London Fashion Week 2017 Highlights

London Fashion Week will forever remain an iconic event in the fashion calendar. Thanks to the development and meticulous planning of the BFC (British Fashion Council), LFW is now a place where new emerging talent is welcome and encouraged to share their skills by the established greats of British fashion. The BFC even held its first Global Fashion Awards in December, showing the new business-driven mind that the fashion industry is encompassing. Perhaps this is why the shows this LFW shaped up to one of the most commercially appeasing and successful, with the shows being more accessible than ever and far less outlandish. The new mantra of ready-to-wear seemed to dominate this LFW meaning new slicker designs for the first time in years. However, some designers still managed to find the balance between the wearable and the eccentric, creating designs that are fresh, cutting-edge and exhilarating. A balance that seems very much like the city itself.

House of Holland

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House of Holland are known for their exuberant, quirky style, utilising bright colours and patterns to create stand out pieces. This LFW, designer and creative director Henry Holland did little to disappoint. Every season, his shows drop with the similar vociferous energy and indistinguishable graphics/gimmicks. As the show attendees sat down in the bare concrete setting to the sound of Tennessee-born singer Miley Cyrus’ album ‘BANGERZ’, it was an ample indication for the show to come. When the models finally hit the runway, the immediate ambient of the American Wild West was obvious. Star prints, fringe jackets, flares, graphic knee high boots and cowboy hats took the industrial setting by storm. The cuts and silhouettes of  the pieces ensured that a strong reference to the Wild West was maintained throughout. Standout pieces included maxi chiffon dresses branded with fringed stars, billowing long red trousers with fringed details and over-exaggerated flares, large checked fur coats and a series of items inspired by Woody Woodpecker including thigh-high boots brandishing his face. As a whole, the collection was impressive, but the unique ability of House of Holland to create a collection that accommodates to all buyers, not just those willing to dress as a cowgirl. Despite the high-key Wild West vibes and a prominent American Rodeo aesthetic maintained throughout the collection, there was something for everyone;  graphic tees, tartan skirts and velvet bomber jackets prove that the ready-to-wear collection is cutting edge as well as accessible.

J.W.Anderson

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Jonathon Anderson’s J.W.Anderson collections are the most highly anticipated and sought-after shows of LFW. Every season, Anderson draws more inspiration from more and more eclectic sources. Thus, not only is the brand constantly evolving in an exciting way, but also every show contains a new and exciting collection to present. Due to the ever increasing number of people wearing his clothes and using his accessories, Anderson seems to be on a winning streak. Audiences have seem his style evolve from statements about gender fluidity, to refining his style to feminine glamour.

The designers 2017 Autumn offering appeared to be very much inspired by the woman’s silhouette. Described as being something of a ‘style odyssey’, Anderson focused on the stripped back nature of clothing as well as the structure of building up from there. When creating the collection, Anderson admitted that he attempted to create something very feminine, only to have it crash, and attempted to build up from there. This is perhaps most evident in his work through the layering. The show opened with a capacious black key hole dress with a cinched-in drawstring waist, providing emphasis on the natural figure. Tailored jackets, floral prints matched with feathers and a relatively neutral colour palette (minus the vibrant purple silk dress) dominated the catwalk and provide a hint as to what to expect this Autumn/Winter in high street stores.

Molly Goddard

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One of the hottest designers to emerge from last year, Goddard is known for her immense tulle dresses, smocking, embroidery and crocheting. Although the crowd at LFW are used to daring styles, nothing could prepare them for the experimental designs created by Goddard.

Fascination of preserving a child-like dream in which the perceptions of princesses is still very much real is evident in Goddard’s previous work, and this LFW helped to preserve this image. Keen to perpetuate her image as the go-to designer for the most hardcore party girls in London, this collection provided fashion with a side of fantasy. People involved very heavily with the social circuit will revel in Goddard’s familiar and yet faultless use of embroidery with cross stitch detail, pink cupcake tulle and cinched in smock dresses and sleeves. Sheer dresses over graphic shirts, tutu mini skirts, satin ballet shoes and glittering knee high socks seemed to be reoccurring looks on this seasons catwalk. It is evident that Goddard is looking to reawaken the inner girly-girl inside every woman and their child-like fascination of parties in her newest, exciting Autumn/Winter 2017 collection. Instead of diminishing this inner feminine innocence, it appears that Goddard is attempting to embrace it in a socially modern way that is distinguishable to the brand of Molly Goddard.

Topshop Unique

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Topshop perhaps holds one of the most recognisable names in the high street setting. Translating that onto the catwalk is no easy feat, and yet the Topshop Unique show managed to faultlessly make the transition. Not only that, but the show produced a strong sense of youthful energy and fun.

The show opened with model Lily Donaldson wearing a baggy silk black jumper plastered with the words ‘Happy WKNDR Forever’ across the chest, paired with stripped pajama style trousers. The casual outfit set the tone for the rest of the show as juvenile and boyish- and that was just the beginning. What followed was  PVC skirts, cut out dresses, jackets with green-faux fur and zip up high neck collars. The clothes remained joyful, with masculine and casual figures for the Autumn/Winter 2017 season as well as clothes inspired by Western Indian states, nightclubs and exotic countries. The brand continues to reach commercial success due to the new ready-to-wear strategy adopted last year by many design houses. Pieces are now available online for anywhere between £60-£400.

Ashish

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The brand of Ashish will forever remain bold, youthful and exciting. After reaching commercial success and good reviews from their use of graphic shirts in previous collections, creative director Ashish Gupta utilised the graphic tee again, this time more politically focused. With glittering shirts plastering comments directed towards American President Donald Trump, such as ‘This Pussy grabs back’ and ‘unity in adversity’. The strong political and social messages are not where the collection ends, however.

Although superficially wrapped up in sequin and glitter, London based, Delhi-born designer Ashish produces some of the most thought-provoking shows of the LFW period. Transporting us in a glittery universe away from the mundane everyday life, even the setting saw a glittery yellow brick road with ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ playing in the background. Perhaps the broken heart and red poppy decor indicated that the show would be symbolic and embedded with lots of meaning. Rainbow stripes and sequined check board pattern and glitter rugby shirts dominated this catwalk as well as recognisable iconography from American sport. The formatting of teams such as Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox were reimagined in a loud and exuberant way, amplifying Ashish’s position as a designer invested in the art of escapism, and yet still grounded in the political agenda of reality.

For a full review of Burberry, click here.

‘The minute your brand can be predicted, you’ve got a problem’

– J.W.Anderson

Vivienne Westwood at London Men’s Fashion Week 2017

After completing shows around Europe, Vivienne Westwood finally made her long awaited and much needed return to London to debut her men’s Autumn Winter 17/18 collection.

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The fashion crowd seemed far from restless as they took full storm to the streets of London for the last day of London Fashion Week Men’s. It may have seemed odd to anybody not involved in the multitude of fashion reporters, styles, bloggers and lovers. The contrast of the tube strike and the drab weather with the feverish mob appeared to be a fitting embrace of one of fashion’s greats. The national treasure who led the punk movement and is now a full time environmentalist campaigner, Dame Vivienne Westwood debuted at LFWM.

The themes of environmentalism and politics seem to have been a running trend throughout this collection entitled ‘Ecotricity’. These issues seemed to have dominated Westwood’s mind for the past decade or two, and this notion was only highlighted in the stripped back and seemingly hand crafted clothes featured on this seasons catwalk. Some models wore patches plastered with  anti-climate change logos. Handmade paper crowns and outlandish hats perpetuated the crucial theme of climate change, whilst still adding an edgy side which nods in the direction of punk, as is Westwood’s custom.

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Even those with the haziest knowledge of fashion will recognise Westwood’s name as the pioneering force behind the punk movement. This show did little to disappoint on the punk front. The different location and the barren ambience of the room may have been unfamiliar to the show-goers, but the show had all of the recognisable features of  a Vivienne Westwood display. The show featured designs for both men and women and even featured a plastic knife that had been reworked into an earring.

Rips, tears, mohair pieces and seemingly hand crafted pieces further prove that Westwood and her designer partner, Andreas Kronthaler, are aware of the punk heritage that the name holds. Even with the new interests into preserving the planet, Westwood seems to effortlessly combine her passions into one fluid show that never disappoints the multitude of people watching. There may have been edgy pieces in the collection, but the glamorous dresses and outerwear reminds the loyal fanbase what that Westwood brand is all about.

The show notes read ‘What’s good for the planet is good for the economy/what’s bad for the planet is bad for the economy’. Fashion remains one of the biggest contributors of pollution in our society. Westwood’s collection helped to perpetuate the message that we need to rethink our fashion choices even more. From the string belts to the patched clothing, Vivienne Westwood will not shy away from continuing to convey her revolutionary messages through the medium of fashion; the £33.8 million turnover for 2015 only proves that the Vivienne Westwood brand continues to perform well and provide their customers with the classic style that has become associated with Westwood herself.

With extended applause for her closing of a run of four days of shows, Vivienne Westwood walked surrounded by her models and holding a bouquet of flowers, tears glistening in her eyes. It seems that five decades of fashion will do nothing to stop her, as the leader of the punk movement focuses her talent on the ever impending threat of climate change.

As successfully as she pushed the punk revolution, Westwood will continue to bring the environment to the forefront of all of our minds.

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‘I think it is a good thing to buy less and choose well- It’s good for the environment and to be fair it’s also good for me because my clothes are quite expensive.’

-Vivienne Westwood

Milan Round-up and Highlights

In the third week of fashion week, it seems hardly possible that any more original and breath-taking fashion shows could take place. And alas, Milan Fashion Week commences.

Prada

It seems almost improper to make a post about MFW without starting with the Prada show.

The Prada brand, defined as the pinnacle of high couture fashion delivered it’s collection at MFW. As shown by their half year results, Prada announced a 14.8% decline in its revenue. Inevitably, this makes a gloomy reading, which I think is reflected in their SS17 collection.  Worlds away from the exaggerated embellishment of their AW16 show, this collection adopted a business like tone. In collaboration with David O Russell, a short film accompanied the show which displayed models in corporate interiors. Apparently, the models were sporting serious and even slightly afraid expressions. During a backstage interview, Mrs Prada (the creative director), said that this was completely intentional. The very first look displayed on the catwalk was a bog standard pleated skirt. Little to no embellishment graced the catwalk this season, only the occasional-but beautiful nonetheless-detail of gold embroidery. Ostrich feather trims seemed to have dominated this years runway, complimenting the synced in waists.

This years collection seems to essentially go back to the basics. The more serious and practical tone that permeates throughout this MFW collection reflects the film provided, but perhaps the change in the fashion world itself. Prada are trying to make their ready-to-wear collection more wearable, and thereby, marketable.

Fendi

Another high fashion house hits MFW, this time, it’s Fendi. I think people whose fashion knowledge is hazy at the best of times, still recognise the Fendi brand name. Despite being a power house for couture fashion, the brand has been able to build a shop and a marketable product.

Away from the talk of consumerism, I cannot deny the effortless beauty that this collection exudes. With creative directors, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, the collection was never going to deliver anything less than experimental, while still retaining the femininity and luxury that the brand stands for. At the beginning of the show, bold stripes and fur fabrics engulfed the models. The baggy trousers helped to emphasise the masculine figure that seems to be a reoccurring theme in the collection. This was only contrasted by the ethereal and scantily clad Gigi Hadid, who emerged sporting  sheer tulle fabrics. Stripes continued to appear, along with synced waistlines and big shoulders, which payed homage to the power suits of the 1980s. Nearing the end of the show, more embellishment appeared. The contrast between delicate fabrics which flowed and pooled around the models bodies, and the more structured figures, which robust embroidery.

The models wore bright, sparkling lipstick and strappy boots, which added to the running theme of both ethereal and structured beauty.

Versace

World renowned for being a luxury Italian brand, this years SS17 did little to disappoint.

With Serena Williams sitting FROW, it seems fitting to see the whole collection based off of a sports theme. Indeed, gym wear seems to be a look that defines the brand, with Williams backing an advertising campaign, the sportswear seems to be at the forefront of Sister Donatella Versace’s mind. Light fabrics of cotton, Lycra and silk seemed to dominate this seasons catwalk. Clashing colours of purples, greens, reds, blues and yellows seem to hint and replicate 1990’s shell suit jackets. This whole collection, in fact, encapsulates a more sophisticated look of the ‘getting fit’ age in the 80s and 90s.

Despite being focused on the sportswear, the collection still saw a lot of 1990s silhouettes being displayed. Crop tops and shell suits indicate a return of the era in spring/summer. Coming away from the show, the only thing being repeated in my mind is the rise of sportswear.

*Disclaimer- I do not own any of the images displayed

‘What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today when human contacts go so fast. Fashion is an instant language.’

-Miuccia Prada