Sunday, 18 September 2011

LFW: House of Holland's Sherbet Cocktail of Strong Females

[All images:]. With a smart shirtdress, flashy patent black heels and a cinched belt, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a workwear dream if you saw it drained of colour. In reality, Henry Holland's take on the smart woman involves giving her pink and purple panels that are more akin to schooltime sweet sharing rather than watercooler moments. The House of Holland woman is not afraid to be feminine, but she will stand out from the twinset and pearls look too - bridging a gap between the pre- and post-feminist takes on fashion.

This navy leather is particularly gorgeous as shorts, with gold zips helping to trace the form of the body. Again, our pastel palette has been corrupted, but the end result is exciting and fun.

Double plaid with clashing colours? Why the hell not? I can definitely see this look being reproduced in a magazine editorial shoot. It's a streamlined silhouette, keeping the pattern neat and seeming quite vintage in its layering of dress over trousers.

Here we have the British fashion take on matching: slightly off, but even more loveable because of it. American style tends to be more strict and conservative, but Henry Holland is never one to shy away from the leftfield (remember his cheeky slogan t-shirts which included 'Let's Play Naked Twister, Linda Evangelista'?). There's a semi-bomber jacket feel to the outer layer and it just misses the tones of the skirt, whilst the shoes introduce another print altogether.

Continuing to be animalistic (check out the python-print boots again - snakes are a key trend for AW/11-12 and look set to follow through to SS/12 by Holland's estimations), we're greeted by a new use of this focal lilac shade with the enlarged leopard spots. Again, sleek lines mean that there's a minimalism to the shape but a maximised approach to the fabric's visual impact. It's an almost dizzying affair, but sure to be popular with his customers.

An even more sure-fire win is this beautiful dress, which is incredibly flattering with its wide skirt and simple ombre dyed backdrop to the leopard design. I'm sure we'll see copycat pieces on the high street, utilising either the print or the basic outline, especially as AW/11-12's pinafores for everyday shoppers are already using a similar cut.

A bit of a Woman Warrior moment with the combination of the snake and single shoulder. It's the kind of thing Boudicca might've gone for if she'd been battling in 2012 - arms free to move, fierce aesthetics and concealing the decolletage (you don't need to flash the flesh to beat the opposition) to bring the strong collarbone and neck into prominence.

The pencil skirt gets a taste of that lilac shade again, and it's taken way out of the office with this crop top. Perhaps not the easiest look to translate to everyday life, it's probably going to be seen on a celebrity and will make you wish you had such abs.

Lastly, the one disappointing look for me was this: a lazy 90s tie-dye piece with ripped fishnets. I much prefer the short socks from Image 1 (prim yet quirky) and I found the aqua and lilac leopard print dress to be much more of an investment. I don't think you'd be wearing this to many formal occasions, or for a trip to Tesco, and you could make yourself something similar for a couple of quid with a packet of dye and some elastic bands if you really felt the need.

As you can see, this was a largely successful show in my opinion. It seemed slightly more mature than Holland's previous offerings, but without losing any of the fun-loving nature that forms the backbone of each garment. The main message from this collection would be: go out and be the best woman you can be, and don't be a wallflower.

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