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Concept Los Angeles: London Calling

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London's top designers bring collections to LAFW for the first time in history at the Ace Gallery this week, with the installation event London Showrooms. Featuring giants such as Erdem, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Jonathan Saunders alongside emerging designers, the show perfectly marries vibrance and refinement. Top trends include: front zippers, real waistlines, brights and neons, psychedelic florals, and beads.

We began with the main room, where we were immediately greeted by the show's apparent headliner display: pure footwear decadence by Nicholas Kirkwood, and the were, as expected, absolutely stunning. Even the collection's controversial flats -- but rest assured, no ballet styles -- were constructed, colored, and detailed to perfection. We especially loved the hot pink loafers. Mary Katrantzou and Peter Pilotto matched Kirkwood's use of color with their own eye-catching brights; and while the prints at Katrantzou were a bit of a mess, those at Pilotto were more harmonious and wildly attractive. We especially loved his racerback bubblish-skirt dresses, and the red beaded number pictured above. Other highlights included lace and more subtle florals at Erdem and the polka-dotted boudoir pieces at Jonathan Saunders.


The next room featured E. Tautz, the only devoted menswear collection in the show, and Todd Lynn, whose solid and understated color palette was a refreshing change from the main room.

The third and smallest room showcased the four "Ones to Watch," whose collections were visibly younger in aesthetic with printed silks, more structural silhouettes, and 1960s coloring. Our favorite was Michael Van Der Ham: his maxi dresses and abstracted prints were elegant and modern, without any unwearable, attention-grubbing add-ons.

The fourth and final room housed Richard Nicoll and Roksanda Ilincic, who seemed to sum up the trends seen in the other three rooms. Nicoll's boudoir looks were pushed to the extreme with hooped hemlines and sheer bustiers; while Ilincic's use of color seemed to encapsulate the palette of the season: shocking pink and turquoise, punctuated by black and white, which we especially loved seeing manifested in her knit caps.

Overall we'd say that LA could really benefit from London's elegant spunk and statement silhouette lines in the coming seasons, and we hope that their showing in the City of Angeles will become a recurring event.

· All Racked LAFW coverage
· British Fashion Council