Each fashion capital has its signature, a certain set of affectations that can be viewed as stereotypical or simply unique to the city depending on who you ask. London is recognized as home to the ground-spring for the avant garde or at least quirk. Its designers are not staid, classic types they don’t just work outside the box, they live there.
With revolutionaries from Vivienne Westwood, Jeremy Scott and the late Alexander McQueen forging the path, design school kids coming out of institutions like Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art are met with expectations to not just join the world of high design, but possibly change it (or at least add some Lady Gaga-esque shock value).
Below are ten candidates for the job, not all Brit born and bred, but at least educated in the UK and firmly rooted in its fashionable trenches. There the designers of the future you could say even Karl Lagerfeld can’t last forever!
Known for its girlish yet modern florals, Erdem Moralioglu struck out on his own back in 2005. Although Canadian-born, Erdem studied his trade in England, earning his masters from the Royal College of Art. He then did time for that other print-happy designer, Diane von Furstenberg in NYC. Erdem’s own brand focuses on feminine designs with unique embellishment and embroidery beloved by celebs/British roses, Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller, and the closest we have to a queen stateside, Michelle Obama.
A young overachiever, Louise Goldin launched her knitwear line in 2005, as a recent fashion Masters grad from Central Saint Martins. Staying true to what could now be called London fashion tradition, this designer leans toward a futuristic bent, courtesy of some sculpture-influenced details. The eye-trick though is how highly wearable her technological creations actually are especially for an edgy chick willing to take a few risks. Despite being known for her dark palette, Goldin counts Swinging Sixties icon Pierre Cardin as inspiration.
Amy Molyneaux and Percy Parker are the design duo behind the label best known for stovepipe denim, PPQ. Although started in 1992, the designers’ more recent foray into built-for-the-clubs dresses beloved by devoted downtown party girls from Peaches Geldof, Jade Jagger, Kelly Osbourne to Agyness Deyn is what’s making waves as of late. If you noticed a hint of musical pedigree in that list, it makes sense considering the two also created 1234 Records, and run the achingly hip music festival held annually at Shoreditch. Famous friends or not, the duo has their pulse on the Brit girl style thing: where looking good doesn’t mean flashy designer logos and crisp and clean polish.
Considering the Canadian-born, Central Saint Martins-educated designer was just recently announced as a nominee for the coveted ANDAM award formerly won by luminaries including Gareth Pugh and judged by fashion heavyweights from Carine Roitfeld to Alber Elbaz it’s apparent we’re not the only ones who think Mark Fast is going places. Notable for his innovative techniques with yarn, body-conscious silhouettes and atypical model casting, there’s a very good chance that the young designer could do quite a bit with the ANDAM’s $279,000 top prize.
Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos comprise the twosome behind the Peter Pilotto brand. Although named for the former, this London-based label melds the talents of two grads of Antwerps prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Pilotto focuses on textile and pattern, while De Vos keeps his mind’s eye on drape and fit the resulting aesthetic is comprised of shapes that hug and wrap the body in cool, unexpected nature-meets-fashion patterns. Besides being an editor favorite, fans include Kate Bosworth.
Danielle Scutt is still fairly green to the scene she showed her first independent collection for Spring 2008 but she’s already off to a rollicking start. Her body-con Eighties punk meets late Seventies pieces have been an editorial favorite for edgy mags like V. Surely having a Central Saint Martins diploma helps too. Scutt has attracted supporters like Agyness Deyn and Gwen Stefani, and with a Topshop collaboration already under her belt, watch for this Helmut Newton and Richard Hamilton-influenced designer to gain a mainstream following comprised of strong women everywhere.
Although in no way new to the fashion scene, this former Creative Director for Diane von Furstenberg recently left the NYC-based mega label to focus entirely on his namesake line. A former apprentice for John Galliano, with stints at Kenzo and Daryl K, this London native smartly built-up his CV before forming his own brand in 2006. After Madonna’s top designer Arianne Phillips proclaimed Nathan Jenden‘s third show the best of London Fashion Week, top mags began showcasing his modern, graphic, well-tailored pieces, thereby introducing this talent to the credit card-holding masses.
Christopher Kane studied under the new wave of the British avant garde including Giles Deacon before launching his own collection. But aside from developing his design chops, having Anna Wintour at your back surely helps a young designer out. Wintour put in a good word for Kane for the Versus design job, Versace’s younger sister collection, and lo and behold, he got the gig. Kane also keeps busy designing a line for Topshop. As for his eponymous line, he pushes the boundaries with bright pops of color, intricate uses of embroidery and body-hugging silhouettes. Often drawing on his Scottish school days, this Central Saint Martins alum is served up best for the under 25 set, but who knows when he’ll surprise us next.
This Athens, Greece native is a globe-trotter. She did time at the Rhode Island School of Design before ultimately graduating from Central Saint Martins. She then honed her craft while working for Bill Blass and Sophia Kokosalaki. But despite her international background, the young designer found a fashion home in London. Parlaying her background as a print designer into her own namesake line, Mary Katrantzou draws from her past life with bold and industrial pieces punctuated with statement jewelry. She looks to the art world enlisting a glass blower for input on her latest collection and doesn’t shy away from color. This Greek girl has many fashionable eyes on the lookout for what she’ll do next.
Hannah Marshall is the latest in the grand tradition of punky Brits. This Essex native studied at the Colchester School of Art & Design and worked in the studios of Jonathan Saunders and Justin Oh. With six collections to date, Marshall works in luxe fabrications from leather to velvet and counts English model/national celebrity Erin O’ Connor as a follower. Often associated with her exploration of the LBD, the design ingnue keeps her focus clearly on fashion favorite black. Hannah is supported by New Generation which is sponsored by Topshop. If past New Generation designers, including Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson, are any indication, this girl has some coattails worth holding onto.
All images: Fall 2010 collections via Londonfashionweek.co.uk