It was 10.28am on day 3 of LFW and the queue for the much anticipated Apu Jan AW18 presentation was growing rapidly by the minute. The designer has been showcasing his work at Fashion Week every year since 2013, shortly after graduating from the Royal College of Art. Apu Jan’s reputation for combining fictional themes with unique knitwear techniques has made him one of the most exciting designers of the moment. So, with such a polished reputation to maintain, the pressure was most definitely on.
A little later than scheduled, we were invited inside Freemason’s Hall where the ambience was compelling. The rumbling bass of music by ‘Bonobo’ could be heard travelling around the building, undoubtedly setting the perfect tone for the show. I took my seat and was told that the runway had suddenly been extended to cater for the bigger than expected crowd.
The lights went down and there was a blistering silence. Out of nowhere, flurries of delicate, classical music notes danced around the room. An edgy, electronic beat created by a live DJ began to undulate through the melody. Everyone was transfixed. Not a single thread had been revealed yet, but the show oozed ‘cool’.
The first model appeared and the theme ‘Drifting in a Million Stars’ came to life with beautiful detailed patterns, naturally draped fabrics and timeless silhouettes. The feminine form was celebrated in a modern way using bows, pleats and clever layering. The East meets West fusion was instantly recognisable and helped to reinforce the innovative aesthetic.
It was clear that there was a well-considered depth to Apu Jan’s concept this season. Fabrics were progressively changing, like the changing story within a magnificent book. From old to new, retro to futurism, bold to casual. At this point, it was hard to resist the romance of the collection. It was somehow both whimsical and assertive.
Then came the knitwear! It was stylish, experimental and classy. Using cashmere, merino, lamb wool and pure silk yarn in knit, Apu Jan’s signature style came bursting through at the peak of the show. I really loved how the knitwear became the focal point. In particular, the white hat was a real head-turner and although ever so slightly ‘Sia’, it looked totally sophisticated when teamed up with a very understated black side-slit dress.
My personal favourite was the layered dress with white pin stripes. The way the fabric softly bounced down the runway was really addictive. It felt fun, yet still very representative of the utopian vibes.
Eventually, we ended with an enticing black, floor length dress fit for a mystical princess. The silky fabric floated through the air, sensually clutching at the model’s beautiful form. It seemed to be the perfect conclusion to what I felt was a truly compelling collection.
Overall, there wasn’t a single piece from Apu Jan’s latest works that I wouldn’t have instantly taken home for myself. Not only has the designer maintained a sterling reputation this season, but he is clearly on the pulse of innovation and unmistakably going from strength to strength.
JODANNA BIRD | WRITER | @JODANNABIRD
IMAGES | POP PR