Autumn/winter 2012 creations from (left to right): Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Christopher Kane and Peter Pilotto
London Fashion Week has changed so much in the past three years. Unlike New York and Milan, you can really feel a creative energy in the city thanks to its immensely talented crop of young designers. Because of them London has been able to attract the big names back onto the schedule, including McQ and Stella McCartney this season. The top trends shown last week included Victoriana, peplums, hourglass silhouettes and leather trims. As for colour, it was all about purple. Here are our our top picks of the week’s runway shows.
The jist: British Town and Country (watch the video here)
Highlights: This was one of Christopher Bailey’s strongest collections. Traditional fabrics such as tweed, herringbone and wool printed with vintage florals were moulded into a new Post-war silhouette complete with peplums, nipped in waists (accented with cute bow belts) and full hips. Even the trench coats were elegant
Must-have pieces: Owl sweaters and pencil skirts with diagonal ruffles
The jist: The nightclub voyeur
Highlights: Kane sent out black and purple leather dresses edged in black, some with fetishist cut-outs, that looked like they were drenched in oil. Then came the purple leopard print, and skirts covered in embroidered black velvet flowers juxtaposed with oversized mohair sweaters and wide legged trousers. It was dark, yet intriguing
Must-have pieces: The hologram dresses in purple or red
The jist: The burnt-out Lady of the Manor
Highlights: More formal buttoned up blouses and tuxedos with coat tails fell apart to reveal a destroyed Lady. She wore couture worthy dresses covered in renaissance prints with burnt edges and holes that were actually made from carefully applied beadings. Absolutelky breathtaking.
Must-have pieces: Any of the silver “tapestry” pieces
The jist: Awkward modernity via a desperate housewife
Highlights: One of the city’s hottest talents, Anderson imagined a frustrated housewife playing dress up with her home furnishings. Sounds mental but the results were interesting – padded quilting came on wrap jackets and vests mixed with leather, while checked skirts and dowdy sweaters added to the banality
Must-have pieces: One of the oily leather tops
The jist: A romantic walk through the woods
Highlights: Everything Sarah Burton touches turns to gold and her first catwalk collection for McQ is no exception. She created a strong vision for the label with strict military tailoring that became soft and feminine thanks to floral appliqués. An evening dress had a tulle skirt embroidered with colourful flowers. It was just beautiful.
Must-have pieces: Military wool coats
Runway looks from (left to right): Burberry Prorsum, JW Anderson, McQ and Todd Lynn
The jist: Victoriana goes digital
Highlights: Katrantzou added new silhouettes including Elizabethan corsetry, as well as couture tricks such as pleating and ruffles. But it was her prints that stole the show, whether it was a long gown covered in a green maze, or phone dials, typewriter keys, luggage tassels and clothes hangers
Must-have pieces: What don’t we want?
The jist: Minimalism meets opulence
Highlights: The designer’s signature clean sharp lines were given a lashing of the baroque through his use of rich brocades on tailored capes and trousers. There were also minimalist pieces brought to life with new volumes and bold colours
Must-have pieces: One shoulder draped gown
The jist: Asian persuasions
Highlights: The brand’s signature prints got an Asian touch, taking inspiration from Chinese opera masks and Japanese vehicle trucks. They appeared on new silhouettes including dresses with criss-cross necklines, many accented with colourful furs
Must-have pieces: The printed puffa jackets
The jist: Hard tailoring mixed with soft accents
Highlights: Architectural pieces in a palette of grey, gold, brown and orange that had a feminine edge. Dresses had sharply cut long v-necks while jackets came with origami folds or asymmetrical hems
Must-have pieces: Black leather and tuxedo jackets
The jist: Spanish matadors and Brit “it” girls
Highlights: This fashion fund nominee is a young Stella in the making thanks to her easy-to-wear luxe pieces that women love. There was a sporty vibe in her tartan cocoon coats and skirts, belted slouchy knits and modest lace pieces which made them ultra modern
Must-have pieces: Any of the chunky knits