Tuesday, 22 October 2013

London's Fashion Affair

Over the past few years, London has been steadily establishing itself alongside the likes of New York, Paris and Milan as one of the capitals of the fashion world. With new designers coming out of the city every year, London is definitely one of the most exciting places to be getting dressed in, and one only needs to glance at a few of the collections from the recent Fashion Week to see why. It is impossible to miss the variety between shows, and the imaginative potential contained in every individual outfit makes it difficult to pin down every trend or idea to have been born on the vibrant London catwalks. However, a few recurring themes can definitely be detected, and will almost certainly be finding their ways onto the highstreet very soon.

Probably the most prominent trend to have come out of the SS14 shows is lace, mostly in pretty, pastel colours; pink is definitely here to stay, but cool, mojito greens and soft lavenders also made an appearance, transforming the catwalks into a colourful sweet shop of peppermint creams and palma violets. "Sweet" is definitely a word fitting to Temperley's collection, which made full use of pinks and sheer, delicate fabrics, whilst Orla Kiely merged pretty pastels with exotic patterns, animal motifs and explorer's bags to create a sort of Boy Scout chic. Make-up was equally delicate across the catwalks, with lightly blushed cheeks and pale lips being the dominant beauty trend.

If you're looking for something a little more edgy, but still with the element of delicacy which lace exudes, look no further than John Rocha. Rocha covers his models in heavy, black lace and sheer materials which allow glimpses of the flesh beneath, thus lifting the weight of the pieces. Wide brimmed, lace hats shield the models' faces from view, hinting at a gothic, almost Victorian state of mourning, whilst maxi skirts and dresses are given lift with floral lace patterns.  
If lace isn't your thing, JW Anderson is more than happy to cater to your taste with a no-nonsense collection which experiments with a variety of fabrics and shapes. Over and over again, Anderson folds leather over leather in an asymmetric harmony of wrap skirts and tunics, in a way in which the designer himself acknowledges as a nod towards techniques of Japanese origami.
Of course, you could just be completely different and take a sparkly leaf out of Tom Ford's incredibly eclectic, always beautiful book; from sleek, business-like suits to intricately patterned leather dresses, Ford's collection just begs to be hanging in your wardrobe. However, it is undoubtedly the mini dresses that steal the show. It is as though Ford has smashed a disco ball and sewn the fragments into glittering outfits fit for the party of the century; and then decided that they were missing something, and added thigh-high boots in matching sparkle.

If the lace is too pretty, the leather too tough or the Tom Ford just too Tom Ford, you could always ground yourself in blooming gardens and luxurious ruffles; Preen slices up flower beds and nearly slots them back together into a kaleidoscopic vision of colour, whilst Mary Kantrantzou scatters frilly floral dreams across dresses, skirts and coats. Temperley do not hold back, throwing pink and purple flowers at subtle leopard print kisses and pale material, which wraps itself softly around the models, before cascading down to the ground.

If flowers and frills aren't your thing, someone somewhere in London has got you covered; Emilia Wickstead keeps it simple and sophisticated with bright, block colours and vertical stripes, playfully wrapping mini dresses in a tuneful pattern of ivory and black pianos and music notes. The dominating accessory throughout the shows comes in the form of big, retro sunglasses. Chunky heels and flatforms stamp authoritatively back and forth, whilst the bomber jacket, in all it's guises, provides another recurring theme; Erdem and Jonathan Saunders give the jacket a feminine twist with florals on silk, whilst Sister by Sibling takes it one step further, covering they're baseball jackets with actual pastel coloured flowers.

Despite the obvious eclecticism, there were of course some consistencies throughout the weekend in London; layering is in, whether it be in the form of skirts over trousers or sheer folds of material over material, giving us a series of multi-layered hemlines and interesting silhouettes which combine fabrics and patterns to create a jumbled, visual feast. If you take a look at one SS14 collection from London, let it be Burberry Prorsum's masterpiece, which brings together, in beautiful harmony, almost every single trend to have come out of the catwalk this month. The show completely captured the zeitgeist with lace, pastel shades, jewels, sunglasses and model of the moment, Cara Delevigne, in a transparent plastic raincoat.

The catwalks of Fashion Week have this year played host to a scaled-down version of a city famed for its eccentricity; a city which, surely, can by now take its place amongst the ranks of the fashion capitals of New York, Paris, and Milan, armed with a series of young designers who are ready to change what we wear, and how we wear it.

Photos: London Fashion Week Website http://www.londonfashionweek.co.uk/designers.aspx?exhibitor=1

Author: Grace Cain
Editor: Natalia Tkacheva