This Autumn, New York City gave us Marc Jacobs’ Kangol oversized caramel hats, Ralph Lauren’s bold leather belted jackets with stand-out silk parachute gowns, and Derek Lam’s theatrical embroidered crimson brocade suits. The Big Apple announced statement trends with strong competition for this season’s fashion weeks, but the British capital did not shy away from going bigger and better. As London Fashion Week draws to a close, Wildabout has rounded up the most outstanding moments and trends from the runway to the city’s street style.
Return Of The Mac
As London Fashion Week kicked off, there were of course a few set expectations from the British capital. The Burberry trench coat is the ultimate London icon. This week, however, it was Irish-born ready-to-wear designer J.W. Anderson who revealed the most exciting tribute to the classic piece. His collection was seasoned with exciting jackets with layered pockets and contorted textiles, but it was his neutral coloured double-breasted trench coat that was the most memorable. From the subtle cut-out on the front panel, to the belted collar, all paired with sandy sneakers, Anderson’s look transformed the entire collection into cohesive casual wear that prided itself in architectural flexibility. Recognised and praised for his unisex approach, he designs with the idea that men can borrow clothes from a woman’s wardrobe, and vice versa. A progressive vision for immaculate and empowering outfits.
It is almost impossible to ignore the impact recent Western political affairs have had in our daily lives. Take Britain’s European Exit, America’s Trump and the current French presidential elections, these events have weighed over London Fashion Week, and designers have creatively responded to them by highlighting design as a communicating platform for both progress and protest.
Whilst Preen allegedly offered its quilted puffer coats as oversized blankets to protect fashionable people from tumultuous political insecurity, Chalayan’s return to London was marked by his loose silhouettes as models tore off the front of their shirts only to show a waterfall of glittered confetti. Chalayan chose performativity as the centre of his collection and displayed a rebuttal against the isolated individuals that our current society is generating. Ashish’s collection particularly stood out with a direct jab at Trump’s actions. Re-branding the president’s controversial sayings and transforming the stereo-typed feminine colour into something ultimately feminist, these designs acted as beautiful, satirical uniting forces. By using tag lines from protest posters, matched with Mexican wrestling masks and Cinqo de Mayo skulls, Ashish paved the way in how fashion can be both political and wearable.
Modifications to Diversification
As the fashion world attempts to raise awareness for a more diverse representation of identity in its branding, London Fashion Week set a progressive example in how this can be achieved. Although we still need to push for a wider variety in gender, race and body shape, on the catwalk, the city showed an interesting perspective on age in the fashion industry. Simone Rocha was the first to respond to this, as she celebrated different silhouettes on current catwalk favourites alongside runway legends, proving that age is just a number and the best style accessory is how you choose to wear it. From 73-year-old Italian Benedetta Barzini in head-to-toe black structure skirts with layered laser-cut flowers, Jan de Villeneuve, age 70, rocking knitted socks with wedged sandals, and 1980s designer’s choice Marie Sophie Wilson wore Rocha’s elegant velvet coat with oversized pockets over a sheer black skirt.
At the Marques Almeida show, one of the final collections of this week, ended with Nina Simone’s soulful tune ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’. The song played out Almeida’s progressive voice of more racial diversity on the runway, and paired with bold colours and structured must-haves, the designer remarkably wrapped up London Fashion Week. Set in the multicultural Brick Lane, the models natural afro hair made a strong statement, particularly in our favourite look of the leather mustard yellow jacket, a-symmetrical skirt with industrial fabric piercings in the large sleeves.
Ones To Watch
Out of the four major fashion week locations, London has always been recognised as the place to get noticed by the media and trend-spotters. Designers choose to go bolder and create more noise with their runway looks. Mimi Wade from Central Saint Martins certainly chose to. From deconstructed fabric, layered laced textiles and cartoon embroidered stich-ons reading ‘Dial “M” For Mimi’, created immediate editorial must-haves, that could make even larger statements on the street. Mimi’s skill lays in her ability to juxtapose graphic designs with more subtle prints and forms. A particular favourite was the loose feather boa and pastel pink gloves surrounding a slip dress and scarf.
#BTS by @bybellazine 💗🌟HUGE THANKS AND LOVE TO @_lulukennedy @fashion_east @natasha_booth @raphaellemoore @topshop @annatrevelyan for styling my show to perfection, @alipirzadeh for the most brilliant hair using @bumbleandbumble and @lauradomini2 for the exceptional makeup using @maccosmetics. Huge love to @harriet.verney for writing my press release @vegynvegyn for the music and so much more 💓@maddeostlie and the incredible @aamo_casting team Huge thanks to @tattydevine for creating all the beautiful Perspex applications and pearlescent buttons 🌟🌟🌟
Set in the industrial setting of the Tate Modern museum, Asai Ta revived the theatricality of Galliano’s layered and crimped fabric with a new fashion-forward twist. As a winner of the modern embroidery techniques awarded, he uses the body as a reference point to distort the viewer’s perspective. His play with texture and transformation of thread into frills, was particularly stunning as in motion on the runway. Primarily choosing white as the central colour, Ta’s shirts and coats reflect the futuristic face of fashion with higher collars and ruffled hems. Other creative highlights to look out for were embellishment expert Huishan Zhang and print professional Matty Bovan.
London’s street style offers a space for fashion to encounter and counter various tastes, shapes and locations, and fashion week in this city is no exception. Whilst fashion designers work hard to produce tomorrow’s looks on the catwalk, the capital works from the bottom-up as the urban wear influences the fashion scene too.
Bold colour was one of the most prominent trends. Wildabout spotted playful orange in padded coats, candy cane striped flares for men and Gucci’s mint green snake sweaters. Of course, the Mac made its usual appearance in the city. London also touched on its punk past with drainpipes and DIY revivals, safety pin accessories and long leather layers. This trend was also re-imagined into today’s latest obsession with puffa jackets as people opted for the heavier leather look.
A final street look that reflected not only the political atmosphere but also some of this week’s collections, was the choice of protest symbols and shirts spread around the city. These small hints that enabled fitting in the equality fight into everyday wear was a heart-warming way of aligning the community around this London Fashion Week.
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