The Fashion Zoo - Fashion Press Week SS 12 (8th - 9th November 2011).
In a decommissioned church near Regent's Park, some of today's most interesting designers set out their stands this week.
This church, now unused for worship, is one of the “Commission Churches” or “Waterloo Churches” – a series of churches built across London to celebrate the victory over Napoleon at Waterloo, to keep hoi polloi in the C of E at a time when non-conformist movements were strong.
The venue was designed by the greatest architect of the time, and the fashion designers did their best to rise to that challenge.
There was such diversity and a lot to see. My personal favourite was the 'Mini' stand - managed by S&X Media Limited based in Birmingham- with great accessories, a new, robust foldable cycle, and a carbon-fibre racing beauty you could lift with your little finger.
Then there was Olga Berg, with glorious clutches and jewel-studded pouches. Christy's gave us funky velvet bowlers in subtle maroons and moss greens, a sure way for a lady to assert herself on the first day in the office.
'Duck and Cover' show jackets, tops and jeans, (shorts, too), with original colours and definitive summer shapes. And 'East' offer Indian-inspired pieces, made in ruffled, Ikat-style colours; one of their long frocks drew me as a moth to a flame.
I missed James Lakeland's personal appearance at his stand, as he had just arrived from New York and needed some down-time, although his clothes struck by their craftmanship, attention to detail and colour-contrasts; they are all made in Tuscany, sourced from local suppliers, and will make the summer a lighter place.
Upstairs in the church, Austin Reed were very impressive. Soft casuals, City wear, new knits, traditional formals. They have, intelligently, moved their Regent Street store to the previous Acquascutum location across the road.
Go visit. It's worth the trip.