Jonathan Harris’ incredible gold metal corsets absolutely stole the show, (apart from perhaps the fine ass and free popcorn). Verging on futuristic (think Princess Leia meets Dolce & Gabbana SS07,) the corsets are handmade from recycled copper tanks. As the first act, it was a tough one to follow and we can’t help but think it would have worked best as a grand finale.
Fred & Ginger opted for a far more simple approach, which, disappointingly, tended to be a little boring, especially in comparison to the previous collection. ‘However, the red silk kimonos were a pleasant surprise in this collection, with the perfect balance of chic and sexy’ The Arabian Nights-inspired baby doll seemed to be a more wearable, subtler version of the kinds of obscenely intricate lingerie one might expect to find on a Victoria Secret catwalk: the ensemble was both the most original and the one we’d most like to wear. It combined perfectly the sensual and the imaginative, whilst maintaining an appealing subtlety.
Janay’s combinations of black and grey were extremely flattering, but the most striking element of the collection was the brilliant fusion of the classic stockings and suspenders style and a more garish bondage aspect. This created looks that appeared simple from one angle, but as the models proceeded down the catwalk, a new angle would reveal a riveting twist. The collection’s lines cut the body in original and interesting ways that forced us to reconsider the female form in a new light.
William Wilde provided another example of imaginative use of material. The Latex male briefs were a little repetitive, although it seems innovation in men’s lingerie lines is intrinsically more difficult. The pairing of latex with rather old-fashioned styles – long gloves, high waisted underwear, big bows – with a hyper-modern material proved a refreshing take both on latex and on this particular style of lingerie, one we are used to seeing made of intricate lace. There was also a juxtaposition between the sexual connotations of latex as a material and the styles themselves, such as the mini-mouse-esque bows fashioned into bras.
Petit Bisous did not venture into the innovative, but focused on classic, classy styles with beautiful lacy black bodies and lace lingerie sets. The sheer bright pink thong and bra were a little more adventurous, but the collection didn’t take us into the unknown. And perhaps it didn’t have to. Unfortunately the labels could be clearly seen, which cheapened the feel of the brand on the catwalk. Overall, a nice collection, yet we couldn’t help but feel it was similar to Elle MacPherson and Stella McCartney’s own lines, possibly less nice, and more expensive.
Edge O’Beyond nailed the 50s pin-up girl high-waisted briefs look with a delicate lacy twist. The bra shapes were a little more inventive and the collection got more and more exciting as it went along. Our personal favourite was the bright blue lacy camisole with matching underwear. This collection was the most versatile, showing us it could do everything from classic styles and simple lace to forages into more risqué territory with raunchier dominatrix-like ensembles.
We understood where Neon Duchess got its name from immediately. The styles had an undeniable power: think Black Swan meets Downton Abbey meets Dracula. Some of the looks verged on tacky but, strangely enough, managed to remain incredibly appealing as they did so. The feathered,off-pink, sheercorset dresses reminded us of a modern day Russian Queen of Versaille – in a good way. This collection showed the most alliance with the Curator’s theme of heaven and hell, good and evil, with alternating looks between black, elegant yet ‘fatal’ ensembles and white, feathery, flowing skirts, keeping us on our feet and exemplifying the range of designs. An excellent closing collection.