Winter’s not even here, but the fashion industry is already fast-forwarding to next spring. Katie Wright reports from all the biggest shows at London Fashion Week
Twice a year, the global fashion industry descends upon London to preview next season’s collections, and the latest London Fashion Week has seen us halt our winter wardrobe planning to daydream about more summery outfits. So what does SS16 have in store for us, according to Britain’s most trend-setting brands?
From blackest black at Burberry to brightest neon at Christopher Kane, Giles’ regal gowns to David Koma’s skimpy skirts, the shows were diverse and inventive, but presented plenty of wearable trends too.
These are the looks we’ll be lusting after next spring.
THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT
THE SHOW: Topshop Unique
THE FROW: Anna Wintour, Suki Waterhouse and Alexa Chung sat side by side.
THE LOOK: Bringing together the saucy and the sweet - baby blue feminine frocks slashed almost to the hip, long jackets over short skirts - every ensemble on the Topshop catwalk had an element of what the French call ‘deshabille’. This undressed quality extended to coats belted, but falling off the shoulders, pyjama-esque two-piece sets, and tux jackets and shirts so big they look borrowed from a City boy the morning after the night before. It was toned down with the addition of librarian tank knits and cardigans, and a smattering of bold spots.
GOING TO WAIST
THE SHOW: David Koma
THE FROW: At 11am on a Sunday, the celebs were apparently still snoozing, but a bevvy of bright-eyed bloggers were in attendance.
THE LOOK: There was nothing subtle about the sex appeal David Koma was selling for SS16. Thigh-skimming A-line hems, flesh-toned mesh, the skimpiest of racer back straps - for the pop stars and actresses who love his work (Beyonce, Rihanna and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name a few), there were plenty of monochrome frocks to choose from. For mere mortals, it’s a tougher sell, as even the trouser and top combinations were corseted or bound tightly on the waist. Aesthetically, the collection was just as tight, and underscored the focus on the midriff that’s emerging for spring.
A LACY AFFAIR
THE SHOW: Burberry Prorsum
THE FROW: The Britpack was out in force. Kate, Cara, Sienna, Suki and Benedict Cumberbatch, to name but a few.
THE LOOK: The laser-cut show invite was the first clue to the fabric that would dominate at Burberry. From outerwear to dresses and even shirts for the boys, ornate lace and macrame bound this beautiful collection together. But, save for a handful of candy-coloured minidresses and creamy floorlengthers, this was a decidedly gothic array, complete with the chicest hoodies you’ve ever seen, a black velvet cape and a moody berry lip. Add to that low-slung backpacks alongside lots of regimental gold braiding on the house’s signature trenches and it makes sense that the show was titled ‘Function Regalia’.
THE FUTURE’S BRIGHT
THE SHOW: Christopher Kane
THE FROW: Anna Wintour sat next to director Baz Luhrmann, while fashion BFFs Alexa Chung and Daisy Lowe nattered nearby.
THE LOOK: The must-have accessory of SS16? Cable ties, according to Christopher Kane. They were used as hair bands and bracelets, fashioned into chokers and used to gather silk on a slinky black halter dress, just one of the nifty tricks employed by the crown prince of creativity in his latest show. What else was new? Dresses pieced together from shards of fabric, spray-painted with dye; leather printed with cell-like splodges; scrawly embroidery - the collection was packed to the rafters with ideas. But there was nostalgia too, in the neon lace shirting that recalled Kane’s debut. Using black as a conduit for saturated hues has become something of a Kane signature and once again, it didn’t disappoint.
THE SHOW: Giles
THE FROW: The Frow was actually eclipsed by the super-est catwalk line-up of the week, which included Eva Herzigova, Alek Wek, Erin O’Connor and Karen Elson.
THE LOOK: After his hugely influential autumn/winter collection, no wonder Giles took the ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ approach, with another historically-inclined outing. So there were more Elizabethan ruffles on collars and sleeves, but spring’s colour palette was, on the whole, paler - the ivory satin and dusky pink columns were a highlight, as was a delicate recurring foxglove print. Add to that some grand, feathered headpieces and Karen Elson (a dead ringer for a young Elizabeth I) closing in a regal, cobwebbed organza gown, and the show felt at once opulent and ethereal.
A ROARING SUCCESS
THE SHOW: Daks
THE FROW: Model Chloe Lloyd with pop star beau Josh Cuthbert, plus a bunch of the usual Made In Chelsea faces.
THE LOOK: From the Art Deco backdrop to the jazzy soundtrack, it was clear exactly where we were heading for summer with British heritage brand Daks. Sure enough, the collection quickly ticked off most of the major signposts to Twenties and Thirties fashion: drop-waist dresses with pleated skirts; capacious marbled gowns; a nifty deco print and sweet spectator shoes. There was a hint of the Sixties, too, in the brown suede jackets and wide-belted skirts. A historical mish-mash? Far from it, this was a retro mix that really worked.