LFW SS18 & RTW
Welcome to our highlights of London Fashion Week. In a city that dares to take risks, the Newgen stood tall against the old guard. Marques' Almeida and Preen encouraged women to channel their inner strengths and reinvent themselves and Mary Katrantzou and Simone Rocha got playful. Erdem created their most breathtaking show yet. Burberry reflected and added a new perspective and Christopher Kane, delved beneath the surface, commenting on our infatuation with our online personas. As usual, it was original and exhilarating, even the fur protesters, got involved in the flurry.
Set below the railway arches in east London, Marques' Almeida's latest collection commented on the expectations we place upon ourselves and those placed by others, as modern women, irrespective of age, job title or background. She is teetering through the daily balancing act of life, love, career, self assessment and the scrutiny of others. It’s a strong point of inspiration from a collection that references brave, iconic, role models as an antidote. Martha designed the collection with Paulo while raising their 5-month-old baby. The message resonates deeply with them.
Dolly Parton rang out under the arches, not an obvious choice, but heroines can be found all around us. Dolly, definitely has her own unmistakable identity, just like the MA girls. Many are friends of the designers. Each one was strutting confidently to their beat, making the clothes their own.
There was noticeably less denim this time, their hero fabric of seasons past, giving way to new treasures, and still, there were ruffles and the clever layering we love. Asymmetric stripes, silk feather slips, checks were there, but not the delicate versions we saw elsewhere, here were bold monochrome blocks. Crisp pinstripes with candy camisoles jolted against soft military cargos and metallic bags. Oversized denim contrasted with chinois dresses.
What did the mash-up mean? You don’t need to dress in a certain way to be strong, as long as you do it your way, with confidence. Wear that silky, slip dress, but beware the biker boots and the attitude that lies beneath! Denim dresses were reconstructed in striking silhouettes, checked halters, like plaid shirts ripped and re-tied. Zips and buckles embellished many of the pieces. Metallic and pony skin camisoles sat atop frilled and checked dresses like armour breastplates. MA was pulling together every tough girl past and present and reconstructing her as a modern-day heroine, part pirate, part punk, part Joan of arc and cowgirl, with a peppering of china girl.
So many styles, so many inspiring role models. Whether the muses were the MA girls, Dolly, Joan or a mother of three in a trailer park, it didn’t matter. True to style, the collection was bold, modern and unforgettable. With one of those outfits on us, we can aspire to be the same.
Kane took us into the home of the disillusioned domestic goddess this season. A glimpse behind closed doors revealing "a real strong, perfect woman, who is slowly breaking inside". She utilised everything beneath the kitchen sink; dark bin bag dresses, tempered with lace panels and T-shirts emblazoned with saucy rear ends all held together with pegs. She accessorised herself in mop fringed courts and earrings, broaches and neckties, with doily cuffs and collars pitched against shiny PVC. Plastic frills cascaded down pencil skirts and added edge to delicate lace dresses. Blouses and frocks trimmed with layered, slit sleeves and hems as if coming apart at the seams. Our protagonist was a modern-day Stepford wife meets Rosemary’s baby, all perfect homemaker with a sinister secret and a hint of the dominatrix. A comment on the artificial profiles we offer up daily. Perfection is fantasy. Don’t lose sight of the real you. Stop taking yourself so seriously, have fun with it. Kane certainly did!
Broaches embellished floral coats, not dissimilar to garments adorned by Mia Farrow’s unhinged character. The neckties, pegs, slit hems, and sleeves, holding it all together and the chiffon revealing more than intended. Perfect chatelaine by day, mistress by night, slowly unraveling and revealing the truth beneath a candy-coated façade. Later, she entertained us with bonbon coloured dresses, sprinkled with crystals, frothy chiffon frills, and delicate white ripples. Like pretty decorated petit fours offered up to distract from the disintegration. All the while the tees teased, suggestive, like a Lynch-esque picket fence, daring you to peek over and find out more. What can we say, we couldn’t help ourselves.
BURBERRY RTW AW17
Burberry took us to court this season, in the East End's newly restored, 'Old Sessions' house. From the walls, the social portraits from Martin Parr, Karen Knorr, Shirley Baker and Ken Russell stared back, part of an exhibition to accompany the collection. Images from the spectrum of life wrapped up in the title 'Here we are.' Christopher Bailey commented, "they provide a portrait of British life, in all its nuances, both exceptional and mundane, beautiful and harsh. It`s the spirit of those photographs – sometimes ironic, sometimes tender, always truthful – that has guided our September collection". The models were wrapped in preppy punk attire, adding a raw edge to the classic brand. "This building, I think, represents what we are trying to say in the collection, theres a little bit of grandeur, but also something thats a bit broken down with age," said Bailey.
Checks and transparency, a familiar theme were an essential part of the collection, a spectrum of colourful Fair Isle knits teamed up with sheer candy-bright skirts, fuzzy shearlings, and macs in pinks and mints. Even THAT check made an appearance on capes and accessories.
From 50s palettes and pencil skirts, plastic macs to punk tartans and the traditional Burberry print, characters from life's rich cast were drawn together and recreated with a fresh perspective. A 'we are one' sentiment, perhaps? Whatever the message, it was much-needed distraction amid today s political chaos. In the former premises of the old judiciary, we suddenly felt liberated.