Vauxhall Fashion Scout, now in its 11th edition, presented yesterday Ones to Watch winners for SS12 at Freemasons’ Hall, with the catwalk debut of Phoebe English, Alice Lee, Shao Yen and Malene Oddershede Bach.
Selected by a panel of industry experts, Ones to Watch is a fantastic springboard for emerging talents, and has already launched the career of several now well-recognised designers.
The first collection to open the show was Phoebe English’s. Phoebe graduated from Central Saint Martins and won the L’Oreal Professionnel Creative Award. She already wowed the fashion press last season in February with a collection mostlty made of hair. Although she has – for the first time! – used fabrics for her SS12 collection, this seems to be a recurrent theme or a source of inspiration for Phoebe English. This collection is characterised by black or nude fabrics pleated very tightly and giving the impression the garment has been directly cut in cardboard. This rigidity is softened by threads of different lengths coming out of the raw hemlines like a destroyed canvas. A very graphic and innovative collection.
Design duo Alice Lee started in 2002 and met an instant success after being awarded NewGen for three consecutive seasons. The brand gained prestigious stockists such as Browns, Harrods and Barneys New York,before being put on hold while Alice and Lee were busy raising their family. The label has relaunched again in February at Vauxhall Fashion Scout. Their knitwear work is really impressive, with a real couture feel through the neat cut and fluidity of all the pieces, and most of all the vertical knitted lines, with matching patent leather laces, that structure the silhouette in the most beautiful way.
Shao Yen graduated from MA Fashion Knitwear at Central Saint Martins last year. His signature silhouette is unconventional with a real work on shapes and materials. For SS12, Yen presented a very daring collection with playful dresses and outfits that leave very little to the imagination – and definitely pushes forward the boundaries of knitwear.
Malene Oddershede Bach’s collection was my favourite, because it was really summery and looked like a burst of joy, two things we desperately need in these times of recession and bad weather! She litteraly wowed the audience with her cheerful combinations of bright colours, like a breathe of fresh air or a flash of sunshine, after so much black – which I love, incidentally. She offered an interesting combination of very structured jackets – and tops in general – and fluid transparent skirts. One of the most spectacular pieces of the collection was the jacket with full-length “open” sleeves that just cover the arms in a very elegant way, as if you wore your jacket on your shoulders. This season will also see the launch of her own label. One to Watch, without a doubt.