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UNCONDITIONAL are back at London Fashion Week with what appears to be a new found sense of freedom (and a very wearable collection) inspired by a classic Nineties style.

I have to admit, I have UNCONDITIONAL love for Philip Stephens’ SS13 collection, accompanied by Jodie Harsh beats and sitting front row with our very own Visionnaire, Nik Thakkar. Judging by former seasons, I expected pieces to clash with the somewhat gaudy Baroque surroundings of Goldsmiths Hall permeated by the Dalston “In” crowd, yet the majority of the collection consisted of surprisingly minimalist straight cuts. From casual nightwear, fluorescents and fine knits, to deconstructed tailoring and retina stimulating neon block colours, the show created a beautiful image of simplicity walking through over-embellishment and carried a distinct ‘cut the crap’ feeling.

It appears the brand have not only shaken off their former trademark styles, but also the edgy, East London curtain of severity that has followed them around in the past. Playful upside down smile T-shirts accompanied green floor-length silk pleated dresses, comfy sportswear sat beneath blazers, and homage was paid to the Nineties with denim jackets. Stephens describes the collection as “clinical cleanliness versus decay; structure versus softness; cartoon and pop, with a dash of romance”.

What made this collection truly stand out as one of the highlights of the first day of Fashion Week was the accomplished and perfectly executed androgyny, which has always been at the core of UNCONDITIONAL. Ribbed knitwear, lining-less blazers, netting and organza all overlaid simple vests and T-shirts. With transparency in garments, transparency in gender and a pretty transparent metaphor, it felt as though UNCONDITIONAL had stripped themselves down, laid themselves bare and showed a refreshing collection that reminded everyone why UNCONDITIONAL is one of London’s most exciting brands.

Words by Declan Higgins

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