Business as usual at Caroline Charles for S/S’12

by Katie on September 19, 2011

Caroline Charles has been around, seemingly, forever, her most notable clients being Barbra Streisand, Lulu, the late Princess of Wales, and Liza Minnelli, and her work stretches beyond fashion into corporate work wear and design consultancy.  

Whilst Paul Costelloe confounded expectations with his Spring/Summer collection, Charles lived up to every one of mine. The comfortably-tailored Mother-of-the-Bride suiting; the busily-printed Ladies Day dresses; the ornate embellishment of the occasion wear – these pedestrian pieces could’ve been lifted from Debenhams, or Marks & Spencer, yet here they are with a suitably high fashion price tag.

Moments of elegance are dotted sporadically, such as the lean and refined shift dresses, or the swishy tiered skirts, but these are few and far between. Worryingly, it’s when Charles attempts invention that she becomes unstuck. Red gingham paired with black gingham is misjudged, and a checked jacket with zigzag cropping caused Katie and I to reel. This is before we mention styling misfires such as the jaunty straw boaters.

At the end of the day Caroline Charles isn’t designing for those like me who are fixated with the fashion-forward, and this collection might’ve looked less frumpy and stuck in a moment on more mature models. Charles knows her market, middle-class, middle-aged women in the Shires who like that nice Fiona Bruce, Sunday night television, and drinking cappuccino after 11am. Visitors to the Algarve next Summer will see these clothes everywhere.
Team Chutzpah will be holidaying elsewhere.
Review written by Lee Clatworthy (@TeamChutzpah)
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