So much for New Minimalism, the designers sending out their wares on the London Fashion Week catwalk for Spring/Summer 2011 were on to something entirely different. Bustling with color and texture, a riotous sense of carpe diem prevailed. At the forefront of this local movement, Louise Gray served up a collection that lacked inhibition completely, but still appeared pulled together in all its consistent madness. Bottle caps, PVC, scraps of rags, bits of sweatshirt material and pajama pant stripes all featured, sometimes within the same outfit. Also putting her money on a maximalist expression where color and print ruled, Mary Katrantzou’s offering centered around manipulated images of elements of architecture and interior design. New hot name Michael van der Ham, meanwhile, treated the fash pack to some more of what they so fancy about his aesthetic– namely a poetic, patchwork-y concoction, this season defined by contrasting textures and a multitude of hues ranging from raspberry to putty, through to sunshine yellow and lavender. 
On the slightly more subdued side of the spectrum, Antonio Berardi deviated from the sharper silhouettes of past seasons to embrace a rather more feminine ideal that incorporated dresses and skirts with plenty of softly structured volume and billowing trousers cropped at the ankle.
Over at the On/Off, the off-schedule hub of London Fashion Week, the somewhat hallucinatory knits by Laura Theiss drew minor crowds. The look landed somewhere between ethnicity and futurism and subtly brought to mind Missoni on an acid trip sent from heaven.  Other notable newcomers were the edgy but utterly beautiful jewelry name Mode en Module and the tee label The Orphan’s Arms, which bases all its designs on British imagery and stories (William Morris prints and a slogan stating that “St Martins must burn” being two examples). 
One of the LFW’s absolute draws each September is the Fashion Fringe Award. This year, the title went to American Central St Martins graduate Corrie Nielsen, who wowed the judges– chaired this time by the almighty John Galliano– with a collection marked by high drama and daring cuts, not unlike the very signature of Monsieur Galliano himself.