If London fashion week is a nursery of new talent, then Fashion East is the city's neonatal unita nice, warm (and free) place in which to prepare newborns to go it alone on the official runways. Louise Goldin, Danielle Scutt, and Henry Holland are currently sharing the incubator, and the reason visitors come to inspect them is that some of their predecessors, including Gareth Pugh, Marios Schwab, and Roksanda Ilincic, are now taking their first steps in their own right.
Henry Holland is the splashiest and newest of the three, andas a former writer at the teen magazine Blissmore of a rhymer, punner, and nu-rave limericksmith than a designer, per se. His naughtily worded T-shirts ("UHU GARETH PUGH," "CAUSE ME PAIN HEDI SLIMANE," and other excruciating double entendres invoking the names of international and local frock makers) come from the Northern English tradition of George Formby via eighties Katharine Hamnett and the in-jokes of today's East End clubs. Given the chance to show on Fashion East's runway, Holland ran off some more neon-bright filth about models ("WHAM BAM THANK YOU STAM" being the most repeatable), and then took a bow in a T-shirt that read "ONE TRICK PONY." Which shows he knows himself, but it also begs the question as to what happens when the joke's over. That'll be in five minutes, so if he wants to pop up next season, it'll have to be with a new deviceand maybe with a friendly designer to help out with the shapes.
Danielle Scutt, the second designer in the lineup, hit a wobbly patch after the strong minicollection of power-dressing she sent out last season. This time, her inspirations were Joan Collins and pedigree dog shows, but even though she'd spent months researching and designing prints derived from dog hair, and cutting ironically boxy suits in bubble-gum pink and red, the results lacked the impact of her first show.
It was Louise Goldin, a knit designer, who came out top of class. Her black-and-gray harlequin intarsias, some of which came with big head wraps, read in a way like an approachable version of Gareth Pugh's freak-show antics. That earned her kudos among the young editors present, no mean feat considering it's been a couple of generations since a sweater designer has been considered capable of cool. Of the three, Goldin's the one who seems ready to toddle out on her own.