LFW: What’s On Your Mind?

Fall/Winter 2017: what is it all about? Since September the world has plummeted into yet more disarray; we tried the see-now-buy-now thing, which has further made designers rethink the how, what and why when it comes to presenting their collections; and we’ve become accustomed to certain fashion aesthetics (you know the ones). All of which equates to the lead-up to this season and what was circling around in designers’ minds. Of course, some tapped into certain inspiration points more than others, while elsewhere it was more a case of rekindling the love for a certain item that our wardrobes might have just forgotten about in the wake of casualwear and sportswear’s lofty ascent. Here, four key themes that have taken hold of LFW…so far.


Mary Katrantzou Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Fall Winter 2017 in London


Hot Fuzz

Big collars, stoles and huge furry jackets or coats that would make even The Snow Queen from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe jealous, a fuzzy flourish has added a new sense of luxe to what was becoming a utility-street fashion-dominated landscape. David Koma, Mary Katrantzou, Simone Rocha, Markus Lupfer and Peter Pilotto did them best.


Chalayan Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2017 Fashion Show in London


Surprise Shine

It’s not often – or ever – that one gets to write Julien Macdonald and Chalayan in the same sentence, but here we go, I have, and you may have just read it here first: the latter creating streamer vests that the models ripped open to reveal a splay of golden tinsel strands that were not too dissimilar to those you so often find showering down over you at the finale of a Macdonald show. Because you expect it at Julien Macdonald of course, he the King of Knitwear Bling – gold, red and monochrome this season for barely-there stringy numbers that exposed hips and backs and thighs and more, this certain kind of high-octane glamour that only he does and can get away with each and every season. At Chalayan, it made for that moment of innovation we expect of him – clothes that do something more than just be clothes. And so there the dots join for two very different designers with one thing in common: sparkle!

But smatterings of the shiny stuff have been quick to catch our eye the rest of the week, too. Toga put brooches to excellent use, flashing splashes of beads and sparkle on bags, in hair and on the collage cut-and-paste pieces of its great collection; Peter Pilotto used shimmer and glimmer for bejewelled boot tongues, metallic fil coupe on bias-cuts; Mary Katrantzou punctuated her fantasy vista dresses and coats with clustered embellishment; Emilia Wickstead threw in a silver-dipped dress and skirt, and boasted a series of sheer black gowns speckled with colour. And it was perhaps no surprise to see Markus Lupfer work his magic with sequins – he a designer who has always held them close to his heart. But here they were drenched on skirts with floral motifs – it was a sophisticated use, this a more luxe and refined output than we’ve seen from him before. There was edge and feist.


Teatum Jones Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2017 London Fashion Fashion Show NOWFASHION


The End of The World (Obviously)

New York designers referenced the world’s state of affairs prevalently among their collections and back in January at the menswear shows, London designers had done the same. So it came as no surprise that we’d see more of this. Gareth Pugh made the strongest point – the show space alone a concrete cavern some (or what felt like) ten flights down underground. It felt like this could be the future and all the apocalyptic films you ever saw where they decide to live underground come to life. “If you share the opinion that fashion stands for more than a glitzy sideshow, that it can – and should – reflect our collective fears and fantasies, then it may come as no surprise that this evening’s Gareth Pugh show presents an austere vision of a world on the precipice of anarchy,” read his notes, sincere and on the money. The collection, he said, was conceived in ambiguous times: “Where the prevailing instinct is to build walls, reinstate borders and reclaim territory. Where the most powerful person in the world is a billionaire demagogue and self-confessed pussy grabber”. Show notes that actually pack a punch – well done Gareth. And so in this vein, he invited friends – activists and artists – to walk in the show. Sure, it’s become standard practice of late by so many designers but this carried more weight, it was more genuine. This wasn’t a T-shirt or a line of acknowledgment, this was a manifesto: “As the pussy grabs back”. And this was also a collection that grabbed – a proper Pugh show that put him back on track, where he’s wavered in the past. Tailoring was precise and intimidating, the flared trousers fantastic.

He, of course, wasn’t the only designer to be influenced by political turmoil, Teatum Jones exploring the idea of “us and them, them and us” for a collection that built upon their core signatures – textile surface, pencil skirts, knits –adding in a vampire edge when it came to colour and dress shapes. Bora Aksu, meanwhile, looked to the wardrobe of the suffragettes, taking their symbolic dress codes and applying them to his own. Aksu has a strong aesthetic, it’s feminine and pretty, sweet and delicate – a softness which toughened up somewhat here.


Ryan Lo Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Fall Winter 2017 in London


Kitsch Cool

Mimi Wade of the Fashion East stable continued her sexy-kitsch vibe with a series of knitted dresses and school uniform riffs – ties among the ensembles, only this time teamed with jewelled chokers and serious attitude that would almost certainly get you detention. Because it’s not London without a bit of fun and tongue-and-cheek humour. For his tenth season, Ryan Lo upped the hyper real element that already belongs to him. Harajuko street style underpinned this collection, which in production was executed very well – finesse to be found under all of that bubble-gum pink and Hello Kitty cuteness. It’s not to everyone’s tastes that’s for sure but what is clever is that together looks are full on, which suits some; but they can be taken apart too, which will suit others.


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