London Fashion Week A/W2020 Round-Up
THE FALL looks at ten of our favourite shows from LFW A/W2020
London Fashion Week A/W2020 has come and gone for another season and yet again it built on the progress of recent years when it came to prestige, organisation and sheer spectacle. Two strong themes emerged this season. The first was the growing influence of sustainability when it comes to the industry as a whole. This wasn’t just reflected by the collections shown on the catwalk. It was the pervading notion in the air on or off the catwalk and behind of as well as in front of the camera. The second was the increasing confidence in the quality and leadership of British fashion design. Best of British now not only refers to the designers themselves but also those who choose to come here to work in our industry, and even show here, because they increasingly recognise that Britain is becoming the place to be if you want to be seen as being among the best.
With this in mind, THE FALL takes a look at some of the shows and collections from London Fashion Week who are leading the charge around the world:
‘Fun’ seemed to be one of the watchwords for the new Ashley Williams collection. Large graphic prints featuring random images, like Dobermans and giant kittens to the Mona Lisa and Einstein, informed the collection throughout while bold striking colours everywhere you looked embellished on that mood. Even when we were offered fashion’s favourite little black dress it was the cutouts in those dresses that made you smile – like a love heart on the chest or a cutout around the navel framed with a starburst of diamantes.
The inspiration for her new collection apparently came from the iconic stars of the silver screen. From the wonderfully off-beat frilled and layered dress in harlequin polka dots to the near-goth-like mini-dress emblazoned with the slogan ‘Angel Energy’, there were many different film genres represented here too. Highlight of the show had to go to the aforementioned mini-dress with the giant graphic print of the kitten. Worn by a model sporting cartoon bunny make-up, only the blind couldn’t have been smiling at the time.
Riccardo Tisci continued the evolution of the house of Burberry that we’ve spoken of before with an extensive new collection that not only re-interpreted something old but also introduced us to something new. One of the benefits of being a long-established brand are the signatures by which you’re recognised and there are few more recognisable in fashion than the Burberry check. Here Tisci modernises that check to, sometimes, almost futuristic levels – as with the tight checks on the hooded puffer jacket and the exquisite women’s amazing double-breasted, floor length coat – and at other times combining different combinations of checks for a softer and beautifully wearable boho feel too.
The ‘new’ that was introduced to us came by the way of a recurring design throughout the collection; a seemingly multipurpose wave pattern effect that had the extraordinary ability of looking like breaking waves on white, ripples in sand dunes on some of the gorgeously golden brown outfits and ripples through grains of rich varnished wood when placed against dark chocolate brown. Combine these factors with elegant cuts that created spectacular silhouettes which moved effortlessly with the wearer and it’s easy to see why Burberry remains one of the jewels in the British fashion crown.
Fresh off capping his 2019 with the inaugural Designer’s Designer award at the British Fashion Awards, Christopher Kane is clearly looking for more treasure in 2020 judging by the diamonds in his new collection. The pattern was everywhere in his show – on spectacular satin sheen coats in black, brown and cream, on architectural marvels of dresses in grey and black, and as daring cutouts on parts of other dresses. The geometric shapes didn’t stop there either, appearing as various cutouts in and around the bodices of other dresses and as hemlines on shirts and knitted tops.
Movement was also a key part of this collection, with certain dresses – like the delicious chocolate brown, pleated empire line dress or the impossibly short, sleeveless, black babydoll dress – seemingly floating down the catwalk independently of their wearers. One of the main highlights of the show came in the form of the entirely sequinned and sleeveless long red dress that was topped off with a comically large and equally sequinned red bow tie, only to be closely followed by the mini-dress version in spectacular chainmail silver.
Like Burberry, Daks also has over a hundred years of history and English heritage to call upon when thinking about the future and, also like Burberry, their autumn/winter collection also revolves around the theme of check patterns of various types. Daks takes it in the slightly more traditional, ‘modern countryside’ direction with warm colours and fabrics that you’d only really want to take off when you’re safely ensconced by the fireside. So rustic oranges, warm tans, deep browns and clean beiges made numerous guest appearances throughout.
Even when Daks took things further left-field – as with the knitted dress featuring an untamed coastal landscape woven into the knit or the bold orange coat and dress ensemble that sported an unusual black and white floral design (replicated on the matching purse slung over the neck like a necklace) – it all still felt part of the same coherent narrative. For Daks, tradition and excitement are not mutually exclusive ideas for the coming winter.
Jonathan Anderson’s pursuit of constantly reinventing and reinvigorating the traditional female silhouettes in fashion is what makes hime one of the most innovative designers to follow. His ideas and vision are always challenging and thought-provoking and we’d bet good money that he’s among the few designers whose shows illicit the most ‘sharp intakes of breath’ as each one of his collections skilfully plays with this theme. In this respect, the immediate highlight of this collection were the massively oversized A-line coats with the equally oversized leather lapels that looked so inviting you could set up home in them.
In other places in the collection the shapes seemed to take their cues from nature, The voluminous, sleeveless, aqua blue, calf-length dress with heavy fringing that gathered at the thighs resembled a young flower bulb and the metallic gold, fish-scaled top worn over over a blouse with layers of frills and coupled with equally frilled marine green trousers made the whole look invoke some other-wordly, new discovered plant. In other parts of the collection the influences seemed to come from ideas taken from an 80s disco, with amazing metallic silver dresses deliberately made to mimic the rainbow of colours reflecting off a mirrored disco ball. Another collection from JW Anderson that will require repeat binge viewing to fully appreciate all the stories being told.
MM6 Maison Margiela
While John Galliano is officially creative director at Maison Margiela, the MM6 collections are a collaborative effort officially created by the house of Margiela, as opposed to one single person. With no particular person to attribute it’s just the designs that are left to do all the talking. And for MM6 this coming winter the conversation is about streetwear meeting the rock-chick chic. The zebra print was the thread that stitched the collection together, coming in different colourways and on different pieces. It was used to dramatic effect on the luxurious faux fur coat coupled with the matching zebra print dress (sunglasses obligatory), and in the men’s shirts and gloves that provided strong contrast under a men’s single-breasted, matt black coat.
When black and white were not dominant then bold colours were. Simple men’s single-breasted suits with boot cut slits in the trousers came in bright tangerine with contrasting white panelling at the shoulders. When black and white was dominant then it was teamed with Zebra print gloves in red and blue or underskirts in pink and black. Even when colour and pattern were not the highlight the cut was still special – like the soft black leather bodice and slim ankle-length leather trousers combination. As a collection to introduce a new generation of customers to the Margiela brand John Galliano hit all the right notes.
Margaret Howell has always seemed to live and design by the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid. To that end the winter collection was a triumph of clean leans, simple cuts and muted colours. Even the stark, artic white shirt with the long, unusually cut hem became a simple modern dress when worn with ankle boots and socks. Everywhere you looked throughout the collection we were treated to these simple yet eminently effective design ideas. Easy wearing pull-over jackets were teamed with knee-length pleated skirts that sashayed with the walker and gave off a prep school vibe when worn with knee-length socks and flat shoes.
Elsewhere there were pocketed shirt-dresses, pleated at the waistline and again teamed with knee-length socks and were especially effective when worn with a beautifully cut single-breasted suit jacket. Oversized double-breasted coats were cinched at the waist with slim belts to create a familiar, loved silhouettes and the relaxed tailoring seemed specifically designed to be lived in all day rather than for a few hours at a time to an event. For the Howell clan, the beauty really is in the simplicity.
For anyone that’s been to one of them, they already know that a Tommy Hilfiger show is a real show – in the truest sense of the word. These are events more than catwalk shows. Taking place at London’s Tate Modern, the TOMMYNOW show embodied the values the company has been embracing for a while now – inclusiveness, unity, diversity and sustainability. It’s always worth taking a moment to recognise when a company that has the resources of Hilfiger uses those resources to put those kinds of values front and centre of their brand identity. And the catwalk show itself, as well as the collection reflected, all of those values perfectly.
Fitting for the occasion, there were actually three collections shown for Hilfiger – TOMMYNOW, the fourth collection in the Tommy x Lewis Hamilton line and a new capsule collection that expands on that Hilfiger/Hamilton line with a further collaborator, Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter H.E.R. What followed was a celebration of colours and looks that all exhibited that signature quirky and youthful American preppy style that has become so synonymous with Hilfiger over time – and a welcome return to London Fashion Week for the Hilfiger brand after so many years away.
British fashion brand Underage takes their participation in London Fashion Week from presentations in 2019 to full catwalk shows in 2020. That should give some indication of the growing regard this experimental label is being viewed with in all the right circles. With their unique takes on structuring, layering, silhouettes and gender fluidity it’s easy to see why they’re picking up so much attention. True to form, the new collection presents unique ideas about textures, fabrics and colours. So suits were gloriously pyjama-style slouchy, with asymmetric fastening on the jackets and matching hats, in either a deep coal fire red or a mix of browns and oranges. Short jackets came with oversized rounded shoulders and over-long sleeves. Sheer fabrics clung to the body’s lines and offered creative options for layering and accessorising.
Underage also uses up-cycled material for their collections, all of which is entirely produced in London as a matter of principle – a principle that can be seen in the sometimes deliberately patchwork effect of some of their pieces. Even the tailoring exhibits the need to be creative with proportions and how they should be worn. In fact, one of the highlights of the collection was a long, single-breasted, black frock coat with a asymmetric hemline that revealed a sumptuous, black, crushed velvet, floor length dress underneath. It’s these touches that makes Underage one to keep an eye on in the near future.
Ever the maverick, Vivienne Westwood has chosen to go the opposite direction to Underage – from show to presentations. As the great one herself says in the press release for the collection: “My job as an activist is to demolish the narrative.” Westwood is simply a force of nature and, like all natural forces, they do what they want, and what they want is usually right because who can argue with nature? The new autumn/winter collection is again a heady and eclectic mix of styles and references that could only ever be told as one story in Westwood’s hands. In amongst that mix we again find a trend seen in many other collections – the check pattern; whether it’s on the traditionally cut men’s green suit (with the decidedly untraditional elasticated hems on the trousers) or in the oatmeal tones of the women’s double-breasted overcoat, the pattern punctuates the collection and ups it eclectic quotient.
One of the problems with Westwood’s version of eclecticism is that, in the right hands, there’s usually way too many highlights to (ironically) highlight just one. If there had to be though it was probably the double-breasted suit with long jacket, wide lapels and high-waisted pleated trousers coupled with a matching belt and shirt. Presented in all off-white, this would be the outfit to brighten up London on a cold and grey winter’s day. But, in all honesty, the same could be true for any piece in this wonderful collection.
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