Sunday, 28 November 2010

Pick 'n' Mix

Here is the most recent piece of uni work I did - this time it was a trend report.

For Spring/Summer 2011, indecisiveness has never been more fashionable as designers put an end to our styling dilemmas. Say hello to mismatch, says Colleen Ross.

It may be fair to say, we have all suffered from style phobia at some point, where cleverly piecing together prints, colour and silhouettes can prove to be the most challenging of tasks. As a result, we ultimately end up playing it safe with an outfit nothing more than mediocre.
Thankfully though, our prayers have finally been answered. Mismatch fashion was embraced by many a designer this season, who dared to experiment with an array of fabric, print and texture, to maximum effect, a rarity up until a few years ago, when it was predominantly Comme des Garcons territory. Notably, it was the younger design talent, taking a leaf from Rei Kawakubo’s book and lead the way with this trend. Consider this a battle against the minimalist looks that also popped up on the catwalks this season.
Dutch designer Michael van der Ham pieced together a superb collection at London Fashion Week, fashioning together chic midi-length shift dresses using colourful, handcrafted, textile collage. “He uses gorgeous fabrics, like pure silk, cotton and wool, all brought together to create such a wonderful mismatch. The great thing is you can choose how you want to wear them.” Explains Josipa Perkovic, of Liberty, London, where his designs are stocked exclusively.
 Fashion East winner, Louise Gray, who was inspired by the Trinidad & Tobago tribes and Peter Pilotto were also at it, using a similar technique, beautifully illustrating the art of draping and clashing fabrics, resulting in wonderfully whimsical collections. Meanwhile, in New York, the reigning queens of alternative fabric fusions, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, presented a more refined, seventies suburbia inspired collection, using intricate wallpaper- like prints.  
Over in Paris, as the house celebrated its 40th birthday, creative director, Antonio Marras delved into Kenzo’s extensive archive, utilising the houses signature vibrant prints and fabrics, in a fitting tribute. The end result was volumes of floral patchwork tent dresses, and striped jumpsuits, in turquoise, coral and peach hues.
Whilst some of the silhouettes of this trend may not be reminiscent of seventies design, the idea certainly holds retro sensibilities, particularly the merging of various prints and colour, favoured by some of the most iconic designers of the time, including Zandra Rhodes and Ossie Clark. But, whilst the references were there, these designers created something new and uniquely exciting. Much to the jubilation of some fashion savvy celebrities who already have the look down to a fine art, including the Olsen twins and blogging extraordinaire Susie Bubble.
Of course if you’re not as daring as Miss Bubble, there are some not-so-daunting alternatives. Keira Knightley nailed the look at the London film festival last month in a Rodarte dress, proving the look can be both chic and feminine. So, opt for cinched in waists and mid lengths to counteract the eclecticism of this look. 
Remember, that mismatch can be taken off the runway, and right into our homes too. Interior designer, Ruthie Sommers believes the look to be effective because, “the combinations are usually unique to the person, signalling individuality.” So, don’t be afraid to get crafty and a make a home that’s your own. Looking for a little guidance? Be inspired by Kirsty Allsopp’s ‘Homemade Home’ and thrift hunt for some real vintage treasures. Alternatively, experiment with assorted dressers via German brand, Entwurf-Direkt, play with floral prints courtesy of liberty and a handmade Raou Kashmir print chair by George Smith.
After much recession talk over the past few years, the playfulness of this trend suggests that whilst we aren’t out of the dark yet, designers are optimistic that it’s all about it change. So, be imaginative and don’t be afraid to express ones personality. As Rei Kawakubo said herself, “Creation is not something that can be calculated”.

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