The capital saw a return to feminine dressing for the new season, including statement dresses and romantic details such as feathers and frills.
Though there was a trend for every taste, thanks to the contrasting presence of tailoring and even fetish, here are the biggest trends for autumn 20 from the London shows.
Shades of blue – from powder to brilliant azure and inky navy – were a recurrent theme on the autumn 20 catwalks. Designers played with the colour in a variety of ways. At Awake Mode, a zingy sky-blue padded coat livened up an otherwise understated checked trouser and top. British designer Richard Malone layered complementary shades for a head-to-toe look.
There’s no doubt about it – dressing up is the new dressing down. Unapologetically showstopping frocks took centre stage at many shows, whether adorned with floral prints or left in statement block colours. The queen of tulle Molly Goddard was back with a collection of hyper-feminine styles – the standout of which was a joyous, heavily layered buttercup yellow style. Richard Quinn’s spectacular show was full of voluminous puffball shapes, while Simone Rocha showed a regal collection, layered with sashes, silks and satins.
Get your frills
There was romance in the air for autumn 20 – and not just because Fashion Week kicked off on Valentine’s Day. Designers developed a penchant for frothy layers of frills – from delicate, metallic styles at Erdem, to layered, statement waves at Halpern. Marques Almeida showed large, structured ruffles reminiscent of the 1980s, while Preen’s were voluminous and free-flowing.
Fits like a glove
Fashion takes on function for autumn 20 – and shoppers will finally be protected against the imminent chill, as armwear was included in several collections. Opera gloves have been seen on various red carpets, and at some of the New York shows – including Marc Jacobs, and they aren’t going anywhere for autumn 20. Elegant, evening styles made of mesh, sequins and satins were seen at Huishan Zhang, Shrimps and Erdem, while Toga showed more durable, utilitarian versions – just don’t call them Marigolds.
We’re not biased – promise. Across the shows, fabrics were artfully placed and pulled across the silhouette. Richard Malone showed layers of ruching in rich tones of silky materials, while Petar Petrov offered a more streamlined, halterneck shape with fluid sleeves and flowing skirt. Excess fabric was cinched with a belt at Chalayan, and Emilia Wickstead provided structure to the trend with neat folds and wrap detailing.
A Victorian take on the silhouette was seen across collections, as shoulders were broadened by structured puffs, which balanced by narrowing the waist. Emilia Wickstead provided a queenly take on the trend, with the detail flowing out onto statement sleeves. While these were narrowed down at Rejina Pyo, giving an equestrian feel – and Richard Quinn took the look to extremes, showing dramatically oversized shoulders.
Designers were in a party mood for autumn 20, often showing high-octane dresses inspired by the world of haute couture. Feathers added a playful, opulent touch to the drama. Eye-catching colours stopped the budding trend from feeling too nostalgic. London-based label 16Arlington sent a top trailing in bold scarlet plumes down the runway and Mark Fast paired an ombre feather gown over a crisp shirt for a modern take on evening dressing.
All tied up
A darker mood emerged alongside the trend for frothy femininity. Fetish, bondage and lingerie, varying from intricate strapping to full-on corsetry, inspired designers including Christopher Kane and Charlotte Knowles. Sex and lust were referenced at Christopher Kane through cut-out black lace bodies. Knowles used underwear as outwear, showing boned corsets over everyday T-shirts. A softer take on the trend was spotted at Fashion East, where sheer fabrics were wrapped around the body.
A smarter aesthetic has already taken menswear by storm; suiting is now spilling over into womenswear. Stand out examples came from Petar Petrov – making a well-reviewed LFW debut – who showed a slinky suit in creamy white. Design duo Preen by Thornton Bregazzi went for a more masculine version, pairing a flared blazer with oversized check trousers and a wide tie. At Victoria Beckham, expertly tailored suits were worn over cut-out knitwear and a statement collars for a smart look that retained a subtle playfulness.
She’s a lady
Smart, sophisticated dressing has already been spotted at New York and is set to be a key trend across the international catwalks for autumn. The return of the skirt, which was often fitted and mid-length, was a focus on London’s take on the look. Examples came from Shrimps, where designer Hannah Weiland was inspired by the Queen’s smart style. Burberry paired a fitted check pencil skirt with flowing blouse whereas Roland Mouret’s take on the trend was sharp and austere.
The top ten trends to know from London Fashion Week