With the champagne pouring and the buyers out in their droves, the Exhibition at London Fashion Week is simultaneously one of the most glamorous and the most hectic events on London’s calendar. This year has been no exception, and walking through the galleries of Somerset House, looking in on the exhibitors and their displays, one can physically feel the distinct Fashion Week buzz.
Especially noteworthy are the luxuriously sleek creations by Yes Master lingerie, Kyle Hopkins’s bold and edgy jewellery inspired by human and animal anatomy, Aksha Fernandez’s nature-inspired shoes which are a work of art within their own right, and Cleo B’s retro, ’80s inspired shoes and accessories.
With such high-profile visitors as Samantha Cameron, Yes Master certainly caused a stir this year with their Black Label range, launching in Spring/Summer 2012. Encrusted with jet black Swarovski crystals, embroidered with lavish symmetrical stitches and decorated with opulent feather trims, the Yes Master range provided a feast for the eyes with their “anti-brand” designs. Chief designer Igor Pacemski explained the inspiration behind the label: “Typical underwear designs are just so pastiche and stale. We aim for innovational shape as well as print, print and more print.” The beautiful, handmade leather harness created by nineteen-year-old designer Karolina Laskowska and commissioned by Yes Master was particularly prominent and eye-catching, with Karolina describing her creations as “luxurious and wearable twists on bondage imagery”.
…the range is funky and fresh…
Kyle Hopkins’s fascinatingly macabre jewellery range was equally unusual, with such signature pieces as silver bone bracelets and a pair of knuckle-dusters moulded into the shape of human teeth; and just across the way from Kyle’s exhibit was the brand new ‘It’s Like That’ range by Cleo B, inspired by the best bits of the 1980s. Hitting the highstreet in Spring/Summer 2012, expect to see a pallet of candy-box colours and Hip Hop inspired shoes and accessories. From the statement ‘BOOM’ sandal, which has the said word stretched across the foot in striking gold snakeskin, to Cleo B’s rainbow array of cassette tape purses, the range is funky and fresh with an old school twist.
Another star find amongst a host of exhibits at LFW was Aksha Fernandez’s incredibly intricate and breathtakingly beautiful footwear range. Aksha’s brand philosophy is that “Inside of every woman, there is a little bit of an ‘Alice’ fantasy, where she can live and explore her own world, where she can break free from her monotonous life and follow her own dreams and ideas.” Aksha’s shoes, which are inspired by nature, art and architecture, are a visual interpretation of this journey of discovery. Particularly striking were a pair of high heels that featured uppers constructed from a mosaic of leather Autumn leaves, painstakingly sewn together by Aksha herself.
In what seemed like no time at all, the day drew to a close and it was time to head back to reality. Having exhausted all the exhibits on display and after chatting with some of the up-an-coming design talent, the only thing left to do was to get my hands on some Häagen-Dazs Fashion Week ice cream!
Images courtesy of Cleo B, Yes Master and Debjani Biswas-Hawkes