As the spring collections from London Fashion Week draw to a close, catch up on the shows to know from this season’s womenswear whirlwind.
Burberry goes urban
This season seemed to mark a move forward for Burberry. While previous collections have focused on historical inspirations, this season’s “see now, buy now” offer had a more modern, even urban and street-influenced aesthetic. The classic elegance that has made Burberry iconic remained, but was accented by check baseball caps, distressed jumpers and sleek shaping. Highlights included a turquoise shearling coat and the return of the classic full Burberry check overcoats – statement staples in the making.
Rejina Pyo is bold, bright and beautiful
Rejina pyo comp
After a taking a year off to have her first child, Rejina Pyo made an exuberant comeback to London Fashion Week, staging her first full catwalk show. Pyo, whose creations have been described as “wearable art”, showcased a collection of elegant, sculptural and feminine looks, with a balance of daring and femininity sure to please buyers and consumers alike. Relaxed suiting in fuchsia pink, pistachio and stone grey stood out, as did a frilled pillar box-red dress. Overall the show was a sophisticated evolution of the aesthetic that has made her a fast rising star on the London fashion scene.
Tommy Hilfiger’s rock circus extravaganza
Tommy hilfiger comp
Rounding off London Fashion Week in style, American designer Tommy Hilfiger brought his “see now, buy now” extravaganza to London’s Roundhouse, where he staged a “rock circus” of dramatic proportions. The catwalk itself was part showcase, part performance – The Chainsmokers took to it for a live set, while aerial acrobats span on hoops and Instagram stars littered the aisles as well as the catwalk – led by Gigi Hadid, who continues her collaboration with the brand, her sister Bella and brother Anwar. The clothes themselves were typically youthful, and had a grungey, festival glamour. Sure to appeal to the brand’s legions of young fans are the sheer chequed and floral dresses, plaid separates, stompy ankle boots and plethora of casual classics (think hoodies, bikers, bombers and jeans) with a Tommy spin.
Molly Goddard’s grunge glam
Molly Goddard makes dresses for party princesses, and this season she developed a renegade, rebellious insouciance. Many of the silhouettes and colours were more muted than previous seasons, and there was an underlying grunge to the looks, all of which were characterised by the playful volume that made Goddard’s name. Highlights included the more dramatic gowns, dripping in sequins, skirts swinging with a pleasing, disco-ball glamour – party glitz is big news across the spring 18 catwalks. The show’s biggest talking point, however, mayor of London Sadiq Kahn sitting front row.
East End cowgirls at Marques Almeida
Combining baroque opulence with Western influences and the brand’s signature bold aesthetic. Plaid, cowhide details, with sweeping fringing on silky trousers and dresses combined with oversized bombers, bikers and denim jackets. The iconic Almeida stripe appeared this season in bold black, red and white, in draped, handkerchief hemmed dresses. The dominance of shirting and sheer continued, with red column dresses a dramatic standout. The oversized shirting, and shirt dresses are sure to be popular, as is the outerwear, all of which was dramatic, yet wearable and commercial.
Literary charm from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
As ever, Preen took its inspiration from literature for spring 18. This season the most obvious inspiration was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter – models sported distressed shirting detailed with puritan collars and emblazoned with a red embroidered ‘A’. Shirting, candy colours and scarlet all stamped their dominance as trends to note. While the collection opened with this sense of scandal, Preen’s characteristic whimsy came through in the later dresses, and floral slip styles are sure to prove a hit with buyers.
Ralph & Russo make the move ready-to-wear
Ralph and russo comp
British couture house Ralph & Russo has made its name crafting luxurious gowns for celebrities and high-end clients, and this season it launched its first, highly anticipated ready-to-wear collection with a showstopper catwalk. The designs themselves were predictably Glamorous and the duo’s signature evening aesthetic dominated. There was, however, less of the refined beauty that made the couture arm so successful, and a greater focus on party-ready (and Instagram-friendly) drama.
Party time for Sir Philip Green at Topshop
Arriving on the arm of supermodel Kate Moss, Sir Philip Green made his front row comeback at Topshop’s spring 18 catwalk, having skipped the previous two shows amid the BHS pension investigation. Away from the front row, the newly rebranded Topshop (it was previously called Topshop Unique), collection itself was full of attitude, glamour and youthful vibrancy. Statement-making textures and shapes were key, as silver leather, sequins and feathers made for a dramatic and alluring offer.
Ones to watch – Halpern and Roberta Einer
Halpern and roberta einer comp
Sequins and sparkle set the London shows aglow this season, and two up-and-coming young designers showcased their skills with collections that shone in more ways than one.
Halpern, who made his debut at LFW for autumn 17, certainly knows how to put on a show, and his hypnotic, shimmering sequined numbers ooze a 1970s party opulence that make them irresistible to watch. With their heady, almost overwhelming luxe, Halpern’s autumn 17 collection sold out on matchesfashion.com, and this Next offering is surely set to do the same.
While Halpern amped up the drama, newcomer Roberta Einer’s sequin statement was brimming with a chilled out, California cool. Candy-bright, patchwork sequinned dresses – in relaxed T-shirt dress and slip materials were paired with embellished Vans as part of a collaboration, adding to the LA vibe. Accomplished, desirable and elegant, Roberta Einer’s designs are worth noting for seasons to come.
JW Anderson’s elevated everyday
The buzz from the JW Anderson show this season was how unusually wearable the collection seemed. While the collection still brimmed with typical quirky touches, the offer was mature and sophisticated. Everyday textures and cuts were elevated with artfully simple embellishment – a tape of branding or a subtly voluminous cuff. Knitted maxi-dresses in subtle mossy hues, flannel midis with soft bodices and draped hems and belted leather jackets made for a collection of wearable, workable classics.
Mary Katranzou brings her childhood to the catwalk
Lego, Hama Beads, Spirographs and painting-by-numbers formed the inspirations for Mary Katranzou’s show, which was a joyous celebration of childhood memories. Dresses and skirts were the kind of designs Katrantzou is known for, but were literally created from these materials, giving a youthful exuberance. While the beaded dresses and florals skirts are likely to perform well with Katranzou’s core fans, her experimental approach to raincoats also shone – balloon skirts and bright patterns giving a twist to a classic garment.
Simone Rocha’s decadent dolls
Simone rocha comp
Simone Rocha’s aesthetic of dainty Victoriana meets dark modernity has fast become one of the most recognisable signatures of London Fashion Week. This season there was an underlying youthfulness to the collection, which was in part inspired by china dolls. Signature ruffles, shirting, tulle and puff-sleeved coats were dotted throughout the collection, and are bound to be hits with buyers. Florals added a playfulness, while sheer layering gave a more ladylike feel, and prevented the collection from appearing overly innocent.
Roksanda’s contemporary femininity
There was a fluid elegance to Roksanda’s offer this season. Lines were typically clean, but had feminine accents – wispy florals, ruching and ruffles that added a softness. With the super bright colour palette of tangerine, hot pink and blues combined with the use of shimmering satins and more free shapes, there was a contemporary, grounded feeling to the collection. While the gowns may provide evening impact, the crisp suiting, midi-skirts and dramatic sleeved blouses are the kind of daywear sure to satisfy discerning Roksanda customers.
Erdem’s royal performance
Things got regal at Erdem this season: opulent brocades, heritage tweed, florals and enough elegant gowns to kit out any royal wardrobe. Shapes were elegant, fluid and distinctly feminine. Against the more ladylike looks, the drama of feathers and sheers with hints of signature lace gave a drama that cut through the sweetness. Overwhelmingly geared towards eveningwear, the feminine shapes and grown-up designs could be set to influence a great many occasionwear designs.
Christopher Kane’s domestic bliss
Christopher Kane presented a distorted suburbia with his spring 18 collection. A preoccupation of several designers this season, Kane’s subversion of domestic bliss held a subtly fetishistic undertone. Sugar-sweet pastels and dainty florals were offset by sheers, vinyls and sensual lace slips. Dusters and handkerchiefs repurposed into gowns, as well as a washing machine print T-shirt highlighted the domestic theme – but the standout pieces were the ruffled, doily dresses and statement house coats.
Emporio Armani brightens up for London
Emporio armani comp
Making its London debut this season to coincide with its latest UK store opening, Emporio Armani brought a slice of Italy to the catwalks. The presentation was youthful, playful, relaxed and fun – including candy stripes, oversized checks, pastel neon and a quirky crab motif. The pretty, candy-coloured, floaty party dresses are sure to prove popular with buyers, as is the Armani logo bag: logomania is still in full swing.