Big hairy spider’ and was inspired By Matt’s childhood growing up near an east end market. He would often hear a man selling ‘Big Hairy Spiders’ and the image conjured up in his mind is now beautifully immortalised on his coat.