Aspire To Inspire

S/S 2012 LONDON TOP 5 COLLECTIONS

I always get excited to see what London has to offer as they always approach the season a little outside of the box. Though sometimes a little too far out, there is always a good amount of outstanding collections with trend-setting ideas and/or collections that define and solidify an emerging trend heading into Milan and Paris.

This past runway season, the 5 brands that caught my attention the most were Burberry for marrying retro and demure silhouettes with crafty workmanship; Michael van der Ham for maturing in his range but still maintaining his identity as a mix master; Mary Katrantzou for once again defying any imaginable expectation for prints and proportions; Thomas Tait for his penchant for innovation and a taste level that is well beyond his tender years; and lastly Peter Pilotto for just plainly wowing my socks off with signature graphic prints and echoing Rag and Bone‘s winning combination of balancing sportiness and femininity.

1. Burberry

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Burberry Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Christopher Bailey presented a highly entertaining and crafty collection rooted in retro silhouettes. The ladylike shapes were paired with crafty details such as hand beading, crochet, weaving and twisting of fabrics. I love the mix of the African prints with modern sexy silhouettes and the artisan touch to the collection speaks to my fashion heart.  The vibe is very much in line with the retro and ethnic narrative of the season as a whole and I can’t wait to see this collection editorialized.

View the complete collection here.

2. Michael van der Ham

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Michael van der Ham Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Michael van der Ham is young in his design age but is showing to be one that matures quickly. This season, the designer graduated from a one-note wonderkind to becoming an increasingly sophisticated young designer diversifying and understanding how women like to wear clothes. The most impressive part is his move from fabric collages to creating a print more wearable than season’s past but still true to his eclectic aesthetic.

View the complete collection here.

3. Mary Katrantzou

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Mary Katrantzou Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

The current darling of London fashion found a way to elevate the intensity of her prints once again. Gone are the tromp l’oeil and instead she developed a print mixing metal and tropical birds and flowers. Intense color and print blocking was a new idea and the prints looked extra fresh on leaner asymmetrical silhouettes. All things point to a positive direction for the growth of this amazing talent.

View the complete collection here.

4. Thomas Tait

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Thomas Tait Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Rising star of London, Thomas Tait makes it into the Top 5 with his highly sophisticated collection that shows well beyond his tender age both in life and design experience. The shape is clearly inspired by 50s couture and the vibe is sporty in anticipation of the Olympics. But it is the soft minty color palette and the self-developed fabric that is most impressive and intriguing and suggests that Tait is a designer that looks forward and enjoys it.

View the complete collection here.

 5. Peter Pilotto

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Peter Pilotto Spring/Summer 2012 Collection

Rounding out London’s Top 5 is one of my personal favorites, Peter Pilotto. His signature futuristic ladylike style is on full display this season mixed with the season’s sport influence – specifically the swimsuit inspired slick necklines featured on most of the dresses.  Exaggerated peplum skirts lend elegance juxtaposing the techy fabric with lean silhouettes. Bold colors and strategically placed color bands help contour the body creating flattering angles and interesting shapes.

View the complete collection here.

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