Best Of British: 10 Designers To ChampionPosted by Styloko
The countdown to the 2012 London Games is nearly over (Friday!), so there’s probably no need to tell you just how big our patriotic hats are right now. And with that mood in mind, we couldn’t think of a better time to celebrate all things great about good old Blightly, including the finest homegrown talents our fair isle has to offer (some of the best in the world, dontcha know). Naturally, we’re gearing up to show our support in utmost style, so here, we present the 10 British designers we’re championing right now, along with a few pointers on which pieces to invest in and how to successfully sport them. Bring it on, Britain!
Frankly, there’s no stopping Christopher Bailey. Ever since he took the helm as chief creative director at Burberry Prorsum in 2009, the house has made nothing but profit (literally). And it’s simply because he’s a genius.
For autumn/winter 2012, Bailey’s various adaptations of the classic trench – this time in sumptuous wools and tweeds adorned with oversized bellows pockets – were shown alongside contemporary versions of utilitarian outerwear, like cropped bombers and waxed parkas, all of which were given the luxe Burberry treatment. The British countryside-inspired collection, which concluded with dramatic (artificial) rain showers, complete with umbrella-clad models, was a charming interpretation of our country’s tradition and heritage, and it’s certainly one of Bailey’s finest.
Key pieces: the olive tweed trench coat with nipped in waist and oversized pockets; corduroy pencil skirt with a diagonal ruffle or peplum; and cropped tweed biker jacket.
We like to think of Christopher Kane as London’s version of Marc Jacobs. Because ever since his internationally acclaimed Central St Martin’s graduate collection in 2006, Kane has managed to consistently excite and surprise us with something new each season.
In complete contrast to his light and airy spring/summer 2012 collection, his autumn/winter offering, which made use of a vampire’s palette of purple, red and black, was much more sinister, yet equally refined. As always, Kane’s fabrication techniques – seen in the form of pinstriped pony skin and wood-effect silks – were both intriguing and superbly executed. Leather – in various forms, including pinstriped and animal print or as rolled hems – was used to punctuate the show, adding a glam rock attitude to the seemingly simple, but beautifully constructed shapes for which Kane is known.
Key pieces: pinstriped leather knee-length skirts; purple leopard print leather coat; and wood grain patterned silk dresses with cut-out leather panels, collars, sleeves and hems.
Ok, if you didn’t already know, the very first McQ store is due to open any minute now on Dover Street, and we couldn’t be more excited. So, obviously, it’s the perfect time to get yourselves acquainted with what’s to come next season and start compiling your wish list – we’ve already done ours!
What was so great about McQ’s runway debut at London Fashion Week in February was the fact that Sarah Burton managed to retain McQueen’s signature sultry romance and gothic glamour, while making it much more accessible – both in terms of design and pricepoint – for a younger, though not less fashion-conscious, audience. And for those who were skeptical of the quality and craftsmanship, we can assure you there are plenty of luxurious fabrics (top-notch tartan, fur and lace), and stunning detailing (intricate gold embroidery and stamped velvet) to be had. There was impeccable tailoring, too, in the two-tone military-inspired coats (worn with wide belts), which we guarantee will become one of fall’s hottest tickets.
Having just returned from Pitti Uomo, where they were this year’s honorary womenswear guest, it seems print masters Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos are on quite a roll.
Although at first it seemed like the designer duo were going to present us with a further developed version of their highly successful SS12 collection, theirAW12 show later revealed some significant surprises. Inspired by their recent trip to Asia – particularly Japanese ‘light trucks’ – the collection of body-con dresses and skinny pants constructed from criss-crossing panels of printed fabric had an upbeat retro discotheque feel. Highlights were the cropped bombers nipped in slightly at the waist and flaring out into stiff metallic peplums, as well as a few new techniques which came in form of intricate beading – sequins sewn on top of digital prints to create a 3D effect – and neatly striped coloured furs. The result? A signature Peter Pilotto collection that seamlessly combined futurism, technology and couture-standard craftsmanship – all the elements of iconic fashion designs in the making.
Key pieces: printed bomber jackets with sculptural neckline and metallic peplums; capped sleeve velvet dress with printed panels and cut-outs; and black fur coats with multi-coloured stripe collars.
We’ve always wondered just how Erdem (AKA the man who changed the face of florals forever) would be able to keep reinventing his signature (and for how long). Well, as it turns out, we’re not even remotely close to getting tired of his flora and fauna adorned collections that are always unashamedly feminine. So it’s fair to say that Mr. Moralioglu has become somewhat of a hero to us Brits.
Along with the usual floral and lace overlays, and the quirky colour combinations (purple, fuschia, yellow and cornflower blue in this collection) we’ve come to expect from Erdem, we also saw him venture into unfamiliar territory of heavier, more unusual fabrications for autumn. This came in the form of laminated tweed – rich in texture with the appearance of leather – paired with lace, raw tweed and sumptuous silks. In turn, this juxtaposition of hard and soft, sexy and demure gave his latest collection a new spin, revealing an intriguing dark romance we’ve been longing to see from our fave man.
Key pieces: the purple tweed and laminated tweed dress with full skirt; a yellow tweed-print silk dress; and an oversized knee-length wool coat in cornflower blue, neon yellow and fuschia.
It’s been an eventful year for Stella McCartney – having held two shows (one in London and the other in Paris), as well as designing the Team GB uniform for the Olympics – and probably one of her best yet. Just FYI, we really don’t care what anyone else says about the lack of red in Team GB’s uniform, we love it anyway. And it just so happens that her autumn/winter 2012 collection was clear winner, too.
Polished, elegant, streamlined and sporty couldn’t have been a more perfect combination for McCartney, who’s created a collection that every modern woman would want to fill their wardrobes with. Using a focused palette of royal blue, black and white, Stella’s proved once again that less is more. Oversized structured tweed coats and jackets – some sporting striped knit collars – were worn over tailored trousers embossed with baroque botanical leaves, a recurring motif that was replicated in embroidery on bright blue skater dresses and shirts. Among the highlights were chunky knits and tweed skirt suits that referenced Dior’s Bar Jacket – both great examples of Stella McCartney’s ability to strike the perfect balance between masculine and feminine, structured and soft, and of course, elegance and ease.
Key pieces: the oversized wool coat in royal blue with exposed diagonal zip; a cable-knit cashmere dress with oversized structured hips; and a mocha tweed suit jacket with striped collar worn over a tweed skater skirt.
Frankly, it’s a shame we sometimes forget to count London-based Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of Preen as British designers due to their regular spot on the New York runway. But hopefully this’ll no longer be the case when they finally make a return to London Fashion Week in September (wahoo!).
Known for their sharp tailoring and modern feminine aesthetic, Preen has never been about avant garde ideas or groundbreaking designs. But that’s precisely what we love about it. For next season, the duo took a more whimsical and romantic approach, using florals and butterflies as starting points for prints, which appeared on clean-cut dresses and superbly tailored trousers. But nothing came across sickeningly sweet – you see, achieving the right balance is one of Preen’s strengths. And by sticking to their signature streamlined tailoring and refined palettes, it’s a guarantee that the kind of femininity we’ll see from this label will always be contemporary, accessible, and definitely one we want to wear.
Key pieces: a simple white dress with floral and colour block panels; a high-waisted pencil skirt with brushstroke prints; and a lace paneled and sequin embroidered monochrome dress.
There’s a reason why last year’s winner of the BFC/Vogue Fashion Fund Award is one of London’s hottest designers right now. Perhaps part of it has something to do with the fact his biggest fans are industry insiders and editors themselves, but more likely, it’s due to the unique charm and idiosyncratic nature of his clothes.
We can only imagine the kind of pressure Saunders was under – after two previous collections that were as close as he ever got to perfection – to deliver something pretty special for autumn/winter 2012. But he didn’t disappoint: what we saw was simply spectacular. Saunders showed off his tailoring skills through some of the best evening coats, equestrian-style jackets and streamlined pants – all sporting hypnotic harlequin prints, big and small – we’ve seen on the runway this season. A luxurious palette of red, brown and forest green was applied on box pleated silk skirts and dresses, sporty striped V-neck knits and ultra shiny seventies print shirts, while a more sugary sub-palette of lilac and sky blue on embossed coats gave the collection a quirky twist.
Key pieces: the short harlequin-print silk jacket teamed with pants of the same print; a neon green striped V-neck cashmere sweater; a deep V-neck dress with box pleated skirt; and the knee length embossed lavender coat.
If you’re still thinking Mulberry’s only good for accessories, you need to think again. Ever since she joined the British house in 2008, creative director Emma Hill has been concentrating on upping Mulberry’s game in the ready-to-wear stakes, and it’s certainly paid off. In fact, Mulberry’s autumn/winter 201 collection was probably her best yet.
Taking inspiration from Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, Hill presented an elegant, lively, and surprisingly practical collection focused on textures and outerwear (this is Britain, after all, and anything to shield us from the cold and rain is always up our street). Fur was also big news for Mulberry next season. Mongolian coats, rabbit fur-trimmed parkas and shearling gilets were worn over chunky knits, tweed and patent leather skirts – all of which were presented in a gorgeous autumnal palette of burnt orange, mustard and golden brown. And for her feminine fans, Hill gave them beaded cashmere skirts and silk dresses with cone bust detailing and lace sleeves.
Key pieces: a sleeveless fur gilet with thin belt; a mustard patent leather pencil skirt; and the tweed poncho coat with black leather trim.
Say what you want about Victoria Beckham, we’re still happy to admit we rather like her. Not just because she’s a super mum who’s not afraid to say she’s still human (sometimes), and not just because after four children she still looks bloody fantastic, but mainly because she’s proved fashion cynics wrong. Not only do her collections sell out like hot cakes, Mrs. Beckham’s also received approval from the BFC, who awarded her the Designer Brand of the Year prize in 2011. Not bad going by anyone’s standards.
For autumn/winter 2012, Victoria Beckham delivered yet another successful collection, both in terms of commerciality and aesthetic. Her signature trademark of sexy, slim silhouettes not only provided the perfect backdrop for the military-inspired collection, but they also signified a celebration for Beckham getting her body back after having Harper Seven. Despite her obvious desire to flaunt it, though, there was more to the seemingly simple figure-hugging dresses than first met the eye. It’s all the detail, of course, something she demonstrated perfectly by placing graphic stripes across or down the side of the body, adding epaulets to shoulders and tiny gold buttons that ran down to mid-torso, and her sparing use of exotic skin to add just a touch of luxury.
Key pieces: the khaki and black jersey knee length dress with two breast pockets and epaulets; an aubergine wool coat; and a black mini dress with alligator collar.
Fancy a shop? Course you do! Check out our Best of British Scrapbook for our fave pieces from our best British designers.
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