February 18, 2014 London
Things went a little caveman with the rising star of knitwear, ex-Craig Green collaborator Helen Lawrence. Cutout leather and suede tops came out in a patchwork shape that one would expect to see on Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone. The effect was made even cooler by its pairing with double-brushed wool felted skirts and trousers, deconstructed coats and jackets. Lawrence continued on with last season's trick of vinyl "squiggle" embroidery—hitting the up-cycling theme of which we're seeing more and more. The dark goth look Lawrence is normally associated with was a little tempered today: Granny Smith apple green mohair sweaters and lavender skirts lightened everything up, and the multilayered technique the designer loves appeared on cropped tops and skirts. Overall, it was a very good showing.
Then there was newcomer Louise Alsop, who presented a collection that spoke to East London streets. It was mostly monochrome, except for a shot of mint green, with lots of layered chiffon and staggered hems. Alsop even put her models in laddered socks and plimsolls for a moody-teenager vibe. The designer clearly wants you to remember her name, because she embroidered it on her flowy poncho over pleated culottes, with jagged threads hanging loose from the signature. Also displayed were slogans like "hopeless" or "loveless" scrawled down trouser legs and on sweatshirts—a reference, Alsop said, to tattoos on the knuckles of street urchins. These kids are going to gigs, too, as she had printed images of crowds at concerts on T-shirts, skirts, and shorts. Then there was the milk bottle clutch, which was cool and very youthful—are Alsop's customers even old enough to drink the real stuff? Alsop herself is young, and that may explain why the collection was just a little bit timid. With the time and tutoring she'll receive from Lulu Kennedy and her team, that should get sorted out.