corrie-nielsen1.jpgVisitors to Somerset House were left in no doubt as to the inspiration behind Corrie Nielen's Autumn/Winter '12 collection, showcased this morning to an expectant London Fashion Week crowd. Every detail in the show was straight from the US designer's heart, rooted in her own family history and Scottish roots - but with her own flair for design and tailoring evident at every turn. 

Rousing bagpipe music played as the models worked the catwalk, many wearing tartan print fashioned into a range of pieces from voluminous full-skirted dresses to clean, tailored androgynous suits. The clothing spanned decades and genres, but with a strong underlying thread that held everything together.

Not being one to do things by halves, Nielsen ensured that the collection was authentically Scottish through and through, a gesture that honours her ancestors and great, great, great grandfather in particular. But the clever tailoring and accessorizing was far from being simple nostalgia: daringly see-through tops and sharp, urban-looking footwear provided by United Nude gave the range a definite contemporary edge.

Another highlight of the collection was the headwear, which included an impressive range of fascinators and veils. Veiling, scarves and other draped accessories were a running theme throughout the show, no doubt another reference to traditional headgear worn by women of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. 


The emphasis on tartan and volume inevitably drew comparisons with Vivienne Westwood, which in some cases was fair: the Elizabethan-style collars and corsets incorporated into the more elaborate pieces had a definite essence of Dame Viv about them, as did the veiled mini hats. But Nielsen's own style, which in 2010 won her the prestigious Fashion Fringe prize was what shone through strongest, leaving viewers wanting more.