February 18, 2004 London
Hamish Morrow was a no-show this season, opting to present his technically complex collectionhe likes to integrate high-tech concepts with traditional methods of making clothesin a Paris showroom. For fall, he ran lengths of stretchy industrial cord through silk jersey to make dresses and tops which can be draped, ruched, and tightened by the wearer. Prints were derived from thermal imaging, which mapped the body to show clusters of colorswirling forms of purple, magenta, and greenat the stress points. As always, his knack is melding opulent, feminine surface effects onto sporty bases: One outstanding piece was a slick coat panelled in champagne sequins. Why the change in venue? "It's a time when I felt it sensible to reorganize and concentrate on selling," he said.
Sometimes, London fashion is more about a scene than a show. Looked at in a crowd or at a party (and especially after a couple of drinks), the way Kate Moss and her crowd mishmash their clothes can seem a work of genius. Such is the milieu of FrostFrench's Sadie Frost and Jemima French, who have wisely until now presented their cute bits-and-pieces collections in various faux-party settings. This season, however, the amateur charm evaporated when they put the clothes on the runway. The vaguely gypsy layerings of teeny skirts, smocks, denims, and hand-knits fell pretty flateven with Moss beaming supportively from the front row.
Alice Temperley has won her place as London's girly-dressmaker-in-chief in the space of three short seasons, with her flapper-esque frocks, cute Cubist knits, and little coats fast gaining a following of young socials on both sides of the Atlantic. For fall, her references were plucked from the demimonde of fin de siècle Paris. Nothing too literally historical, of coursejust a good excuse for Temperley's usual sprinkling of beads on tulle and silk.
Aaron Sharif and Sachiko Okada of Blaak want an international challenge, so they're showing across the Channel. "London has been good to us, but we've reached the stage where we're not new any more, and we want to see how it is in Paris," they said at a walkthrough of the fall line. Named Blaakistan, the collection plays up their fusion of ethnic sensibilities (his parentage is Pakistani, hers Japanese; they live in London's East End), twisting inspiration from Central Asian textiles into brightly layered, punkish looks.