February 13, 2005
Only in London could you get a fashion show staged like a play in a school hall, with a clunky ski-hut set, a painted snow-scene backdrop, and a man in a giant penguin suit playing a key role. Still, the tired fashion crowd was only too happy to sit through the half hour of silliness laid on by Eley Kishimoto as they presented their sporty collection for Ellesse. Ostensibly for winter, it's a ski collection, but judging by the fact that the girls were staggering around in high-heel pumps and swinging in and out of the hut door, as if coming and going from a party, it's hardly meant as serious piste wear.
Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto have a huge youth following in Japan, built on the appeal of their naive cartoony prints. So among the seventies-style nylon salopettes, cropped ski pants, and cute short smock dresses, there were zippy bombers, A-line skirts, and all-in-ones printed with patterns of penguins, snowy mountains, or shooting stars. All good clean fun.