Guaranteed Irish and sensible shoes at London fashion week

Sensible shoes are back, craft is king and new Irish designers are making their mark

Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 13:40

Sophie Milner is the queen of soggy streetstyle
Somerset House, the home of London Fashion Week, is an imposing neoclassical building, and the perfect place to take pictures. However, on the first day the atmosphere is a little soggy. London has caught the tail end of the storm that rattled Ireland a day or two earlier. Despite this, a few hardy photographers are busy snapping away at the new breed of street style stars. Sophie Milner, a journalist and blogger at fashionslave.co.uk, is one of them.

She is wearing a monochrome short suit (“From Primark! I went in to buy a bag, and I saw it and I had to have it,” she says), a bright burnt-orange coat that bounces zingily off the soggy walls and, of course, lipstick to match. She has her photo taken by Yvan Rodic, aka Facehunter, arguably the world’s foremost street style photographer. She is also snapped by magazines, newspapers and industry websites such as Grazia, i-D, WGSN and the Daily Mail (“I’m a bit worried what they’re going to say about my outfit”) and countless fashion bloggers, from hobbyist to high-profile.

The sensible shoe is back (Hallelujah)
Not one but two models wearing gowns from London knitwear duro Sibling trip

over themselves on the catwalk, the last kicking her shoes in frustration to the side as veteran fashion journalist and front-row fixture Suzy Menkes, celebrating 25 years at the New York Times , politely pretend s not to notice.

Elsewhere, however , the winds of change are blowing, blessedly, towards the sensible shoe. From JW Anderson to Paul Smith to Margaret Howell, and from glamorous Roksanda Ilincic to Korean-bor Eudon Choi, there’s a natty pair of loafers, a sturdy brogue, a directional flat and, joy of joys, a walkable heel for every person – if not every wallet. London Fashion Week, the home of experimentation, also seems to be the home of the practical wardrobe option. Long may it continue.


Central Saint Martin’s is fizzing with talent (some of it guaranteed Irish)
The graduates of this course dominate London and the fashion world at large – no fewer than 14 alumni are showing this week. A place in the MA show is the first sign that a fashion grad is on to a good thing. Two Irish designers are showing: Rory Parnell-Mooney, whose severe and clean menswear is marked with an unmistakable ecclesiastic dash; and Michael Power, who wins the prestigious L’Oréal bursary for best collection with his intricate, weighty bead-and-mesh combinations.

Other notables include Drew Henry, whose skin and khaki combos would make him an asset at Celine, and the work of textiles genius-in-the-making Jessica Mort, whose deconstructed rugby tops and tabards take weeks of diligent, agonising hand-weaving and printing to construct.

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