words by ELIYA WEINSTEIN
editor MAREK BARTEK

The youngest of the big four global fashion weeks is celebrating its 40th birthday. Since its first conception in 1984, London Fashion Week has been a platform for young and emerging designers, and has given rise to some of the greatest and most memorable moments in recent fashion. Yet again, the schedule was brimming with cultural diversity, inclusivity and the excitement of fresh faces in fashion while simultaneously celebrating the most iconic British heritage brands. And to elevate the overall experience, the British Fashion Council looked to the future by integrating the digital world to hybridize events to facilitate a spirit of collaboration and innovation across the globe.

FRIDAY 16/02

LFW began in full swing on Friday, 16th. Masha Popova resurrected the 2010 “it-girls” and the facade of luxury in the style of the era in a collection of washed-out flared denim, renditions of animal print and cheeky flashes of skin, all dusted with gold. Showing the same morning, Temperley London offered a flamboyant and glamourous take on bohemian suits for the thrill-loving British high society. Sinéad O’Dwyer, a relatively fresh face of London’s fashion scene, advanced in her mission to break boundaries of inclusivity through technical strategies that applied an NSFW twist on office attire. In the afternoon, Chet Lo’s signature popcorn spikes brought his imagination to life, depicting the decades of deterioration of the Terracotta Army as a process whereby their dormant power reawakened. The same evening, the London College of Fashion, UAL showcased its MA Fashion Design Technology collections for both Menswear and Womenswear. Central Saint Martins celebrated the designs of 20 graduating MA Fashion students, giving us a taste of the shockwaves they will send through the industry in the coming years.

SATURDAY 17/02

On Saturday, 17th, the 16Arlington show opened with sophisticated villainous black looks, but as the show unfolded, voluminous furs and unexpected color pairings made a contemporary play on the idea of a monster. It seems Molly Goddard’s newborn baby, who was born just eleven weeks ago, brought the gift of creative pressure. Molly Goddard’s layers-on-layers of fabric in an array of vibrant, warm colors created voluminous forms that, while being sophisticated, maintained a child-like joy. Moving forward, David Koma honored idols from the world of dance as well as the kinetic sculptures of Rebecca Horn with ballerina tutus that seemed to defy gravity by taking new forms and colors. There was much anticipation for Simone Rocha’s collection titled “The Wake”. Especially after she guest-designed Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture revealed just last month. The collection was the last of a three show cycle following “The Dress Rehearsal” and her couture collection for Gaultier, “The Procession”. Skin-hued and black tulle revealed the skin under floor length skirts, and faux-fur embellished around the hips, shoulders, arms and knees made the collection equally seductive and haunting. 

SUNDAY 18/02

On Sunday morning, JW Anderson played up grandpa-core to a humorous yet lovable extreme, oversizing Old-style English knits, cozy coats, undergarments and, of course, sheepskin house slippers. The Norwegian fashion house Holzweiler stayed true to their sustainable ethos with bulbous silhouettes, pastel and earthy colors, and a selection of textures, all honoring the remarkable diversity of mycelium and fungi. Aaron Esh graduated and launched his brand in 2022, yet his bubble and cocoon forms are unmistakable. In this collection, they evoke the sight of socialites of the early 2000s caught by paparazzi flashes after a messy night out. In a collection titled “Femme Vortex”, Dilara Findikoglu designed the parallel reality of her dreams, free of patriarchal rules and toxic masculinity by transforming traditional suit silhouettes with power silhouettes, intricate corsetry and seductive red latex.

MONDAY 19/02

On Monday, 19th, Charlotte Knowles and Alexandre Arsenault, the duo behind London brand KNWLS, presented a relaxed, matured vision of their familiar feminine aesthetic, rich in new textiles and 80s inspired silhouettes. Di Petsa epitomized the idea of divine femininity by celebrating the female figure through sensuous slivers of exposed skin and the signature “wet look” technique. As the last runway of LFW this season, the night ended with a tribute to the core of British fashion by British heritage brand Burberry. For his third collection at the House, designer Daniel Lee dreamt up a collection which speaks to all those across generations and lifestyles who have donned Burberry for decades. Familiar vintage styles, such as the trench coat and heritage-check prints, were modernized in deep, moody hues and refreshing neutrals with contemporary elements like twisting zippers and revealing V necks. Lee’s vision radiates with the authenticity and glamor of traditional British style, with a sense of practicality that can take one from the countryside to the city streets.

Over the past 40 years, LFW has consistently spotlighted diverse artistry and talent, introducing us to some of the brightest minds in the industry. This year was no exception. Fascinating tributes to the past looked back at the legacies of British fashion, icons of pop culture and even the clothes worn by our own loved ones (shoutout to JW Anderson’s grandpa inspired collection). Meanwhile, innovations in textiles and techniques are paving the way for the future of fashion right before our very eyes.

cover image BURBERRY via tag-walk.com