LFWSS18 – London Fashion Week SS18 highlightsOctober 27, 2017
This season, LFWSS18 focused on young designers with a new support platform. BFC/NewGen support has been legendary and launched many careers, later to be added to with the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund. Now, the Fashion Trust is also helping designers, and a large part of the line-up is current or past protegees of these excellent institutions.
See-now-Buy-Now, an innovation that allowed clothes seen on the catwalk to be bought immediately and not weeks or months later, as is the norm with couture collections, was much hailed in recent seasons as they way of the future, and enthusiastically adopted by quite a few brands in a shower of publicity. I see that it has been quietly dropped by most, perhaps due to the backlash. Smaller brands complained they could not possibly either predict supply and demand, having the correct number of garments ready to shop without knowing exact order numbers, nor make good quality product in such a rush.
Only four brands advertised See-now-Buy-Now, among them Topshop, which, let’s face it, are a brand who hardly care about quality. They’ve even dropped the “Unique” part of their catwalk title, which was previously known as “Topshop Unique” and is now just the plain and simple purveyor of sparkly party dresses and cheap going out clothes we know from any High Street.
Another much talked about innovation is the combining of men’s and women’s wear on one catwalk. Though some have undertaken it in a celebration of gender neutrality and freedom, other designers I talked to did it for more prosaic reasons, simply to avoid the high cost of four separate shows a year. However, this too was very little in evidence for LFWSS18, and the brands who did – Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, Emporio Armani and Margaret Howell – were unlikely to be doing it for fiscal purposes.
LFWSS18 – Pam Hogg
Pam Hogg embodies the spirit of London Fashion Week. She’s really known as an early 1980s designer, but, after a long hiatus, has been showing at LFW for eight years now. Her colourful, anarchic creations are, of course, beloved by people like Lady Gaga and Rhianna, and you could imagine them wearing any one of her creations for LFWSS18.
Of course, that impression was helped by some very Gaga-esque masks worn with the first few looks. Then it was all lycra catsuits and leotards, stars over boobs, monochrome PVC and of course, a homage to the original Blade Runner in a selection of clear PVC macs.
Erdem didn’t deviate from his blueprint of pretty frocks, but this time they had a really good backstory – he’s been rummaging in the wardrobe archives of Windsor Castle, looking at the Queen’s old gowns. He imagines her, Dorothy Dandridge and Duke Ellington in some kind of sartorial threesome, so the prim 1950s silhouettes are given the tiniest of naughtiness, whilst the set was all American plantation jazz.
I adored Teatum Jones’s LFWSS18 show, which was shown on models with a variety of body shapes and sizes. The opening gowns were uncomplicated evening sophistication, in navy, black and a very fashionable saffron yellow, with later some pretty pinks and baby blues. They also showed some interesting deconstructed shirts. But the strange thing was the hole. Almost every garment had a golfball sized hole, as if burned by a massive cigarette.
Shrimps have had a large part to play in the way that fashion now views faux fur – their creations in bright colours are clearly not real, but the sense of luxury is and pieces from their collections have become highly desirable. Brands like Fendi have been dyeing real fur in these unrealistic colours for a long time, but more and more people assume they are simply glamorous fakes. Recently Gucci have announced that they will no longer be selling real fur – not for ethical reasons, but because there is no market demand for them.
Having said that, Shrimps have presented clothes alongside their more famous furry accessories for a long time now, it’s just hard (for me) to get onboard with the styles. The LFWSS18 collection was of the oversized children’s clothes that they prefer, but I don’t. Vive La Furless Revolution, though!
Obviously, everyone wants to know what Christopher Kane’s up to. Actually, he’s gone a bit Erdem. Dark florals and doily collared dresses opened the show, albeit in see-through chiffon and PVC, respectively. Sometimes the two were combined – a doily collared PVC jacket worn over a transparent chiffon dress. Structured blazers were as carefully cut as anything by Gareth Pugh and a few had the dinosaur arm frill shown by Victoria Beckham plus a smattering of others a couple of seasons back. More frills were layered on dresses – there were frills everywhere. Deconstructed tea dresses, bizarre boudoir nighties and stretched out knits made up the rest.
Osman wants us to wear see through negligees and ostrich-trimmed dressing gowns, too. More oversized florals, more dark florals, and structured blazers here too, this time in a big shoulder 80s version. Yes, yes.
Emilia Wickstead is still mining the “Little House on the Prairie” look, and we’re cool with that. High collar, long floral dresses, pinafore dresses, massive sleeves. There’s couple of suits and some jumpsuits, and irritatingly transparent chiffon things too- why so much see-through, LFWSS18? It’s not like any of us will be wearing it without a sensible vest underneath, and you know that will just ruin the line. I mean, why not make clothes in fabric thick enough to hide not only your nipples, but your underwear even? How about that?
PS: one of the transparent items is a long shirt dress that looks a lot like a version of the Blade Runner mac. Top tip for net spring – if you only buy one item, it’s got to be something out of Blade Runner. And not the new one, either.