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London Fashion Week day 2: a bunch of raving hippies but John Rocha goes against the grain

  |  September 16, 2012

Vibrant: Issa's tropical-style designs at London Fashion Week. Carl Court / AFP Photo
Vibrant: Issa's tropical-style designs at London Fashion Week. Carl Court / AFP Photo

If New York was all about the 1960s of mods and modernity, London so far has proved to be more about the summers of love – both the 1967 and the 1988 versions.

From Jasper Conran’s Americana collection, which kicked off to a soundtrack of Janis Joplin’s Me and Bobby McGee, to Henry Holland’s rave-inspired multicoloured tie-dyes and metallic brocade hoodies, playing against 1990s classics like Shampoo’s Trouble and 2 Unlimited’s No Limit (audience members of a certain age nodding along), the mood was feel-good and the crowds whooped along with the collections. Issa, favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge, sent out tropical-style maxi-dresses, jumpsuits and tiered cotton pieces that, if not hippyish, certainly spun the late-1960s vibe.

That tropical vibe, so hot in London at the moment, turned up elsewhere, from the remix of Paul Simon’ s Graceland at Holly Fulton’s show to Todd Lynn’s wonderful jungle-green shantung silks. Taking a lighter approach, Kinder Aggugini told a story of sailing the seas with his lovely collection of fresh, gentle ginghams, map prints and nautical motifs.

John Rocha at London Fashion Week 2012

Muted: John Rocha at London Fashion Week 2012. Jonathan Short / AP Photo

John Rocha, though, went against the grain entirely with a rich, uncharacteristically colourful collection of full-skirted dresses covered in densely ruffled silks. Poufs of pink or red organza bounced atop the models’ heads, while tulle-stuffed bell skirts in vibrant shades, as well as black and white brocade, offered an unashamedly feminine approach to eveningwear.

The National’s fashion correspondent Gemma Champ will be blogging every day from London Fashion Week 2012.

More from LFW 2012

Day one: fragile flavours from Willow and Bora AksuDay three: feeling blue at Ford, Schwab, Temperley, Smith

More from New York Fashion Week

• Victoria Beckham shows her Californian side • NYFW Day 6: Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein show us how it’s done