One bellwether for the way things are blowing in London is the appearance on the official schedule of Armand Basi, out of Barcelona, Spain. The welcome mat has been rolled out not just because Basi is a successful 20-year-old family-owned knitwear business, but because the Londoner Markus Lupfer has been hired as its chief designer. For Lupfer, who closed his own label some time ago, it's a happy comeback. And for the Spanish brand, London is a stage from which to project its readiness for international action.
"There's no really big heritage, so they've let me find a look, and push it a little bit," said the German-born Lupfer, who had already test-driven the collection twice during Barcelona fashion week. Result: some experimental Japanese-via-the-eighties looks, a nice sense of color, and a bit of playtime nuttiness supplied by his housemate, the accessory designer Katie Hillier. Lupfer wove raffia through the show, principally in the fabrics, which had an airy structure, and more literally in the "Mohawk" heeled shoes, tutus, bags, bangles, and near-spherical pompom finale dresses. By the end, the audience was laughingin a good waywhich is quite an accolade for a show slotted for first-thing Sunday morning. Those who turned up got to show off about it to laggards all day long.