Top talent lands in L.A. at British Fashion Council event
Just days after Concept L.A Fashion Week commenced at the Ace Gallery on Wilshire, a group of established and all British designers moved in to present their spring/summer 2012 collections to editors, buyers and stylists.
The event called London Show Rooms is put on by the British Fashion Council and brings together an impressive group of top talent all representing Britain. The designers at the inaugural L.A leg of London Show Rooms (it was initially launched in 2008 in Paris, added New York and a men’s presentation in Paris in 2010) include E. Tautz, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, Richard Nicoll and Roksanda Ilincic, as well as a “ones to watch” group including Louise Gray and David Koma.
All the designers were present and excited to talk about their lines as well as their feelings on Los Angeles. “I love L.A.!” said Erdem Moralioglu, who is known for his use of vibrant color and quirky, ultra-feminine prints that sell at Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus here. He landed in town just a few days earlier after stopping in Vancouver for work, he heads to Seattle after L.A for an appearance at Nordstrom, but had a checklist of things to do — like try wheat grass and go to LACMA — while in Southern California for the week. “I love the idea of women pairing my pieces with something unexpected,” he said. “And I think women in L.A are great at that. They will mix it up and maybe wear a floral dress with flats or an Alaia sandal.” His spring/summer 2012 collection was full of ladylike dresses made from 1950s girdle fabric (genius) and smattered with various bold prints that felt fresh and appropriately springtime.
It wasn’t just Erdem’s collection that popped with crazy bright color against the stark white walls of the Ace Gallery. Mary Katrantzou, Peter Pilotto, Roksanda Ilincic and shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood all showed super-bright lines filled with bold patterns and angular cuts.
Marios Schwab had a slightly darker tone to his line, but there was plenty of texture (diamond cutouts all over fitted cocktail dresses and sequins adorning the under layer of evening dresses). The young designer was influenced by film noir and incorporated the light and shadow effect by layering ultra-light black tulle over solid-colored fabric or simply crafting an entire gown out of a thin spray of the stuff — a sequin bodysuit underneath showed through just enough for a little nighttime pizazz.
London Show Rooms started Monday and ends Wednesday with a party at the Mondrian Hotel. But, despite the quick trip, a few of the designers managed to squeeze in a little field trip to the Westside over the weekend, hitting up the Vintage Expo at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. “Roksanda got this amazing Balenciaga dress and I picked up some Alaia pieces for my sister.” Moralioglu said.
The presence of the London Show Rooms in Los Angeles is certainly a bright spot in the lineup of fashion events happening this month. The presentation was simple, straightforward, organized and really let the talent in the room shine. Top stylists and buyers (Ron Herman himself was in attendance at the first day of the event) showed up to see the collections. Many didn’t attend London Fashion week and were seeing everything for the first time. In any event, the opportunity to show the work up close was important and may ultimately be effective in gaining exposure for British designers here in L.A.
— Melissa Magsaysay
Photos, from top: Participating designers with their models at the British Fashion Council's London Show Rooms; a model wearing a look from Erdem's spring-summer 2012 collection; designer Roksanda Ilincic, left, with a model wearing a look from her collection; shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood; Marios Schwab with a model wearing a look from his collection. Credit: British Fashion Council