LFW: From Instagram to The Joy of Sex

The Joy Of Sex; Instagram; Louise Gray; Adele Astaire; Bauhaus: designer inspirations can concoct quite the medley, can’t they? Where others fall down an Instagram hole, others seek the solace of yesteryear, heroines of forgotten times, and others unearth gems a new generation has no idea about yet.

CHRISTOPHER KANE FW18 show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.

London Fashion Week, as a stomping ground for new ideas, is always a pretty eclectic one. And from designers like Christopher Kane, who have cemented the capital as a place of sustainable talent, we expect something, well, weird, or abstract. In the past that’s been subversive domesticity or it’s been Frankenstein. This season, he looked to the illustrations from The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex by Chris Foss and Charles Raymond. They showed up only later, though, at the end for a few moments of elation on a fluffy-strap, then collar, dress, and top. Elsewhere the manifest was through lace and leather, the show notes pronouncing sexuality, sex, and playing with it as the overall anchor. Yet, it felt like this wasn’t quite the case. Of course, more of what has become Kane’s point of late is what his models wear on their feet, he of Croc-renaissance fame. Here he continued this train of thought for a collaboration with Z-Coil orthopaedics, the idea being they were prim and playful and perverse. Overall, it felt like these could have been more playful and the collection sexier. 

MARQUES'ALMEIDA FW18 show in London. Photo by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.

But from bookworms to social-media studies, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida have a very 2018 approach to designing their collections: “Really, it’s all about the girls we’re obsessed with and if you scroll through their Instagram handles, you’ll see the biker jackets, the buffalo boots, renaissance elements,” explained the duo backstage. And it turns out the digital platform proved to be even more helpful than that. “I was obsessed scrolling through her Instagram and sent her a direct message asking if she wanted to come over,” elaborated Marques of the collaboration with designer Louise Gray – yes! Louise Gray, designer Louise Gray. Back! It’s been some time since we saw her own work grace the catwalks of London Fashion Week, known as it was for its tactile-fun design. It was her handwriting that caught Marques’ eye. “She’s done all this amazing artwork and thought it made total sense with our idea of feminism.” So across their standard oversized hoodies, there came empowering slogans (such as “Truth & Beauty”), something which the duo has very much progressed on to making a root of the brand, moving on from the denim upon which they launched. 

MARY KATRANTZOU FW18 show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Another designer who has also moved on from where she began is Mary Katrantzou. We knew her for lampshade skirts and hyper prints, for literal interior vistas and pencil patterns. It’s something that has toned down over the years, that sense of fun graduating into something more reserved, which is what was at work here this season. Bauhaus combined with “high Victoriana” for Autumn/Winter 2018, but that interior nose was back, with Bauhaus furniture and architecture and the dramatic swag of a Victorian curtain. In some ways, it felt like a retrospective of previous collections combined in one. There were some standout pieces for some of those dresses, but sadly a fur protest outside (and a subsequent protestor on the catwalk) made for an unfair distraction. To clarify, Mary Katrantzou didn’t use any fur in her collection at all. 

ERDEM FW18 show in London. Photo by Guillaume Roujas for NOWFASHION.

Over at Erdem and, like Simone Rocha now, there’s an element of we’ve-seen-it-before. Nothing is ever going to deviate all that much in an Erdem collection, partly it shouldn’t. Which is perhaps why the designer has earned himself the top fashion gossip headline right now: will he or won’t he be the designer to design Meghan Markle’s dress? If he is, then would this selection of train-flowing gowns inspired by actress Adele Astaire be up her alley? Whether they are or aren’t, Erdem’s success lies in not reinventing the wheel, just making it a little more pretty and ornate each season. 


See the full FW18 collection of CHRISTOPHER KANE here.

See the full FW18 collection of MARQUES'ALMEIDA here.

See the full FW18 collection of MARY KATRANTZOU here.

See the full FW18 collection of ERDEM here.