Style with substance

By Jan Shure, September 25, 2009
Nicole Farhi’s rainbow print shirt and cropped trousers

Nicole Farhi’s rainbow print shirt and cropped trousers

● The 25th annual London Fashion Week began its catwalk schedule last Friday on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, forcing a few US and UK buyers and fashion press to miss out on Saturday’s catwalk schedule as well as several of the A-list parties. Ten years ago, when LFW barely stretched over three days, the JC reported on the anger among industry insiders about the clash, but with a healthy six days of runway shows and a five-day exhibition, no-one was complaining.

● Smiling through it all from his seat at the front row of the shows beside the editors of British and American Vogue, was the immaculately clad head of the British Fashion Council, Harold Tillman. Chatting with him at the Nicole Farhi show — “wasn’t she great” — he recalled doing early morning radio last week and meeting the Chief Rabbi. “When I saw him, I knew it would be a good day.”

● Nicole Farhi’s collection was wonderfully accomplished — all about desirable clothing for spring/summer 2010 rather than gimmicks. Shown amid the calm, white space of the Royal Opera House atrium, Farhi’s palette was a mix of off-beat shades, including a luminescent pale green, hazy lilac, raspberry and a deliciously flattering colour that resembled the bleached terracotta of her Nice roots. She also used a pretty, smudgy abstract print in a rainbow of pastels for a series of garments, including an insouciantly styled belted shirt. Along with shorts and playsuits, aimed at her younger fans, were perfectly cut, wide-leg trousers and a series of statement blouses. Short shirtwaister dresses were a fresh take on a wrap dress, while for formal wear, there were silk jersey dresses knotting at the front.

● The LFW exhibition, however, was a triumph of style over substance. Its new location at Somerset House and 180 The Strand looked stunning, and there was a more permanent feel to it than the “tent” at the Natural History Museum, which has been LFW’s home for the past half-decade. And certainly no effort – nor bales of flowing white muslin – was spared in dressing up the sumptuous spaces, but to actually find designers took diligence.

● Among collections at the exhibition was Janet Reger, the lingerie line run by Aliza Reger, daughter of the late founder. She was showcasing silk and satin confections under the Janet Reger brand and her newer Naughtie Reger label, “designed to cater for a panoply of fetishes and fantasies in a witty and beautiful way”.

● Nicky Gewirtz, the clever designer behind jewellery collection Lola Rose, was launching her new collection of scarves, in prints that included a printer’s Pantone gallery of colours, butterflies and spots and the season’s hot print, paisley.

● For spring, über-talented bag designer Tamara Fogle has reworked her capacious Weekend Bag that combines reclaimed sacks and vintage leather. She has also created a smaller version – “the short weekend – we like to keep things simple” – as well as handbags entirely in leather, or mixing leather with vintage Indian quilts or mattress ticking.

Last updated: 3:46pm, February 11 2010