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LFW: From Hitchcock Heroines to Futuristic Goth

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Runway shows are notorious for running late—fashionably late, if you will. So I shouldn’t have been surprised to be in the “standing room only” line outside the Eley Kishimoto show—for over a half hour in the cold—when the line finally began to move, and my toes began to thaw. My fellow ticket-less journalists and I were quickly ushered in and the show started almost immediately.


Eley Kishimoto is the label of design duo Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto. They’ve been designing together for over ten years and are best known for their fabulous prints. The Autumn/Winter 2008 show kicked off with some basic black pieces to balance out that first fabulous print: a black, white, and hot pink diamond-shaped pattern that conjured images of court jesters. The models wore stiff white gloves, some almost conical in shape. The look was very Hitchcock Heroine—lots of sassy suits with swing jackets. True to reputation, the Autumn/Winter collection is abundant with great prints in bright colors. The shapes are loose with plenty of tunic tops and billowy sleeves. I can’t decide which look is my favorite: the white brocade swing jacket with matching skirt or the three quarter sleeve shift dress in the same material with the bow detailing at the elbows. The show is over entirely too soon and it’s official—Eley Kishimoto is now one of my absolute favorite labels!


After Eley Kishimoto, I booked it down the street to a different venue for the Xterity London show. With a few minutes to spare (well, more than a few since the show was at least twenty minutes late—they really work that cliché don’t they?), I have a moment to read up on the label. Managing director Darren Edwards started Xterity London in 2005 and appointed Tracy Mulligan as creative director, overseeing two other designers. The Autumn/Winter 2008 collection was heavily influenced by silhouettes from the 1940s and 1950s. The show started with a lovely assortment of little black dresses in shiny fabrics. I could see from my seat (ahem, front row!) that the clothing is beautifully made. There are a few separates, but mostly cocktail dresses and key colors of the collection are sparkly copper and teal blue with silver. I didn’t love the odd “outside pockets” on some skirts and slacks, but as a whole, the designs were pleasing, beautiful even, but nothing to write home about … although I guess I am doing just that!


Lights out and off I ran to another venue—this one a tube journey away. I was fashionably late but not late enough it seems as there was a massive line outside the space—a Victorian row house. The designer I was waiting for was Ana Sekularac, and judging from the other people in line, I had an idea what to expect from the collection. I was surrounded by people in black nail polish, white Doc Martens, heavy black eyeliner (guyliner for the gents), ghostly white makeup, and spiky hair. Perhaps it would be a Goth show?


The off-off Broadway equivalent to a Fashion Week show, these off-site shows can be just as nice or even better than the big ones, but this one was horribly disorganized. We waited outside for a whopping forty-five minutes. The guy working the door informed us after twenty or so that they were rehearsing inside. Rehearsing?! He should have said there was a malfunction with the lights or something … didn’t his mumsy tell him to bend the truth at times? When we finally got in, the place was absolutely crammed. The three rows on either side of the runway were all on the same level as the runway, so when the show began, people in the second and third rows had to stand to see the entire outfit.


Disorganization aside, I was pleasantly surprised by the collection. I thought I was so frightfully clever calling the show based on the audience, but instead of head-on Goth, this was Futuristic Goth with impeccable tailoring. Think Mad Max, Ingrid Bergman, and Man Ray all folded into one. I had expected the colors to be black, black, and well … black, but actually there was cream with that black, and a few red and blue pieces in the mix too. One really interesting detail was a white leather accent piece that tied around the waist on a few different looks. It looked like an apron, or maybe a shield. I wondered if the designer was saying something by placing this apron/shield right over each model’s uterus and ovaries. Interesting …


Oooh, I wonder what tomorrow will bring?


Related Story: London Fashion Week: Warm Up

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