It may have been the most romantic day of the year, but it was back to business for the fashion crowd.
Showgoers were welcomed to the autumn 20 edition of London Fashion Week by Stephanie Phair, chair of the British Fashion Council, who said that “in volatile times, creativity flourishes,” referencing both Brexit and the coronavirus - which prevented some international guests from attending, but promised that “London is open for business.”
The opening day saw a schedule that was full of mostly young or emerging brands, reflecting the rebellious and creative spirit that London is known for. Friday morning was off to a relatively sombre start with Yuhan Wang’s funeral inspired show. Thankfully there was nothing to be sad about, as the collection, inspired by Victorian traditions - was full of beautiful, spirit-lifting designs.
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Delicate, black and white lace gave way to muted floral patterns, pie-crust collars and romantic ruffles that were far from melancholy.
While Ashley Williams gave layers of tulle, feathers and sequins her signature punk-inspired treatment, sending models down the catwalk in oversized denim, anarchic patterns and 1980s photographic prints.
Shrimps took a royal approach to autumn 20, referencing the Queen and Princess Diana, with hertitage knits, ladylike dresses and regal faux furs.
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Actress Lena Dunham swung by to walk for 16Arlington, in a show that mixed neutral tailoring, high-shine snake print, flashes of brash red and its customary feather details.
Stavros Karelis, founder and buying director, Machine-A, gives his view on the first day of the LFW.
Why do you attend London Fashion Week?
London Fashion Week is the best platform to discover all the incredibly talented emerging designers. London has a rich history and tradition having some of the best emerging designers and brands based on its educational institutions like Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art as well as the huge support of the British Fashion Council in nurturing emerging talent.
These are factors that play a key part making London Fashion Week such a strong destination for international buyers and press that want to discover all the latest designers to watch.
What are you looking for in the LFW shows this season?
Creativity, unique ideas, and that sense of security that comes from focused, directional collections. I love the fact that designers during LFW are not here to captivate everyone but grow organically within their individual communities.
Which collections stood out today?
Eftychia, Kiko Kostadinov and Richard Malone were all super strong shows. These are three emerging brands at their best. They know their audiences and are confident, without the collections being too big and styles getting repetitive. As a buyer, that gives me such a confidence to buy and build a loyal customer basis upon each one of these brands.
Of course, my ultimate show of the day is the CSM MA show under the direction of Fabio Piras, which was absolutely incredible. To experience the creative energy and talent as well as the vocal points of the young generation is the best, most optimistic way to move forward to the future.
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Are there any trends or must-buys emerging from the collections this year?
A 1970s influence was a point of reference for many of the shows today. The sky blues combined with tan colour palettes gives you that sense.
Tailoring still remains very strong. Constructive, crafted silhouettes and ruched garments were all key parts of the collections. Faux fur and faux leather are a big trend that started from the men’s shows earlier this year.
Are there any designers you are looking forward to seeing in the international collections?
Maison Margiela, LeMaire, Y/Project and Noir by Kei Ninomiya are always my favourite brands to watch during PFW.
Machine A's Stavros Karelis gives his picks from the first day of London Fashion Week