LFW – Caroline Charles S/S 2013 collectionLondon Fashion Week SS13
British designer Caroline Charles presented her stunning spring/summer 2013 collection at the BFC Show Space, Somerset House.
There are few designers more part of the old-school British fashion establishment than Caroline Charles. Originally designing in the swinging London era of the 60s for celebrities from Ringo Starr to Marianne Faithfull, this year marks the 50th anniversary of her brand, celebrated with a book released in November of her scrapbooks and diaries.
Very surprisingly, the collection contained quite a few 90s shapes and references. You would think that her target demographic of discerning, older London ladies, and Emma Thompson, would eschew the trend, but apparently no one is to escape this revival. The reference was of a softer, Laura Ashley type rather than tie-dyes and crop-tops, of course. The final piece of the show, an all-white outfit complete with floppy hat was straight out of Four Weddings and a Funeral: that scene where Andie MacDowell performs a wedding dress montage to Hugh Grant. There was also a skirt over Capri pants combination at one point that proves how far away we’ve all got from that era to return again with such nonchalance.
Elsewhere, the mood of the collection was further away from any collective British cultural references. The calypso music and almost Hawaiian shirts spoke of holidays that go on all summer. The colours in the printed shirts were entirely a 90s palate, reminiscent of early Microsoft screensavers. A few of the best pieces proved on closer inspection to be digital prints of colourful fish, rather than, as originally perceived, abstract patterns. In the bright lights of the runway, the pairing of these printed garments with black shorts and bright wedges proved effective.
There followed some rather disappointing block colour jackets again paired with black separates, some lacklustre midi dresses and some boring black and white ensembles. A mixed bag in general. Though talking of bags, the string ones accessorising the show were inspired, in bright pink and filled with tropical foliage. Our advice to everyone would be to get one of these for summer, remembering, of course, to keep valuables somewhere more practical.
Photos: Alessio Paratore