The Fashion East show is always a highlight of London Fashion Week. With talent scout and industry influencer, Lulu Kennedy, at the helm, the initiative looks to support emerging talent and bring up-and-comers up onto the main stage. This season's designers, Maarten van der Horst, Marques'Almeida, and James Long, each took very different paths towards Fall 2012 but all showed thought provoking collections.
Named one to watch after his spring collection, Maarten van der Horst worked to refine his identity as a designer and improve upon his already signature aesthetic of bold prints and interesting shapes. Notions of femininity and masculinity ran rampant with silky floral bandeaus overtop of buttoned up shirts and crisp, tailored shirts and jackets attached to of skimpy bodysuit bottoms. There was a lot of skin, in spite of this being a fall collection, but it was definitely memorable.
In a similar manner, Marques’Almeida worked off of a similar 90s aesthetic to their showing last season with rough, raw denim shown shredded and destroyed alongside leather and mohair. Inspired by the documentary Beautiful Losers, about a group of graffiti artists in the late 80s, the designers noted that they’re designing for a market that seeks an authentic edge. While it’s definitely edgy, and seemingly unrefined, it remains to be seen if there’s a real market desire for this look.
By far, the standout of the show was James Long, who has now firmly placed himself as an it-boy in both the men’s and women’s wear markets. This season’s collection saw a beautiful mélange of print and texture with a clear point of view. The room was buzzing as the first few looks emerged because it was clear that Long has found his footing in the women’s wear realm.