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Ren Pearce and Andrew Fionda are known for their creation of exceptionally glamorous ball gowns and eveningwear. Friday, at London Fashion Week, they remained true to form. The two designers met whilst studying in Nottingham and first showed at London Fashion Week in 1995. Today marked their return after a lengthy absence.
The collection was inspired by the beauty and femininity of the 1920s and 1950s and was hosted in the appropriately imposing art deco building of The Freemason’s Hall, Covent Garden, among Masonic statues and sparkling marble floors.
Pieces dripped with Gatsby-esque decadence. Models glided down the runway to uncanny piano riffs, which were followed by riot grrl songs, transforming the ethereal mood of the show into one of proud femininity beneath soft silks and taffetas.
Monochrome, violets, and flashes of amber combined in the collection in floor-length gowns, tuxedos, and ruffled peplum-jackets. Fabrics were luxurious – lace, satin, and mesh frosted with diamantes and delicate beadwork. Even the cuts spoke of opulence, with flowing sleeves made from extensions of dress hems, which danced through the air as the models walked. Dramatic shoulders, plunging necklines, and jackets were tied with silk ribbon. The focus of the collection was no doubt the back, which Pearce Fonda dubbed the “forgotten erogenous zone.” Backs were visible through diamond cut-outs on jackets, low cowl draping and through mesh overlays.
Hair was in unfurled topknots, which were held in place over model’s foreheads with netting, appearing like 1920s fascinators, and the shoes were designed by Manolo Blahnik for the collection – sky high stilettos of viola and chartreuse. For the finale, M83’s “Midnight City” played. These are party dresses, after all. It was a collection that lacked the elegance of simplicity, but one which will no doubt be seen all over red carpets, come summer next year.