Nicole Farhi’s autumn–winter 2011–12 collection, shown Sunday night at the Royal Opera House, had dark shades and masculine cuts, designed for a conﬁdent woman. The tailoring and styling were top-notch, something one can depend on from this designer.
If only it were that clear at Unique: Louise Gray’s dots we could understand, but dalmatian-print fur? Models’ hair was done to resemble dogs’ ears. Either this was a pastiche on 101 Dalmatians or an assumption we’d like to dress as Cruella de Vil; that aside, many of the pieces had a youthful vibe and the T-shirt motifs (which, in some cases, featured dalmatians) were likeable.
Things were more colourful at Osman, with pink, blue and orange, initially offsetting the black and white in lining, before becoming the main colours on other dresses; stripes, too, made a comeback for this designer’s autumn–winter 2011–12 collection.
Matthew Williamson, once again, delivered a clever collection that explored the intersection between natural and synthetic. Most of the garments were luxurious and hand-crafted, while also appearing nomadic in the choices of patterns and colours. Williamson mixed materials—wools next to leather and sequins, for example—or design ideas, such as using chiffon but getting volume and structure from it. We enjoyed the feathers used on some of the closing designs on the runway—contrasted by the bright crimsons and deep violets.
Richard Nicoll was inspired by the 1920s and we could see shades of Paul Poiret in his autumn collection. The use of ﬂowing chiffon, the dropped waists, and the relatively narrow silhouettes recall both the 1910s and 1920s by Poiret, with Nicoll adding a cocoon motif, apparent with some of the high collars that came down the catwalk.
Vivienne Westwood continued to have fun with her collection, showing there’s more life in the Alice in Wonderland idea. And it worked, as she took inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s mad queens. Extreme make-up, with models’ faces covered with gold, white, blue or red, complemented designs that dialled up the colour quotient.
Temperley returned to London for its 10th anniversary, at the atrium of the British Museum. There’s a wonderful use of satins, plenty of cocktail dresses for those winter parties, and voluminous, chunky knits: strong geometry marked out this collection for us.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label