- Alison Catchpole
THE GREAT HABITAT
Jasper Conran was destined to be creative. BFC Designer of the Year in 1986, his great talent is in still being relevant today. His shows are consistently precise and feminine. The girls look comfortable and youthful, elegant and expensive. There are no cheap tricks, with handfuls of very classical fairy dust in the shape of sequinned skirts and laser cut outs.
With the Conran name in the UK comes both a design and a literary heritage, in the form of Habitat guru Sir Terrence, and novelist mum Shirley. The classical lines mean that while the clothes look expensive – beautiful cuts, properly weighted fabrics – they tend not to date. Imagine, you find something you love and it even stands the test of time.
The Jasper Conran catwalk show, positioned at 9am on the first weekend day of London Fashion Week needed to be as sleek and dreamy as ever, and it didn’t disappoint. The Saatchi Gallery and its jetlag-beating coffee welcomed guests, wrapped up in the requisite über-chic coats and scarves so integral to LFW spring wear, as they sheltered from the gusty February weather. Conran’s best pieces used lace mesh with large polka dots, sequins and sumptuous cashmere, taking you from boardroom to, well, an art gallery, or the Claridge’s bar. Conran’s timeless designs still evolve each season, and the nude and black theme he explored here, punctured with some scarlet wrap coats, was not only sophisticated and sharp but also eminently wearable.
Fellow attendees included a fresh-faced Hamish Bowles who’d apparently jetted in with Anna Wintour from NYC to Newcastle (due to weather-related Heathrow diversions), where rumour has it that Greggs, as the only eatery open at 5am, had reached a new customer group. Fashion veteran Colin McDowell shared his front row bench with renowned fashion illustrator and Claridge’s Artist in Residence David Downton and David’s LFW protégé South African photographer Jacobus Snyman, whose shots here provide a clear insight into why his work is being celebrated too.