Day four of Audi Fashion Festival 2013 saw femininity redefined and severely structured into stark identities – first within the futuristic military references at Ashley Isham, and then streamlined into digital print at Peter Pilotto. Which of course, made for quite a powerful night’s showcase.

Based in London, Ashley Isham first made headlines for designing Zara Phillips’ outfit for the Royal Ascot in 2002, going on to dressing an impressive roster of celebrities that includes Angelina Jolie, Florence Welch and Lady Gaga. Last week, he made the trip home to show his latest Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, accessorised with Kwanpen bags and Lee Hwa jewels.


Isham sharply divided his showcase into three phases, starting strong with broad shoulders, stiffened capelets and patent black legs for days. Between the top knots slicked behind futuristic visors and the sports-luxe military neoprene, were strong references to ‘Blade Runner’.


Isham’s runway then sent down a stream of looks that began cinching its preceding boxy silhouettes, making way for starkly feminine A-lined dresses that seemed to skirt between ruffled, embellished and harnessed motifs, never really committing to a collective vision. What’s interesting to point out, was Isham’s heavy use of jersey for an Autumn/Winter collection.


And just like that, it began to drastically unravel into evening wear. The mood, structure and colour palette of the collection gave way here, with only the models’ beauty look holding the theme together. Gowns, though, are clearly and completely Isham’s element, focusing heavily on severe yet refined drapery, tailoring and intricate embellishments with just the perfect amount of flair.

Peter Pilotto, one half of the team behind the label, also flew in to represent its Autumn/Winter 2013 showing. While his partner Christopher de Vos creates silhouette, drape and structure, Pilotto works mainly on the collections’ prints and textiles – together, they govern the industry’s streamlined digital print movement.


But while seasonal trends have shifted into pared-back minimalism, Peter Pilotto still (and quite rightfully so) holds firm on the signature that propelled it to global recognition. For its Autumn/Winter 2013 collection, Peter Pilotto explored the decorated works of El Greco, a renaissance artist from 17th century Spain. The influence was apparent in boxy bolero jackets and luxed-up caped shapes, in matador red, yellow, emerald and ultramarine, which was then contoured with slits, panels and structured layers.


After its heady intro, Peter Pilotto then began to revisit its original form – building on and deconstructing its puffer jackets, and digitally sculpted pencil dresses. It’s really true that no one does print quite like Peter Pilotto, in progressive shapes that continue to become iconic classics.


Image credit: Jonathan Liu