February 19, 2012 London
Van der Horst brings a lot of wit to his clothes, and a great deal of technical know-how. For this collection, his second, he put a sexy spin on menswear shirting, turning crisp poplins and striped cottons into tailored bodysuits, and setting them off with cheesy satin florals. The bodysuits weren't altogether convincing, but the satin stuff worked, in particular the collection's quilted blazer-style jackets in white-on-white and red printed florals. Van der Horst definitely has a strong point of view, but he's still in the process of fleshing it out.
Marques'Almeida doesn't lack for point of view, either: Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida distress denim with a single-minded gloominess. The look is striking; this season's skate-inspired black and yellow clothes, all oversized and ripped to hell, had a kind of desolate grandeur. The collection was a little one-dimensional, but these pieces will be pulled a lot by fashion editors, and some of the more circumspect looks, like the frayed skate shorts and decayed knits and leathers, will attract shoppers. (Pieces from the debut Marques'Almeida collection for Spring 2012 were picked up by Opening Ceremony—a store that's no slouch at seeing a niche market.)
James Long was taking his third, and final, turn on the Fashion East runway this evening, and the collection he showed was proof that he's used his tenancy to hone his womenswear to a fine point. This was a strong, well-made, distinctive collection, commencing with a series of hugely appealing intarsia knit dresses limbed with gold. Long showed that he can do more than just knits: His printed velvet pieces were knockouts, and the quilted leather jackets with hand-knit sleeves were both beautifully executed and a lot of fun. Onward and upward.