Thanks to vitaminwater I was given the opportunity to go backstage before Jasper Conran showed his Autumn/Winter collection on the catwalk on Sunday. When I arrived teams were finishing up with hair and make-up and the call for models to be ready in 10 minutes rang through the area. I did a quick sweep of the room, scanning garments as I went and trying desperately not to get in anyone's way.
The invitation showed a close-up of sequins so I had an idea that they might feature in the collection and the first thing I spotted was a heavily sequinned dress. Following that my eye was drawn to a rail of sheer panelled dresess; it's been surprising how many designers have featured sheer designs in their shows for A/W. Comfort-lovers are going to have to learn the art of layering if they are to work the trend once the temperature drops. The beautiful models had gently waved hair, cat-in-the-hat shaped headwear and a natural beauty look with coral lips. 4 hair stylists per model ensured the show started pretty much when it should have.
In the run up to London Fashion Week, Jasper Conran's team have been providing an insight into the preparation that goes into getting ready for a show. Via Twitter, Facebook and a new Tumblr blog, the team have been posting photos and letting us all know the work that goes into putting on such a big event. I love to see designers investing time in social media, it's such an instant way to access an engaged audience and gain instant feedback from them too. What's more, it fuels a passion in those who want to be part of the industry and creates excitement around London Fashion Week too.
Back in the BFC show space, it was time to see the collection as it was intended. The collection was a big contrast to spring/summer in terms of palette and the decade of influence. I loved the beach inspired collection for spring/summer worn with white pumps instead of the catwalk's trademark high heels. But from fifties style summer dresses shown back in September, this was very much an full-on winter collection featuring fur, sparkle and striking '60s shapes - all with the clean lines and signature minimalism that Conran is known for. Panelled monochrome dresses were a hit with tweeters with Hilary Alexander referring to the look as 'crazy paving' (I didn't see a press release so I'm not sure if that was a phrase coined by Hilary or Jasper) For me, the stiffened fabrics in white were almost like a paper armour - staunch but delicate all at the same time.
The Avengers style jumpsuits and low slung belts were a surprise and heads were definitely turned when one of the hero pieces from the collection hit the runway; a Toscana sheepskin coat. The palette of grey, black and white was given extra warmth with rich browns and coppers. All in all, a highly commercial collection with one-or-two surprises that made it both charming and memorable once again.
Watch the Jasper Conran show highlights below...