Dazzling sequins, embellishments, flared jumpsuits and extravagant gowns. It can only mean the reveal of the Autumn/Winter Halpern collection.
I’m so delighted to return to London for yet another fashion week, and to the busy backstage area of Halpern’s debut collection. It is without a doubt one of the most exciting, highly anticipated days of the year. Despite playing a minor role in the fashion show operation, the experience of being involved in London Fashion week never fails to leave me feeling inspired and in awe of being surrounded by such beauty.
The Old Bailey Central Criminal Court played host of the catwalk for the first time ever, marking a very special moment in history.
“Since this collection is about that contrast between the bourgeoisie and the rebellious woman, there’s something fitting about showing in a building that has an intense, almost sombre, purpose.” – Halpern
As I walk through the doors, following the signs to the backstage area and through security checks, I arrive to the dressing area. The usual sequencing of events are in order; assigned a look, a quick shoe rehearsal, a lot of waiting around (taking a nosey at the individually hung garments of course), and then the chaotic half an hour of ensuring the models are dressed, photographed and ready to head down the runway.
In usual Halpern style, the collection is an abundance of pattern, colour and sequins, bringing a nostalgic 70s feel with a pinch of Studio 54. Look 29 (which I had the pleasure of dressing) is an epic example of the exquisite beauty and intricacy of designer garments; something that is often lost in the sea of fast fashion. Each sequinned flower is hand sewn and carefully placed to create the illusion of 3-D flowers adorning the body.
Michael Halpern tells Vogue his inspiration and references for the A/W20 collection:
“This season we looked at British women in the 1970s – nobody specific, there are too many to choose from – but at this contrast between the rebel British woman, the working British woman and the bourgeois British woman. She’s in London, also in the country, she wears these big crazy capes, but then she’s also the woman with these workers shirts – it’s workwear-turned-glam. We’ve taken kaftans and mixed them with our Halpern flared jumpsuit and couture-inspired bubble shapes and jumbled them into one thing.”
With a few exceptions, the collection is probably one of the most wearable to date, making each piece even more desirable. Embracing the ‘party girl’ aesthetic, the flared jumpsuits, embroidered trousers, and muted jungle prints are garments which I personally could see myself wearing. A trip to Selfridges next season? A girl can dream.
Hair and make-up is kept fairly minimal, with a handful of models having fragments of crystal circling one eye. An unconventional approach to catwalk beauty, this goes further than your average winged eyeliner and red lip. Working alongside makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench, it’s a refreshing new take on catwalk beauty, serving as a contrast from nature and man-made fashion whilst hinting towards the “70s British flower-child vibe”.
Adwoa Aboah opened the show, strutting down the catwalk to rock classic ‘Barracuda’, followed by the rest of the dazzling collection to the sounds of 70’s anthems, including ‘The Logical Song’ by Supertramp and closing on ‘Come Sail Away’ by Styx. The perfect retro accompaniment to the seventies disco inspired theme.
But what’s a show without a little drama? Fashion stylist, model and all-round style icon Monikh Dale (@monikh), got off her front row seat to help one of the models to remove her custom made Louboutins. What could be seen as a fashion disaster turned into a selfless act of companionship and women supporting women. A memorable end to yet another incredible day with the Halpern team. ‘Til next time…
Cover image; Jason Lloyd-Evans for 10 Magazine