Ella Dror PR AW12 press day
Upon arriving at the sumptuous Swarovski Lounge for Ella Dror PR’s AW12 Press Day, I was immediately struck by the sheer riot of colour on display. Stepping into the Easter-themed garden of delights that the lounge had been transformed into for the showcasing of their clients’ AW12 collections, my eye was bombarded with a fantastical array of eye-catching poptastic colours that made for a veritable explosion of brash neons and bold patterns. All so much, that it took me several moments to fathom where I wanted to begin.
Taking the anti-clockwise route around the room proved to be the best option, due to my immediate confrontation with one of my favourite off-kilter designers, Bernard Willhelm.
Willhelm’s latest offering is, for want of a better word, boho chic: ripped, shredded, deconstructed pieces emblazoned with the designer’s signature use of irreverent phrases too risqué for printing here. The tiger print blouson jacket and bag were standout pieces, alongside a crescent shaped panelled shoulder bag.
Next came Alex Mattsson’s on trend 90s sportswear themed menswear collection, harking back to the heady Day-Glo raver days. It also incorporated accessories featuring bondage detailing such as a harness and a balaclava “gimp” mask plus heavy leather outerwear that was given extra punch through the use of bright orange panelling. I liked this collection a lot, and prior collections even more so marking Mattsson as one young designer I shall be keeping my eye on.
The trend towards the avant-garde amongst the collections on show was represented almost unilaterally. Charlie le Mindu’s beautifully crafted collection of Toile de Jouy print garments, in stark art deco forms were accentuated by his extravagant headwear, or haute coiffure pieces in lilac and black, each crafted from real human hair.
Margot Bohman’s collection was another strong offering. Bohman is an artist who takes vintage pieces, for example a Balenciaga jacket, and hand paints them with her own abstract designs.
From Fred Butler there was pastel candy coloured fitted knit sweaters, paired with knit knicker shorts and even knitted high-heeled shoes. The mannequins were styled with Butler’s amazing origami-inspired fashion props and accessories bringing new interpretation and life to an age-old art of clothes making.
Aqua, a British based label beloved of East London hipsters, offer directional clothing for men and women that is a grown up, more refined version of Topshop/Topman. The AW12 collection for women centred on super-long maxi dresses in bright colours and splashes of gold; for men there were pastel tees, skinny jeans and shirts with abstract printing. Now if only they would get the length right on those highly covetable jeans for those of us who are 6-foot tall and above…
Honourable mentions in the accessories field at Ella Dror go to Vivian Ying and Una Burke.
Ying designs amazing geometric yet somehow dainty and feminine shoes for women. With the bold colour block designs, the shoes are something you might imagine Picasso creating were he alive and designing today.
Una Burke crafts futuristic-looking leather accessories are made using a panelled technique, enhanced with subtle gold studding. Items in the collection include a body harness, shoulder and collar pieces, intricate cuffs and elegant yet edgy clutches.
The small collections on show at Ella Dror were a refreshingly fashion-forward alternative to the norm, and have left me definitely wanting to see more from the designers represented.
Ian Michael Turner
Photos: Sara Reverberi