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London Fashion Week through northern eyes

Ingrid Jackson journeys South for the best of the North

Published on September 18th 2009.

London Fashion Week through northern eyes

London Fashion Week rolls round again. The spectacle that sees 16-year-old Lithuanians galloping down the catwalk in nothing more than a yellow boater and a few carefully placed sequins, is celebrating its 25th year. This is the province of It-girls, fashion editors and people who like their shoes more expensive than their mortgages, right?

But while Lily and Alexa are air-kissing on the front row and Peaches is getting drunk in the Moet & Chandon room, there are many unsung salt-o-the-earth northerners (and Henry Holland) on hand to provide the talent and creativity that produces the trends we’ll all be wearing next year.

We take a look at the northern stars shining brightly on the catwalk this season and predict some of the looks they’ll be trying out over the next few days.

• Amy Molyneaux (PPQ)
Known for her ability to party hard as much as the sweet dresses and cardigans that she designs along with partner Percy Parker for PPQ, Amy was brought up in darkest Cheshire. Her legendary nights out on the town mean her clientele of London It-girls can rest assured that their frocks will keep up with their frolics, as they’ve been thoroughly road-tested beforehand.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Wearable yet trend-led skirts, dresses and shorts with lots of covered buttons, washed silk and statement jewellery that can repel booze, cigarette ash and other unmentionable substances.

• Christopher Bailey (Burberry)
Christopher Bailey, 38, was born in Yorkshire and has been the Senior Designer of Womenswear at Gucci in Milan from 1996 to 2001. From 1994 to 1996 he was the Womenswear Designer at Donna Karan. But it was his appointment to Burberry in 2001 that really entrenched his name into the fashion lexicon. To ‘do a Bailey’ means to take a fusty brand beloved by chavs and dowager duchesses and spin its heritage into a multi-million dollar business. Helped along by iconic checks and trenches, a bit of Burberry is now essential for any self-respecting fashionista.

Despite his keen commercial acumen, Christopher is also known as one of the nicest men in fashion and he stays true to his northern roots, designing clothes based on woodlands, the countryside and recently a collection based on the paintings of Salford artist LS Lowry.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Another deeply poetic collection with its roots in the natural world, though with a brighter colour palette than the fawns, forest greens and smoky plums favoured recently.

• Christopher Shannon
Liverpudlian Christopher Shannon has had a rather blessed career so far - after undertaking a BA at Central Saint Martin's, Christopher cut his teeth on a variety of design jobs before hooking up with Kylie's right-hand man, William Baker which involved going on worldwide tours with Ms Minogue. He then débuted his menswear collection last season in conjunction with Fashion East and Topman. Since then he has scooped sponsorship from Reebok and a collaboration with 80s icon Judy Blame.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: A dose of scally-chic as Christopher combines an appreciation of donk with a love of luxe sportswear and appropriated prints.

• David David
Hailing from the not-so-cheerful Grimsby, David David, aka David Saunders overcompensates with eye-popping geometric prints in sweetie hues fashioned into 60s minidresses and catsuits. Previously an assistant to messy bedder Tracey Emin, the colourful graphics that adorn his designs are bright enough to have caught the eye of M.I.A., Samantha Morton, and, that famously shy and retiring wallflower, Agyness Deyn.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: More geometry, this time influenced by Japan and coloured glass. Another of David’s inspirations? “Vodka”. Should be intoxicating.

• Emma Cook
An elfin, fragile blonde, Emma grew up between Glossop and Manchester, graduating from Central Saint Martins in 1999 and immediately attracting considerable attention from the fashion press. Naturally she set up her own line, quietly producing gorgeously girly and off-kilter collections. Sadly, due to the recession, Emma’s future was looking a little shaky until Philip ‘Uncle Phil’ Green came to the rescue. A collaboration with Topshop means her feminine, quirky style is now available to the masses. Her black ankle boots were a summer sellout so expect her to return to the high-street giant soon.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Girly frocks with an off-the-wall twist and some more of those stompin’ clompin’ boots.

• Giles Deacon
Beloved by the fash-pack, Cumbrian Giles can do no wrong. After palling around London with best mates Katie Grand and Luella Bartley, he went to Bottega Veneta in 1998 and oversaw its revival, followed by a stint at Gucci with Tom Ford. Returning to London to start his own label, he produces tongue-in-cheek collections based on Bambi or Pac-man, the humorous details of which fail to obscure the razor-sharp cutting and sophisticated detailing.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: A collection based on 50s B-movies, possibly with some kind of inflatable element. Perfect for the beach, darling.

• Henry Holland
Cheeky chappy Henry, formerly of Ramsbottom, Lancashire, is currently setting North London alight with his style-over-substance collections of fluoro T-shirts, sneakers, and most recently, tights. As long as best pals Aggy, Alexa and Daisy continue to endorse his wacky looks, expect Henry to keep schmoozing his way down the catwalk.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Lots of white lace and bridal imagery with a twist Think the iconic Guns ‘n’ Roses video for November Rain video starring Stephanie Seymour.

• Matthew Williamson
Matthew Williamson was born in 1971 in charming Chorlton, Manchester. Known as the Prince of Prints, his sexy maxi-dresses splattered with leopard print, peacock feathers and ethnic tchotchkes aren’t exactly the last word in innovation, but red-carpet girls such as Sienna, Kate and Jade don’t seem to give a damn as long as he is making them look like the beautiful rich hippies they are.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Amazonian tribal genital piercings refashioned into a darling little bolero. More maxi-dresses.

• Stuart Stockdale (Jaeger)
Giles’ fellow Cumbrian Stuart Stockdale has taken over the design reigns at that terribly well-bred fashion filly Jaeger. With a CV boasting stints at Romeo Gigli in Milan, J Crew in New York, Pringle in London and Jean-Paul Gaultier in Paris, who says Cumbrians never leave their farms? The Jaeger London line was a critical and commercial success last season, so expect Stockdale to flex his design muscle a little this time around.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: In a move on from Jaeger’s typically 60s lines, expect slinky 70s-style long dresses inspired by the sexy images of Guy Bourdin and Stockdale’s current muse Charlotte Rampling.

• Vivienne Westwood
The grand dame of British fashion, the original agent provocateur, Vivienne left the rather uninspiring environs of Glossop and, after rather incongruously being a primary school teacher, decided to invent punk. Hopefully none of her former pupils visited the famous Seditionaries shop, where chaps in bondage pants bought T-shirts picturing cowboy genitalia. Her Pirates collection is the stuff of fashion legend and her corsets, tartan and mini-crinis still influence designers all over the world. These days she is more interested in her political agenda and rolling around with Pamela Anderson.

What to expect for spring/summer 2010: Showing her Red Label on the London catwalks, expect lots of political and cultural influences, and please please please, Pam in the front row.

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KGSeptember 18th 2009.

Hey get this Ingrid back, she's good. I think Stuart Stockdale is God by the way. love him.

AnonymousSeptember 18th 2009.

Great article - interesting facts and amusing little witticisms. More please!

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