Curious Trends


Couture comes to London

In the past, those looking for the ultimate in creatively designed, handcrafted style would inevitably go to Paris, which has generally been known as the capital of couture. However, the UK is rapidly becoming a world class centre of excellence in all areas of design and craftsmanship. UK manufacturers are becoming much more geared to small production runs, a propos of the eclectic tastes and individual requirements of the high end customer. As old-style clothing factories close down, new ateliers owned and staffed by highly skilled fashion graduates are being set up. And couture is coming to London…

London’s fashion scene has many facets, but private buyers tend to fall into several distinct camps based on money and taste. Those who can afford to be different tend to buy couture - and increasingly, couture or designer vintage. Others may well be able to creatively customize chain store and charity shop finds to achieve the same effect. But today’s luxury branded goods have been downgraded, unless they combine the following elements: They are especially well made, they have genuine artistic merit, they demonstrate true originality and they are designs of intrinsic beauty (and that’s a matter of taste).

Expensively produced couture designs are once again sought after, but not necessarily those from the fashion houses associated with highly popularized branded goods. The very top end of the market is looking for something completely different and unique.

British couturiers catering for the top end of the market include Nicholas Oakwell, whose 19th January Spring/Summer 2012 show was held in the Ballroom at Claridges. Inspired by the work of hip royal jeweller of the 1960s and ‘70s, Andrew Grima, Oakwell’s collection was suitably glitzy. Fabrics used included gold crocodile, ostrich skin, printed organza, dip-dyed feathers, tulle and chiffon – with paillettes, crystals and jewels aplenty.

See the full show here:

And see the lookbook shots here.
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