Here, with tiny fanfare, is part deux of my Topshop diffusion line experiment. You'll note the use of French 'deux' to amp up the classiness: we're going to need all the classiness we can lay our hand on, lemme tell ya. Lot of unslightly flesh is going to hit your screen on the scroll down. It's a shame really because there really were some amazing pieces in amongst the cellulite display items.First off, let us examine Marios Schwab. There's been a lot of buzz on the blogs about his A/W 2008 collection just shown at London Fashion week because as usual it was uncommonly ace. I have to admit I'm fairly unimpressed with the overall tone of the fashion weeks thus far (New York in particular was too beige to bother about) as the overall mood seems curiously muted and curiously joyless. Not so of Schwab who used Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic short story The Yellow Wallpaper as the chief inspiration for his collection.
First off, let us examine Marios Schwab. There's been a lot of buzz on the blogs about his A/W 2008 collection just shown at London Fashion week because as usual it was uncommonly ace. I have to admit I'm fairly unimpressed with the overall tone of the fashion weeks thus far (New York in particular was too beige to bother about) as the overall mood seems curiously muted and curiously joyless. Not so of Schwab who used Charlotte Perkins Gilman's classic short story The Yellow Wallpaper as the chief inspiration for his collection.
My three favourite looks from the collection. Background text from The Yellow Wallpaper.
If I were a proto-feminist, locked in her bedroom going loopy at the decor, I'd want to be wearing one of these outfits. The story's all about the imprisonment of Victorian patriarchy, repressed sexuality, decay and madness and these outfits really do communicate something of the story. I'm really interested in the idea of a woman in 2008 choosing to imprison herself in clothes that physically restrict her (apparently the draping was so tight that some models could only hobble up the catwalk). They're sexy dresses in modern cuts and though the lycra seems to be laying waste to the rotting brocade 'wallpaper' fabric, I'm not sure what Schwab's trying to say: can bondage ever be an empowering choice? Is the wallpaper rotting away because we're beyond the strict patriarchy it represents or hanging on each garment because we can never entirely escape it? I'm not sure and you should make up your own mind: click here to read The Yellow Wallpaper - you won't be sorry.
Marios Schwab - Topshop (£75)
Nothing like a strapless skater dress to bring out the preening gormless modelface in a girl. I adored this outfit and felt enormously sexy. It was barely even a concern that the stiffness and cut of the fabric meant that I couldn't raise my arms beyond what you see in the pictures. This is certainly not a garment to wear whilst shelf stacking but it does continue the pairing of Marios Schwab and self-imposed bondage. It wasn't an uncomfortable garment, just a deeply impractical one. I felt beautiful but like I was meant for A Doll's House. Lucky for me I'm too poor to even think of purchasing it so I can leave the post-feminist dilemma for women in higher pay brackets. Problem solved.
Wrap shirt (£65)
Love the colour and theory but hate the practice. Way too transparent to wear without a vest and not clinging enough to be flattering. I much prefer the way I styled it below.
Clasp Dress (£100)
Another gorgeous idea and an execution that just doesn't work for me. I found it impossible to get into this dress without a steady-handed other to do up the teeny little side buttons which is why it looks so ill-fitted. The awesome clasp idea sorta fails because the elastic causes all the plastic clasps to kind of twist and collapse into the small of the back.
So: a lot of admiration for the ideas in the Topshop collection and big love for the mainline, but I just can't get behind paying upwards of £70 for a hint of bondage and a heap o' knickerlines.
Tailoring - Richard Nicholls and Todd Lynn
I'm a little nervous about my Todd Lynn jacket pics, chiefly because Queen Michelle of Kingdom of Style has already modelled hers and frankly I'm not nearly as Irina Lazareau hot as she is. Still, if you'll ignore my bug-eyed office vibe:
Todd Lynn Tuxedo Jacket (£85)
My grandad liked this picture. That's all the validation I need.
Richard Nicholl ruffle dress
Not a lot to say, except maybe underwhelming, or dear god, can't Topshop see its way to providing a fucking slip with their hundred quid dresses? It's cute but it's £15 cute, not £85.
Horrifying Trousers o' doom (£65)
These buggers were size 14 (the largest available) and didn't have a hope in hell of fastening around me. I know I'm hardly a string bean but it's a little crushing to know that I'm too large for the largest size available in the diffusion line. Lucky for me they were the epitome of PVC lined hideousness so I didn't mind too much. I'm too busy enjoying my Petit Bateau bobble scarf.
The horror. The horror.
You think that's the worst picture you're gonna see? Oh, sweet naive blogosphere, we haven't even got to the skintight knitwear yet.....
Let me just say in my defense that this dress was a Medium which I assume is an 8-10. I knew it would look awful but I loved it so in the magazine and wanted first-hand footage of the feel of the dress, so I bit my lip down to the viscera and tried it on.
Icicle Dress (£95)
I am well aware of my resemblence to a tubby extra in a Esther Williams movie. This caused my family much hilarity when I showed them. I am never visiting those people again. Let's hit it from the si-ide:
Ow! Turn it around, girl!
I tried on this next dress almost solely because of its awesome name
Alien Prom Queen Dress (£95)
This dress is a Large, hence the better (but by no means ideal) fit. The reason I look so happy is that I'm about to lay my eggs in my date's chest cavity.
Equally unflattering on the sides and bum but at least I feel spiritually closer to Natasha Henstridge.
Ah, to French kiss a man and shatter the back of his skull. I do so love fashion.
Well, blogosphere, that’s it. This is by no means the entire range but I tried to give you an overview and at least three different facial expressions. I hope you enjoyed yourself. I’m going to sit and rock myself into a shame spiral until 8pm when me and Tor will conduct an intellectual discussion on this year's Oscar fashions. I will document said discussion on this very blog. *sigh* I miss Cher so much.
I’m off for a minty tea – see you in an hour.