Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Paul Costelloe S/S 2012 at London Fashion Week

There’s a flurry of excitement as we take our seats for the first show of fashion week – Paul Costelloe at Somerset House, 9am. Photographers crowd around someone in the front row, snapping wildly. In the row opposite, young fashionable …

Fri, Sep 16, 2011, 12:08

   

There’s a flurry of excitement as we take our seats for the first show of fashion week – Paul Costelloe at Somerset House, 9am. Photographers crowd around someone in the front row, snapping wildly. In the row opposite, young fashionable folk snap pictures on their iPhones and tap, tap, tap at impressive speed. This is the new world of fashion journalism – but that’s Jimmy Choo, and some people will outlast the changes in the industry to retain their celebrity, no matter who’s tweeting about it.

The show itself takes place to a punchy soundtrack, which is in stark contrast to the soft, babydoll styles being paraded down the runway in pastels. Hemlines are short but tailoring is loose and relaxed; it’s a distinctly girly take on aristocratic holidaymaking, all frou frou shapes and sweet saccharine shades.

For the men, trousers have got looser while jackets – macs in green linen – have got longer. There are also accents of royalty – can we blame Downton Abbey? – in the form of laced smocks and denim-look waistcoats for the gents, and brocade dressed with Elizabethan collars for the ladies.

In a way it’s a return to past indulgences – this is a louche kind of luxury that hasn’t been centre stage for a few seasons, and, interestingly, Costelloe has moved away from the 20th century vintage we’ve seen – the 1940s and 1970s this season, the 1920s for next if Caroline Charles’s show is anything to go by – and to a more modern interpretation of 19th-century fashion.

For all its sweet girliness, it’s a look that won’t be heralded as “sexy”, making it a refreshing move. For all the short hemlines and sweet pastels, the cuts remain loose and relaxed – it’s a stylish kind of laissez faire, and long may it last.