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2011 February 21

London Fall 2011: Mulberry, Vivienne Westwood Red Label, Nicole Farhi, Richard Nicoll, Topshop Unique

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(LONDON) Mulberry 
Channeling a classic English rose with a bit of artfully unkempt edge, Mulberry wowed yesterday with a foxy collection—culling inspiration from The Fantastic Mr. Fox, that is. Creative director Emma Hill also found stylish fodder in provincial pastimes like hunting and fishing. Hill turned out perfectly layered shades of khaki, olive and taupe in structured cargo-pocketed silhouettes. Hues then segued from sleek ubiquitous black ensembles to a punchy palette of periwinkle, fuschia and teal—but a touch of Hill’s precocious schoolgirl vibe remained, thanks to slouchy tan knee socks paired with most of the subtly spunky looks.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label
It’s always an aesthetic party for the peepers when Vivienne Westwood is around. Her Red Label show for Fall 2011 brought her trademark tangle of prints and cacophonous color clashes to the halls of a civil courthouse. Coal-colored pinstripes, pastel ginghams, leopard and thick undulating stripes in jewel tones tumbled onto the runway with infectious joy. Neon coifs, distractingly elaborate face-painting and plumes of fluorescent feathers seemingly plucked from a rave kid’s pet parrot rounded out Westwood’s endearingly bizarre fashion freak show.

Nicole Farhi: Proportions popped and textures titillated in Nicole Farhi’s Fall 2011 collection. From shimmering swaths of inky and crimson palliates, flashes of black satin and the occasional chunky grey and white knit, Farhi kept things tactile.  Mussing with grey pinstriped masculine suiting contrasted sharply with frocks enveloping the female form with expressive exposed zippers. A vaguely sans-pants look worked well for Farhi – brief, boxy coats and shift top-dress hybrids were grounded by opaque black and white tights-clad gams.

Richard Nicoll: It’s all about extremes for Richard Nicoll – after last season’s vampy, David Bowie-inspired looks with copiously exposed skivvies, his Fall 2011 showing took shape in looser, almost sporty silhouettes that reinterpreted the sensual factor. Chokers and sheer black stockings lent some allure to the relatively covered-up layers. A jazzed-up palette of sheer and shimmery shades of cappuccino, bronze, chantreuse and peach amid ample black colored Nicoll’s futuristic and coolly unstudied uniforms for tomorrow (or this fall’s) chic set.

Topshop Unique:  The British arbiters of fast, sometimes tacky fashion gave 101 kitschy ways to channel Cruella de Ville with a bit of faux fur-smothered Old Hollywood ingénue thrown in. Once – or if –the amusing distraction of the models’ canine-inspired take on Princess Leia buns, coupled with a smear of paint on the tip of the nose, could be ignored or adjusted to, a few sophisticated separates stood out. Highlights included a short cream cocoon coat, burnout velvet emblazoned with the swooping spans of the Brooklyn Bridge and jumpers in large-scale cutout circles that would work swimmingly atop an all-black getup (instead of a petite pooch motif). Dabbling in Dalmatian surely snagged attention, but the comparatively toned-down togs, sure to be had for a pittance compared to everything else on the runways, are the real draw in Topshop Unique’s fall mélange.




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