Young London’s Youngest Take Their Turn Off The Calendar
In London, a city known for nurturing young talent, the newest designers are often found off the official calendar. Style Bubble‘s Susie Lau took a spin through the farther reaches of London fashion week to report on the names you need to know next.
Season upon season, the focus on London fashion week increases exponentially. While it is still known as the hot spot for young talent, what is being showcased on the official schedule are almost all established brands: Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, and Mary Katrantzou are hardly newbies. As the LFW schedule becomes increasingly packed—most editors experienced grueling 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. days—the number of up-and-coming graduates have spilled over into quite an impressive off-schedule that is mainly being facilitated by Vauxhall Fashion Scout, an organization established as an independent showcase of grassroots designers.
“These are designers that are starting out. This is what London is renowned for: new creative talent,” says Martyn Roberts, organizer of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. “VFS is the starting place and then they hopefully move on to LFW on-schedule and Paris.” A stone’s throw away from the main Somerset House venue, VFS is staged in the grand Freemason’s Hall, where over 30 designers showed their collections, including international imports who see London as the perfect place to showcase their work. For instance, Korean designer Hwan Heo and his brand Heohwan Simulation impressed with a slick collection (pictured, left) of monochrome photo prints spliced into shift dresses and precise tailoring, reflecting the designer’s menswear training. One of Istanbul’s up-and-coming talents, Zeynep Tosun, played with equestrian looks in a plethora of sheer fabrics and sportswear-derived detailing.
In the last few years, the Central Saint Martins M.A. and B.A. programs have produced many graduates, who have started their own labels and have also found a place at VFS to show their collections off-schedule. Standouts included design duo Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle, who refined their crafty aesthetic to use finer-gauge knits and fun elements like hammer beading and fringing to produce a vibrant show that demonstrated their love of uplifting color and texture mash-ups.
Myrza de Muynck is determined to bring back the shell suit by rendering it in pastel colors and decorating with delicate embroidery and beading. Phoebe English, who was picked up by Dover Street Market two seasons ago, created “intimate shells” inspired by organic forms in black and white for Spring ’13, with bugle-beaded sleeves and clusters of beads embellishing these shells. Hellen van Rees (pictured, left) used nubby Chanel-eque tweeds and jutting silicone blocks to create an abstracted take on ladylike attire. Away from VFS—off-schedule of the off-schedule—Adam Andrascik staged his own wholly independent show in a gallery and used subtle deconstruction in his minimal collection (below) that added a rather grown-up perspective to London’s reputation for the weird and wacky.