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Last Saturday night I cancelled going out with friends in favour of attending the very first Fashion Retrospective by Bourne & Hollingsworth as part of London Fashion Week (LFW). My friends were really understanding – which was nice on one level but then had me wondering if actually they were pleased I wasn’t going…….

I have only been to a few fashion shows in the past, most memorable being a Vivienne Westwood one which I remember being in a marquee somewhere in South London. Probably only just over the river but as a North London girl that almost counts as foreign travel. And I was really looking forward to this one as it would be a bit different.

Retrospective billed itself as “an homage to timeless style…..to explore the way that fashion trends from previous decades continue to influence the hottest new look on the catwalk”. Which meant that, unlike other catwalk shows, the point was not to sell you the collection but the educate and entertain. Although quite naturally Peekaboo Vintage, Violets Box, Vintage Modes and Lucy in Disguise will be hoping to raise their profiles – and why not?

The show was in five sections, each demonstrating looks from the past which are mirrored by a current trend: Gothic Beauty; Monochrome; Wild!; Come to Bed and Showcase. And not only were the outfits in each section spot on but you really saw how the look which may seem modern is anything but. And the really great thing about that is that it shows very clearly how wearing vintage can give you an individual look without looking like you are wearing a costume. This was probably helped by the models wearing shoes and boots from Kat Maconie and striking tights from Figleaves. Touches which show you are you.

So we saw leather, velvet, lurex, silk, fur and feathers in Gothic Beauty, Wild! and Showcase. Whereas Monochrome was more about plain fabrics to support the more stark designs (in both cut and colour) and Come to Bed featured silk, silk, silk a little soft suede and a little soft cotton.

So what conclusions can we draw. Well firstly it’s true – fashions do go round in circles. This winter is about fabrics – leather, lurex, silk, fur and interesting silhouettes. And, which is really important, that good design is always in fashion.

There was also a vintage message in there which is equally important. Over the past few years “vintage” everything has sprung up. I have even seen “vintage cupcakes” for sale! But this is sometimes with little regard for what “vintage” really means. For me it’s not just the date of manufacture but also something about the design and construction which makes it worth recycling and keeping in circulation. And that was evident in all the pieces we saw.

A really great show which I’m pleased to see is to become a regular event with the next one planned for February 2013. Can’t wait!

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