I’m often asked what it’s like to be at London Fashion Week; why do we go, and what do we see?
The truth is, it’s different for every show-goer: when I was an editor at a magazine, I went to see next season’s collections and gather ideas for my shoots for the forthcoming issues, as well as showing support for our homegrown talent. Now, as my work varies so much, I go primarily to show my support for the amazing brands that show at London Fashion Week, but also to show my audience what’s happening throughout the week on and off the runway.
Part of that means showcasing brands that are lesser known, but just as worth shouting about, including Toga: one of my longstanding favourites at London Fashion Week and one of the most talented designers I know. Silk scarf prints ran throughout the collection, cut in stunning silhouettes that felt ultra modern yet could have been found in an archive issue of Vogue. They were weaved in and out of belts on tailoring – still a huge trend next season – and through cleverly cut out panels in A-line skirts. Primary colours tied the collection together: I loved the bold use of green, red and blue.
Earlier on in the week, Mulberry had kicked off the week with bold colour statements, too: tonal dressing is very of-the-moment, and head to toe looks in pale yellow, coral and red hues were audacious but visually enticing. But that wasn’t the only notable moment from the show: as the final looks sashayed down the runway, the mirrored centrepiece rose to reveal a Mulberry-clad Goldfrapp who sung us into party mode – now that’s a runway show.
Speaking of unforgettable moments, Burberry gave us more than one. Although the label’s collection is always the most sought after of the week, this season, there was a special reason to want to be there. It was Christopher Bailey’s swan song as creative director of the brand – a huge moment for the iconic British label, who hired Bailey in 2001. It was the end of an era, and a privilege to be there. Bailey revived iconic but lost Burberry logos (see the oversized sweaters emblazoned with Burberry across the chest) but the biggest news from the show wasn’t that. Showing his support for LGBT charities through rainbow coloured heritage prints, he scattered them throughout the collection and ended with a laser light rainbow over the runway.
But as designers leave, new talent arrives, and Isa Arfen’s debut runway show was a moment to shout about. In her usual way, she combined print and voluminous silhouettes for a collection that was joyfully alluring. Inspired by the 80s, high waisted denim and tailoring was met with ruffled plaid prints, whilst bright pink and mustard-hued dresses brought the party to the runway, (though Arfen would later bring an actual party to the runway in a dancing finale.)All this playfulness with colour and print extended through to the finer details: bags were a medley of unique shapes and sizes – from crystal adorned totes (Toga) to heart shaped handbags (Shrimps) – and if one thing is for sure, I’ll be adopting that experimental confidence into my own wardrobe. Because my motto is and always will be: the joy of fashion is to be found in having fun with it.