Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

The power of a print – Antoni & Alison A/W 2012

Antoni & Alison’s Girls Walking Up and Down in Dresses is, we are told at 9.10am on day one of London Fashion Week, an art installation. They don’t care about fashion, we are told: although they appreciate the constraints of …

Fri, Feb 17, 2012, 10:05

   

Antoni & Alison’s Girls Walking Up and Down in Dresses is, we are told at 9.10am on day one of London Fashion Week, an art installation. They don’t care about fashion, we are told: although they appreciate the constraints of having a fashion calendar. They like the deadlines.

Their catwalk show – as I am refusing to call it an installation – was at turns beautiful and wearable and then, if I may, ever so slightly dull. Watching girls walking up and down in dresses is all well and good, but watching girls walking up and down in what is more or less the same dress is tedious, not helped, I’ll concede, by an ear-splittingly loud backing track that seemed never ending.


As an installation, however, it was genius. The idea was that now that we can print anything on to a fabric, why would you have need of anything else? Here is a dress in houndstooth, with a printed, coloured button; there a tuxedo dress, with sequins printed on the lower half; and, over there, a dress in the post-modern, self-reflexive style, in two prints with the word “dress” emblazoned on the chest.

There was even a dress printed in black refuse sack plastic; a silk dress that was made to look like a rubbish bag. For the would-be environmentalists among us, there was a moment of “finally, a way to be chic-ly sustainable” before the realisation that a silk dress is no more sustainable or Eco-friendly than another silk dress.

As for the dresses themselves, they were cute and kooky – a highlight was an aqua green number in a cacophony of mish-mashed prints. The prints weren’t, however, the joyous, exuberant prints of Mary Katrantzou – they were more like the prints of an artistic three-year-old discovering mixed media for the first time.

The pair paid no heed to form or structure; though the pieces looked expertly made, they were undoubtedly in the sheath shape rather than adhering to the female form.

It was, at the very least, an interesting opening to London Fashion Week – a sort of anti-fashion that simultaneously celebrated and derided the very industry that created space for Antoni & Alison, and will most likely keep a seat for the duo for some time to come. Perhaps behind Mary Katrantzou and slightly to the left of Jasper Conran.

(And in case you wondered what the nails and make-up were like …)

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 10 days from the date of publication.