For Weddings And A Funeral: Willow, sass & bide Storm London Fashion Week

Australian designers Kit Podgornik, Sarah-Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton showed their respective labels Willow and sass & bide overnight on the first day of London Fashion Week, each presenting Spring Summer 2013 collections that seemed equal parts springy, summery, yet funereal and marital, with streaks of colour and shine thrown in between for good measure. Kinda like life, really. Funny that!

No strangers to the LFW stage, sass & bide’s Peruvian-inflected collection balanced its feminine side of elaborate, all-white origami pleats, gossamer gowns, sharp masculine tuxedo-style tailoring and feathered separates with strong, ‘masculine’ black-on-black cut outs, sequin-lined harnesses and embroidered brocade bodices. The label’s signature flourishes appeared in recognisable statement gold accessories, tribal motifs realised in intricate beading and a disco bloodbath of sequins, as well as in asymmetrical waterfall skirts (that’s fancy for ‘mullet skirt’). The only colour in the collection came courtesy of a pair of orange trousers and a diamond beaded dress, which either felt a) a little out of place or b) like a refreshing hit of vitamin C in an otherwise strong, monochromatic showing – depending on how you take your orange.

All photos by Gareth Cattermole for Getty Images

Willow’s Beach House soundtrack was a good match for the designer’s coastal cool London showing. With a strong focus on sheer, billowing shapes, Kit balanced easy breezy ice-blue rompers with a strong southerly undercurrent (read: structured bustiers) that referenced her background as a lingerie designer. Underwear as outerwear in a pale pastel palette faced off against a zingy tangerine and a painterly sunset print streaked in impasto smears that were artfully placed to ward off the suggestion of an unwanted stain (with all but one crotchety exception). Killer all-black looks and white draped dress fringed with gold piping ‘werked’ by Montana Cox bookended a solid catwalk debut.

All photos by Tim Whitby for Getty Images