This season, Mark Fast turned the heat up on his A/W14 collection with an electric, neon colour palette. From eye-popping oranges, to fluorescent reds and bold blues, his ‘Toxic Monsoon’ collection was inspired by busy city streets, with scenes of neon lights and honking cars in the minds-eye of the designer. I love the colour palette Fast has picked for Autumn; more colourful then most for the colder seasons but I love that it is so vivid and bright. Fast continued to play with his iconic hand-made knits using mixed yarn to create detailing and texture with a grunge aesthetic. His signature cobweb dresses, a firm favourite of Nicki Minaj, were nowhere to be seen as Fast showcased a new silhouette with a wide range of garments; from warm jumpers, skirts, dresses and crops. Metallic sneakers added a sports-luxe sensibility to the colourful and functional designs, and makeup was raw and natural. With a new diversity in his knitting patterns – plaiting, Fair Isle and felting – the designer’s A/W14 collection presented a fresh take on the stereotypical Mark Fast girl. The fabrics and knit he has chosen make a more casual exterior as the garments slouch on to the models, draped over a bare shoulder or two and the lengthy skirts seem to move and bend to the bodies that wander down the catwalk. Although fairly simple designs Fast has made up for that in his daring neon choices making his pieces much more of a statement.
Jasper Conran AW14 was both ladylike and businesslike. Made for women who are going to take over the world in their own way. Pale pink and black were the colours of this collection. Conran’s AW14 collection was simple, sensual and severely stylish. The elegant palette ranged from black, brown, navy and blue to lighter grey, blonde, nude and spun sugar pink but there were also bright exhilarating pops of red. Skirts, dresses and trousers were designed to emphasize and embrace curves. Rich long cashmere coats were belted at the waist. Pencil skirts fell just below the knee. Tailored trousers hovered above the ankle. Sensual sheer panels were used to maximum effect either on their own or as details to break up solid colour. There were touches of leather and sequin embellishments. Some pieces were adorned with delicate flowers or velvet dots. The gloriously feminine looks – sometimes accessorised with oversized clutch bags – oozed easy chic and pure elegance. And even though the collection was an exercise in effortless style, it definitely retained an aura of refined glamour as could be seen most evidently through a sequin dress and matching oversized clutch. Even though the collection was a mix of subtle harmonious combinations, Conran also dared to pair striking red with tempered nudes and sugar pink to striking effect. This AW14 collection by Conran was luxuriously feminine and brilliantly executed.
There is so many differences between both of these collections. Whilst Fast has chose a more daring, vibrant colour palette, Conran has been more subtle with his choice. The colours picked for both show a different audience for each designer. While Fasts neons look like they are for a younger female audience, Conrans look more suited to a more classic woman, maybe business like and modest. However this puts me off neither. One thing they do have in common are the thought that has gone into designing silhouettes for women. Both collections see coats and jackets with a belt defining the waist and large collars. Also pencil skirts that hit the knee and below, keeping it long and fitted. However these shapes differ slightly due to the fabrics chosen. While Conrans are in a more restricting fabric that shows a smarter exterior, Fasts knitted skirts bend and mesh with the body as it moves down the catwalk providing a bit more comfort and less restraint. Fast has also gone for stripes in his collection whilst Conran has gone for spots and Conran has also gone for a simple pointed heel whilst Fast a metallic trainer. Again the footwear chosen reflects the audience they have chosen to design for. Fast clearly is more daring in his designs in comparison to Conran who is a much more classic designer.