All of a sudden, the streets in New York feel quiet and empty, and a sense of trepidation hangs over central London’s cafes as baristas look nervously at their stockpiles of coffee beans. This can only mean one thing: rejoice, because London Fashion Week AW/18 is here! So wear your best coat off your shoulders and don a pair of sunnies on the tube; prepare for a wild week of espresso-fueled early mornings and espresso-martini-fueled late nights; put a pair of emergency flats in your tote bag and a smile on your face! Just kidding about that last one of course: anyone who knows their Ann Demeulemeester from their Anna Wintour will know that a disdainful pout is the only acceptable facial expression for fashion week.
The long weekend of fabulous fashion kicks off on Friday 16th February and continues through to Tuesday 20th. If the opening shows are anything to go by, there’s going to be the hefty helping of fresh, up-and-coming talent that London somehow manages to dish out year after year, as well as editor-pleasing shows from the stalwarts of London Fashion Week, heavy-hitting brands like Burberry and JW Anderson. Here’s what we’re looking out for.
London College of Fashion’s show was one of the first presentations on the schedule, giving us what we hope is a foretaste of things to come. One of the young designers whose designs were being showcased is Jiali Lu, who told UAL that her collection was inspired by Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. The collection explores “the main character Elizabeth’s personality, as well as incorporating the women’s and men’s clothes style from the nineteenth century romantic period and the culture to create a modern, independent, masculine, intelligent and brave neutral concise style.”
If this was anything to go by, we can expect to see a many more exciting London newcomers over the course of the weekend. Fashion East, which catalysed the careers of Craig Green and JW Anderson among others, will be debuting designs from Asai, Supriya Lele and Charlotte Knowles, as well as special guest Symonds Permain. Though Symonds Permain is hardly a fresh face, it will be exciting to see his more commercial take on his usual experimental clothing. We’re also excited to see Estonian-born Roberta Einers’s colourful embroidery, as well as designs from the likes of Molly Goddard, Richard Quinn, and of course CSM’s 2018 graduates.
Over the Rainbow at Burberry
Christopher Bailey’s celebrated tenure at Burberry is coming to an end in March, making this his final collection for the brand. To bid farewell to the brand, Bailey is putting a progressive twist on Burberry’s classic check pattern, adding the colours of the rainbow to the usual beige, black, and red. Bailey, who was the first openly gay FTSE 100 CEO, has introduced the rainbow to celebrate the LGBTQ community to which he belongs. Burberry’s trademark pattern was first registered as a trademark in 1921, and though it went through a rough patch in the chavdom years of the mid noughties, it has seen a huge resurgence in popularity among customers old and young. The pattern is set to feature heavily in Bailey’s final collection on Saturday.
Will there be a pot of gold for Burberry at the end of Christopher Bailey’s rainbow? Given that Burberry went from being a heritage brand worth about £2 million when Bailey joined as design head in 2001 to a being the multi-billion-dollar global brand it is today, we’d say yes there will be. Speaking of British heritage brands, Mulberry is making its return to the London schedule, hosting a week of events at Spencer House including talks, interactive workshops and see-now-buy-now shopping initiatives.
Northern Irish designer JW Anderson’s presence was sorely missed at the London menswear shows last month. Happily we have a dual show combining menswear and womenswear coming up on Saturday morning. Bearing in mind that Vogue’s grand mistress Anna Wintour has flown in especially early to catch this show in the past, this is definitely a collection worth setting an alarm for. With this much hype over his shows, it’s not difficult to see why Anderson is tipped to fill Christopher Bailey’s size 13 boots at Burberry. After last season’s relatively stripped-back collection of basics, we can’t wait to see whether Anderson will return to his usual theatrics this year.
We Heart London
British designer and queen of handbags Anya Hindmarch is giving London her own very special Valentine’s Day gift this year, in the form of a city-wide installation of huge red heart balloons, which will be going up over the course of Fashion Week. A balloon has already been seen towering above the chimneys of Battersea power station, and we can expect to see them professing their designers love for London at various other city landmarks over the next few days, such as Covent Garden, Leicester Square, and of course Somerset House. While we’re sad that we won’t be seeing an Anya Hindmarch show this year (following other industry leaders like Victoria Beckham, Anya is focusing on more intimate consumer presentations going forward), we’re sure we’ll enjoy keeping an eye out for these mighty emojis in the sky.
It almost goes without saying that London Fashion Week will produce some of the most diverse and delightful streetwear shots out of all the major fashion weeks. Here are some of our favourite street looks from last year’s AW/17 shows…
Article Written By: Desmond Huthwaite
Featured Image: LFW AW/17 street style – Vogue