London Fashion Week has officially begun, kicking off with J. JS Lee at 10am yesterday morning. Nothing was going to keep me from the capital this season; the spring/summer shows are so bright and refreshing – just what we all need as winter starts to rear its ugly head. Having said that, the sun was shining on London yesterday and after a few too may caffeine hits I was ready for a full afternoon of fashion with The Body Shop at Fashion Scout.
We were lucky enough to be invited backstage (again!) for a sneak peek of the products used to create each look. Heading backstage is like being thrown into a different climate. Models are being pulled from every direction, dozens of cameras capture the scene like inconsistent strobe lights and The Body Shop makeup products frame the entire room like candy in a sweet shop. It’s a million degrees in there and yet the atmosphere is buzzing, with everyone waiting to unveil their hard work to hundreds of industry insiders.
My first show was Daniela Barros & Joao Melo Costa. These Portuguese designers presented totally different collections, each one creative and unique in its own right. Daniela Barros favoured over sized tailoring, minimalist designs and over-sized accessories. The monochrome colour palette was refreshing for spring/summer while the huge clutch bags and thigh-high slits gave it a cool edge. Hair was left in beach-style waves and the makeup was simple and clean, just like the collection. Joao Melo Costa’s collection favoured paper-like textures and bright colours, giving us more of a playful vibe with print in lime green, brown, purple, coral, pink, yellow and blue.
Backstage The Body Shop was doing mini manicures with celebrity tail technician, Glenis Baptiste to showcase their brand new Colour Crush Nails Collection. Unfortunately I didn’t have a spare five minutes to get mine done but it looked like a real treat, and the gorgeous Sheena (PR for The Body Shop) gave me a few samples to take away and try at home. We are backstage with The Body Shop for Day Two as well, so one the team might be treated to some celeb-style nail art today! As well as a nail bar, there was a makeover area, complementary SNOG fro yo and as many bags of Propercorn as you could manage.
After a quick peek backstage to see the look for Ong-Oaj Pairam, I had a quick chat with infamous makeup artist Yan Nguyen who explained that a natural, glowing complexion was on the cards for the show, contrasted with a pop of vibrant green eye-liner under the lid. Hair was slicked back to enhance the radiant complexion. Yan is an avid fan of the pop of colour, and this trick reminded me of SS14 when she went for a bright orange lip with a soft, dewy complexion.
Ong-Oaj Pairam’s collection explored fragmented memories of the designer’s childhood in Nakhon Ratichasima, the kind of memories that get pieced together in random sequence like the morning after an illogical dream. Unlike anything I’ve ever seen before at Fashion Scout, Ong’s pieces were worn by both sexes – proving that the collection is wearable and functional. Soft pastels swished down the catwalk in keeping with spring/summer expectations, juxtaposed with strong gladiator sandals and an intricate, slicked back ponytail. Waists were mostly high and belted, offset by wide-leg trousers, pleats and midi skirts. Oriental motifs dressed the delicate fabrics from head to toe, and the dream-like aesthetic he was going for came across powerfully in the finale, when a succession of gowns stole the show.
Sat just opposite Pandamonia and dizzy from delight after Ong’s show, I waited with baited breath for the Hema Kaul show to begin. The collection was all about big 60’s-esque hair and feminine silhouettes. Lace, floral embellishments and floaty chiffon in pastel hues dominated the catwalk, and makeup was bold with a bright pink lip and dramatic cheekbones. Floor length gowns were draped in detail while mini dresses were sleek and minimalist with nipped in waists and a simple eye-catching feature.
Ashley Isham followed, with a memorable catwalk performance inspired by the exotic Mata Hari. His show could have been a dance; the models were mysterious and artistic and moved freely and elegantly over the barrier that separates style and performance. Rich colours dominated the collection; bright pink embellished with luxurious gold and vibrant blues paired with tough blacks. The models engaged with one another, and moved with passion.
Famous for his signature draping, Ahsley Isham’s collection was flirtatious and strong, hand-draped and soft with hand embroidery and hand-applied lace. Makeup by The Body Shop used a cool orange lip and [insider’s tip] a small amount of eye-shadow used as a blusher/highlighter on the cheek bones.
Last but certainly not least was Rohmir’s SS15 collection, which was cool and feminine with floaty silk dresses, metallic tweed co-ords, big playful bows and irresistible courts in cobalt blue and white. Cool double pearl rings and bright blue ear cuffs provided a modern edge to the collection, while flashes of skin juxtaposed with luxurious floor-length silk gowns. Russian designer Olga Roh took to the catwalk beaming, greeted by a well-deserved round of applause.
Thank you again Sheena and Zoe for having us for the day, it is always the bi-annual highlight of our calendar! Stay tuned for up-to-date coverage of Day Two, coming soon.