As the big tent at Somerset House is dismantled as we type, it’s time we sat back and reflected on the London Fashion Week that was.
This season it didn’t open to any 25th anniversary fanfare, nor were there complaints about the schedule being squeezed. Nope, it was all about the clothes, which is as it should be. Plus there was no talk of young London, or it being bonkers or naïve. London designers proved – again – that they are professional, talented and while the levels of sophistication challenge that of New York, Paris and Milan, the Brits still have the creative edge.
The week kicked off on Friday and the immediate theme that came through from designers Felder Felder, Jean Pierre Braganza and Hannah Marshall, was gothic. Strong shoulders, hard lines and lots and lots of black. And as much as we like a trip to the dark side, with the cold weather shooting through our bones, we were hoping that this wouldn’t be a running trend. And it wasn’t. Although there were piles of black and grey clothes, and lots more structured edges, it was simplicity and elegance that won out. Here we round-up the stand out trends of London Fashion Week. Take notes now.
Long and lean
Style Hunter on the streets spotted lots of long skirts and dresses on people milling about the tents. But it was a theme that will carry on through next winter too. Aquascutum made them appropriate for work, while Richard Nicoll paired them with jumper dresses and velvet for a beautiful but cool way of wearing long in the evening.
Leather and sheepskin jackets are the only outerwear to be seen in next season. But to avoid looking like a WWII pilot, soften the tough shape with romantic lace, a la Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prorsum.
Patent leather has been itching for a comeback for seasons now, but AW ’10 will finally be it’s time. High-shine a-line skirts at Christopher Kane is where they made the biggest statement, but we also spotted it at Louise Goldin and Nicole Farhi.
From Erdem, through Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane, they all flew close to ultra-feminine, then pulled it back with surprise details. Kane was the leader (as ever) of this trend, as he took black leather and lace and took away its attitude with embroidered florals. It should have been so wrong, but of course, it wasn’t. While Erdem paired his textured prints and lace with hiking boots, and thigh high boots from Nicholas Kirkwood, and leather trousers added edge to his beautiful soft prints.
Clever colour combinations
Charles Anastase’s blue shift dress paired with red tights and shoes was such an unexpected combo that we were surprised that it’s not done all the time. Jonathan Saunders turned subtle chalky colours on their head with flashes of red. But this isn’t colour blocking, it is just a very sophisticated understanding of tones that we wish we could emulate.
A simple jacket was never a simple jacket at London Fashion Week. The majority had been constructed from intricately cut pieces of fabric and placed together like a jigsaw. Antonio Berardi followed suit with his stunning eveningwear in wool with velvet panelling, while Jonathan Saunders sliced metallic stripes into softly structured coats.
Return to glamour
Glamour is never something that you’d associate with London designers, but Roksanda Illincic made us want to wear her collection and walk through a silent movie of days gone by. All we need is a stream train to add some drama.
And of course, the ‘youngsters’ we love…
Michael van der Ham
He is a master of colour, print and texture, and his ‘collaged’ dresses have been the talk of fashion eds and buyers alike, since he graduated from St Martins a year ago. His second season at Fashion East proved that he has moved on his ideas and even added knitwear. But it was the exquisite Swarovski crystal embellished eveningwear that had the audience scrambling to meet him.
This was Holly’s first season on her own this season, after showing three times with Fashion East. Presenting her collection in an intimate space, it worked well as you could see the subtleties in her bright designs. We saw it late on Saturday evening and her delicate shifts, python prints and bold body-con maxis put a smile on our faces throughout the weekend.
We have long been fans of her towering heels and platforms, but this season she has moved on the Charlotte Olympia brand. Planning the opening of her first store on Maddox Street in London this year, she has some amazing shoes (and bags(!!)) to fill it with. Skyscraper heels with fanned heels will be sold with colour matching tights – all with a seam up the back and detailed with her trademark spider web. She’s also designed cool clear Perspex clutch bags, which had us writing orders.
- Kay Barron