A return to London Fashion Week (:FW) means a return to Somerset House for a large number of the shows. LFW may be the best organized of the four major fashion weeks and it is with designers such as Jean-Pierre Braganza, who is high on talent and lower on PR buzz, that the London Fashion Council’s foresight pays off. Braganza is one of those designers who can easily be lost in the shuffle of a more chaotic week such as New York or Paris. Here in London, though, his work gets noticed, and you and I benefit from that.
Braganza’s spring/summer collection isn’t large, a mere 28 pieces in all. The show didn’t take much time, but it was well worth the effort. What one immediately notices are the vibrant colors in this collection. He leads with a bold abstract print that jumps out and demands your attention. The print is attractive and I’m still wondering of there is an original painting somewhere that would lovely hanging on my wall. The print pulls double duty, though, in that not only does look attractive as a wardrobe element, it helps soften the effect of some of Braganza’s more asymmetrical silhouettes. While I love how Braganza seeks to redefine the feminine silhouette in creative ways, some of them are so startlingly different that the difference becomes a distraction. By utilizing the print in careful ways, he minimizes that distraction and makes the pieces more palatable.
Braganza really knows his folds and drapes, too. While there are those silhouettes that are new and perhaps a bit daring, he also has no trouble working within more traditional space, using creative folds and asymmetrical lines and creative draping to keep old looks from being just another run-of-the-mill dress or suit. Okay, so some of his necklines plunge deeper than expected, and there’s one particular white tux-style jacket that looks as though someone cut out the left side. The looks are well tailored enough to work from beginning to end.
From a diversity standpoint, only three of his 14 models were non-caucasian. I’m seriously questioning how many ethnic models are even offered some of the designers, but still, a three on the scale of ten is about the best we can score here.
One of the challenges of LFW is that sometimes the creativity is so over-the-top that it’s unwearable. I think Braganza has found a happy medium with this collection, both creative and marketable, if he can just get the word out.
Photo credit: Kim Weston Arnold