Eight buyers pick their favourite shows and trends from the LFW catwalks.
Lizzie Walker, Head womenswear buyer, Start, London
I don’t feel there has been a huge leap forward, just a subtle move on. The flat shoe is still prevalent, with a move into luxury pool sliders, white flatforms, flat shoes with Perspex heels - as seen at Simone Rocha - and embellished jelly shoes. The pleated skirt has been given a longer length, as seen at Christopher Kane. Embellished sweatshirts have become more luxury and sheer layered nightwear such as camisoles and nighties have come through.
Sarah Murray, Owner and buyer, Jane Davidson, Edinburgh
Several of the key trends for autumn that are already performing well are moving into spring, so that bodes well. Pink certainly was strong, as were the pastels we saw at Burberry Prorsum and Temperley. Lace and strong florals from Christopher Kane and Matthew Williamson also looked good. The statement coat from winter is here to stay and that has been reworked by many designers for summer. Neon accents are still around in yellow, orange and pink, but are managing to look fresh in different silhouettes. For example, Roksanda Ilincic did fuller midi skirts. I thought Preen by Thornton Bregazzi was exceptionally strong, with really commercial price points for a premium brand. The mood was confident and optimistic after a great summer weather-wise and a promising start to autumn 13. People really wore their summer clothes this year, which hopefully means they will buy more for 2014.
Laura Larbalestier, Buying director, Browns, London
Everything has been really feminine this season. From what I have seen, there seems to be a touch of bridal influence running throughout the shows compared with autumn 13, which had more of a masculine twist. Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane and Erdem all had a feminine feel to their shows. This season is also much more colourful than autumn 13. Silhouettes and proportions are exaggerated for spring 14, and the newcomer we are most excited about is 1205.
Judd Crane, Director of womenswear, Selfridges
Erdem absolutely blew us away, and Marios Schwab felt like a real comeback collection for London. Both designers presented some beautiful ideas around shape and layering, and used monochrome in a new and more feminine way than we’ve seen in recent seasons, where it’s been very graphic and stark. I always enjoy seeing how embellishment can be interpreted for spring collections - it takes on a lightness, rather than becoming weighty and overcomplicated as it can be for autumn. Christopher Kane used it really cleverly in the details on his cut-out gowns, and Simone Rocha did too. A few trends continue from autumn. Commercially speaking, Richard Nicoll’s iridescent bomber is a nice continuation of the sports luxe trend. The sports message is also there in Mary Katrantzou’s use of neoprene - scuba references are something we’re really interested in exploring for spring. The mini-maxi contrast is also still relevant.
Carmen Borgonovo Fashion director, My-Wardrobe.com
This season designers presented highly sophisticated and grown-up collections, with a strong return to femininity and easy, wearable pieces. We’re seeing a continuation of the monochrome and minimal trend from last season, but most noteworthy is the return of pastels. Last season also saw strong grunge and punk influences but this season feels softer, with strong feminine influences. The mood was fresh, light, feminine and sophisticated.
Helen David Head of womenswear, Harrods
Pastel shades and floral prints dominated this season. Christopher Bailey’s heavily embellished floral designs for Burberry Prorsum carried autumn 13’s baby pink, mint green and light blue into the new season by introducing sheer layers, while Christopher Kane’s deconstructed flowers were emblazoned onto chiffon and organza dresses, T-shirts and skirts. Even the sweatshirts carried ‘Flower’ and ‘Petal’ slogans. Autumn 13’s sheer micro trend has grown into what is sure to be one of the most influential looks of the season. Sheer maxis reigned supreme at Antonio Berardi, Marios Schwab and Christopher Kane, while Zoe Jordan, Mulberry and Burberry Prorsum showcased two-tone sheer striped panels on everything from short suits to eveningwear. Black and white remains one of the biggest colour stories and the dark romance trend was reinvented at Tom Ford with his ribbon dress and lace bodysuits. An exciting new addition to our brand mix this season is Marios Schwab. His eveningwear gowns combine classic shapes and luxury fabrics with a modern twist.
Adam Kelly Fashion and beauty director, Fenwick
Sportswear is making a big comeback, and we’re seeing strong sweats and knits teamed with great skirts or coats.
Statement eveningwear takes fashion to an extreme. Last season was all about print, whereas now we’ve seen a quest for clean simplicity. White is key, layered with a melangé grey, soft splashes of pastel, and a bit of green. The mood at all the shows has been upbeat and the collections have been really strong. It’s always good to celebrate fashion in London. It’s a unique capital with great talent and we’re lucky to have it.
Henry Graham Chief creative officer, Wolf & Badger, London
I’ve seen a lot of shades of white used across the whole range of women’s apparel. There has been an inventive use of layering, with mesh and voile creating flattering garments rather than designers working with unusual shapes. Man-made materials are juxtaposed on the same garment with natural fibres to stunning effect.
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