Fashion, Fashion Week, Shows

London Fashion Week Highlights – Spring 2016

I think I touched on this before, but I often don’t understand London fashion. Maybe understand is the wrong word, perhaps I don’t connect with it. You see, my favourite designers all show elsewhere and there’s only a few brands that show in London that I genuinely get excited to see each season. It’s funny because London is a city that I love so much. I visit at least once a year and I never feel out of place yet when it comes to London Fashion Week I feel out of my depth. I feel like I don’t understand the concepts behind a lot of the designs and sometimes I don’t even understand why they made the runway.

London has always been the most “creative” city in terms of design. It is also, historically, the city that supports emerging designers the most with shows like Fashion East and Central Saint Martins supporting young designers who have either just graduated or are just starting their own brands. A few brands have long-standing relationships with the city, Burberry for example, and some truly British brands through and through still show there. Unfortunately Tom Ford, usually one of the highlights of the week, is showing elsewhere – that puts a bit of a damper on things as this is the second season in a row that this has happened.

BARBARA CASASOLA

This is a designer that I usually enjoy in London. I first noticed her a few seasons ago and I think her aesthetic is something that I can relate to. I would wear her clothes. There was a basic colour palette (black, white, camel, red, and khaki) which are all colours that I wear, apart from red. However, this was a really nice shade and the satin made it look expensive. I found there to be a lot of functional clothes in this collection that could be worn by real people, not just models: for example, the double breasted suits, the camel overcoat, jumpers, cut-out bandeau tops, and long skirts. There wasn’t anything crazy or out-there, which works for me, but it was a solid collection that I think will be commercially viable. She only has a few stockists at the moment but they’re big ones – Net-a-porter and Matches Fashion. I feel like this collection could maybe draw in a few more.

JOSEPH

I think that Joseph is a discreet brand. They don’t go in-your-face with advertising or gimmicky clothes but just focus on making nice clothes. In my local Harvey Nichols, the Joseph concession seems to be the most frequented and likely one of the most popular. I think the reasons for this are the price point – higher than diffusion lines like T by Alexander Wang and MICHAEL Michael Kors, but lower than the likes of Alexander McQueen and Rick Owens (both are also stocked in the same store) – and also the fact that the clothes fit easily into a working woman’s wardrobe. Think about it, to afford designer clothes you probably need to work and if you need to work, you need work-appropriate clothes – that’s what Joseph provides, but not in a boring way. This collection was more edgy than workwear with high slits, fun twists, and slightly oversized proportions, much of which I think will be simplified for retail. Overall, a strong collection from a consistent brand. I don’t think they need to rely on runway shows for sales.

BURBERRY PRORSUM

Burberry is a classic British brand. I adored the show in Los Angeles which re-showcased the FW15 collection and although I didn’t like this one as much, I still liked it a lot more than other shows I’ve seen in London this time around. Burberry always puts on quite a production and I’d say it is the show to be at in London. The focus of this collection seemed to be less on the classic trench coat (and different variations of it) and more on sheer dresses. For coats, duffles seemed to rule. There were lots of gauzy panels and intricate mesh and lace details that all created a different look for each dress. It seemed like a continuation of the LA show in the sense that there were a few dresses of similar shapes – for example, this one from London and this one from LA. Perhaps that continuation is good as it makes a strong and consistent brand image, something that Burberry has worked hard to ensure is intact after the chav-association of the 90s.

And the rest…

Emilia Wickstead produced another collection of pretty pastels, something I don’t love but I think works for the brand. I imagine that this dress will have a red carpet appearance.

How cool is the print on this top at Jean-Pierre Brazanga? I feel like I can see the silhouette of a woman in it. I also really love this entire outfit. It incorporates colour in a way that I could probably manage (I mainly wear black and neutrals).

Roksanda continued with the colourblocking that she is known for this season, however it seemed softer than usual in this skirt, I think due to the fabric choice.

Topshop Unique is a show that I usually enjoy in London because the creative director, Kate Phelan of Vogue, is so good. I really like her overall aesthetic, both for Vogue and Topshop. My favourite look is this blue silky shirt, and I also liked the pale pink embroidered dress that was second from last, although it did remind me a lot of Dolce & Gabbana SS15.

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