“There are different forms of resistance. Sometimes just the fact that one continues to do what one is doing is also a way of speaking out for something,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This quote beautifully describes what seems to have been the idea behind a lot of shows at London Fashion Week (LFW), which went down from the 17th – 21st February 2017. According to Chioma Nnadi, Fashion News Director at Vogue.com, ‘dressing up as an act of defiance’ which has always been a survival tactic for the British. A fact that translated to the designer’s self-expression and perspectives. With trends such as innovative velvet, sensual tweed, unorthodox colour combinations, statement pockets, and wallpaper florals many designers held their ground and put together fun and aesthetically pleasing collections. Here are some that stood out for us:
Adebayo Oke-Lawal from Nigeria is the brains behind this men’s wear label that started in 2011. Often described as a movement, this brand creates clothes for the self-aware, explorative art-loving nomad man. For his autumn/winter collection showcase at LFW, he collaborated with Kenyan designer – Adele Dejak (read more about her here) to complement his ‘contemporary western meets African sensibilities’ pieces with her accessories.
Started by the Old Truman Brewery and Lulu Kennedy in 2000, this non-profit initiative champions emerging designers by showcasing them on the LFW runway. Fashion East has now come to be known as supporter and identifier of new, prolific design talent in the UK. Mimi and Matty Bovan, were two of their selected designers for the Autumn/Winter 2017 runway.
Roksanda Ilincic studied both architecture and applied arts at the University of Belgrade, which have played a vital role in introducing her to modernist design possibilities. The result is a multiple-award winning design brand making her one of London’s foremost luxury designers. Her decision to use red in the current collection was inspired by the Royal Academy’s room of Rothko paintings for their Abstract Expressionism show.
Interestingly, JW Anderson chose a narrow corridor to present his collection. With the audience along the walls, the models came out in an array of styles that tapped into the gender fluidity design movement. There was everything from shiny metallic dresses to silk florals and ostrich feathers.
Since her debut at LFW in 2010, she has become an internationally renowned and award winning brand. Most recently she won the 2016 Harper’s Bazaar Designer of Year Award and the ‘British Womenswear Designer Award’ at the 2016 Fashion Awards. Her uplifting LFW AW17 collection was inspired by Irish old-master paintings as well as photographs of African farmworkers from Jackie Nickerson’s documentary. The result was wrapped shapes, puffed sleeves dresses and sheer pieces all showcased in the poetic backdrop of a gothic church.
Pugh’s autumn winter 2017 collection was informed by the “inescapable forces of the cultural landscape“. Having been in Washington during Trump’s inauguration as US President, his collection was a reaction to the turbulent political climate. The result is a collection with visual cues taken from old films such as the controversial Nazi-themed erotic thriller The Night Porter. The models, who were a mix of artist and activists, wore black bug eye lenses and walked the runway to a soundtrack inspired by CIA sleep-deprivation techniques used in interrogation.
He’s dressed the likes of Lady Gaga and is known for his mission ‘to engulf the world in the most fantastical spectacle, incorporating all elements of theatricality with a love for colliding technology with live performance’. Presented by On/Off, his 2017 collections of ‘intergalactic wearable art’ took place at the OXO Tower Wharf warehouse. Inspired by structure, sea creatures and samurai, Irving told a different story using inflatable pieces, multi-coloured beards, and huge orange tentacles.
When your collection is inspired by the 1940s Disney film Fantasia, it’s bound to explode with fantasy and colour. From Katrantzou’s first ready-to-wear collection LFW in Spring/Summer 2009, which only had nine dresses, she’s now become an icon of luxury, with over 250 stockists in 60 countries. With her collections often revolving around a theme – be it a vintage bottle of perfume or postage stamps, her shows are considered a LFW favourite.
Being the first accessories designer to have an on-schedule LFW show, Anya Hindmarch shows have become well-known for their level of production and creativity. She’s done everything from a 120-strong male choir, models floating weightlessly over the catwalk, to models walking within a moving Rubik’s cube. Anya is also a Non-Executive Director of the British Fashion Council, a trustee of both the Royal Academy of Arts and the Design Museum, as well as a passionate advocate of British design and arts.
This ready-to-wear brand was established in London in 2005, and has become synonymous with adaptable yet influential femininity. Founder Erdem Moralioglu, who trained at the prestigious Royal College of Art in London, is known for his use of experimental textiles, vivacious prints, and comprehensive craftsmanship. It’s his ability to mix the delicate with the bold that have earned him numerous accolades.
PREEN BY THORTON BREGAZZI
Thea Bregazzi and Justin Thornton have a design style that mixes in their floral dresses and their constant flow of British club-cultural references. The label’s recognizable narratives prove that the power of creative consistency is underrated in fashion. However there was the air of hot topics such as the Women’s solidarity marches and Trump in their LFW Fall 2017 collection as well.
Like the New York Fashion Week before it, LFW designers chose to use the platfrom to communicate their perspectives and views. Not only to reflect thier personal aesthetic but as a commentary of current issues and political climates. A trait we’d like to see more of on our local runways.