London’s autumn 14 catwalk shows proved that British designers are continuing to push the boundaries.
- Images provided by Catwalking
Although one of the more directional trends pinpointed from the shows, contrasting patchwork fabrics and colourful panelling were seen across several collections. While the bold fur coats at Roksanda Ilincic and Burberry Prorsum are perhaps less commercial, similar styles at Topshop Unique’s show already prove that the trend will hit the high street. By comparison, the patchwork appliqué at Jonathan Saunders and colour block panels at Peter Pilotto and Issa offer ways to work the style that are more likely to be picked up by other brands, as well as consumers.
Shearling and Fur
Fur and shearling continued to dominate in London. Shearling linings at Burberry Prorsum carried one of the key autumn menswear trends to womenswear, while all-over fur at Whistles and Richard Nicoll showed the trend isn’t slowing. House of Holland’s teddy bear trims worked the rich texture in a younger, fun way.
Designers opted for some feminine pieces this season, with pleated skirts and dresses at a number of shows. As a more forgiving option than tighter-fitted pencil skirts, the style will appeal to a wide age range, particularly in a longer knee length, as seen at Holly Fulton and Richard Nicoll. These work well in thicker fabrics for extra volume, although shorter styles are better suited to flatter pleats, as seen at Antipodium. Elsewhere, they came in pleated panels, such as on the backs of tops at Whistles.
One of the easiest trends to take away from London is the cropped trouser, which was seen at the likes of Michael van der Ham and Antonio Berardi. While the past few seasons have seen exaggerated wide legs gain popularity, the preference for autumn is a sleeker, tailored style, particularly when paired with boxy tops. Keep an eye out for cuts just above the ankle for a modern look.
Lower hemlines were everywhere, with lengths ranging from mid-calf to just above the ankle. Barbara Casasola’s panelled style showed off some skin, broadening its appeal to a younger market, while JW Anderson’s matching separates were quirky enough for customers to buy into. Matching tops to longer skirts was also a popular theme across several collections, as seen at Ashish.
Mohair was a key fabric, with thick jumpers at Nicole Farhi and Matthew Williamson offering a luxurious take on cold weather layering. At Fashion East, Helen Lawrence showed mohair skirts, demonstrating how the fabric can appeal to younger customers.
A trend for opulent fabrics included an emphasis on velvet. The soft texture lends itself particularly well to eveningwear, with Emilio de la Morena and John Rocha’s all-over pieces giving a luxurious, mature feel to dresses and coats. Marques’Almeida’s crushed velvet separates and panelled pieces at Huishan Zhang showed other points of difference for a younger customer.
Voluminous outerwear has been a theme across the season and the London shows were no exception. While some New York designers opted for longer lengths with a slimmer, fitted silhouette, the LFW catwalks were filled with boxier shapes and exaggerated shoulders. Patterned fabrics lend a new dimension to the style, as seen at J JS Lee and Issa, though classic colours such as charcoal at Vivienne Westwood Red Label will have a broader appeal.
Ones to watch
Once seen as emerging brands on the London Fashion Week schedule, some notable names came into their own for autumn 14, maturing into solid, dependable brands.
presented a sophisticated collection, with signature outerwear a particular strong point. From slim-line parkas to oversized double-breasted coats in Prince of Wales check, the range was broad and commercially appealing, although details such as funnel necks on blouses or mismatched sleeves ensured Choi’s signature quirkiness remained the cornerstone of the collection.
was the talk of Somerset House, having designed the anoraks worn as uniforms by the location’s Amex Insiders staff this season, who directed the crowds around the BFC venue. In his autumn collection, the designer debuted women’s knits for the first time, as well as presenting an eclectic collection of outerwear, from oversized ponchos to cropped bombers and shearling gilets.
’s collection, which comprised simple silhouettes and bold colour blocking, heralded a coming of age for the Brazilian designer, who only graduated from London College of Fashion in 2008. Showcasing his knitwear skills, Nascimento produced long-length knitted 1970s-inspired skirts and dresses in simple column shapes, as well as relaxed leather pieces such as shirts and jackets, all wrapped in covetable oversized outerwear.
“Key trends we spotted included checks, diaphanous skirts with long oversized knitwear, military greens and ketchup reds. Flat shoes also continue to be a strong trend.”
- Lizzie Walker Womenswear buyer, Start London
“There was a very couture-esque feeling on the runways. The product was far more elevated than in previous seasons. Glamorous embellishment and unique fabric combinations combined with the fashion-forward edge London is known for created
a new look, which will be very desirable.”
- Justin O’Shea Buying director, Mytheresa.com
“Jonathan Saunders and Peter Pilotto have allowed print to take a backseat and embraced extreme texture, proportion and embellishment to create hyper-versions of their collections. The mood for the coming season is of change - bright, exciting and new and the bar has definitely been raised in London.”
- Belle Robinson Owner, The Shop at Bluebird
“The trends that translate well on the high street are usually those that are simpler to copy. Stripes and spots are a perennial favourite. LFW felt busy, it was a packed schedule and there is a continuing spotlight on British brands. It’s a confident market at the moment.”
- Carmen Borgonovo Fashion director, My-Wardrobe.com
“Bora Aksu’s collection was a triumph of fitted body-contoured separates, layered with voile to add glamour. Christopher Raeburn impressed with oversized shearling gilets and accessories, as well as a knock-out polar bear knit he used in several ways.”
- Henry Graham Chief commercial officer, Wolf & Badger