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London Fashion Week day 3: feeling blue at Ford, Schwab, Temperley, Smith

  |  September 17, 2012

Models wear creations from Marios Schwab during London Fashion Week. Lewis Whyld / AP Photo / PA
Lewis Whyld SUB
Models wear creations from Marios Schwab during London Fashion Week. Lewis Whyld / AP Photo / PA

Today, the best beloved Tom Ford held court in a showroom near Victoria, presenting his spring/summer 2013 collection in a series of appointments to groups of adoring editors. After wandering the room greeting and charming his guests, he offered just two words of explanation for his designs: chastity and perversity. 

As he controlled the music from an iPad, intensely concentrating, the models walked out with the slightly mussed beehives, heavy eye-make-up and slender, knee-length silhouettes of party girls in the mid-1960s. Shoes ranged from gold wedges fringed with shivering bugle beads to knee-length buckled gladiator sandals in black patent leather. The palette of nude, monochrome and royal blue, the roped belts on gowns, chiffon blouses and heavily beaded eveningwear, and the easy silk pieces for day were as urban-luxe as you’d expect from Ford – but no pictures will be released for several weeks, so they will remain a mystery for most.

Sunday at London Fashion Week continued as a day of contrast, with looks as varied as Marios Schwab’s Native American-inspired raffia-fringed dresses, Alice Temperley’s fresh-as-a-daisy 1950s-style cotton frocks and Paul Smith’s relaxed but sharp tailoring and brogues.

Schwab’s collection, entitled “Cha-O-Ha” (meaning “in the wilderness”, and the birth name of the Sioux leader Crazy Horse), began to a Dead Can Dance soundtrack, and the clothes were just as tribal. Ancient Egyptian-style pleats, folds and bandages, fringed collars and breastplates of blue lace looked ritualistic and earthy, but by the end there was enough beaded fringing and sequinned lace to make the glitziest glamour lover happy.

A model presents creations from the 2013 spring/summer collection of Temperley.

A model presents creations from the 2013 spring/summer collection of Temperley. Carl Court / AFP Photo

Temperley, meanwhile, was all about easy, breezy chic: simple folk-pattern-printed cottons were turned into pretty full-skirted dresses with fitted bodices, wide-legged jumpsuits were fluid and 40s, and evening gowns had stripes of satin appliquéd onto white organza and turned into dirndl skirts. Tomato red, cornflower blue, black and white were mixed and matched in a collection in which Moroccan vernacular met St Tropez.

In terms of trends, this is a perfect time for Paul Smith, who showed at the new Central Saint Martins building in King’s Cross. His perennial tailoring and masculine-feminine mix never really goes out of fashion, but right now that androgynous, clean and punchy approach is happening across the collections. He brought his A-game, with beautiful colour-blocked blouses and dresses in navy, teal, rust, mustard and chartreuse, some featuring little lace panels, others with silk flower-prints sewn onto fine knits. Trousers ranged from wide-legged pants that ended just on the ankle to long and slender saffron cigarette pants, worn with masculine shoes in cream, orange and yellow. The only misfire? Stirrup pants, possibly the most dreadful trouser shape in history. One can only hope that this was a brief aberration, rather than an indication of things to come.

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 two: a bunch of raving hippies but John Rocha goes against the grain

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