The catwalks of London have been alight with the future of fashion. Stephanie Smith picks out key shows.
If you do just one thing – well, one fashion-related thing – today, or this week, go to the Burberry website and watch the film of Monday’s catwalk show at Kensington Gardens.
This beautifully edited piece was online within minutes of the show taking place at Kensington Garden. In it, models snake round an enthralled audience – yes, yes, including Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Ellie Goulding, Alexa Chung et all – while Jake Bugg performs five songs, standing right there in the middle, guitar and all.
It’s heart-skippingly wonderful. While we may not all be able to afford Burberry runway fashion, there is creative democracy in action here, as the company makes sure that such a special event is not for the eyes of celebs and fashion elite only.
Called simply February 2016, reflecting the fact that Burberry has decided to do away with the norm of walking clothes six months before they become available, the show featured menswear alongside its womenswear pieces. With a theme of patchwork, it brings together a beautiful blend of patterns and textures influenced by British artists, musicians and history. Available from Wednesday, the Patchwork collection offers pieces with texture, fabric and detail, individually named after British streets, towns and villages. At the close of the film, there is an invitation to shop select pieces from the collection until March 7.
Hand-embroidered floral sequin dresses, pleated dresses in gleaming chiffons, oversize fleece collar puffers, buckle boots, wool military capes with oversize gold buttons, glitter zip jackets for men – there was all this and more. Can’t wait? You don’t have to any more.
In other London Fashion Week news , Alexander McQueen showed for the first time in 15 years, as designer Sarah Burton is soon to give birth to a baby, as well as a collection, so preferred not to travel to Paris for autumn’s offer this time.
At the Royal Horticultural Halls, models showed off a swooningly romantic, dreamy and feminine collection featuring chiffon dresses printed and embroidered with butterflies, moons, swans, perfume bottle and lips. There are tailored lines, black glossy coats and statement gowns galore, gold and pearl tones, and also sheer, lace and ruffle cocktail dresses in powder pink and black, while night-blooming flowers such as magnolia, tuberose and jasmine featured dramatically – there’s an Alexander McQueen fragrance on its way for autumn, which should tie in nicely.
Over at Tate Britain and Preen, there was more romance, this time inspired by avant-garde Yorkshire poet Edith Sitwell, staged against bare-leaved powder pink trees from the pages of Sitwell’s A Book of Winter. This was a collection full of whimsy with ruffled mannish poet blouses, sheer tops and dresses with ribbon trim, quilted velvets, tapestry florals, oversized coats and dresses with frilled hems, and peasant-style dresses with fitted corsets. Colour is set to be gorgeously rich and decadent for the autumn, with deep tangerines and burgundies, alongside pastel shades, sorbet pinks and azure blues.
Finally, Alexa Chung hosted a special event at London Fashion Week to celebrate the launch of her new range inspired by the M&S Archive at Leeds University. Launching in April, there is already a huge waiting list for this Frances coat, left. Ta-da! The new It piece.