London Denim Runway Highlights S/S 12

This London Fashion Week Spring/Summer ’12 saw designers using print and embellishment to get creative with their denim.


Designer Ashish Gupta produced a 90s feeling and grunge inspired collection for S/S 12, with florals throughout where loose fit denim pants contrasted against body con silhouettes, giving a mix and match, nonchalant aesthetic. Always graphic and always sequined are givens for the London-based designer, and this season he added a large dose of Pop-art florals to the equation. Super wide-leg denim pants were adorned with peonies, roses and Van Gough-esque sunflowers. Sequined motorcycle jackets were a recurring theme coming up in a umber of different patterns, with open neck shirts teamed with paper-bag waist pants featuring a rope tie waist and heavy Doc Martin boots (embellished with dried flowers) all adding a punk feel.


Topshop Unique took a trip to ancient Egypt by way of the Nineties urban hip-hop scene for spring/summer 2012 with slouchy, oversized streetwear paired with rich gold embellishment and abstract hieroglyphic prints. Sportswear was the name of the game with oversized jackets, denim jogging bottoms and hooded tops and baseball caps creating a confidently relaxed silhouette perfectly in line with Unique’s trademark street-smart attitude. Gold hieroglyphic prints were bold and graffiti-esque, highlighting pale distressed denim with coiled cobras, suns and stars, the Eye of Horus. Pleated skater skirts adorned with gold detailing lifted a more feminine feeling – but the street vibe never wavered.


It was a tougher girl than in previous collections at the House of Holland show, inspired by the skins and punk of the 70s, with a strong feeling coming through that looked back to ‘This is England‘ and the photographs of Gavin Watson. High-waisted bleached denim with zip detailing was a common occurrence, with uniform like shirt dresses firmly cementing that tough girl look. A pastel punk color scale varied from sharp aqua hits to soft peach shades with cloud like bleach splatters heightening the appeal. Bold leopard prints (also seen on the entire catwalk) coated skinny pants, balancing retro with disco chic. Snake skin was also seen throughout the collection, appearing on collars, sleeves and jeans adding a glammed up but still punk and DIY aesthetic.


S/S 12 was the opening debut for the these Portuguese designers (who trained at home before coming to London for work experience at Vivienne Westwood [for Marta Marques] and Preen [for Paulo Almeida] before launching as a duo once they got to the Central Saint Martins MA course). Their heavily denim and streetwear influenced collection (presented on Lulu Kennedy’s Fashion East catwalk) relied on oversized elements and deconstructed and degraded shapes and fabrics. Bleached, shredded tunics hung off the body over jeans, all that remained of which were baggy leg warmers hanging out from the calf and pulled into the ankle via the only bit of tidy stitching in evidence.


Design duo PPQ once again teamed up with Lee Jeans this LFW for a special collaboration to celebrate their 10 year anniversary. The British label and the heritage denim brand worked together on their denim looks reworking some of Lee’s most iconic womenswear silhouettes, including the Scarlett Jean and the famed Lee Western Denim Shirt. Lee’s DNA remained strong throughout the collection with double denim and wild west themes, while PPQ’s unique combinations of screen print techniques, embroidery and embellishment elevated the denim styling from casual to high fashion.


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