London Fashion Week – Henry Holland and Bryce Aime

by Katie on September 21, 2010

Travel is a recurring theme this season, and Bryce Aime took us on a journey of Far East Asia with a delicate and demure collection executed in a fresh palette of poppy red, pale pink, apple green, buttermilk, and yellow that drew inspiration from Japanese Kabuki costume and, whilst still theatrical, was a refreshing departure from his previous severe tailoring and structure – as evidenced in Rihanna’s ‘Hard’ video.

Contrasting textures and digitised floral and tie-dye prints, panelling, pleating, asymmetry, draped jersey and layered chiffon, all of fashion’s current obsessions were brought together to create a youthful, wearable selection of pieces which seemed both utterly modern yet beautifully timeless.  Metallics, another current fashion fixation, also made an appearance, and a mid-length, collarless coat rendered in a gold weave elicited coos from my vintage-coveting sidekick, the woman most likely to list “shiny” as her favourite colour.  The looks were finished off either by black mesh boxes encasing the model’s hair twisted into a tight bun, or ornate gold headpieces trimmed with red balls and the plumage of exotic birds, and simple, elegant silver and black lacquer earrings created by innovative jewellery designer Peter Lang.

It was with some trepidation that I approached the screening of the House of Holland show.  A blogger-only event, this was ostensibly to sell us Henry Holland’s latest hookup with Blackberry, a rather gimmicky limited edition case design.  I must also confess to some snobbery (and, possibly, quite a lot of jealousy) when it comes to discussing Holland, an untrained former journalist who has seemingly networked his way into becoming one of the most talked about names on the schedule.

However, a humble and refreshingly honest Holland soon won me over.  Breezing in straight from the catwalk presentation, he seemed nervous and apprehensive, and confessed that it was the first time he had seen his show properly – we always forget that the designer is usually experiencing meltdown backstage, a flashback to which occurred when a model lost one of her Marabou-trimmed doughnut earrings whilst walking out.
But what about the clothes themselves, would they stand up to my discerning scrutiny?  It became quickly obvious that both Henry and the woman he designs for had grown up.  In his words, “she’s attending more cocktail parties than squat parties now”.  A banana leaf print executed in jewel colours and influenced by the wallpaper in American institution, the Beverly Hills Hotel, adorned most of the opening pieces.  Tailoring this season was sharper, most noticeably in the metallic pleated skater skirts and the long printed trouser suits.  Tight flared trousers took inspiration from the seventies.  A selection of more casual denim pieces featured a Swarovski crystal star print, and the adornment was repeated on the short, gold halterneck dresses which closed the show.  Henry hadn’t lost sense his sense of fun though – tan leather accessories and nude socks were trimmed with the same Marabou as the earrings, and long fringing featured throughout.

Following the screening Henry spoke candidly about his influences, and revealed how much of his operation is a family affair, both his mother and aunt being drafted in to hem and sew on buttons each season.  He also hilariously intimated that his light-fingered BFF, supermodel Agyness Deyn, had rushed from his show stuffing his leaf print trouser suit into her bag.  The designer wrapped up with a few contractually-obligated words regarding his Blackberry collaboration, staying on to enjoy a well-earned drink in the room where he had celebrated his 21st birthday, leaving me feeling honoured to have been given a personal insight into a man whose business is often overshadowed by his media profile.

Review compiled and written by Lee Clatworthy for Katie Chutzpah Blog.

Please feel free to leave a comment regarding the London Fashion Week show reports.  Thank you.
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