Ashish Autumn Winter 2011, London Fashion Week

I’ll apologize in advance but I have to start this review with an explanation. I am an Ashish fan. Last season I sat in wonder as Ashish showcased a western style catwalk featuring bandanas, cowskin skirts, rodeo shirts and leopard print dresses all with sequins – an Ashish trademark. There were not enough postive words in the dictionary to use in describing my adoration for the Spring Summer line.  So when the Ashish invite arrived last week I was overjoyed to once again attend a show that I was sure would knock my socks off (and this year was sitting front row thanks to Vitamin Water- the official sponsor). Even the invite was something so original and creative that I couldn’t help but think this show would be THE show that sets Ashish apart from the rest. Little did I know that a “Tube” ticket replica invitation would see me sitting at a show where most of the runway models looked like they had just crawled out of the depths of the underground itself.

Ashish’s show notes began:

“As Scottish as a box of shortbread yet as British as the Union Jack, Ashish’s A/W 2011 heroine is an homage to the archetypal poor little rich girl – but one with a vital difference: she knows her bread’s been buttered, but prefers it landed face down… Taking shabby chic to a whole new level, she perches on her unmade bed in a moth ravaged jumper that’s more holy than the bible.”

Now, keeping in mind these show notes are left for us to read before the show begins, I continued in my optimistic mindset. This designer is talented and noteworthy and changing the face of fashion as we know it.  So I’m sure once the show starts, everything will be explained! 

The first model walks out on to the catwalk. Union Jack is staring me in the face and I immediately am confused as to whether I am looking at a man or a woman. So this season is going to have an androgynous vibe. That’s not too far off the mark from what we’ve seen at several other shows. No problem there at all. As the models tumble out one after another, all with disgruntled looks on their faces, I see pieces here and there that will be superb if styled with another’s eye. Together, everything is styled to the height of grunginess and it is difficult to see past this sort of ensemble.  However, it’s Ashish, so you find the method in the madness. 

Although this was not the show I was expecting at all, I can see the potential in the collection and what exactly Ashish Gupta was trying to do. However, there were moments when I felt statements being made on sweaters and jackets were a bit too out there for my liking. The words “Holy Crap” on a sweater that looks like it’s come straight from Scooby Doo isn’t the height of cool. And writing “Drop Acid” on a jacket may have been chic back when Courtney Love was in style..but we’ve all moved on since then. 

Say no to drugs, folks…but don’t say “no” to Ashish Autumn Winter just yet. It’s worth another look when on the rack come this Autumn.


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