February sees the arrival of spring attire; outfits that we hope will lift our spirits as we enter the new season. Yes, I know it’s still freezing cold but the sun is starting to shine.
With the mood shifting away from the ferocity of studs and shoulders of past seasons we were left with a winter of camels and capes. But as we pack away our ‘classic’ pieces, anticipate a look that is slightly younger, less polished and embraces an edge. This theme is not so much overtly lady-like as subtley feminine – a much more carefree look than last season’s and one that translates well to the streets of Hackney.
The big screen presence of ‘Black Swan’, with its ethereal and awe-inspiring Rodarte ballet costumes, re-iterates the vision of spring fashion put forward by Hackney boys Erdem Moralioglu and Peter Piloto. Both had a ghost-like sensuality to their collections but also a sense of strength and velocity. These costumes were not being exhibited to look sweet. Rather, they embodied strength. Stepping away from the skinny jeans and combat boots we’ve been masked in for years, these looks imply fluidity and freedom. Amidst the dresses is the noticeable presence of proper trousers.
Trousers, proper trousers, have been finding their feet. It is a change, but this softer look has been long awaited and one that Erdem has been championing since his emergence: femininity with a twist.
Fitted bodices, flared skirts and boxy jackets all made an appearance at the London fashion shows. But departing from their original reference, the jackets came in neon-brights and the dresses were filled with misplaced, multi-coloured poppy prints. Another Hackney-based designer at the forefront of this revival was Christopher Kane with his collection, “Princess Margaret on acid”.
Evolving from the very structured and sweet look of the ‘Mad Men’ ladies, our highest of heels can still find their place in our wardrobes. We may have been told that platforms and extreme heels have had their time and that we should swap them for kitten heels, but I’m not so convinced. The new-age platform can look just as feminine. Footwear – heels, platforms and flats alike – appeared with lace and chiffon ties, the unexpected use of fabric adding fragility and daintiness to the stiff and solid look of wedges and platforms. This element of surprise appears to be as a key theme this season.
Vintage boutiques will most definitely be keeping their rails of 50s-inspired dresses, jackets and cigarette pants, as well as fluid pieces from the 70s, including printed maxi dresses. Make the pieces current by contrasting fluid dresses with brogues and prissy blouses with a chiffon wedge. Keep the look clean and add something unexpected.
Make-up at the shows was an embodiment of this. Faces were kept mostly clean with a hint of colour on the cheeks or lips. Try out a blotted-on apricot-tinged or neon-orange lipstick.
Spring is certainly the season to have fun.
Designers to look out for: Erdem, Christopher Kane, Peter Piloto, Charles Anastase and Jonathon Saunders.