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Designers stay retro at London Fashion Week

Top buyers highlight the stand out womenswear catwalk trends from the autumn 15 edition of LFW.

Womenswear designers again explored the archives at the autumn 15 edition of London Fashion Week, which ended on Tuesday (Feb 24). The mood was upbeat throughout the five days of shows from February 20 to 24.

With the 1970s trend already dominating spring 15, several brands returned to similar themes by being creatively influenced by decades past. A 1960s feel came through at Peter Pilotto, Daks and David Koma, Burberry Prorsum embraced the 1970s and JW Anderson went big on the 1980s. 

However, successful designers worked these references in ways that felt fresh for winter, resulting in sellable collections and translatable looks that will influence wider trends.

For example, Christopher Bailey’s bohemian Burberry Prorsum range had a folk-inspired Stevie Nicks vibe that had more than a dash of the 1970s about it. There were suede-fringed trims on everything from coats to knee-high boots and slouchy bucket bags, floaty floral hippy dresses, patchwork capes and blanket ponchos reminiscent of the decade’s boho look.

Others, including Roksanda, Issa, Matthew Williamson, Topshop Uniqueand Lucas Nascimento, also sprinkled their clothes with nods to the past, such as 1970s jumpsuits, flared trousers, florals in deep retro colours and outerwear strewn with shaggy shearling and fluffy fur (real and fake).

Claire Miles, head of The Shop at Bluebird in Chelsea, told Drapers: “The 1970s trend looks sure to continue, with many brands showing dark florals, fringing, flares and jumpsuits.”

Olivia Richardson, head of womenswear at Harvey Nichols, agreed: “The 1970s is the overriding feeling, coming through in rich colour, brocades, suede and midi lengths.” She singled out Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane’s “sophisticated, sexy dresses and tailoring with a playful nod to 1970s disco”.

Henry Graham, co-founder of two-store London designer boutique Wolf & Badger, said: “Collections were well rounded, experimental yet innovative.” For him, Eudon Choi, Burberry Prorsum and Lucas Nascimento’s winter florals were the key trend.

Adam Kelly, buying manager at Fenwick Bond Street said: “At Burberry we had a fringe attack - fringed stoles as big blankets with suede used throughout outerwear. [It was] 70s, 70s, more 70s - I definitely feel the earth move under my feet!”

London luxury retailer Browns’ buying director Laura Larbalestier described London as “creative and very busy”, with lots of “innovation in embellishments and outerwear.”

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