LFW S/S 2011 review

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Slave to fashion Juliet Hutton-Squire gives us her LFW picks.

As our favourite consumer jewellery trends site Adorn-London.com celebrates its first birthday, we ask its editor and intrepid style hunter Juliet Hutton-Squire to give us her top picks from London Fashion Week.

Excited and inspired is how I would describe my feelings at London Fashion Week (LFW) this season. I look at everything; from what people are wearing on the street to the catwalks and new collections in the exhibition halls. There is something in everything, and I am careful not to overlook the seemingly obvious.

Walking around the halls at the LFW exhibition at Somerset House I was amazed by the tremendous skill, craftsmanship and creativity that is generated by the designers and brands that come under the jewellery umbrella.

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I was interested to see so many collections inspired by style icons, music and film. To me, this communicates that people are starting to think differently about jewellery, with a move towards sentiment and nostalgia. And then what about jewellery-wear: jewellery that becomes synonymous with the garment? There’s an interesting one to commercialise.

LFW does very well at mixing it all up so you will have artist-jewellers Yunus & Eliza on the one hand, and designer jeweller Alex Monroe on the other. Yunus & Eliza’s work is mythical and conceptual, while Monroe’s jewellery reflects his own passions and experiences. These designer-makers are all generating something that starts from within with very different outcomes, which is what I love about the British jewellery scene.

While it’s hard to pick out individuals from such a wealth of talent, read on to discover a few of my highlights from LFW spring/summer 2011.


Mawi

Mawi’s Gypsy Rani stole the show for me. Cloisonné, cameos, aventurine tusks and the glistening rich colour-saturated crystals are a nod to Mawi’s Indian heritage and Princess Rani herself. The juxtaposition of old and new is what I admire about Mawi. What is so noteworthy about this particular collection is the introduction of semi-precious stones and the fact that Mawi’s layered pieces include both fine charm necklaces and statement chokers. Once again, she is spot on in terms of trends but more particularly in creating jewellery that is both for today and for tomorrow – these jewels have a timeless quality and live up to their Heirloom title.

Erickson Beamon
There is always a sense of poetry behind Erickson Beamon’s collections and as I grow to know the brand more, I learn that music and film play an integral part in the stories that are dreamed up by grande dame of the costume jewellery world, Vicki Sarge Beamon. Halcyon Days, one of my favourites from their new collection, is no different. Halcyon Days refers to the nostalgically remembered days of one’s youth and it was therefore no surprise that this collection was designed with English singer-songwriter Karen Elson in mind. The intricate detailing and colour palette are feminine, carefree and intriguing. Asymmetric pieces, swallows and honey bees suggest that there is more to each piece than meets the eye.

St Erasmus
The muse for St Erasmus’ spring/summer 2011 is voluptuous Italian film star Sophia Loren. The lustrous colour palette of shimmering opal, pearl and pale blue exudes glamour and sophistication, further enhanced by the delicate silhouettes of the pieces themselves. This iridescent collection is built around a style icon and the intricate craftsmanship of an Indian heritage. The designer behind the brand, Pieter Erasmus, embraces the opulence of luxury costume jewellery in his modern-day parures.

Bark
Bark has made a prophetic claim that summer 2011 is going to be the summer of love. I must admit, it’s hard to contest when you experience the collection’s feel good factor built around things that make us smile: music, dreams, charming
treasures and, of course, love. The brand’s Carousel Horse, (be my) No.1 earrings and the Jack Wills-esque jewels for men were my favourites and I have to admit that I left with a smile.

Merle O’Grady
Merle O’Grady’s poolside-inspired collection is a homage to 1960s jet set society. O’Grady has managed to capture the modernist aesthetic with mouth-watering jewels that are intriguing, by virtue of their industrial edge and geometric style. The elements of Merle’s previous collections have been updated and given a makeover. The Sputnik or Bombshell ring has lost the spikes, perspex has gained colour and gold foil enters the arena. An exciting collection that leaves me hankering for more.

Alex Monroe
Inspired by the song Daisy Belle, Alex Monroe leads us on an adventure in the countryside on a bicycle made for two on a lazy, hazy Sunday afternoon. Alex has captivated an audience who love the romance of his narrative. I felt instantly transported into the world he was describing and was lost for a while in the detail of a country affair. The picnic-box pendant caught my eye and I looked inside, only to find a miniature cup, wine bottle and plate. The oak leaf earrings further enhanced the nostalgia.

Akong London
New to the jewellery scene, Akong London is the brainchild of Nicole Akong, whose past life reflects a chequerboard of diverse passions from working as a DJ to a career in the City. Drama Queen is Akong London’s debut collection, inspired by style heroines and the glamour of wearing jewellery as a statement piece. Feathers, both metallic and organic, layer like fallen leaves in cascades of metallic opulence whilst chain fringing, velvet and semi-precious stones make their presence felt too. I left the Akong London stand, with a note to self: one to watch.

Fiona Paxton
Well known and admired for her leather work, fringing and layered chain pieces, Fiona Paxton’s spring/summer 2011 collection encourages us to explore new frontiers. Fine Italian leathers are pleated and knotted, tiger’s eye semi-precious stones are juxtaposed with spindles of metal and hand-beading is twisted and plaited. There is a real sense of appreciation for an ancient craft that has been revitalised and modernised to create pieces that resonate textural harmony.

Dominic Jones
For Dominic Jones, it was the sculptures of Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth that inspired his spring/summer 2011 collection, plus the fact that his grandfather was a woodcarver. The abstract distortions of these modernist sculptors resonate through Jones’ designs in which you can see the fluidity of organic forms meeting the geometry of Art Deco shapes.

Zoe & Morgan
Unusual Suspects is the title of Zoe & Morgan’s spring/summer 2011 collection with a play on the famous line-up scene from cult film The Usual Suspects. The rock ‘n roll edge that has become synonymous with Zoe & Morgan is really summed up in this campaign. The Art Deco edge and familiar skull and scroll rings are still evident through the collection, although perhaps a little more grown up. Magic replaces love, rosary beads become the new layered necklace and the black onyx and green agate cuffs are reversible.

Joanna Cave
There is something light and fresh about Joanna Cave’s collection. The fine cut-outs and finishes incorporated into her jewellery suggest a sense of fragility. It was no surprise to learn that her spring/summer collection was inspired by long Greek summers, Cycladic landscapes and star-filled night skies. Cave’s use of oxidised silver in conjunction with yellow and rose gold enhances her poetic approach to layering and the strong sense of myth associated with her collection.

Made UK
Ethical pioneer Cristina Cisilino has got it spot on – create a brand of jewellery that holds its own in the fashion world because of its design integrity and not only because of its story. Ethical jewellery needs to be aspirational and inspirational. Made has always entered into collaborations that would reflect just that. Their most recent is a campaign with model Laura Bailey, whose Mingi necklace and bracelet are flying out of stores. Hattie Rickards, formerly of Solange Azagury-Partridge is the latest to join the line-up of stars who want to mobilise ethical jewellery. Made’s new collection resonates so much more than just a story, it tells of an adventure and a world that enables fair trade in fashion.

Michelle Lowe-Holder
This designer first caught my eye last season as I was intrigued by her ability to transform factory cast-offs into wearable jewellery. Her fascination with folds and pleating suggests that she has an extraordinary ability to see beyond form and function as we know it and metamorphose for example a buckle end into a piece of designer jewellery. This collection is a statement in its own right and, from cuffs to colliers, certainly inspires both the wearer and the admirer.

Little Glass Clementine
Little Glass Clementine intricately weaves together the precious and the discarded – a recycled collection that is built on the retelling of a story. There is a sentimental appeal to this collection that evokes a stirring of reclaimed memories and the inherent skill of breathing new life into something forgotten and forlorn. Designer Clementine James combines her love for jewellery and her passion for the care of our environment and we benefit from the result – a moving memoir that is both wearable and desirable in the form of a jewelled collier.

Katie Rowland
I was quite taken by the mystery surrounding the story of Lilith, a winged temptress of the night, after who Rowland has named her latest collection. The range juxtaposes a poised elegance with a seductive edge and looks at the tension between good and evil – the triangle is symbolic of the Holy Trinity and vampires are referenced in the fang-like pieces edged with stone. In contrast to the high-polished metal pieces, there is a sense of fragility depicted in the fine chain and layering. Once again, Rowland herself has seduced us with a designer jewellery collection that seems almost irresistible.

Mary Katrantzou
Katrantzou’s signature trompe l’oeil prints submerge us into the stylised world of interiors inspired by photographers Guy Bourdin and Helmut Newton’s fashion shoots. The hyper-real digital prints that we have grown to expect from Katrantzou were further enhanced with Victorian lampshade-inspired skirts and angled shoulder pelmets, giving each garment a 3D intrigue. The exquisite symmetry of the collection was reinforced by Katrantzou’s chandelier necklaces and reconfigured wall sconces. The designer’s ability to create something extraordinary out of the ordinary is what inspires me year in and year out and I find myself wondering if I would wear a candelabra around my neck this spring?

Holly Fulton
Fulton’s signature Art Deco-inspired jewellery and tribal motifs were evident in her spring/summer collection, although this time we were not talking the Manhattan skyline but a port-to-port cruise ship vacation. The backdrop for her stylised collection seemed fit for the jet set. After all, who wouldn’t pack a yellow laser-cut dress and skater-skirt for Rome? The strong choker-like styles seen in her neckwear and the geometric symmetry of statement earrings present a marriage of perspex and crystal that I anticipate with each new collection and without fail, Fulton never ceases to impress.

Todd Lynn and Shaun Leane
London and Milan always come up trumps in terms of jewellery collaborations on the catwalk, and Todd Lynn’s collaboration with Shaun Leanne at London Fashion Week was exciting. I am a great fan of Leane’s work, especially his ability to design a commercial collection successfully whilst challenging the boundaries of jewellery on the catwalk. His carapace pieces were quite extraordinary and even more so when you think about the delicate Hawthorn earring. Leane’s ability to design and make jewellery is inspiring, especially given the huge distinction between concept and commercial reality.

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