In its mission to establish itself as launch pad of young design, London is rolling out the welcome mat for international talent. The first arrival, with a little help from the British Fashion Council, is Garen Demerdjian, the 29-year-old Lebanon-born, Paris-based designer whose Gardem label has been stirring up the independent-boutique crowd for several seasons.
Gardem takes a gentle, feminine approach to post-deconstructionism. Using light layers of brown crinkled silk, washed leather, fine cotton, and gray sweatshirting, Demerdjian creates easy pieces meant for do-it-yourself assemblages. He showed various combinations of pedal pushers, multi-fabric fluted skirts, patchwork dresses, bolero vests, abbreviated biker jackets, and sweet smocked peasant blouses, all with a drifty, cool attitude. That, of course, makes Gardem a member of the Rick Owens/Ann Demeulemeester tribe of rockin' fashion grungebut, interestingly, without the angst. Demerdjian needs to edit: Half the numbers would have doubled his show's impact. But as a debut, it hit the mark.