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
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.
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.
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 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.
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’