Strong winds hit London this morning, making the trek from the parking are into Anya Hindmarch’s presentation space a bit challenging, especially for those who were bound and determined to keep their well-coiffed hair well-coiffed. Guests seemed a little disheveled as they entered and each took a moment to rearrange themselves before taking their seat. High winds could not deter this crowd, though. Anya Hindmarch’s seasonal presentations are easily the most creative of those we see the entire month. In fact, American designers and labels might do well to take notes, because Hindmarch has one of the largest followings in fashion and she’s done it all on the popularity of her runway presentations for a single fashion element: the handbag.
We’ve seen some amazingly creative sets from Hindmarch in the past and this one was no different. Hindmarch’s theme this season is a question: Do computers dream when they sleep? The concept is 80s digital gaming. This is every geek girl’s dream. Handbags with references to 80s popular culture are sharp, colorful, cute, and fun. Hindmarch knows her audience well and this season may be her biggest hit yet, though, I think I say that same thing almost every season.
The set this morning was a white grid, rather like a sterile room one might find in a facility that makes computer parts. The music is a digital mix from Handel created by Vincent Frank. As the first model walks out from a door in the grid wall, one of the squares in the wall turns pink and begins to move across the floor of its own accord. A few designs later, another cube turns blue and does the same thing. Next, a stack of three move across the floor, then others, until the floor is a maze of Tetris-like pieces. The level of technology involved in making this presentation is beyond amazing.
Another unique aspect to this season’s show is that the clothes models wore were actually interesting. Remember, this is a handbag line. Typically, the clothes models wear is fairly utilitarian to the point of blandness so that all the attention goes to the handbags. Not this season, though. The coats, the sneakers, and everything that came across the runway was viable. Will they actually be available for sale? We can certainly hope so.
The handbags themselves, of course, are what matters and there Hindmarch played to the desires of every girl geek on the planet. There were furry bags shaped like the ghosts from PacMan. There were Rubic Cubes dangling from bags with colorful cubed patterns. There were googly eyes and alien invaders and other variations of popular 80s computer games. Then, there were the fried eggs. Sometimes they were pockets on a coat. Sometimes there were sequined decorations on a handbag. They were everywhere, though, and chatter after the show centered on that one kitschy element.
Granted, these aren’t upscale, sophisticated handbags one is likely to see on the way to the boardroom. These bags are young, fun, and entertaining. They may not be the most expensive bags on the planet, nor the most rare, but they are certainly among the most popular. Anya Hindmarch gives women a reason to change handbags frequently, and having a Hindmarch collection may be one of the best investments one could make. And with creative presentations like this, we really do hope that maybe now designers will begin to see how creativity on the runway can be such a very, very good thing.