Continuation of themes from season to season isn't unusual. However, when Michelle Lowe Holder continued to be inspired by fabric swatches and the layer cake effects of these swatches from her SS08 collection, for her AW08 collection, I had no idea the effects would be so different and so the continuity is only very very tenuous, which is of course a good thing.
There's something unboundedly rich, textured and heart warmingly complex about the collection. There's a lot going on yet it's so well-balanced that I'm not thinking there's a tragic Christmas tree scenario here. Double beaded collars, shoulder pads/sleeves which are detachable or can be buttoned on, chiffon layered over tulle, feathers and paillettes, the prints for which MLH is famous for still linger on but very subtly so, velvet smocking, chunky knitwear.... it should all be convulsing in a messy heap but instead, there's a lightness to everything that is actually making me yearn for crispy leaves and a hot chocolate to hold whilst I wear one of these floaty dresses, complete with black balaclava (is it possible she has made the balaclava look incredibly chic?).
For some reason, as soon as I glanced at the collection, it made me think of soft haired early 20th century beauties, Bloomsbury Group writers and that if they were still alive, they'd happily wear these clothes. An odd instant imagery, seeing as the clothes are completely contemporary and haven't a drop of 'period' in them. The mind does turn in strange ways though and that is what I envisioned immediately...wispy hair, one of these outfits, lots of books and some chintzy tea sets complete with tea cosy....
Michelle Lowe Holder has also now just set up online shopping of sorts. It's an enquire-and-buy sort of jobbie but does the trick and the current SS08 collection is available as well as pieces from the MLH archive and some beautifully printed t-shirts and sweatshirts.