As London Fashion Week continues, we profile several of the designers who were among the select few chosen this year to receive support from the BFC Fashion Trust, of which Carmen is a benefactor, and take a look at their spring/summer 2018 collections.
Canadian-born, British designer Edeline Lee graduated with a first from Central Saint Martins in London. She apprenticed at the studios of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen before taking up several design roles, including time spent at Zac Posen in New York, and launched her eponymous collection in 2014. A 2017 BFC Fashion Trust grant recipient, Edeline has been a familiar face during London Fashion Week since her debut, but it was her spring/summer 2016 collection that heralded her first appearance on the official show schedule.
Citing Georgia O’Keeffe as inspiration, specifically the American artist’s arrival in New Mexico, the designer’s spring/summer 2018 collection evoked both fragility and strength. O’Keeffe arrived in the southwestern state a broken woman, but found solace in her new-found home, and it was this notion of “finding her place”, balancing vulnerability and a brave spirit, that Edeline Lee was keen to capture.
Last season’s bold silhouettes were still in evidence, but distinctly softer for spring/summer, the flares and flounces more measured. Exaggerated knotted ties added interest across the collection, giving it a sculptural feel, and O’Keeffe florals served as accents on delicate white dresses as well as abstract 3-D embellishments.
Born in Korea, Eudon Choi initially trained as a menswear designer in Seoul before moving to London to attend the Royal College of Art's MA course in womenswear. He launched his own label in 2009, and after securing sponsorship from Vauxhall Fashion Scout showed his collections off schedule until in 2012, he debuted as part of the official show line-up. First awarded a BFC Fashion Trust grant in 2016, Eudon was among a select number of designers who secured further funding from the Trust this year.
Known for deftly combining masculine tailoring with a feminine sensibility, his spring/summer 2018 collection, inspired by Eileen Gray, featured double-breasted blazers, tapered trousers and soft shirting. The geometric shapes that were in evidence on the runway, a signature of the Irish-born architect and designer who served as muse this season, were combined with more fluid styles, with volume being the overarching message. And crafted in a palette of predominantly maritime colors, the collection had a distinct Riviera feel.
London-based Huishan Zhang launched his eponymous label in 2011. A graduate of Central Saint Martins, he spent his third year at Dior after being chosen personally for the position by Delphine Arnault, the French house’s former deputy managing director.
The Chinese-born designer made his debut at London Fashion Week in September 2012, and like Eudon Choi he continues to receive support from the BFC Fashion Trust.
Zhang’s distinctly feminine designs were given a 1960s spin this season. His fondness for embellishment captured the mood of the decade via plastic polka-dot appliqués, and bright, bold graphics together with metallic finishes also evoked the era. His luxury-led signature featured a selection of sporty elements for spring/summer, with sweatshirt-style tops and flirty shorts adorned with drawstring ties.
Design duo Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida met while studying fashion in their native Portugal. After a move to London in 2009, they took up positions at Vivienne Westwood (Marta) and Preen (Paulo) and enrolled on the acclaimed MA course at Central Saint Martins. Launching Marques’Almeida in 2011, they showcased their first collection at London Fashion Week that same year, and went on to stage their first independent show on the official schedule for the spring/summer 2016 season.
Awarded the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2015, Marques’Almeida secured funding from the BFC Fashion Trust the following year, and continue to receive support today.
Having made their name with their cleverly constructed denim pieces, Marques’Almeida’s collections are now a confident mix of clothing, and for spring/summer 2018 the designers’ myriad references produced an eclectic and colorful show. Americana featured in the form of plaid shirting, metal-tipped cowboy boots and cowhide pants, these tough looks balanced by a series of feminine flourishes in the form of a baby pink feather-trimmed silk dress and frilled separates. There was also a selection of edgier designs, including oversize shirting layered over sequinned shorts, and of course the brand’s signature denim.
British-born Osman Yousefzada studied at Central Saint Martins before going on to launch his own label. In February 2008 he showed at London Fashion Week for the first time, and has since secured on-going funding from the BFC Fashion Trust after being first awarded a grant in 2016.
Staged in Aquavit, the Nordic restaurant in London’s St James, Osman’s spring/summer 2018 show evoked old world glamour. The setting gave the event an intimate, salon ambience, which served as the perfect backdrop for the transparent boudoir-inspired pieces that were the mainstay of the collection.
As a devote of precise tailoring, double-breasted blazers paired with cropped pants also peppered the runway, but these sharp, sure-footed looks were complemented by more fluid house-coat style cover-ups and frayed denim jeans.
Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones of London-based Teatum Jones were among the five designer brands to receive a BFC Fashion Trust grant for the first time this year. The design duo, graduates from Ravensbourne College of Design and Central Saint Martins respectively, launched their label in 2011, and made their London Fashion Week debut that same year as part of the event’s standing exhibition. Winners of the prestigious International Woolmark Prize in 2016, Teatum Jones is now a regular fixture on the capital’s official runway schedule.
While many designers may nod to diversity, Teatum Jones’ spring/summer 2018 presentation, which was dedicated to Natasha Baker, the British Paralympic dressage rider and 11-time gold medallist, embraced it. With a cast of models of different sizes and ethnicities, as well as a number with disabilities, the show exuded positivity. Fluid silhouettes and soft fabrics defined the collection, ease of movement expressing a sense of freedom, with sculptural shirting and asymmetric hemlines playing to the designers’ familiar bold aesthetic.
Another 2017 first-time recipient of the BFC Fashion Trust Award, Sharon Wauchob was a regular fixture on the official Paris Fashion Week schedule before hosting her first London show last September.
The Irish born-designer, who graduated with first class honours from Central Saint Martins, boasts a CV which includes time spent as an in-house designer at Louis Vuitton and serving as creative director of New-York based label Edun. She launched her eponymous label back in 1999, and having relocated her business is now based in London.
Known for collections that play with contrasts, spring/summer 2018 saw Sharon Wauchob add a masculine element to her typically feminine designs, signature delicate dresses adorned with cascading ruffles interspersed with sharp suiting. However, it was the outerwear, which featured heavily this season, that most clearly signalled this tougher stance, oversize mac-style cover-ups with extended sleeves in shades ranging from subtle to statement-making the standout pieces.
Photos: vogue.com / vogue.co.uk