London Fashion Week AW18: Highlights
London is the cooler, more avant-garde sister of Milan, Paris and New York when it comes to fashion week. Famed for being the longstanding home of classic brands like Burberry, Mulberry, JW Anderson and Ashish, it also is the showground for upcoming designers such as Molly Goddard, Erdem and Shrimps who have kookier personalities.
This season, unconventional looks were in abundance with Christopher Bailey reworking the traditional Burberry check into a multi-coloured design for his farewell to the brand, the Central Saint Martins MA show featuring heels with Donald Trump on and a girl walking down the catwalk in an inflatable swimming pool.
Read on for a roundup of highlights from this season’s shows.
This season marked Christopher Bailey’s final show as the creative director of Burberry, his swansong to the brand. Instead of doing a show full of his greatest hits, Bailey recreated the iconic Burberry check into multi-coloured shades in support of three LGBT charities on popular pieces from the archives.
Cara Delevingne came back onto the catwalk, closing the show under multi-coloured lights. Graffiti-branded jackets and checked tote bags worked to highlight the work of Bailey over the past 17 years, but also projected a bright future for the brand.
Molly Goddard’s (who has recently been thrown into the limelight after Rihanna wore one of her designs) models sashed around a mock-up kitchen filled with sacks of carrots, potatoes and, of course, booze.
Goddard’s silhouettes were in keeping with the cupcake shapes for which she is known, however shapes were slightly more deflated than past designs. Off-the shoulder designs were in abundance alongside Peter Pan collars, giving the collection a more contemporary feel. Similarly, waistbands were situated off the waist and hem lines were brought up to mid-calf length, leaving Goddard to experiment with more modern hues such as burgundy and black.
Sequin connoisseur Halpern proved once and for all that the skinny trousers are out: trousers should be flared, even if they aren’t as big as the ones featured on this catwalk. Always wear with heels and added sequins if you dare, but either way it has confirmed that disco glam daywear is OK.
Neon colours were splashed across the collection with added hints of zebra print. Just think everything 80s and garish. Power shoulder pads and platform boots were paired with geometric patterns and jackets textured with shredded fabrics.
Mulberry is a quintessential English brand, this season showing their first see-now-buy-now collection at Spencer House, Princess Diana’s ancestral London home. Millinery crowned the heads of models that would not be out of place at Ascot complimented by tea-floral prints and colours reminiscent of an English summer, mustard yellow, cobalt blue, salmon pink and peach.
Drop-waists featured heavily with the silhouette transferring across into tiered layers. Frills and pastel hues contrasted against tailoring featuring jackets and flared trousers.
Showcasing for the second season, Korean-born Rejina Pyo presented an androgynous collection heavily dominated by oversized suits. Checked print was as popular as ever, as well as low-heeled boots, sling-back court shoes and kitten heels.
Classics were reinvented in modern silhouettes, such as nipped in suit jackets with peplum bodies and wide-leg suit trousers. Industrial beige colours were used on traditional items such as oversized trench coats that were then layered over silky dresses and tailored shirts. Hem lines were long and trousers wide, proving that a new fashion model is on the rise.
Heavily tipped to dress Meghan Markle in her spring wedding to Prince Harry, Erdem’s AW18 collection was inspired by muse Adele Astaire, who similarly married into British royalty. With the show taking place at the National Portrait Gallery, this was a lavish affair with rich floral prints featuring heavily throughout.
Pieces were royally influenced with opulent suits and tailored jackets dominating. Decadent velvets were used alongside metallic threads embroidering florals. Of course, checks were featured heavily, adding to the aristocratic element.
This season, Christopher Kane focused on the concept of what goes on behind closed doors; “She’s a strong, perfect woman but she is breaking inside”. Dainty lace, frills and florals featured in grating contrast with wet-look PVCs and crocs.
Kane elevated the everyday mundane, with dresses reminiscent of net curtains and rain macs embellished in crystals and fringing. Taking elements of design that might usually be considered ‘bad taste’, such as lace that looked like it would make you itch, Kane reinvented them through feminine silhouettes.
Simone Rocha bought a collection that was a fusion of Victoriana and punk. Classic red tartans were structured into voluptuous gown complete with power shoulders and cocoon coats. Black bows were an addition to many of the pieces, adding feminine reminders at every occasion.
Frills were heavy throughout, adding a focus on the Victoriana elements and juxtaposed by dark black shades. Fabrics seemed to have been stolen from curtain materials and window nettings, contrasted by the occasional splash of PVC. The co-operation of dark shades and feminine shapes seem to create a hybrid of the essence of the modern woman.
Featured image: Huw Jenkins