Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough’s story has become the stuff of fashion folklore. Their graduate collection was bought in its entirety by Barneys. Two years later they won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, followed in 2007 by CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year, an award they have now won three times. If anything, the noise around the brand is more deafening today than ever. The designers say that their latest collection explores “the idea of softness in form, texture and colour”. But , whatever these two claim as their inspiration, “the boys” are just very, very good at making clothes.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua has a knack for making women want to grab his collections off the catwalk and wear them relentlessly. Perhaps it should be no surprise, then, that the designer is inspired by the street. “I was fascinated by the pure precision of the Milanese bourgeois wardrobe,” he explains, “where men’s items are the essence of practicality,while women subvert the rules, tempt fate, yet stay within classic chic boundaries. The tension between masculine and feminine sets the tone.” Dell’Acqua often combines opposing styles and genders; his AW13 offering is a deft new play on that characteristic approach.
Four years ago, Guillaume Henry dusted off the archives of a little-known Parisian couture house, founded by the vivacious Carmen de Tomasso, which had peaked in the 1950s. Now, under the Frenchman’s command, the label is anything but forgotten. Henry’s Carven is lauded for being polished, commercial, yet never boring. This season’s spongy belted coats in sherbet colours, satin dresses and minis still align with Henry’s signature codes – the cut-outs, the cheeky French attitude – but the Carven girl is growing up. The designer’s plan for fashion world domination was simple, he says: “It was never to do more and more, but to do it well.”
In a car park at 9pm on a Saturday in February, Thomas Tait’s girls stomped en masse down a concrete runway and emerged through plumes of grey smoke. Out they came in their racing-driver-inspired pieces – the anoraks, sheer tracksuit trousers and striped lycra. But this was more than just a theatrical finale for Tait’s show: it served as a metaphor for his label’s march into buzzy London brand territory. This season, the designer says: “I’ve become perhaps a bit more sensitive about how things look, feel and function. The designs have a life after the runway, so it’s important for me to keep that in consideration at all times.”
Styling assistant Bobby Hook
Casting Ben Grimes