Bernard Chandran, the top Malaysian designer favoured by Asian royalty and Lady Gaga, showed an extensive and accomplished collection for Autumn/Winter 2013 this London Fashion Week. The show space at Freemason’s Hall was packed from wall to wall for the intricately worked collection. The models sauntered down the runway to a 90s soundtrack of Stereolab and Goldie mixed with Bernard Herrmann’s Twisted Nerve of Kill Bill whistling song fame. The soundtrack was whimsical with a hint of attitude, as was the collection.
His lengthy show showed Chandran to be a master of many styles. The collection had a varied colour palette moving from subtle winter tones of navy blue, bottle green and black with bold punctuations of orange and flashes of hot red. Chandran also turned his hand to print; sky like metallic prints and warm brown and white abstract prints were turned into statement dresses and jackets. Many pieces were joyfully embellished with long sequins in lines that danced in the light as the models shimmied down the catwalk. The collection played with colour, textures and silhouettes too. The silhouettes varied from the sleek and simple in the form of floor length silk dresses to the modern and oversized with voluminous sleeves on jackets and cocoon coats.
Despite the variation of the collection there was underlying theme. The designer found his inspiration in the graceful glamour of Dovima, the American model of the 50s. Looking through images of ‘Dovima with the Elephants’, taken by Richard Avedon in 1955 of Dovima in the first evening dress Yves Saint Laurent designed for Christian Dior, it is clear to see the idea behind the collection; iconic elegance. The ladylike styles of the 1950s were given a modern twist with a dash of attitude that resulted in a charming and visually stimulating collection from Chandran.