Self-Portrait: Pretty — With Attitude
A pretty girl, a lithe body inside a column of guipure lace and a set of white furniture piled up higgledy-piggledy as if in a garden shop comprised the fashion set for Self-Portrait.
The story of this company, founded just two years ago, has magic to it. The designer is not a hip young woman dressing in a romantic, dishevelled way — all lightweight fabrics slipping off one shoulder and sporty mini-dresses dense with floral decoration.
Nor is the story of the brand, although based in London, a dreamscape of an England of flowerbeds and roses around the cottage door.
Instead, Han Chong, a Central Saint Martins graduate who grew up in Malaysia, has become a mini-phenomenon in fashion, selling his price-is-right clothes at a speed that surprises his stockists. He is also dressing today's tastemakers, everyone from Kendall Jenner through to Miranda Kerr, Katy Perry and Kristen Stewart — young women who like pretty clothes with a touch of attitude. And that is Han Chong's particular strength.
Giulietta: Taking Courrèges to the Tennis Court
The US Open tennis matches were a big focus for sports lovers this week. But for her Giulietta brand, Sofia Sizzi, a New York-based Italian, created intriguing fashion athletics between futuristic tennis players and 1960s fashion star Andre Courrèges.
"The DNA of Giulietta is femininity with powerful and strong elements," said the designer backstage, surrounded by the horizontal, vertical and diagonal stripes that she had worked into outfits and that stretched across the body.
Jersey, suited to athleticism, was the foundation for the graphic looks, while deep brassiere tops and visors gave a feeling of fashion armour.
Together the effect was as blinding as having each serve end in a smash hit. Separately, the outfits had a cheery femininity that showed how far the world has moved in the half century since the Courrèges years.
Hood by Air: Unravelling Uniforms
Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air seems to have a thing about school uniforms, particularly snipping them up and putting the fashion puzzle back together, as in a shirt with a stiff collar and cut-away shoulders rising from a zippered top; or a pair of trousers so split open they looked like fetish wear.
Wherever the designer took his lessons, the classes seemed to have focused on bondage with black straps holding chiffon together and white bandages encasing the arms.
The show ended with fresh white men's cotton jersey outfits plastered with the "HBA" Hood By Air logo. And then a finale of a married couple of indeterminate gender.
Was it shocking? Not at all. Inventive? Yes, if you count the many ways of deconstructing denim or other fabrics. But hasn't fashion been here before?