4 posts tagged "London Showrooms"
It has been a year of firsts for Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida of Marques’Almeida. After being awarded NewGen sponsorship, the Central Saint Martins grads presented on the official London fashion week schedule for the first time during the Spring ’14 shows in September. And this week, the duo—best known for their raw and unexpected denim looks—made their inaugural trek to Los Angeles as part of the British Fashion Council’s traveling London Showrooms. In between press appointments and a trip to In-N-Out Burger, Marques and Almeida sourced inspiration from famed vintage emporium Wasteland—and they invited Style.com to tag along.
“Denim kind of found us,” Marques said of their now signature medium. “We were so obsessed with the early nineties, when it was like the code of dressing always had to involve a really nice worn-out pair of jeans or a jean jacket. We thought it was the foundation of cool.” The nineties is a decade that Marques and Almeida (who cut their teeth at Vivienne Westwood and Preen, respectively) reference often, explored through the lens of i-D and Kurt Cobain. “We started with the whole grunge movement and watching Nirvana documentaries. It was a lot more oversize, boy shapes,” Marques continued, later adding that they abandoned the era once “grunge became a trend.” Their latest reference is the noughties (i.e., the 2000s). “It was all about being sexy in a very obvious way,” she said.
The stop in Los Angeles was important for the designers, who produce their collection mostly in London. “Although we’ve never been here, we’ve always felt this weird connection,” Marques mused while browsing the store, which is just miles from some of the biggest denim factories in the world. But being based in London has its advantages. “We don’t have this preconceived idea of what jeanswear should look like. [In L.A.], we’d end up doing the five-pocket jean just because they have the machines to do it,” Almeida admitted. “We knew nothing about denim until we started, and we learned a lot through experimenting,” offered Marques. As Marques’Almeida stands poised to grow—and recent acclaim, as well as stockists like Opening Ceremony, seems to demand it—their future looks bright, and not just because of the SoCal sun.
“I like a lot of embellishment and I like a lot of print,” said Holly Fulton. She might have been speaking for all her fellow English designers at the London Showrooms, the traveling, British Fashion Council-sponsored showcase which arrived in New York this week, following a stint in L.A. It’s almost a cliché that London designers trend bright and buzzy, but it’s become something of a calling card for the young talents nurtured by the BFC. To tweak the old saw, go big or stay home.
Fulton served up her groupie-inspired Fall collection, which featured lava-rock embellishments, hand-drawn prints, and a rather impressive dress constructed entirely of feathers. Others, like Simone Rocha (above), who’s currently selling stateside in Jeffrey and Opening Ceremony, offered less print but more color. Her key pieces were voluminous waffle-knitted neoprene looks in what she laughingly referred to as “Pepto pink.” Thomas Tait also played on unexpected fusion of spongy, bonded leather and quilted nylon in Day-Glo oranges and lime greens. “I feel like I’ve been shouting,” said Tait, whose line is also carried at Jeffrey. “I’ll be doing something mellower next season.”
Meanwhile, Fyodor Golan, designed by Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman, balanced elegant, elaborately embellished print dresses with more playful leather pieces embossed with smiley faces. Turns out Smiley—the company that owns the rights to the icon—approached the duo for a collaboration, and they jumped at the chance to create, as Frydman put it, a “sexual smiley.” Another duo, Teatum Jones (that is to say, Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones) showed bright, seemingly tie-dyed dresses in perforated bonded jersey, as well as a few particularly interesting coats in latex-coated alpaca wool. Yet a third duo, Palmer//Harding, also in attendance, used a similarly clever technique on their wools to make them look like leather.
Men’s designers were on display, too, and they came with news to share. James Long whispered that half the designers showing on the Paris calendar had called to personal-order his sweater knitted with a giant picture of Divine. Agi Mdumulla and Sam Cotton of Agi & Sam had news of an offbeat football (read: soccer) and owl-inspired capsule collection they’ll launch at Topman next month. And jeweler Dominic Jones revealed he’ll show his first-ever men’s collection during June’s London Collections: Men. In the meantime, he was showing his mainline collection as well as his recently-launched lower priced range, DJ by Dominic Jones. “I wanted to make something that all my friends could afford,” he said when asked about the gold-plated and bright enamel collection of baubles, which average about $100 apiece.
Beyoncé′s Mrs. Carter Show tour kicked off in Belgrade this week, and in addition to Pucci’s Peter Dundas, Dsquared²’s Dean and Dan Caten, and Alon Livne, Bey favorite David Koma created some saucy, custom onstage ensembles for the star and her backup dancers. “We looked at musical instruments as art objects, and the print is a French horn,” said the designer during a chat at the London Showrooms yesterday. The costumes, which were influenced by Koma’s vinyl-record-inspired Fall 2013 collection, feature gold and black printed silk jersey bodices and slick, laser-cut patent leather peplums. “She usually goes for something body conscious and different,” said Koma, who’s worked with the singer since 2009. “And she likes to look strong and sensual at the same time. I mean, come on, she’s Beyoncé!” Take a peek at Koma’s sketches (above) and inspiration board (below), exclusively on Style.com.
Style.com’s Sarah Mower hosted the opening brunch yesterday for London Showrooms, a seven day showcase for London’s bright young things, of which there seems to be a great many these days. Editors and retailers poured into a Rue de Richelieu gallery to get up-close-and-personal with newcomers like Erdem Moralioglu, the Meadham Kirchoff duo, Mary Katrantzou, and their very-sophisticated-for-London wares. Todd Lynn said buyers expressed strong interest in a tailored wool jacket with trompe l’oeil leather sleeves and a dickey. “They always tell me that underpinnings for tailoring are their biggest problem,” he said of the stores that he works with. Not so long ago, London designers had a rep for a complete disregard for what sells. Not this generation. The showcase runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. everyday until March 12 at 40 Rue de Richelieu.