London is often touted as the most experimental of the fashion weeks, and Fashion East’s Spring 2015 show certainly lived up to that label. The initiative, which has given career leg-ups to Richard Nicoll, Meadham Kirchhoff and Jonathan Saunders among others, showcased three contrasting talents who are still navigating the tricky tightrope between creativity and commerciality.

Showing for a second year, Helen Lawrence sent out breezy creations full of haphazard charm. Asymmetric hemlines hung unfinished and embellishments came in the form of large X-shaped tacking stitches, with many pieces looking as though they’d been patched together minutes before hitting the runway. Unexpected latex accents added edge to floaty fabrics and a pretty pastel palette of apple green, peach and rose, while the traditional knitted two-piece was reimagined as a crop-top and clinging mini-skirt.

Raw edges also featured in the ‘90s grunge-themed collection from fellow returning designer Louise Alsop, the most accessible and commercially established of the trio. Graffiti prints, belly chains, slip dresses with spaghetti straps and hand-shredded jersey fabrics: so far, so predictable – but Alsop added unexpected drama with overlays of gossamer-fine thread, woven and tangled together for a delicate cobweb effect.

Making his debut appearance was recent Central Saint Martins graduate Ed Marler, whose vampire-pirate-rockstar hybrids showed plenty of swashbuckling swagger in frock-coats and knee-high fishnet socks. Sumptuous fabrics – rich brocades, jacquards and silks – were further amplified with sequins, lace and crystals, then dramatically slashed; clashing prints were spliced together and sleeves billowed like sails. Gilding the lily still further were jewelled codpieces and crowns. Pantomime silliness, perhaps, but highly entertaining nonetheless.

Written by Selena Schleh. Images © Fashion East.