The colorful layers and eccentric styling on the runways of London Fashion Week SS’17 made for typically British collections – full of quirky details and lovely embellishments. But despite the fact that an abundance of ruffles and lace usually indicates a sense of light-heartedness, there was a notable heaviness in the air and within the looks of several presentations, with many designers making more practical clothing in response to Britain’s current economic and political uncertainty. Other designers went the opposite route by using bright colors and sparkling details to evoke carefree fantasies. Only the future will tell how the fashion industry will be affected by Brexit – British designers often source production and fabric from outside of the UK and this may be prove to be difficult once the country officially leaves the European Union. Until then, distract yourself with The Untitled Magazine’s picks of the top five collections of the week.
Christopher Bailey debuted Burberry’s new see-now-buy-now men’s and women’s RTW collection to a front row that included Cara Delevingne, Felicity Jones, and Freida Pinto. The show itself was another nod to the casual, the usual giant runway spectacle was shifted to a homey location, complete with working craftspeople. Bailey merged olde English classics, like Edwardian collars and ruffled blouses with urban leather bombers and embossed pullovers.
Christopher Kane’s 10th anniversary collection proved to be one of his best yet. The Scottish designer called his latest offering “Make Do and Mend” in slight reference to the rationing days of the wartime 1940s but specifically in relation to his time as a fashion student in 2006, when the economic depression meant he had to use whatever was at hand. In true fashion, Kane mixed highs and lows – fur coats and tulle dresses met t-shirts and bejeweled crocs, he also brought back some of the original grommet and lace looks from his senior thesis collection.
For SS’17, Simone Rocha unveiled a collection of patchwork dresses out of the dreamy wheat fields of a surreal prairie. She also threw some British charm and utilitarianism in the mix in the form of looks that appeared to be one half airy gown, one half trench coat.
J.W. Anderson has been credited with last season’s revival of the puff sleeve and he carried the style into Spring/Summer, pairing triple tiered blouses with quilted vests and asymmetrical skirts. The designer proves himself to be a palette master again and again. This year he abandoned his typical color blocks in exchange for visually fluid and vivid ombre dye effects.
Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi presented a knock-out collection for Preen SS’17. Witchy goths met sparkling party girls in the form of pentagrams, plaids, and pinks. Ruffles were a constant throughout the 40 looks and a sprinkling of prints and special surface treatments, such as velvet burn-out and sequined embellishments elevated the clothes to a spectacularly cosmic dimension.