The Jasper Conran show at London Fashion Week promised something special. As soon as guests entered the venue at Somerset House, they were struck by the fascinating runway: old, crunchy leaves picked in their golden splendor filled the entire runway, making the scene the absolute picture of autumn. Taking our seats in the dim lighting, excited murmurs could be heard on what this OBE designer had to offer.
Comfort and practicality seemed to be the forefront of Conran’s aims. Layering reigned supreme with tunic dresses that fluttered over knitted roll-neck jumpers, and fabrics were luxurious, unfussy and familiar: silk, cashmere and merino wool knits made the pieces look desirably cozy. Pleated, demure skirts came in printed silks and suede which were feminine and pretty. The color palette remained muted, consisting of dark navy, rich plum, chocolate and dark shades of bottle green. Lady-like chic was the de rigueur for Conran—not a glimpse of skin was visible, with models legs concealed under thick tights, making this a truly realistic autumn wardrobe.
Although Conran’s girls were demure and feminine, the strict geometric patterns on specific pieces gave the collection some boldness and attitude. For his Autumn/Winter collection, he looked to 19th century ukiyo-e prints from the Japanese artist Kunisada, known for his distinctive patterns and color. Emblazoned with graphic, geometric designs and flowery prints, sexy silk shirts spiced up the collection with their bold and graphic looks that were eye-catching and vivid. Broken, bright green stripes gave some depth to a long, fitted, black dress and printed, lilac flowers gave a silk shirt and skirt combo a kimono-style feel. It was nice to see the predominantly dark palette broken up with bursts of brighter shades.
It would have been nice to have seen more pops of bright color to liven up the collection, perhaps to lend a bit of warmth to the autumn season that is so often grey and dull. But it seemed that Conran did not want to take on too many risks as he had a practical woman in mind, and was aiming to create a wearable, easy-going collection.
Stand-out pieces included gorgeous, wide-brimmed fedora hats that concealed the models' eyes, applying a sense of intrigue and sensuality to the good-girl looks, and decadent, chunky, hand-knit tunics and skirts made from the finest cashmere. Comfort was key as silhouettes were free-flowing and pieces were loosely fit, exuding nonchalance and effortless grace.
Conran succeeded in making a wearable collection, one that women will clamor for. From the more outspoken, bold, print-wearing fashion maven, to the laid-back, subtle style lover, he has tailored his AW15 collection to suit women of all natures.