November 9, 2011
Some arena-playing rock bands travel less than young London’s designers. Those blessed by the British Fashion Council as part of the roving London Showrooms coterie have been on a whistle-stop world tour of late, hitting Paris, Hong Kong, L.A., and now, finally, New York, where they set up shop this morning to show their Spring wares to U.S.-based editors and buyers. To judge from the group assembled—including James Long, Thomas Tait, J.W. Anderson, Holly Fulton, Louise Gray, Marios Schwab, and milliner Nasir Mazhar—the journey may have tired them, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. Almost every designer queried revealed he or she had picked up international stockists along the way; among the city’s reigning favorites, Long and Anderson drew the most attention, but even the youngest in the crowd can now boast increased U.S. visibility. Central Saint Martins grad Simone Rocha, who showed her first solo outing this Spring after a few seasons under the umbrella of Fashion East, now sells her vintage-lace dresses, fluoro tulle sheer layering skirts, and plastic raincoats at Opening Ceremony. Craig Lawrence, a 2011 NEWGEN winner who showed loose-weave knits and cropped, elasticized jumpers, is at several Henry Beguelin locations. Interested buyers were swarming, suggesting more reach is at hand for many present.
New categories and techniques were on display, too. Jeweler and sculptor Jordan Askill introduced pieces with ethical amethyst, sourced from a mine in Zambia, which he worked into silver pieces with his trademark swallows (below left). (A giant swallow cuff, which opened to reveal a hidden compartment, blurred the line between his two pursuits.) Also in the new collection were his first fine-jewelry pieces, with tiny diamonds surrounding a faceted, hand-carved swallow pendant. Holly Fulton had begun working with mother-of-pearl for accessories and real seashells for statement-making jackets; the trick, she confided, is finding shells of uniform shape. Tait, whose finely wrought, voluminous pieces suggest Couture shapes, had a surprising new footwear collaboration: a set of crisscrossed trainers he designed with Nike. (He was wearing a pair himself, as was a model; he had no plans to produce them, he revealed, but persistent interest on the part of buyers may change all that.) And Sibling’s Cozette McCreery was on hand to show off her knitwear label’s first official women’s line, Sister by Sibling. Women had been ordering small men’s sizes for so long, she said, that she and her co-designers, Sid Bryan and Joe Bates, decided finally to cut and knit for them. They were cropped neon and sequin leopard tops (left) and two complementary, sweatshirt-style sweaters emblazoned with the words LOVE and HATE. They’d sold, she said, about evenly, though she expected more interest in LOVE. Call it a knitted insight into the human race.
Photos: Courtesy of Sibling; Courtesy of Jordan Askill