London designers trawl Americana, tropical themes

LONDON: The catwalks exploded with bright colors on the second day of London Fashion Week, as designers sent brightly printed dresses, embellished denim and tie-dye printed leather down the runway Saturday.

Jeweled embellishments, ornate embroidery and tropical prints also made a strong appearance during the shows as designers embraced a lighter and more playful side for their latest womenswear spring/summer 2013 collections.

Spring was in the air at Jasper Conran’s show, where walls were decorated with neon lights laid out in the shape of large flowers.

Models walked barefoot onto the lush green catwalk, in embellished denim, broderie anglais and sequined dresses.

The collection was influenced by all aspects of Americana, Conran told Reuters, citing Janis Joplin, cowboy boots and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe as inspiration.

“I’ve done denim for the first time on the catwalk, so it starts quite sort of blues, and whites and silvers. And then it explodes.”

“Everything has a reference back to Americana, so it’s all logically done, with a healthy dose of illogicality,” Conran added.

Hot pinks, mustard yellows and mossy greens punctuated the collection, which featured knitted crochet dresses, micro shorts, and floral-printed blouses.

The Americana theme continued further south at Holly Fulton’s show, which was attended by British actress Gemma Arterton, and the International Herald Tribune’s Suzy Menkes.

“I think Holly’s designs are very easy to wear, and they’re bold, so it still has this very fashion-forward aspect without being too crazy,” Arterton told Reuters.

Fulton did not disappoint her audience, sending down an explosion of flamingo pinks, aqua blues and zesty yellows.

Printed rose cutouts were featured across the collection, sewn onto sweaters, stuck on PVC raincoats and laid over contrasting patterns.

Models sported a range of messy braids, with bright red-orange lips and oversized sunglasses.

The collection follows the journey of a woman across West Coast America to Mexico and features art deco inspired prints, applique and floral embroidery.

“I use a lot of silks as kind of bases for a lot of the pieces, because you get such a good representation of color for the print,” Fulton told Reuters.

“It’s quite an embellishment heavy collection. That’s kind of how I started out and that’s my first love – it’s been really amazing and I absolutely love this collection. I’ve had a brilliant time making it.”

Tie-dyed rainbow leather pieces, jacquard separates and floaty floral dresses edged with lace made up the collection at Henry Holland.

The colorful collection also featured frilly details on cropped tops and dresses, gem detail and knitted separates.

Designer Daniella Helayel finished the day with an exciting tropical display of sleek dresses at Issa London, a favorite brand of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Inspired by the Garden of Eden, models sported freshly cut orchids in their hair, which was twisted into an array of elaborate styles.

The collection featured a series of printed dresses and gowns, in tangy oranges, bright yellows and cobalt blues with lush imagery of tropical foliage, birds and flowers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 17, 2012, on page 13.




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