Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto represent London's cheerful tendency. Known
for their exuberant print work and happily naive post-WW II styling, this
husband-and-wife team has a business built on charm.
Having formerly presented their wares in a chatty afternoon tea-time setting, Eley Kishimoto took a chance on showing in a bigger gallery space for Fall. As ever, though, the joy of the collection was in the way it set off memories of clunky clothes we all wore, or saw our parents wear, in the '60s through the '80s. An Eley Kishimoto girl might sport a granny-ish print coat, knit beret and knee socks, thrown together with an innocent lack of regard for sex appeal. In the spirit of good humor, she'll go for a loopy rainbow-colored cardigan that suggests a distant relationship with a homey kitchen-sink rug, circa 1969. Checkerboard, circle and patchwork prints were much in evidence, in A-line corduroy skirts and pants and pretty silk skirts and dresses.
Underlying all this loving homespun stuff, though, these designers are savvy enough to be building business links with the outside world. The models were toting vanity cases, luncheon boxes and overhead-compartment wheelie bags designed for luggage manufacturer Globetrotter, done out in prints to match the clothes. Ditto the chirpy printed sneakers, cleverly done in collaboration with Converse.