Sept 19 2023
All of London’s editors, buyers and critics flocked to Fashion East this weekend; and it could not be otherwise judging by the nose of its organizer, Lulu Kennedy, for detecting new talents.
This edition, held at Yeomanry House, was attended by four promising young people: Olly Shinder, Michael Stewart’s Standing Ground, Johanna Parv and Asai from A Sai Ta.
Standing Ground: Biomorphic Drapes
Standing Ground, by the Irishman Stewart, garnered the biggest ovation after a great display of intelligent and cerebral draping. Crafted in light, flowy knit in a single color, the collection showcased sculptural skill, impeccable ruching and extensive beadwork.
Stewart’s inspiration and the collection’s name were the “vast temporalities” of the Tethys Sea, a prehistoric ocean that later formed the basis of the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian seas.
The result was a series of slightly biomorphic forms, billowing goddess dresses; Purist modernist couture and a collection that would be welcomed with open arms in Paris.
Johanna Parv: Performance clothing
Johanna Parv, an Estonian designer based in London, is probably the biggest blessing for cycling fashion.
Her collection primarily uses technical fabrics, and almost every look suggests a woman elegantly stepping off a bike and dressing up for her next event, whether at the office, at a cocktail party, or on a date.
Virtually every look featured biker shorts and knee-length leggings, all accompanied by windbreakers, parkas, and several gorgeous vests and quilted tops. Her sense of what is flattering when it comes to sheer or semi-sheer was impeccable, as was her clever use of darts, hems and seams.
The type of technical and multifunctional clothing that one usually looks for in brands like Adidas or Nike, but rarely finds. Parv’s elegance makes her a designer with a bright future.
Olly Shinder: Lederhosen in London
Olly Shinder, a newly created hipster brand from a recent Central St Martin’s graduate, opened this season’s Fashion East with a deft deconstruction of classic masculine codes.
Shimmering gingham shirts; studded shorts in the purest Lederhosen style; tight shirts open to show pecs; deep neckline vests to reveal their swirl logo.
Many men in shorts with metal harnesses, body chains and straps.
Inspired by London’s “fashion establishment, arts institutions and queer nightlife spaces,” it was like a subtle subversion of menswear by a truly original designer.
Asai: Story of a carefree designer
No one can blame designer A Sai Ta for a lack of chutzpah. He likes fantasy colors, from sherbet orange to psychedelic violet. And dresses that are barely visible, but that are a statement of intentions.
Her tiny crochet dresses are ideal garments for a rock star on a world tour. It’s no surprise that pop stars like Rihanna, Teyana Taylor and Dev Hynes have donned some Asai. They are garments that project great distances.
AN-Y1: Sporty elegance
A new sporty and stylish brand that seems to have a lot of potential is AN-Y1.
AN-Y1, which is pronounced like “Anyone“, is part of the Gulf Oil group and is aimed at the wealthiest Formula 1 fans and followers.
The brand launched in 2021 at the Monaco Grand Prix and immediately gained a large following thanks to its stylish and comfortable unisex leather jackets, with labels and the Gulf Oil colors of blue and orange.
For girls, there are also silk twill jumpsuits and shorts, while men opted for cotton jumpsuits.
AN-Y1, the brainchild of Anu Hinduja, wife of Sanjay (Chairman of Gulf Oil), and her sister Nandita Mahtani, captures the exhilaration of speed with its designs.
They are by no means new in the world of fashion. Anu opened her own boutique in Knightsbridge, Aranya, and sold her collections for 13 years, in more than 300 stores, before taking a break to have her second child. Nandita, for her part, made a name for herself as a beachwear designer in the Indian market.
Gulf’s orange disc logo is reminiscent of the driver’s suit from the classic film Le Mans, starring Steve McQueen. Currently, Gulf is one of the main sponsors of the iconic Williams Formula 1 team, starting with the 2023 season.
Following the coronavirus crisis, AN-Y1 opened a pop-up store on Savile Row in June. It plans to open other pop-up stores in Dubai and Singapore.
Seeing that brands like Ferrari are gaining followers with their luxury sports style, AN-Y1 seems to have a promising future.
Malone Souliers: Sexy Victorian Style
The return of the Victorian era continues in Malone Souliers, with corsetry details, 19th-century brooches and Dickensian ankle boots on display.
Malone Souliers, a British brand that manufactures in Italy, chose the Italian embassy in Grosvenor Square to make its professional presentation.
It displayed a wide variety of pointed pumps decorated with pearls, seen beneath a Renaissance oil painting of a lady with a pearl necklace.
There were many high-heeled models of sorbet-colored satin finished with square closures, shapes borrowed from Victorian lingerie.
High heels adorned with grosgrain ribbon continued the Moll Flanders vibe. Although Queen Cora also updated herself with another range of crystal-covered shoes and a crystal mesh boot: Victoria is going to Las Vegas.
Banshee of Savile Row: Classic tailoring, modern attitude
Those looking for sophisticated tailoring with a touch of modernity should consider the Banshee of Savile Row brand, an Irish brand that is making a name for itself in England.
Banshee hosted a very stylish show at its exhibition space, one floor up at 13 Savile Row, featuring classy tailoring and modern titles.
Empress in a dark red velvet tuxedo suit; Tigress in a three-piece blue pinstripe suit and Lion in a fine wool double-breasted black cape. All this combined with tight tops and bras.
“I like the mix of long and short,” smiles designer Ruby Slevin, who pairs a sequin mini with a single-button velvet coat.
We even see a brown houndstooth tuxedo in Donegal tweed, where designer Ruby Slevin’s family comes from and where she shot the brand’s latest video.
Banshee, which is both a direct-selling brand and a custom clothing house, will move to the United States next month for three shows: on New York’s Fifth Avenue in Chicago, where it will also host a show at the Art Institute, and finally Los Angeles.
Ashish: Surrealism in Nobu
Just when the gloom of serious clothing darkens the London season, Ashish arrives to offer us a truly surreal romp.
Guests at this parade, which was held at the Nobu Hotel, were greeted by a black goddess in a three-meter-long dress, standing on a silver moon. Next to her, a burly Don Juan with hair on his chest and sequined boxers lay asleep on a bed shaped like a cartoon swan.
Referencing the power of dreams and quoting Arundhati Roy, Ashish brought out her models in a mishmash of garments featuring the designer’s favorite sequins and her colleague Linder Sterling’s dotted polka dots. Delhi-born Ashish may be London’s most maximalist designer, but his clothes have been worn by Beyoncé, Debbie Harry, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
Slim dresses for women and shorts for men made with sequins in the shape of flowers, stems and starfish. Patchwork sequin leggings and tops that mix polka dots, plaids, checks and big cat shapes. Avant-garde transgender outfits, and an angelic young man in silver platform boots, panties and a halo, along with a mesh T-shirt that read “I Love Fairies.”
“Considering the state the world is in today. We need surrealism, we have to dream to stay sane,” Ashish argued backstage, after honoring his credo.
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