It was, in a way, rather touching (and perhaps inevitable) that London's newest young-designer initiative should end up feeling just like the old daysmammoth boozy party in a multistory car park, loud contingents of gate-crashing fashion students, and a group of recent graduates' clothes on the runway.
But this is the twenty-first century, not the Ab Fab eighties, and the event was Fashion Fringe, the culmination of a nationwide competition to find the next generation of talent, instigated by veteran London Sunday Times critic Colin McDowell. Fearing a decline in the excitement about London fashionnot to mention the perennial lack of fundinghe corralled serious sponsorship from Red Bull and others, and wound up with £10,000 to bestow on the winner.
In the event, a panel including Burberry CEO Rose Marie Bravo, British Vogue editor Alexandra Schulman, Hamish Bowles of American Vogue, and Giles Deacon chose the showstopper of the evening as winnera collection by Basso & Brooke with hugely inflated leg-o'-mutton shoulders, nipped-in waists, and draped pants, all smothered in kitsch yellow-brown-green seventies prints. There were inevitable comparisons with Giles Deacon himself, not to mention a scintilla of Viktor & Rolf.
Other contenders, like Sinhastanic, displayed more than a passing resemblance to Rick Owens in their raw-edged leather and drapey jersey shapes; Rubecksen Yamanaka, meanwhile, is already in business. It all added up to something both infuriating and funny that, if McDowell has anything to do with it, will become an annual event.