Trend-setting Irish designers wow at London Fashion Week
Nostalgia in muted, pastel colours, paper light tweed in red plaid and "wearable 3D" experiences - some of the best and agenda-setting looks on the second day of London Fashion Week AW15 came from the catwalk shows of Irish designers.
Orla Kiely does nostalgia so well and her models mingled in a library so we could see the muted colours and textures of her grid knits and mustard, mohair coat, with its 'thrown-on' elegance, worn with a rope-handled bag. But it was her charming, knee-length, full-skirted dresses that stood out for me along with a coral cape jacket and biker-style jacket suit.
The star look was an ultra feminine, peachy pink paper taffeta dress with square shirt collar and rounded sheer bib front which was nipped in at the waist and unfolded into a full skirt. All were accessorised with Orla's Clarks shoes, which next season feature a double strap flat in rich gold and variations on her popular, patent T-bar platforms.
For sheer drama and sense of pomp and occasion, Simone Rocha's show at London's Guildhall topped all others on Saturday. The Dubliner instantly nailed it starting with gleaming, black velvet with clusters of black beading and patent 'Mary Jane' shoes with signature perspex cube heels.
She worked her magic in floral prints, tulle and tapestry fabric based on an archive print motif which she executed in black with luxe, textural beading, accessorised with elegant vanity box bags.
Simone worked with the famous Linton company in Scotland (where Coco Chanel bought her tweed) and gave paper light, red plaid tweed a modern twist with a stunning dress featuring a slanting hemline.
It was a visual treat and the eyes of the audience widened as they ate up the surface detail, with different-sized pearls nestling into a frill down the side and a double strand pearl choker around the model's neck.
Simone had two memorable double-breasted black wool coats with panels of tumbling goat hair which added a glorious "wearable 3D" experience.
She explored frilled edges on multiple fabrics including black satin and, for the legion of fans who adored her SS15 triumph of red embroidered mesh, she has taken the concept and revisited it with tiny motifs like beehives inspired by her favourite artist, Louise Bourgeois.
Meanwhile, Danielle Romeril's NEWGEN show at Somerset House was inspired by the Armageddon notion of no shops and not being able to buy clothes.
Danielle combined contrasting fabrics such as tech quilt with velvet flocked lace, corded velvet, leather fringing and tartan.
She used Odoshi, a Samurai lacing technique, to link her patchwork concept and her favourite of the 18 looks was her final piece, a dress of flocked lace, tartan and fringed hem worn with wooden clogs which also come in pony hair.
JW Anderson is respected as a creative agenda setter and his show on Saturday took us down a 1980s route - not a decade that covered itself in glory or is remembered for its iconic shapes.