September 20, 2010 London
This label built its buzz on prints, but there were few of those here. Instead, Helayel chose to build the collection, called Indian Summer, on solid silks in vaguely sari-inspired cocktail frocks and gowns. "You can't see the details if you have too much print," she explained backstage. Said details encompassed two kinds of drapes: either tightly gathered pleats that sometimes wrapped corsetlike around the waist, or a fluid variety that was tucked here and there to create various silhouettes—strapless, asymmetrical, halter, short, long.
Helayel sought to underline her theme with turbans, jeweled sandals, and chandelier earrings, but after a few looks, the idea became repetitive. Dresses in white broderie anglaise and colored lace were a more welcome sight. Helayel's not John Galliano, and has no pretensions to such exotic realizations. But while she delivered her quotient of pretty, easy-to-wear dresses for the front-row crew of Lily Allen, Poppy Delevingne, and Amber Rose, the show didn't quite have the punch you'd expect, given its color scheme.