London Fashion Week | AW19 Show Reviews
VIN + OMI | PLANET REWIND
Eco Warriors VIN + OMI Deliver Double Florals, Belted Quilting and Luscious Latex in Artful Style
As Retail Strategy Manager for O2 (UK mobile teleco giant), I introduced ‘green thinking’ to our retail planning over 12 years ago. I also sat on the Sustainability Steering Committee, chaired by then CEO, Ronan Dunne, so I can testify to the genuine commitment of this behemoth of industry to enacting change and minimising the environmental impact of doing business. Now there’s nothing revolutionary about that per se, but what is surprising is the glacial pace of change across much of the rest of big business.
Despite many high street favourites introducing eco-friendly collections that nod to a more sustainable fashion future, nothing has intrinsically changed. The fashion industry remains one of the biggest polluters of our planet. So it’s doubly refreshing when an edgy, high fashion house puts sustainability and social consciousness at the heart of their brand and design approach.
Enter VIN + OMI. Their scientific, problem-solving approach to design has seen them develop eco-textiles and processes since 2004. Sourcing all plastics from ocean and river clean-up projects ensures their work does not add to plastic production. Their latex is naturally produced at the Malaysian latex plantation in which they invested, to ensure it’s both chemical-free and that workers are fairly compensated. Impressive efforts - and this only scratches the surface! Read more here.
Now on to the show itself!
To a pumping beat, the models did strut!
At first walk-past, my impression was of a larger-than-life, highly avant garde collection, that would most probably be too much for the average fashion fan to wear.
But as I reviewed my footage, and these wonderful images from Simon Armstrong, I see the details I missed at the live show: the playful mix of proportions, the cleverness of the layering and the creative combining of the main aesthetic themes - florals, fleece, quilting and latex.
If you dissect the looks, each element is beautifully wearable.
Unsurprisingly, I’ve focused on womenswear, but the collection has an androgyny that feels effortlessly modern.
Many pieces appear on both male and female models.
Collated above are the double-floral looks that really caught my eye and appealed to my sense of colour and drama. The dark florals, especially, with their rich jewel tones of sapphire, aquamarine and ruby, work perfectly for Autumn/Winter. Full length coats, in oversized cuts, layered over luxe, athleisure-style leggings clash and complement in equal measure. I can easily imagine strutting across a major metropolis in these come winter! Now how can I get my hands on them?!
There was a time when it would have been every woman’s nightmare to wear clothes that add bulk! Today, however, more and more women are dressing for themselves, for comfort and, dare I say it, for each other. It can still be a little scary to select a silhouette or fabric that’s deliberately oversized or puffy - like quilting! Yet the design and, in particular, the styling of these quilted pieces create comfortable, warm and super-stylish looks for the modern woman on the move.
Layering long, quilted coats over fluid, silky, slip dresses; pairing shorter coats with skinny-fit leggings, and of course - the perfect accessory to each of these - adding a cinched in waist belt, all help to flatter the figure and balance proportions. These were easily my 2 favourite looks from the collection.
Naturally Produced, Chemical-Free and Utterly Luscious Latex!
While this review is not in order of appearance at the show, we’re now arriving at the über avant garde part of the collection that evoked much excitement and collective intakes of breath from the gathered fashion crowd. Wearing Latex is not for everyone. But this fluid fabric, developed by the designers themselves from naturally produced liquid latex, is breathable and highly sensual. The oversized nature of these dungaree designs, however, eliminates any skin tight, sex-club associations, and the tangerine-dream colour simply zings!
Mixing florals with no-kill fleece [from llama, alpaca and rare breed sheep kept as pets on organic smallholdings in the UK]; layering latex with quilting, or playing with proportion by mixing all three at once, made for a cohesive collection of inter-wearable pieces. While these looks may seem maximalist in aesthetic, styling one statement piece with everyday basics would easily create an unforgettable, showstopper look.
Some images of the show space at the beautiful Andaz Hotel, Liverpool Street. Fashion maven and artist-in-residence for the evening, Sue Dray from London College of Fashion, live-sketches while models sashay past her in the FROW. Daler-Rowney acrylics are on hand for all the artists to create their masterpieces live during the show. Jaegermeister cocktails flow, welcoming and delicious after my 4 and a half hour train journey!
The Final Walk | All the Looks, From Where I Stood
What are your thoughts on the collection? Do you have a favourite piece? Are you a sustainable shopper when it comes to fashion? Leave me a comment below.
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Thanks for reading!