London is the city where young designers with a strong point of view can make a name for themselves. You only have to look at the likes of Molly Goddard and Simone Rocha, two distinctively British brands that showed Saturday, as proof. The next name to know? Michael Halpern. The New York–raised, Central St. Martin’s graduate debuted his namesake brand, Halpern, last season as a part of his graduate fashion show. There, his work caught the eye of fashion critic Sarah Mower, which led to a stint working as a consultant at Atelier Versace, and even designing for Beyoncé. That’s pretty impressive for a seasoned veteran, let alone a recent graduate.
In an unfinished storefront on Regent Street (a major shopping thoroughfare), big-time editors like Suzy Menkes and W’s Edward Enninful sat on rough chairs covered with quilted blankets one might use to move furniture. The raw feel of the space was enhanced by a makeshift lighting arrangement, which looked more like a construction site than a runway show. The clothes, though, were anything but utilitarian.
The collection was filled with sequins of every color and bright furs made for party girls. Drawing inspiration from Studio 54, Bob Mackie, and Cher, it was glamorous and satisfyingly over-the-top. There were jumpsuits, mini dresses, and full-on gowns all shimmering under the glaring fluorescent light. One piece in particular, a gold-and-green flared trouser, was made with 12,000 sequins applied by hand, a painstaking process that took over 120 hours. These were the kind of clothes you can see stylists fighting over, both for shoots and red carpets. Expect to see big things from Halpern in 2017.