The key collections from the third day of London Fashion Week, as English heritage meets sultry sensuality and high street party girls.
Topshop Unique goes on a party trip
Topshop Unique AW17
This season the Topshop Unique girl started her hedonistic night at a glamorous party, wearing her sexy bias-cut silky dress in trippy florals, her electric blue leather miniature mini-skirt, her body-con ribbed knit dress silt across the chest, or her floral dress slashed to the thigh. But this girl stays out all night, so there were also strong outerwear options to keep her warm through the evening – particularly shearling numbers with patterned backs cut out in different coloured squares of fuzz, alongside a leather version that had its fluffy raw shearling hems left shaggy, or maybe an oversized military coat with extra-long sleeves. Then to the after-party, borrowing her boyfriend’s super-oversized jumper, its sleeves far too long for her, or an over-the-head blouson hoodie in acid-washed denim or tweed, or layers of sporty cycling tops zipped at the neck. She’s a traveller, from event to party, or from continent to continent on a misspent gap year, and through the decades via the 1990s rave scene.
Roland Mouret’s look of love
Roland Mouret AW17
“The Look of Love” was the soothing soundtrack to Roland Mouret’s autumn 17 catwalk show, a sultry show that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the designer’s eponymous label and his return to London Fashion Week after 10 years showing in Paris.
There was a louche, fluid and sexily sensual aspect to much of the collection – fabrics such as velvet were expertly draped, as dresses peeled, revealed and almost dripped off the models’ bodies, pouring into panels and asymmetrical hems.
There were still the slicked-up moments of his famous Galaxy dress heyday, skimming the body in all the right places, folding off the shoulders suggestively and with naughty little cut-out triangles at the very base of the spin.
With a whiff of kink coming through thanks to fetishy collars tied tight on the neck, this was Mouret at his sexy best.
Mulberry’s oversized horse parade
“New heirlooms” was the official theme of Mulberry’s autumn 17 collection, as its creative director Johnny Coca settled into his role after three seasons. This manifested itself as a tweedy take on the brand’s history, looking back into its English heritage via a nod to horsey equestrian uniforms and a curtsey to stately home dressing.
However, Coca said it was “about making something traditional feel new”, and tried to bring this tweed tailoring and fancy wallpaper floral dresses into the modern day by exploding the silhouettes and pumping up shapes, pulling on hemlines so they flew from the body and reached for the floor.
Horse-riding blazers became boxy and big shouldered and natty knits swaddled the wearer in cosy oversized shapes, while floral dresses swamped the models and quilted capes became horse blankets.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s new romance
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi AW17
The punkish attitude of last season’s collection carried through with a New Romantics edge for autumn 17’s strong outing at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, where pie crust ruffles decorated silky shirts and boxy, oversized tailoring made a showing.
The design duo’s signature romantic dresses reappeared, strewn in dark winter florals, ruched and ruffled around the body, some worked in punchy yellow and black gingham. Some were cut off the shoulder, some had extra-long sleeves, all cut and strewn in assymetric shapes, while others came layered under delicate toppings of tulle.
More punk spirit came through via colourful shearling outerwear, in peppy purple and vibrant greens, while bonkers floral-printed duvet coats in oversized shapes swaddled the models who closed the show.
Retro yeti chic at Anya Hindmarch
Anya Hindmarch AW17
Anya Hindmarch took a Nordic trip in her autumn 17 collection. But rather than opting for minimal Scandi chic, designs harked back to Norse mythology and folklore with a warm palette, cosy furs and quirky details giving (dare it be said) a subtle fashion take on the hygge phenomenon. This, however, was an extremely chic version of cosy: boxy cropped jackets, swinging capes and longline coats featuring patchwork panels of fur, with colours tonally blended in shades of lilac, orange and navy to create a sophisticated yet playfully girlish aesthetic.
The leather heart patterning was inspired by Nordic carvings and gave an elevated homespun feel, a feeling echoed in the collection’s fair isle-style knitwear and shoes – clumpy leather clogs and sandals were adorned with crystals and fur, as well as laser-cut patterns to evoke a sense of reworked traditionalism. The heart motif was also reflected in the new-season bags, where interlinked heart straps in multicoloured incarnations appeared atop classic Hindmarch shapes. With its heavy use of furs, particularly in the shawls and ”polar bear” hats, there was almost a sense of yeti chic, mixed with a retro futuristic sensibility. The swing jackets, mini sillouhettes and sweet knickerbocker shorts were redolent of 1960s outlines, but with the pale colours and futuristic ski goggles gave a space age feel – think Barbarella in the alps.
The bags this season included additions to the stack collection designed to be worn multiple ways – either zipped together as backpacks or held in the hand. Holdalls with paper chain straps were a highlight, as were the mini dog purses worn slung around the neck. Quirky and classy, this Hindmarch collection was brimming with desirable and distinctly commercial creations, and in an announcement sure to please her fans, Hindmarch also announced the launch of a “Build a Bag” concept, for May 2017.
Superhero 1980s style sparkles at Toga Archives
There was a distinctly 1980s feel to the Toga collection this season. The show opened with a powder-blue power suit evoking images of David Bowie – glistening crystal detailing was patchworked across the design to create a glitzy, disco vibe. These crystal clusters, which appeared in organic 3D patches, were shot through the collection, giving a sense of dramatic movement and earthy glamour, as they appeared grown into the garments. The overall silhouette was one of bold femininity, as power dressing seeped into the outlines in blazers and coats, which had faintly oversized outlines, but were tied intricately behind the back to give an exaggerated feminine outline.
Tunics played a key part, appearing with slits up the sides to create an almost apron-like affect. Materials ranged from crisp and structured to fluid and silky, each item revealing a glimpse of skin at the sides, bound by belts in contrasting colours and materials. Heritage fabrics in novel uses appeared once more this season, a technique the designer has used successfully before – a pair of high-waisted checked trousers with double waistbands were paired with oversized shirting.
Colours were bold and primary, clashed together to create an almost cartoonish effect, which was undercut by the layering of the items, keeping looks fresh and modern. Other Toga signatures, such as single long gloves and elaborate fur sleeves appeared for autumn once again, successfully enhancing the bold femininity of the collection. As if encapsulating Toga’s power woman aesthetic, the closing looks were of a modern female superhero: flowing capes billowed behind the models, and even neon lyca cycling shorts set under the sweeping tunics, which were resplendent in bold clashing colours and dazzling crystals.
Peter Pilotto’s Peruvian performance
Peter Pilotto AW17
Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos took Peru as the inspiration for this season. Looking to the colours, materials and textures of the country’s land and culture for inspiration. This came through in a initial palette of warm brown hues, which morphed into darker, gemlike shades of onyx and amber. Wool tailoring was a key thought for the collection, and sculptural tweed designs evoked a heritage vibe. The woollen theme was continued in a series of oversized knits that featured pulled loop details and colourful detailing with Swarovski patches. A highlight was the midi-jumper-dress in a cosy cream knit.
As the show moved on the looks took a more elegant outline, and delicate slip dresses and skirts provided an evening style. A neon pink velvet wrap dress stood out in these pieces for its 1970s sunset strip vibes, as did the black velvet dresses with luminescent patterning inspired by the Nazca Lines.
Temperley’s historical whimsy for the modern woman
Temperley London AW17
This season, Temperley seemed distinctly influenced by all things historical. The collection was steeped with both nods to antiquity and retro references, all brought together with the common thread of Temperley’s signature elegant femininity. The tapestry of references began with ruffled high necks and black and white longline tailoring, before moving on to a darkly whimsical pagan feel, as gypsy blouses and balloon sleeves appeared in delicate chiffons heavy with floral embroidery. The Elizabethan era also served as an influence: heavy brocades, wide skirting and quilted textures all made appearances.
These items were made more softly feminine by the use of sheer textures and pale lilacs and blues, which softened the overall affect. Alongside these more distant historical references, 1970s styling came through in the magenta velvet and wide-leg sequin jumpsuits. Lace took its usual central position, but this season quirky motifs were interwoven into the embroidery, with “oh” shaped mouths dotted across numerous looks creating a quirky and cartoonish addition to the lace gowns. With a strong focus on sequinning, lace and sheers, this was a whimsical party collection that stuck to classic Temperley techniques and cuts – surefire hits in the occasionwear market.