Opening London Fashion Week for the second season running, this year marked designers Antoni Burakowski and Alison Roberts’ 25th year as Antoni & Alison. Recently returning to show at London Fashion Week after a six-year absence where they preferred to show via more presentation-style set ups (last season they opened up their studio and gave private tours as part of London’s Open House initiative).
Last season one half of the creative duo, Antoni Burakowski said, “It felt right to do this. We became interested in the catwalk again and the idea of girls walking up and down.” Aptly, their Fall/Winter 2012 collection was named ‘Models Walking Up and Down in Dresses’.
For their Spring/Summer 2013 collection, Antoni & Alison stayed true to their trademark air of simplicity and wispy feminine lines. However, for their latest line the two well-established designers wanted to focus on starting afresh. It may well have been the 25th anniversary for the influential brand, but this show was far from retrospective. Antoni & Alison wiped the slate clean, the Spring/Summer 2013 collection had no marked influence, according to the designers, and no name. When discussing the colour palette before the show Burakowski cited no point of reference and said, we simply used “every colour.”
The ever so eye catching and feminine collection was made up, as always, of dresses – just dresses, stomped down the runway to the tune of an impressive brass band and a heavy electronic beat. Antoni & Alison, who drew up their latest collection in just four days, coloured their simple sheer dresses with an array of paint strokes and unmistakably botanical designs. The simply stunning line was awash with mixed acrylics, ink drawings, dark abstract prints, charcoal smudges and a oh-so necessary sparkle of gold leaf.
Silhouettes were designed to fit loosely away from the body and are either long and floor-skimming or made up of triangular, rectangular and square shapes to create an effortless volume. Each look in the Spring/Summer 2013 collection is half Antoni and half Alison and makes for a presentation complete with colour blocking, interesting necklines and dressed in every cut imaginable.
There was a distinct Asian influence with a kimono style dress cinched in at the waist with a wide black statement belt, and a kaftan complete with a gingham bow emblazoned furiously across the waistline in an impressive painted print. Standout pieces included an ultra-short mini dress with cropped short sleeves, a below-the-knee length dress with what can only be described as a snake skin print setting off the top half on the ensemble and a simple maxi dress, which made a bold statement as the model traversed back up the runway and revealed an orangey-pink setting sun which covered the entire back of the piece.
Overall this year has marked a welcome return to the London Fashion Week runway for the influential brand, and no doubt many have been left in anticipation of what Antoni & Alison have yet to present.
– Ellen Stewart
– Photos courtesy of London Fashion Week