Following a cold and snowy week in New York City, the fashion crowds jetted across the pond to the eccentric (and sometimes rainy) London Fashion Week last month.
The dynamic city hosted shows and presentations from emerging designers to some of the world’s biggest brand names. Somerset House on the Strand was filled with fashionistas as were the British Fashion Council’s London Designer Showrooms, while other off-site locations — such as the Waldorf Hilton, the Topshop Show Space at Tate Britain and the Serpentine Galleries in Kensington — also proved to be beautiful venues for catwalk presentations.
Key trends seen during New York Fashion Week continued in London with sparkle and sequined embellishments, mixed textures, furs, velvet and leather, and the ’70s were still going strong with fringe, paisley prints, wide-leg trousers and fedora hats.
Engineered ‘Excelsiora’ at Jean-Pierre Braganza
Our first show this season kicked off with a fellow Canadian designer, who was born in London but raised in Canada. Braganza moved back to study at the reputable Central Saint Martins and worked for Roland Mouret before setting up his own label.
A reality-star-studded frow with stars from popular British television series Made in Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex came to see the collection, described as “a modern incarnation of an exacting film noir vixen and a wartime heroine.”
Known for his engineered designs, Braganza continued to create elegant layered and structured dresses in plum, burgundy with grey, black and teal for this season. Adding to this collection were strips on wide-leg trousers and mid-length skirts, graphic T-shirt dresses and jumpers, and must-have coats for any fall/winter wardrobe — black leather, wool bomber, sheepskin flight, fur, camel, green utility and cocoon jackets.
One of my favourite looks was a hand-embroidered, beaded top over silk green culottes.
Leaf it to Jasper Conran
A leaf-strewn catwalk set the tone straight away for what was to come. Rich fabrics, such as cashmere, heavy wool, suede, sheepskin, silk and velvet were used in plum, yellow, brown, navy and olive autumn colours (mixed in with some geometric and pansy prints, embellishments and fedora hat details).
Part of the inspiration came from a selection of 19th-century designer Kunisada’s ukiyo-e prints: colours and patterns that are both mismatched and matched.
Knitwear at its best at Pringle of Scotland
Creative director Massimo Nicosia put on a brilliant show to mark Pringle of Scotland’s 200th anniversary at the Serpentine Galleries.
The iconic Scottish heritage and luxury brand’s origins are deeply routed in knitwear, founded in 1815 at the birthplace of the industry in Scotland. The brand is known for creating knits as outerwear, traditional argyle patterns and classic twinsets.
These traditions were maintained, and silhouettes were wearable, although technical boundaries were pushed with 3-D printing and embroidering.
The collection saw lots of texture, ribbed wools, knit on knit, knee-length hemlines and long, skinny scarfs. I loved the contrast of classic black pieces, neutral shades of light camel, grey and whites, mixed with a richer colour palette of purple and ruby red.
The collection was a beautiful blend of knitwear, wovens and outerwear that proved the brand continues to innovate at the mark of its bicentennial.
Textiles at Michael van der Ham
MVDH kept his signature collage dresses by mixing clashing handmade prints, embroideries, lace, velvet, metal and tweed fabrics, but he also added in some long coats, knitwear and A-line skirts to his latest collection.
Three-dimensional texture with draping and pleating of fabric was combined to create sculptural layers and compositions.
MVDH is continuing his collaboration with Christian Louboutin, and I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous red-soled heels on the models—a match made in heaven with designer’s collaged clothing.
The same week saw the launch of the bespoke “Made to Order” service offered online, serving alongside the existing e-commerce site, and it has already seen a handful of spring/summer 2015 and exclusive styles made to specific customer measurements.
Overall, more brands and attendees than ever used technology to deliver an omni-channel experience both on and off the runway. This was clear from the amount of handheld devices used at the shows to capture live videos and photos and to post directly onto social media.
Backstage and behind-the-scenes images of models and looks taken directly by the brands before they hit the catwalk gave an “Editor Access” and “Insider” vibe, allowing fans and customers to feel like they were at the shows, picking up all the trends as they happened.