London Fashion Week AW 16February 27, 2016
London Fashion Week AW 16 is the Fashion Week that every person interested in trends turns to with an air of anticipation – waiting for the standout show that makes you smile, makes your heart jump, or makes you swoon with covetous longing.
London is known as the spot where the crazy fashions and the wearable, the elegant and the outrageous go hand in hand. I love discovering new names (Alice Archer, Molly Goddard) as well as checking in on what established favourites are up to (Gareth Pugh, Simone Rocha).
Picking highlights from about seventy-five live on schedule shows and presentations from London Fashion Week AW 16 isn’t easy, but here are some of what I think are the most interesting.
Day 1 at London Fashion Week AW 16
Alice Archer is a new talent who is inspired by flower still life painting, successfully transposing the lustre and depth of an old master’s oil painting to her fabrics via print and embroidery. Cocktail dresses, floor length gowns and kimonos all feature the technique.
J. JS Lee
Sleek androgynous tailoring in elegant greys, blacks and white with pops of daffodil yellow, pink and red and some surprising blanket weave tartans. Dresses are worn over trousers and pie crust collars and ruching are deployed to subtle effect. The overall impression is extremely restrained.
Manuel Facchini creates sporty knitwear which looks very modern while at the same time giving a nod to knitwear of the 70s, with floor length gowns recalling a monochrome Missoni. This is a very pulled-together collection, largely thanks to its colour scheme – black and white – featuring laser cut lace tops and futuristic leather jacket alongside the knits and some op-art swirls.
Ryan Lo calls himself a maximalist and it’s no exaggeration. His girls, looking like more imaginative habitués of Tokyo’s Ginza district enjoy themselves in a riot of hot pink and purple, bobble ankle socks, cute cardigans and parti-coloured trousers. Hair is scraped back with lots of plastic clips and makeup is everything at once – eyebrows, lipstick, blush and eyeliner are all to the fore.
Sadie Williams gives us another version of the 70s, with padded bell-like skirts apparently inspired by anoraks worn with sequins in blue, orange and silver. Her glittery chevron tops are particularly desirable, and you can imagine yourself wearing one with hot pants and roller boots while chewing gum. There is a Sixties influence in the pure silver outfits too.
Day 2 at London Fashion Week AW 16
So many exciting talents today it was hard to narrow it down to a small list!
Gareth Pugh at London Fashion Week AW 16
Gareth Pugh is a fascinating talent and this season he’s gone very Alexander McQueen, with precise tailoring married with shock-jock tactics. He says he is presenting a powerful woman, a woman you wouldn’t want to mess with – and he’s right. These silver screen goddesses are immaculately made up and enjoy exaggerated 1940s hair, which goes perfectly with their Hannibal Lecter masks. There seems something prosthetic about their faces, like cheekbone enhancement gone awry. The clothes are gorgeous, by the way, but they play second fiddle to the styling.
Molly Goddard is a relatively new talent. Her thoughts go toward dressing up as a fairy in tulle mostly, and the awkward cut of her dresses this time around confirm she’s ever a little girl in the Eighties, invited to a party where she doesn’t know any of the other little girls and is too shy to make friends. No, she doesn’t want any cake, thank you.
Shrimps started their career as highly-fashionable purveyors of sleek and silky loud and shouty faux fur, and this bold aesthetic continues with fun, girly pieces heavy on their favourite fabric. These girls are also off to a party in the Eighties, but they’re not five years old, they’re thirteen and this is a sleep over.
Teatum Jones carefully cuts a mid length pencil skirt on a fitted dress with deep v neck. She’s interested in print and her tonal values range from blues through considered monochrome, royal blue and scarlet combinations. She also plays with polo-necks and cropped trousers.
Day 3 at London Fashion Week AW 16
A day for the established big hitters.
Sarah Burton has excelled here, showing perfect tailoring with overcoats in black silk woven with blue butterflies, silver unicorns, pocket watches and shooting stars – a triumph for fabric technology. A luxurious fur collar completed the picture. Another on a pink theme had butterflies, flowers and lips. Chiffon, elegant bondage straps and, less successfully, black leather offered alternatives, before Burton moved on to a set of different ideas with a Schiaparelli-like unicorn embroidered in gleaming sequins on a transparent gown, and winged horses and graceful birds in beautiful craftsmanship which had high overtones of Galliano.
The Anya Hindmarch brand is founded on accessories but for LFW AW16 she has created some of the most desirable, wearable coats around to go with her cute but practical bags and boots. There was a strong ‘80s vibe as ZX Spectrum colours rainbowed across a sleeve and Rubik’s cubes landed on bags. Space invaders and the ghost and bombs from Pac-man turned up too. The coats themselves were oversized and cocooning, with great use of faux fur.
Margaret Howell at London Fashion Week AW 16
Margaret Howell brings us more of that clean, crisp androgyny she’s perfected over four decades. almost every single look featured a neatly ironed shirt with high buttoned collar, in white, nude, black or green check. These were paired with oversized tailoring and a sprinkling of loose dresses, worn as if chosen for the model to grow into.
Another accessories brand, Mulberry has grown into a fully fledged fashion contender. This year Johnny Coca has been appointed Creative Director, and showed reams of looks, starting with beautiful plum, navy and khaki capes and overcoats and moving to a punkish blend of leather kilts and cropped boucle jackets. There was also a lot of an oversized orange rose print, and clashes in off colours like bright orange with khaki, or searing yellow with plum. Models wore hair that was greased back at the temples, fluffy at the back, along with one earring and platform heels.
Day 4 at London Fashion Week AW 16
Christopher kane seems to have taken inspiration from his Scottish roots, presenting women sporting plastic rain hoods over thier greasy hair in nice warm coats over ratty jumpers while carrying large handbags – was he imagining a bus-full of Glaswegian old ladies on a rainy Saturday morning?
Erdem has always excelled at unashamed romanticism and here he doesn’t deviate from his winning formula of long, flowing dresses. There are floral motifs on devore silk, along with more geometric designs on chiffon to enjoy. Suits appear in both hounds-tooth and more florals, this time in the form of embroidery across the shoulders.
Osman made heavy use of a striking red poppy motif printed on both black and white, paired with deep ruffled white collars and wistful black velvet. His designs for both men and women were structured, with a hint of the New Romantic.
Formerly known as Roksanda Ilincic, the Roksanda brand is always simple, beautiful and created with a distinctive flair. This time the Belgrade native went with a Seventies inspired collection in tones of navy, blush, mustard and candy pink, presenting cropped flares, mid calf skirts, miniskirts and transparent, appliquéd maxi dresses. Sounds like a mix up, looked divine.
Sophia Webster’s work is always fun, and this season she was inspired by Tim Burton films. Winona Ryder’s character Lydia from Beetlejuice appeared in tiny black lingerie with Gothic Lolita overtones, as did Helena Bonham-Carter’s Corpse Bride, dissolving into butterflies. Sphia Webster is an accessories brand and the bags this time round were inscribed with “I myself am strange and unusual” and “Wifey for Lifey” while footwear was delicate and mainly butterfly themed.
Day 5 at London Fashion Week AW 16
Christopher Ræburn is interested in sustainable design. His work for this season continued his Sports Luxe aesthetic with sweatshirts, bomber jackets, jumpsuits and zippered duffel coats in restrained camo colours and navy with a dash of tomato red, but added a crazy chunk of knitwear on top – chunky jumpers with fringes and oversized scarves gave the collection a hint of humour.
Emilio de la Morena
Beautiful romanticism with a hard edge. Emilio de la Morena loves black lace and leather, but contrasts them with punchy ribbons of orange and crunches of midnight blue taffeta. Structured pieces are inset with delicate lace. My favourite piece was a rather atypical wild-looking green and black shearling cloak-coat.
Rejina Pyo at London Fashion Week AW 16
Rejina Pyo created a very wearable collection this season. Flashes of metallics enlivened a collection in which print featured only fleetingly and texture was almost unimportant leaving the focus free for interestingly cut classics in wool, leather and cotton. Black, white, navy, silver, scarlet and royal blue formed the main colours and pieces were reversible.