Erin Mullaney cut her fashion teeth at Selfridges and Browns, iconic U.K. stores known for their cutting-edge mix of luxury designers. It’s no wonder then the current fashion and brand director for new luxury e-tailer Avenue 32 has a penchant for fashion forward looks. We caught up with Ms. Mullaney at the end of London Fashion Week to make use of her expert eye for fashion, which that morning had paired leather trousers with a leopard-print crombie. London designers remained avant garde with their collections.
What were your highlights this season? The usual suspects. London Fashion Week Designer Jonathan [Saunders], Erdem and Christopher [Kane] were probably my top three and [Roksanda Ilincic] was really, really sophisticated fashion. I think they’re all setting the bar for London now. All of them progressed. They all pushed it a bit further.
What do you think has brought that about? I think the recession in London. There was a big shake out. People had to work a lot harder and really define who they are as fashion designers and what makes them different. And I think they’re all doing a really good job of focusing on what they’re good at, fashion.
What are some of the trends you’ve spotted? I think a lot of them was this whole luxury sportswear trend. Lots of fur around this season, even at Christopher Kane, which I don’t think he’s ever done before. The color combinations have been amazing – burgundy wine with gold and bottle green, that kind of combination has been around a lot. And then introducing even pastels into the collection. So peach and mint green and things like that mixed in with these dark, rich winter colors has been really refreshing. Avant Garde Knitwear is obviously a massive trend. And borrowing from the boys – all this sort of shirting and menswear fashion week looks. I’ve seen a lot more trousers than ever before, a lot more suiting and sharp tailoring.
It seems that London designers used to be much more niche, with eclectic designs that were uber-creative but not always commercially viable outside of a certain cult following. Do you see that changing at all? I think it definitely is. Our second biggest market outside the U.K. is the U.S., and we’ve had people in New York and California ordering pieces from various different London designers. I think our brand mix is really interesting for people in the U.S. because it’s not brands that you get widely on the Internet anywhere. So that already seems to be what we’re selling the best.
With that mix in mind, what are you looking for at shows? We’re looking for new, emerging designs. And I think we’ve found a couple. One of them being Simone Rocha, who put on probably one of the best shows of fashion week. She built on spring and improved on it, but she stuck with what made that show great, which was the feminine lace, the hard edge of the patent leather and the sort of tomboy element. It was really nice to see her come into her element. And it was nice to see everyone come out for the show; everyone was rooting for her. The quality of these young guys coming out now is just so much better than it was three to five years ago. And obviously Louise Wilson [director of the masters of fashion course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins] is doing a great job educating them and tutoring and mentoring them in the right direction. I think they really understand that you can’t have a great, cool collection on the runway and have shoddy production. It has to be whole package.
- Fashion Week: Nine London Fashion Week Designers to Watch Out for in US Stores Next Fall (racked.com)