Glossy’s fashion month briefings bring you insights and analysis from straight off the runway.
Same themes, different week? Almost — but unlike New York Fashion Week, which was widely deemed boring, London was filled with excitement.
Heading into London Fashion Week, the fashion set was hip to many of the changes they could expect this season. As with NYFW, leading up to the event, brands grappled with the importance of the fashion show, and several announced they’d be joining the pool of those opting out. Among them: Versus Versace, Antonio Berardi, Julien Macdonald and Topshop Unique. In addition, Jonathan Anderson said he’d be consolidating his men’s and women’s shows and, after stepping away for a season, the Mulberry team revealed plans to return — not that they had to, they were sure to note.
Mulberry chief executive Thierry Andretta told The Guardian the brand’s fashion week break had “no impact at all” on its bottom line. FOMO was more the motivation for revisiting the runway; designer Johnny Coca missed seeing attendees’ reactions at his show. He and Andretta decided to make it worth their while: It was the brand’s first see-now-buy-now show.
If it was also an attempt to align with Burberry, which embraced the see-now-buy-now model two years ago, they should have picked up the pace even more: This season, Burberry teamed with Farfetch to bring its runway styles to shoppers within 90 minutes of their runway debut.
Speaking of Burberry: The final show for the brand’s chief creative officer and president Christopher Bailey was the can’t-miss event of the week. Credited with transitioning the once-tired heritage brand into a global success, as well as putting London Fashion Week on the map, he hosted an apt celebration of his 17 years at the helm. The featured collection, titled “Time,” was reportedly based on thepast, present and future of Burberry, and it showed; the runway was full of nostalgic references (baseball caps, logo sweatshirts, plenty of plaid), pride and exuberant color.
Also on everyone’s radar was Michael Halpern, the emerging designer Donatella Versace is “most excited to watch develop,” as stated in a recent interview. The first collection of the Central Saint Martins grad was picked up by Bergdorf Goodman, and sold out. Full of his signature ultra-glam, sequined styles, his third collection, revealed on Saturday, did not disappoint.
He wasn’t the only statement-maker: Anti-fur protesters picketed outside of Burberry and crashed the Mary Katrantzou catwalk, plus topless members of PETA reminded attendees to “wear your own skin” by wearing the message splashed across their bare bodies (despite the fact that that, according to the British Fashion Council, 90 percent of designers had confirmed they would not be incorporating real fur).
Ashish Gupta set out to reflect Britain’s diversity on his runway (“When you get on a train, you don’t just see 6-foot-tall white girls. You see mixes of all people,” he told the BBC), which was in line with a British Fashion Council goal for the season. To improve on spring 2018, where 31 percent of models were non-white, for fall, it pushed for lineups mirroring London’s 40 percent black and minority ethnic (BAME) population.
And Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida continued NYFW’s message of female empowerment by showing sweatshirts featuring slogans including “open your own door” and “power women.” Their models walked to a soundtrack of girls talking about issues like body positivity and individuality.
Christopher Kane claimed to build on that notion with his ode to 1972’s “The Joy of Sex;” he told Vogue his collection was meant to ”empower and strengthen [the] female force.” Some of the styles displayed sketches that looked plucked from the book’s pages, and two featured the phrase “more joy.”
Minus the context, it was an uplifting message. The same can be said of Anya Hindmarch’s contribution to the week: red helium “chubby hearts” tagged on 29 local landmarks, meant to read as a love letter to the city.
Attendees shared what stood out at London Fashion Week.
Jackie Kim, associate fashion director at Barneys New York
“Caroline Rush and Anya Hindmarch’s dinner inside of Wellington Arch was the highlight of my week. To get to dinner, we had to walk past Anya’s #chubbyheart balloon lodged underneath the monument. The dinner was very intimate and hilariously funny. I loved Anya’s dinner, as it symbolized her commitment to her city, and London’s commitment to her and her creativity. She is so inspired by London, and I know her authentic vision (especially her floating #chubbyhearts) inspires the city, in return.”
Alison Levy, chief marketing officer at Launchmetrics
“Inclusiveness was the sentiment of this London Fashion Week, permeating from the mega brands on the catwalk to the most powerful influencers at the hippest parties. When Cara Delevingne closed Burberry, the city’s biggest show, adorned in a rainbow striped cape to support LGBTQ+ rights, you could immediately feel this emotion reflected in the crowd and further across social; it became one of the most viral #LFW related posts, with almost 200,000 engaged followers. The theme didn’t stop there: Among the media impact of top influencers at #LFW, Winnie Harlow, a well-known activist of equality, was ranked #1 (according to Launchmetrics data). #Londonisopen”
Melissa Moylan, vp of womenswear creative at Fashion Snoops
“One cannot discuss London Fashion Week without mentioning the many shapes and forms of ’80s power ladies. Halpern did it best, with a collection so excessive that it felt like an act of resistance to counter all that’s going on in the world. There were glamorous sequins and animal prints. Elsewhere, Ashley Williams applied a youthful ’80s spin, and Gareth Pugh featured fierce, strong-shouldered blazers.”
- Christopher Bailey Takes a Final Walk Down the Burberry Runway
- Meet Michael Halpern: The Designer Who Wants to Dress the World in Sequins
- Designers Toss Out Calendars and Trends, Look to Seasonless Dressing
— Christina Binkley (@BinkleyOnStyle) February 17, 2018
— PAPER Magazine (@papermagazine) February 19, 2018
Anti-fur protestor made it all the way to the center of the runway at Mary Katrantzou before being escorted off by security pic.twitter.com/Y7uOJsQMPF
— Matthew Schneier (@MatthewSchneier) February 18, 2018