No longer the overshadowed sibling in the ‘big four’ of fashion weeks, London Fashion Week has quickly risen as a creative tour de force. While typically known for birthing emerging designers, the British capital has, in recent years, been taken more seriously, thanks to significant showcases from some of the world’s biggest fashion houses. Ahead, some of London Fashion Week’s most electrifying collections, including the hotly anticipated debut showcase of Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci.
Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection at Burberry ushered in a new era for the storied British label. A twelve-year tenure at Givenchy cemented his reputation for a goth-meets-haute-streetwear aesthetic, celebrity guests and dramatic catwalk moments — his runway shows were thick with theatrics and symbolism. But the first sign that this would be not be a typical Tisci show was the absence of celebrities, save for Kendall Jenner on the runway. The next was the show’s first segment. Called ‘Refined’, it featured models wearing the house’s classic trenchcoats woven in with the label’s new logo as well as signature shades of beige in elegant pussybow blouses, tailored trousers and pleated skirts. What followed was ‘Relaxed’; barely-there makeup was swapped with exaggerated winged eyeliner and modest knee-length skirts and crisp shirts were replaced with graphic tees paired with leather, zipper minis. Then came ‘Evening’, which showcased classic red-carpet gowns. There wasn’t a singular theme, pairing perfectly with the label’s statement that the collection “celebrates the diversity and the heart of England…from the punk and rebellious, to the formal and refined, all co-existing together”. The new Burberry is dynamic and diverse, and we can’t wait to see what else Tisci has up his sleeve for one of Britain’s biggest heritage brands.
2. Victoria Beckham
After a decade at New York Fashion Week, Victoria Beckham returned to London for a blockbuster 10th anniversary celebration. Taking place at London’s Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, the show started with Brit ’90s supermodel Stella Tennant descending a marble staircase in a relaxed white suit. Pieces that followed were similarly made for comfortable motion, with familiar silhouettes of tailored blazers, oversized coats, fitted dresses and roomy long dresses. Beckham described it as collection that would “give [her] customers a choice” with versatile pieces that could seamlessly transition occasions and wardrobes.
It-Girl and front row regular Alexa Chung had her first foray into London Fashion Week. Titled “Arrivals and Departures”, the peripatetic collection was inspired by transit fashion and is Chung’s style personified, with top-to-toe floral suits complete with a matching bucket hat, striped shirtdresses worn under a gilet and scarves worn as a bikini top and paired with knee-length shorts. In keeping with the theme, the airport was the runway and travel was the theme with postcards of destinations printed onto T-shirts, aviation-inspired jumpsuits, scarves with destination prints and sweaters boasting a fictitious “AC travel company” logo.
4. JW Anderson
The piratical woman seemed to take centerstage at JW Anderson — models wore leather headscarves finished with gilded hoops, paired with patchwork shirts with over-long sleeves and mesh cutouts. But despite this first impression, Anderson put out a surprisingly wearable, yet still “bit more more bohemian” collection. In between the macrame and crochet details and ambitious layering were wearable workwear separates of oversized tailored trousers, shirtdresses, slouchy denim and loose asymmetrical dresses. The collection is now available in capsule form on Net-A-Porter.
5. Mary Katrantzou
Like Victoria Beckham, Mary Katrantzou celebrated a decade’s worth of theatrical fashion at London Fashion Week. Over-the-top embellishments, bold colours and vivid prints have always defined her work, and for Spring/Summer 2019, these were extravagantly amplified with the theme of ‘collection’. Katrantzou gathered and shuffled the silhouettes and familiar patterns and motifs that have informed her work over ten years. Standout pieces included a dress emblazoned with postage stamps of motifs from past collections, all-over Swarovski crystal embellished bubble mini-dresses and evening gowns with printed Swarovski crystal mesh inspired by her debut show’s perfume bottle dresses. Veiled headpieces and helmets added to the otherworldly, futuristic aesthetic.
Just days ago, Delpozo creative director Josep Font announced his departure after six years at the helm, where he revitalised the Spanish label with a romantic aesthetic. The announcement came just a week after the label’s Spring/Summer 2019 show at London Fashion Week. As a swan song, Font’s collection was another confident display of the label’s affinity for the architectural and unabashedly whimsical. Described by the label as “contrasts between the lush clusters of wisteria trees and the colourful Murano glass artwork of … Fulvio Bianconi”, the Italian artist’s works manifested in the pieces’ bold colours and patterns, as well as exquisite lightness. Fabrics such as organza, tulle and silk georgette added a weightless touch to richly textured pieces and colours. Clusters of wisteria hung over the runway, and inspired the sculptural gauzy headpiece and gladiator sandals.
7. Richard Quinn
Last season saw Richard Quinn scoring a major coup — Queen Elizabeth made his show her first fashion week event and made him an award winner. But if there was any question of how could the young designer could top that, Quinn quickly quelled the doubts with one mighty swoop. Opening the show, the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed live as models in velvet ski masks and dark ensembles emerged. Then came the colour: Bright, happy florals and tropical prints appeared in 80s-style strapless frocks, kaftans and debutante-style dresses. In a show of dedication to the community, Quinn flooded the front row with teenagers from his alma mater and students from Central Saint Martin’s to draw attention to the crisis of art education in British schools.