London Fashion Week’s busy opening Friday afternoon of shows starred and erotic Greek revival at Di Petsa, East-meets-West sophistication at Huishan Zhang, and clubbing cool at Mark Fast.
Di Petsa: Afterhours Aphrodites
Nymphs, goddesses and erotic divinities conquered the runway in the latest collection from Di Petsa, shown amid much excitement and applause.
It opened with the Birth of Venus, and a half-dozen erotic dancers smoldering down the catwalk before arriving at a series of giant candles, out of which a leggy beauty with Venetian blonde tresses emerged.
The ancient Greek gods forbade humans witnessing them in all their glory at the point of death. But the audience inside the Old Selfridges Hotel definitely got a good look at this barely dressed Venus.
A fab fashion allegory, the collection even starred designer Dimitra Petsa, who led the posse of nymphs that awakened Venus, before latter taking an extended bow at the finale.
Montparnasse-ian mode, with all sorts of demi-dressed idols in golden gauzy silk satin screen goddess columns; boudoir-worthy negligee looks or coppery crisscross Grecian cocktails that Artemis and Eurydice would have fought over.
Raggedly finished and chopped up bodices; unraveling swimsuits; disheveled leotards added to this risqué romp. Decidedly Di Petsa is one of those shows that reminded one why fashion aficionados can never give the London season a miss.
Huishan Zhang: East meets West
Huishan Zhang is a Chinese gent who has made London his home where he creates highly sophisticated and classy clothes – rarely more so than this season.
There is an icy, elitist quality to his aesthetic – most particularly at cocktail hour, when Huishan dresses his gals in pencil thin dresses made in lean sequined shards. Like the final song on his soundtrack, a slow moody rendition of Blondie’s classic Heart of Glass.
Though this is a ready-to-wear season in London, these clothes could have passed muster at Paris couture. Zhang does have a weakness for decoration seen in his crisp suits or cotton shirt dresses finished with scores of fabric buttons; or pale gray silk coat dresses embroidered with pearl, bugle beads and metal buds. Silvery slip dresses trimmed in metallic lace, a brilliant washed-out denim suit with ruffled skirt and elegant wool mesh sheathes all had definite appeal.
At times, the décor can overpower, but when Zhang gets the dose right the result are clothes of great ladylike poise. All the way to his final tulle concoctions – fine society hostess looks.
Presented to a packed house inside the basement of fashion destination The Londoner Hotel, this was a moment of grace, far from ‘The Madding Crowd’ that is the center of the UK capital.
Mark Fast: Clubbing from dawn to dusk
This show and collection felt like Mark Fast was trying to pass an entrance exam to be hired by Renzo Rosso at OTB. The results are in: Mark passed with flying colors.
From distressed denim pants and tops to tangled up knit bandage dresses, this was a punchy fashion statement by Fast; a designer who clearly understands what his clients want. For if you are a hot gal or cool dude who likes to see the dawn clubbing most weekends, then Mark is your man.
His big idea for next spring were sexy, skimpy, very-barely-there clubbing dresses in bands of knitwear or elastic stretch, revealing acres of flesh. It was as if someone had resurrected a Hervé Leger cocktail from a landfill and given it a good wash.
In an inclusive show, Fast sent out several plus-sized models who looked darned good in his knit dresses. And one can never fault Mark’s sense of color with a palette ranging from acid-dyed and bright pink, to blue neon and lots of sand and earthy desert.
Seen in a collection shod with great cowgirl boots with foot-long tassels or chunky electrician’s shoes.
Fast entitled the collection ‘Dawn to Dusk’ and one could understand why. This was a complete wardrobe for those among us who loved to party, endlessly.
Renzo would surely approve.
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