IMAGE Still from Saul Nash SS21 ‘Flipside’ fashion film
Paria Farzaneh – 1pm
Set in the blissful quiet of English countryside, Paria Farzaneh’s SS21 show started with a bang, literally. Pyrotechnics and fireworks set the skies ablaze in a nod to both the chaos of tier gas seen around the world during Black Lives Matter protests and the scorching California wildfires. As London’s only on-schedule full-scale live runway show, Farzaneh (much like Burberry) was smart to switch the high-tech, high-expense sets of catwalks gone by and use the natural world as her stage.
Emerging from a forest nearby, Farzaneh’s troop of models stomped through a large grassy expanse and formed into a line where they took a dramatic stance. Camouflage, parachute styling and utility zip pockets featured heavily in the co-ed collection for Farzaneh’s debut into womenswear. A strong colour palette of green – army khaki, acid lime and wicked witch emerald – appeared on a new melting monogram print, and her classic tablecloth print could also be seen in deep plum via a cross-body bag. The highlight was a couture-shaped gown made from technical nylon covered in pockets.
It was a starkly different mood from Farzaneh’s previous collections, which usually centre around her Iranian culture and take a soft, nostalgic approach. This felt much more assertive, like she had a point to prove, and the scale of the setting certainly added to that. It was excellently executed, the clothes looked beautiful and felt powerful.
On Instagram, Fyodor Golan released a series of ‘work in progress’ images of their latest designs in collaboration with fashion tech giant Change of Paradigm. The tech company use the full potential of 3D design and works with fashion brands to pioneer how we will interact with and shop fashion in the future.
At the helm of the brand is design duo Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman, whose backgrounds in Fine Art bring a fresh and expressive approach that establishes a distinctive visual language, so it’s no wonder they’ve been collaborating with VR and 3D fashion opportunities since before the pandemic forced many designers to consider digitising their work.
The collection definitely appeared as a work in progress, as digital renders of their designs were showcased on digitised bodies. Some of the pieces are nice ideas, but for a brand that prides itself on innovation and futuristic design, the designs hardly feel forward-thinking.
The incomparable talent incubator founded by Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East, marked its 20th anniversary this SS21. Joining the Fashion East line-up is newcomer Maximilian Davis, who premiered the event with a fashion film inspired by his Caribbean heritage. The designer – who has previously trained under Wales Bonner and ASAI – spent the lockdown researching the roots and imagery of Carnival from the 19th century, and listening to stories of his Grandmother’s upbringing in Trinidad.
The resulting collection was a powerful array of monochrome tailoring, barely-there strappy cocktail dresses and shredded denim. Male and female models adorned the collection as they danced in a plastic-wrapped studio to a beatboxed backing track, their exposed skin seductively glistening with sweat. It’s not the iconography of Carnival that has been tirelessly appropriated – instead, Davis delivered an alluring portrayal of Caribbean elegance and strength.
Next up came Goom Heo, returning to the Fashion East line-up. Her subversive aesthetic saw an assembly of sports-inspired lycra and parachute pants contrasted with soft, cascading drapery, sequin-adorned sleeves and plenty of fringe for a zany take on menswear. Filmed on a Go-Pro, there were quite a few awkwardly framed shots reminiscent of bad holiday Facetime calls with my Grandpa. When the camera wasn’t looking down the bridge of the model’s nose, it showed an open London roof-top, where Goom’s muse was furiously thrashing his legs around in the air in some sort of football-meets-karate move.
Also returning to the line-up, Nensi Dojaka’s lingerie-inspired designs were juxtaposed against the bustling streets of London in a kitchy blend of photography and film. The all-black looks – comprised of deconstructed dresses, spaghetti straps and layered sheer silks – were pretty, but pasted against the erratic movement of London life at super-speed, they got lost in the crowd.
Finally, Fashion East regular Saul Nash was last to show his film, ‘Flipside’. The dancing sportswear star debuted a new collection of his contemporary technical garments designed to liberate movement. Having taken a trip to the coast during the lockdown, Nash revisited the spot to create a breathtaking backdrop for his collection. The coast inspired him to create transformative garments that could shape-shift for its wearer. In the film, we see dancers appear in white, lilac and cornflour blue tracksuits. As the performance escalates and the string soundtrack swells, we see the garments unzipped to adapt to the dancers’ movements – hoodies are unzipped at the sides to become ponchos, and track tops are pulled apart to reveal mesh underlayers.
It’s an innovative idea for dance, but it’s practical applications elsewhere should not go unappreciated as we end another day of LFW still asking the same questions about sustainability and the future of design.
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