A Look back at London Fashion Week
Following the Queen’s death on September 8th, London Fashion Week was set to be a sombre affair. Taking place in the period of mourning, social events, openings and all shows on September 19th (the queen’s funeral) were forced to cancel/reschedule. Others, including Burberry and Raf Simons, decided to voluntarily postpone while JW Anderson opted for a more intimate catwalk. Nevertheless, an abundance of creative talent was on display this LFW.
Inspired by ancient Greek mythology and the ever-changing sea, Crutchley draws on the concept of metamorphosis to deliver a collection that ranges from sequin thongs to audacious colour shifting lurex gowns. Set below the streets of London in a carpark just off Oxford Street, the show took on a contrasting soundtrack to its concrete backdrop. Gentle echoes from nature filled the space as models slowly strolled back and forth. Expanding on last season, Crutchley continues to explore queer glamour and unapologetic opulence. Most notably, a near naked male model clad with a jewel and sequin encrusted chest piece, thong and holographic platform sandals made by Roker (a constant in all looks in the collection). Crutchley’s multi-shade bodycon dresses seemed understated in comparison. Swathed in dropped stitched holes and flushes of colour, the dresses felt in keeping with the encapsulating sound of the ocean. The closing look had a couture feel. Defined by extravagance, the frill layered dress was chameleonic as it floated down the catwalk, perfectly rounding off a show titled “The Only Constant in Life is Change”.
After a last-minute change of venue, Eudon Choi pulled off a beautiful ode to the elegance of the French Riviera while showcasing the tailoring for which the label is renowned. The Korean-born designer produced a collection based largely on neutral tones with dashes of tangerine orange and blue, providing vibrant interludes. Light, lax dresses and tailored trousers moved as if in the summer breeze. Standout pieces included intricate lace ponchos (featured in both menswear and womenswear) and wide flowing trousers coupled with crop tops. Wearable, sophisticated and luxurious, Eudon Choi SS23 stood out while remaining understated.
Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena go back to their Bulgarian roots for their LFW debut. Taking inspiration from an annual rose festival/pageant in the village of Kazanlak, the pair didn’t shy away from the thorns that accompany the beauty of the flower. Heavy rock music set the tone for the models who marched determined and rebellious. The brand’s iconic checkered-pleated skirts were a big hit on and off the runway this season, with a notable presence on the streets of London throughout fashion week. Metal carabiner links bring the skirts to life, clinking as they sway in full flow from the large leather belt to which they are fastened. Styled both alone and draped over denim, the versatility and genderless nature of the skirt is refreshing. Childlike bright coloured graphics, detached sleeves and hardware details were in keeping with the brands distinct punk identity, while tinsel sweater vests and large boots nod to the pageantry on which the collection is based.
Set outside his Shoreditch Studio, Koma presented his SS23 collection under the East London sun. The collection presented a clash of motorsport and subaquatic inspirations. References to bioluminescent animals of the deep ocean shone through as iridescent colours contrasted black two pieces. A starfish detailed black mini dress paired with above the knee leather boots formed a strikingly powerful opening to the show. Other looks rippled in black, embodying the swirling ocean while remaining in keeping with the standout leather biker jackets edged with crystallised cut outs. The highlight came in the form of a series of dresses and two pieces structured in electric Klein blue cords, draped in lightweight plume and decorated with glimmering golden shell necklaces.
The show titled ‘RUSH’ saw the Ukrainian-born designer’s debut runway take on a fast-paced intensity. Sounds of cars accelerating, skidding and tyres screeching built an atmosphere of anticipation before a whirlwind of denim separates, oil spill inspired graphics and tyre marked pieces made their way down the catwalk. Low-rise denim maxi skirts and jeans continued a clear trend this LFW. Intricately draped jackets with power shoulders provided the collection with a sense of defiance and added to the dark energy that surrounded the show. The brand has become known for its butterfly crop top which has been seen on the likes of Dua Lipa and Bella Hadid. The designer built on the iconic piece, showcasing dragonfly and scorpion iterations of the design.
Aptly named Glimmer, the London based label founded by partners Charlotte Knowles and Alexander Arsenault showcased a collection that built on their elegant take on Y2K aesthetic. Set in an unfinished, derelict building, models sparkled with glitter drenched hair while navigating the mazing runway. Low-rise jeans and acid washed denim were a dominant feature of the show. Brown earthy toned leathers, suede jackets and bleach patterned dresses appeared alongside KNWLS’ reworked Ugg boots. Ranging from square toed heals to the classic Ugg silhouette in chestnut brown stapled with metal hoops, the collaboration was a revised nod to the early 2000’s. SS23 acted as a gradual move for the designers towards a more feminine aesthetic, combining heavy denims with airy translucent materials and corsets.
Francessca Capper and Natasha Sommerville heavily referenced their AW21 collection this season to further elevate what it means to be a ‘Poster Girl’. Seen on the likes of Dua Lipa, Kylie Jenner, and Megan Thee Stallion, the brand has become a social media favourite for its form-fitting sexy aesthetic. Low rise trousers and micro skirts ‘held up’ by overstated rhinestone buckle belts were key features of the London based designers’ SS23 collection. Flowing silk chiffon dresses, knee high boots and the brands iconic chainmail completed what was a bold, memorable showing this LFW.
Sheer dresses, floral prints and hyper-feminine cuts defined the Chinese designer’s SS23 show. As the powerful sound of the violin filled the room, models graced the runway in a variety of silk and lace dresses, asymmetric skirts and Victorian lingerie. Inspired by asparas: a type of female spirit of the skies who figure in Hinduism and Buddhist cultures, Wang brought her latest collection to the clouds. Aviation references were a constant theme throughout, with models sporting flying goggles, helmet-style headwear and even a propeller plane-shaped side bag. Despite these strong references, the designer managed to maintain the soft delicacy and romanticism for which her clothing is known and adored. Other notable pieces included harness style chest rigs crafted out of intricate lace and skirts of handkerchiefs decorated with blooming flowers of purple, blue, yellow and pink.
Written by PATRICK BOYLE