Greetings from London Fashion Week!
This city continues to up the ante each season. Once it was known for underground designers showing in carparks, and now it's the flagship fashion week for the Berrys--Burberry and Mulberry. And with the British Fashion Council and Topshop (which celebrates 10 years of its New Gen sponsorship initiative this season), young designers are getting the support and the stage to show their work to a wider audience on a grander scale.
The emergent trends seem to be lots of white cotton; saccharine-sweet romance (lots of milkshake hues, toile, cute prints, and lace embroidery); capes; metallics (venturing beyond silver and gold into jewel tone and oil-spill territory); and printed pants, which continue to reign supreme. And the girls clocking up the most runway miles, naturally, are Brit BFFS, Cara Delegvigne and Jourdan Dunn.
Our highlights so far have been...
Claire Barrow showed as part of Fashion East. We loved her punk sensibility--rubber dungarees, illustrated tees, hand-painted leather jackets, and garments named after different liquors--which felt fun, slightly sinister, and very London.
Elliot Atkinson is a label we came across at the Portico showrooms space, which is set-up for the week at LFW HQ, Sommerset House. We've featured Atkinson in NYLON before as a designer to watch and we continued to be impressed (as do Opening Ceremony who stock the young designer in the U.S.). This season he showed gorgeous collarless suede biker jackets, embroidered silk slips, and romantic white cotton broderie anglaise dresses modernized with zipper details.
Holly Fulton is a designer gaining confidence with each collection. This season she was inspired by her first trip to Los Angeles, which she took this past spring. Cue shamelessly playful pieces (see-through plastic dresses embroidered with flowers; naked lady prints; 50s diner-inspired colors) made for California dreamers.
One of the highlights of the Topshop Unique show was the multiple ear piercings (mostly faux, we presume) that the girls sported. We also liked the pale hues, sheer panel dresses, hand-drawn windowpane check pajamas, and the slouchy boyfriend jacket in all its shapes and forms.
Acne was all about the atmosphere, from the champagne service, to the cool crowd in attendance, to the pulsating soundtrack with it's repetitive "yee-ha!" sample. Oh and the latex cowboy hats and tees printed with MUSIC on the front and NEW on the back were fun, too.
Mary Katrantzou is a designer with so much buzz about her that the Topshop Space in which she showed was packed to the rafters, literally (my seat mate asked if I could "squeeze over" and proceeded to practically sit on my lap). After becoming known for her lampshade skirts and baroque prints, is this Greek-born designer a one trick pony? The answer, delightfully, is no, with Katrantzou showing one of the strongest, dreamiest collections we've seen so far. Her stamp and bank note prints felt nostalgic and exotic at the same time, and, paired with her meticulously constructed silhouettes, the whole thing felt really special--and desirable.
This afternoon, Burberry charmed the pants (and blew the eardrums--the soundtrack was obscenely loud!) off everyone with its candy-wrapper metallics, bustiers, hotpants, and capes. The finale of shiny trench coats in graduating jewel-tones was a literal sweet touch.
Christopher Kane, always one for serious subtext, played with elements of Frankenstein's monster, from the perspex nuts and bolts holding garments together, to the black slashes reminiscent of stitches. But he also experimented with a very princess-y vibe, too: sugared almond shades, crystal embellishment, bows, and lace applique. The bride of Frankenstein, perhaps? "I love that book by Mary Shelley," Kane said backstage. Indeed.
Now we're off to see the golden goose of LFW, J.W. Anderson, who's the hot ticket of the week due to his just-launched Topshop collaboration. If we're still able to type after his post-show party tonight, we'll be back tomorrow with more highlights and coverage of LFW's last day on Tuesday, which includes the Mulberry show.