With over a million more tweets than NYFW last season, London Fashion Week was always going to be hotly anticipated. As the week of catwalk shows drew to a close, it’s safe to say the Brits certainly didn’t fail to impress. The news of Burberry altering their collections so that they will be known as the February and September shows (with designs on sale immediately after gracing the catwalk) and with the possibility of other designers following suit meant the Autumn/Winter 16/17 collections felt slightly more special. From Hannibal Lecter style accessories at Gareth Pugh to dazzling disco attire at Ashish, LFW was an eclectic explosion of designer creativity.
Starting with the fashion house that has undergone a great deal of change in recent months. At Burberry, Christopher Bailey described his latest collection as a ‘patchwork of all the things I really love’, a suitable response to the merging of the brands London, Prorsum and Brit divisions. With retro shapes, military outerwear, seventies style collars and biker boots the show was a magnificent mix. The trusty trench was transformed with tribal patterns, python print and fur detailing, whilst the dresses came in a variety of shapes and styles from peter pan collars, brocade, cut-out detailing and sequins to decorate. With an amalgamation of styles and patterns Burberry showed that sometimes more is actually more.
Another fashion house causing a stir, due to its return to London after fifteen years showcasing in Paris, was Alexander McQueen. As ever, Sarah Burton demonstrated outstanding attention to detail as she drew us into a world somewhere between dream and reality. Her AW16/17 collection embodied femininity, with moon and star motifs covering flowing cape-clad gowns, mini-skirts layered with chiffon ruffles, plus butterfly and bird embroidery. Certainly one of the label’s most romantic runways to date. Romance was also in the air at Temperley London, where models were adorned with huge pussy-bow collars, puffy sleeves and an abundance of ruffles.
Elsewhere at Erdem the mood was tantalisingly gothic as the show opened to the soundtrack of ‘All About Eve’ and later included voiceovers from Hitchcock’s 1940 film Rebecca. The set comprised of discarded chandeliers draped with bed sheets, stacks of wicker chairs and a stuffed polar bear, creating the feel of a dilapidated stately home. With regards to the clothes, it was all about the gown. They were decorated with intricate laser-cut lace, microcosmic floral patterns as well as lameta-esque and velvet trimmings. All equally desirable, the catwalk displayed offered a collection of red-carpet choices that dazzled in their dark glamour. Over at Ashish, the mood was anything but gothic, as models donned some seriously impressive headgear in the form of rainbow-coloured afro wigs. Of course, they perfectly match their 70s-inspired disco attire made up of; sequin mini dresses, a tassel glad two piece, a shimmering, souped-up tracksuit and a plunging emerald green jumpsuit – everything in deliciously bright colours.
Aside from the more mainstream offerings, you might be wondering who the new designers to watch were during AW16/17. Of those to stand out was Amie Robertson; a graduate of Central St Martins in Ba Fashion Print. Her work at Fashion East included incredibly wearable striped separates and three dimensional floral designs which gave her pieces that equisite show-stopping element. Another name to remember is that of Mary Benson, originally from Leeds and with previous experience as an intern for Alexander McQueen, Benson’s focus was on whimsical feminine pieces and enchanting prints.
Images: Fashion East (Marcus Tondo), Mary Benson (Wonderland)
These are just a few of our favourite shows to emerge from a whirlwind week of fashion, as London proved to be teeming with creative talent. And so, we headed over to Milan to begin the penultimate set of shows still dreaming of McQueen’s fairy-tale gowns….
Images: Vogue Runway, Ambra Vernuccio (theupcoming), Wonderland Magazine