From Burberry to Topshop, there’s rebellion on the runways at London Fashion Week. Stephanie Smith picks out the highlights so far of the autumn/winter collections.
Believe the hype. There’s never a dull moment at London Fashion Week.
Hot on the heels of New York, fashionistas the world over have been to-ing and FROW-ing across the capital to see – and be seen at – the headline runway shows.
There’s all the fun of the fair, with supermodels Gigi Hadid, Arizona Muse and Lily Donaldson stepping out on the real catwalks, while on the fringes, hordes of bloggers parade feverishly up and down in the hope of being spotted for best-dressed street-style snaps, to impress their Instagram followers.
The implications of Brexit loom over the UK fashion industry, yet the mood has been defiant and positive. At last Friday’s launch, Dame Natalie Massenet challenged designers to be bold during adversity, declaring that “inclusivity is at the heart of British fashion”. The British Fashion Council’s Sarah Mower described a “creative gene pool being eroded” by university tuition fees, while designers pointed out that their staff come from all over the world.
The first designer to show, Teatum Jones, opened with a recording of Meryl Streep lambasting Donald Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, and the catwalk team included two disabled models, Kelly Knox, born without the lower part of her left arm, and Jack Eyers, who had a leg amputated when he was 16.
Burberry’s live streaming of its runway show (Monday) has become a must-see VIP event to which we are all invited. The brand has led the way in mixing genders on the runway and in the seasonless fashion revolution, so customers do not wait to buy what they see on the catwalk.
At the Maker’s House, Burberry’s Christopher Bailey presented his collection among the Henry Moore sculptures that inspired it. The Halifax-born designer grew up visiting the Yorkshire Sculpture Park where Moore’s work is on permanent display, and to create this range and February presentation, he worked with the artist’s daughter and the Henry Moore Foundation, with access to his private work.
The result was a quite different collection from Bailey, with wrapped and draped, proportion-altering, statement shapes in a pared-back, muted palette – challenging, but also grown-up, confident and yes, defiant.
“It’s an important moment to have joy in your work, to believe in something,” he said after the show.
Elsewhere, Topshop Unique has joined labels offering a “see now, buy now” selection within its autumn/winter 2017 range. Pieces are already for sale, including the deckchair-stripe trousers featured here.
Kate Moss’s half-sister Lottie was on the catwalk, alongside Lily Donaldson and Adwoa Aboah, helping Topshop to express a fiercely independent and idiosyncratic British mood, referencing the hedonism of the 1990s, Manchester’s legendary Hacienda club and gap year dressing with a nod to Danny Boyle’s film The Beach. Poker straight hair is back and there were pretty tea dresses and sequin floral shifts.
Roland Mouret returned to the London catwalk on Sunday, celebrating his 20th anniversary as a designer by describing celebrity fashion collections, such as those by Kanye West and Rihanna, as irrelevant, pondering what a music album by Karl Lagerfeld would sound like (you never know ...).
Gigi and Bella Hadid were on the catwalk for a streetwise, tough and eclectic collection from Versus, Versace’s younger line, which also used them as inspirational muses, while Mulberry showed an unashamedly British collection featuring tweeds and referencing hunting, animals, wallpaper florals and heirloom jewellery. The Amberley is a new saddlebag style.
Other trends seen on the catwalks at London Fashion Week include: studenty oversized knits; sequinned punk looks; high/low dressing such as tulle over jeans at Molly Goddard, and trainers worn with silk and feathered looks at JW Anderson; American diner checks and rodeo fringing (House of Holland); one-shoulder drapery (Roland Mouret); older catwalk models (at Simone Rocha); the Nineties; dark florals (where would be be without them in autumn?); masculine meets feminine dressing; ripped and bursting out designs, patterns and panels.