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filmed by JEJ for FACADES

The dark, medium gauge fabrics threw me off at first glance until I realised that they were the perfect vehicle for the kind of clothes that this winsome designer was trying to convey.  Monastic with a definite nod to martial arts, the overall theme was utilitarian yet far from staid.  A pleasure to behold were a collection of long, panelled tunics that danced over and around straight and generously cut trousers.  How Wan was able to pull these looks off without weighing down its comfortable wearers are an affirmation to her understanding of the marriage of culture, wearability and a healthy dose of what she considers pretty to her eye...and what an eye she possesses.

Just as strong as her long, layered tunics, were her take on pantsuits.  Well cut trousers, topped by blouses, impeccably proportioned, were tied together with belts that were so fresh, so modern, that it would have taken a second look to realise that they, too, were of that monastic, martial, artistic mien.  Yifang Wan, with all her Eastern leanings, crossed all the borders and into new frontiers.


filmed by JEJ for FACADES

As a resident of Amsterdam, where I expect the best in design from the most talented of a race already unfairly endowed with good-looks and tall stature, this collection, at best, can be described as transparently amateurish. Sisters, what were you thinking?  

As a whole, the palettes and colours were beautiful. Graphic cut-outs were a way to dart manipulations. Lots of their dresses in mixed fabric wafted down the runway although very few boasted sleeves, which were obviously not the collections' forté.  Few of the pieces glorify the female form but I think that that was part of their design philosophy.  There were very clever plays on transparent pieces with a certain transparent print beautifully executed on a skirt, a blouse and a full dress.  The collection's look is sure and directional but it falls short in sound dressmaking technique.  My two favourite pieces: a sober trouser suit in blue and, another, in black.  Apparently, these designers are well capable of producing seriously conceived and well-made garments.  I look forward to their next collection.


filmed by JEJ for FACADES

Mr. Rocha is a stalwart of British fashion.  Loved and respected by a staunch, and loyal following, he has yet to disappoint.  His palettes may have been inspired by places visited and by colours which may have moved him at the moment, but they didn't detract from the Rocha trademark: feminine bodices, skirts swathed in volumes of fabric which magically, almost supernaturally, failed in weighing them down.  These volumes floated quietly down the runway in that trademark deft handling.  Masses of fabric, three dimensional embellishments, at times supported by gravity-defyng underpinnings, were held together and controlled by John Rocha's mastery of structured tailoring that was at once airy and preeminently comfortable.  One of my favourite pieces was a drop-crotched jumpsuit in brown.  Done in countless ways by most houses, Mr. Rocha showed us his hand with it. And what a sure hand it is.  You bet, we scrambled to the front rows of this most beloved and well attended show.


filmed by JEJ for FACADES

If Bernard Chandran claims that his designs were an ode to the woman who was jilted by heartbreak and its ensuing pains, I happily report that his collection depicted a certain joy that was well over the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  The lady in question seemed to revel in the demise of her misfortunes and has moved on to celebrate in the knowledge that freedom was not necessarily hinged to no anyone or anything for that matter.  The joy was within the wearer.

The strongest pieces of the collection were the dresses in the form of shifts.  Contrary to what Bernard Chandran claims, his pieces conveyed an inner strength with nary a hint of vulnerability.  They showed no pain.  On the contrary, the collection exhibited strength. Standouts were the pieces rendered in black and white.  Pieces were wearable and timely.  And if Chandran had to apologise for what his muse had to go through to produce his works, I look forward to the next collection when his muse happily breezes through the joy of life itself.  A sad collection, this wasn't.  Bernard Chandran, you are an abject failure in producing a collection steeped in misery.   I look forward to the next collection.  Miserable or otherwise.  Well done, Mister.


filmed by JEJ for FACADES

The productions at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout events held at the Freemasons' Hall Building is the venue and platform, on which London's new design talent are given a chance to strut their stuff: the main reason we attend; also because it's close to our hearts.

The collection of Ekaterina Kukhareva shown within the building may have proved a tad too meritorious for its venue simply because it lacked that amateurish air.  As a technician, I couldn't help but marvel at the collection's mastery of its sleeves' settings (I counted 7 out of about 20 pieces; most collections forego this one component that truly serves as a hallmark to a dressmaker's mettle), the wearability and ease with which the models sauntered down the catwalk, and the combination of colours that spelled spring in today's locution.  With nothing to prove, Kukhareva spoke volumes. And speaking in hush tones, I heard loud and clear.  We only hope to be invited to her next collections.


filmed by JEJ for FACADES

This is the most difficult to write about, so I shall stick to my understanding of the collection's mien which may not be in accordance with the rest of those who beheld Edeline Lee's collection, a London-based Canadian designer.

30s in terms of subtlety; 40s in terms of styling (without its brashness); 80s in its hint of power-dressing (devoid of nightmarish armholes and cavernous sleeves); and evolved because all else unsightly were thankfully removed.  In my humble opinion and based on my couturière mother's creations, Lee's collection reminded me of the best of the 70s.  Charles Jourdan pumps in red came to mind.  Edeline Lee truly had something to say.  

Aside from three of her pieces, all of her dresses were strict and adhered to one length: the 21-inch skirt length which ended right below the knee cap.

The presentation was held in one of the rooms of the historical and arrestingly exquisite Royal Geographical Society Building.  Far removed from the usual catwalk shows, only a dozen guests were allowed per presentation, which may have proceeded throughout the day.  Ergo: there were more models than spectators.  In our batch, we were amazed to have Hamish Bowles amongst us.  I was giddy by his handsome presence and puzzled over his inability to age.  Humble beyond words, he exhibited the lightness and brevity of Grace Coddington, another beautiful creature of the fashion world.  Next time, I will say, "Hi, Hamish."

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