It has been a while since I've been in attendance at a catwalk show at London Fashion Week and it is surprising just how much of a proper show they always are. There is a reverential hush that falls over the noisy audience as the lights are dimmed and the first notes of the musical score slices through the built up anticipation hanging thick in the air. As the first model struts out under the glare of the runway lights you suddenly become aware of a constant mechanised hum suddenly starting up, slightly breaking the hypnotic effect of the music and the calm, even, plodding stride of the first model. Then you realise what you are hearing: the constant whirring and flashless clicking of dozens of cameras in the press pit.
In comparison to his more usually pared down pallette Osman offered a riot of colour for Autumn Winter 2011. Base colours of white, black, silver, grey and charcoal were still used heavily throughout the collection but lime, hot pink, electric blue, orange, red and turquoise were used in colour blocking pieces or as accents to break the severity of the more basic colours.
The shape of many of the garments and the use of long tunics worn over trousers was reminiscent of Eastern Asian styles of traditional dress. There was a sheer tangerine tunic dress with an embroidered navy blue motif running down one side which called to mind South East Asian forms of traditional dress, batik fabrics, and the tradition of shadow puppets dancing behind guaze screens. The long narrow cut of the long frock coats worn over trousers reminded me of the traditional jackets worn by Indian men. Many of the pieces in the collection were lent an understated sex appeal by details like the unexpected fluidity of flowing ties and trailing backs on tops and tunics, or by the angular precision of cutaway sections on the front and sides of dresses.
While I fully recommend that you view the photography on sites like Vogue to see the collection the images still don't do justice to the beauty of the fabrics used in the collection as seen with the naked eye. Many of the garments were constructed from very richly textured material with metallic sheens or some sort of surface pile. There was a thick, intricately quilted material worked into jackets and trousers. There was a shimmering furry velour with an almost velvety pile. Some of the more severe tunic shapes in white and silver were softened with the additional of fluid trousers in a plush, mottled, deep emerald and black velour with an almost fish scale iridescence shimmering underneath.
He made clever use of a wool with a finish that gave it a bright metallic sheen. It appeared as triangular panels of electric blue on the front of dresses and tops, or it was used in a shimmering silvery grey in sharply tailored pieces like a long sleeved, high necked maxi dress, starkly simple tops and wide legged trousers.
There was very interesting use of leather with dresses and skirts given some surprising and playful accents in texture and colour using inlaid horizontal stripes of brightly coloured bouclé wool. He continued the trend of Prada's horizontal stripes worked in fluorescent pink wool against a black leather dress with an A-line skirt. A skirt fashioned from leather in a muted tone of baby pink was given horizontal stripes of navy blue bouclé wool and paired with a navy blue wool top. A severe black leather shell top was lightened up by the addition of an angular lime green cape and a stiff leather tee was given a contrasting back of floaty, bright orange chiffon.
Stand out pieces included the red quilted jackets paired with turquoise trousers; the long leather trimmed, belted coats in white and charcoal, a jaffa orange caped trenchcoat, a black dress with an inbuilt cape lined in bright orange and the hot pink maxi dress with cutaway sides and electric blue motif.
My personal favourite pieces were the dresses with furry sleeves. There was a black column dress with blue fur sleeves and a bronze metal zip that snaked its way down the back, around the side and into a dramatic thigh high split. Despite the explosion of riotous colour he didn't disappoint on the little black dress front. There was a fitted leather shift dress that appeared to have zips splitting it into three sections - a zip off bottom section to make it shorter, and a zip at the waist to convert it into a top. Three leather garments in one! There was a shift dress fashioned from material that resembled a fine faux fur, and I loved a black tunic dress with voluminous glossy black fur sleeves.
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