Lulu Kennedy is the fairy godmother of emerging talent. Credited with the discovery of designers such as Marios Schwab, Meadham Kirchoff, Gareth Pugh, and Jonathan Sauders, Kennedy’s Fashion East presentations are a must see for anyone interested in the next big thing. This season, she chose to support Marquez’Almeida, James Long, and Maarten van der Horst, three very different designers that when showed back to back made for a remarkable show.
First off was Marques’Almeida by Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida. The designing duo, who met at fashion school in Portugal, showed a collection filled with whitewashed denim and bleached out fabrics. The designers’ fascination with 90s teenagers was evident as denim was torn and distressed. The collection, while cohesive, could have benefited from a stronger theme. The looks were interesting in their own way but lacked the commercial appeal that is necessary for a designer to be noticed.
Next came beloved menswear designer James Long, who has been noted as one of the best emerging designers. Long, who showed last season, presented a collection that demonstrated his growth as a designer but also warranted the loudest applause from the discerning front row. His tailored collection started with a series of snakeskin prints and stylish separates but then moved on to highly embellished, jewel-encrusted jackets and dresses. Soft knits were paired with leather and this was by far his best womenswear showing to date.
Last came the debut of Maarten van der Horst, who in spite of this being his first collection showing, carried the burden of anticipation as his name was one to watch this week. He sought to reimagine holiday staples and did so with a plethora of tropical prints shown head to toe. Some missteps included a few looks that featured ill placed ruffles but overall the masculine tailoring proved successful, especially for a first collection showing.