SS18 London round-up

I’m going to rebrand London Fashion Week and call it small and mighty like the concentrated washing liquid. No city could pack as much of a punch as London did into 4 days. Fewer than 65 shows featured on Vogue Runway and gave more trends, ideas and gorgeousness than I can comment on. London reawakens the soul after the snooze-fest that was New York. Designers romanced and subverted their audiences with more excitement than Mr Darcey diving in a cold lake on a hot day. And even better, they were delivered on catwalks rather than gimmicky presentations. We’re really having a moment here.

 

This season designers artfully tread the tight-rope, balancing bold, exciting designs and clothes you may actually wear. Often, London can be criticised for going too far towards the ridiculous. Desperate to be seen and heard, clothes are secondary to the spectacle and it becomes a humorous break between acts. The place editors and buyers come for originality but don’t buy. Well not this year. No, our girl’s grown up. Stunning, delicate and sophisticated dresses, soft, clean tailoring and historical references given to feminine detailing whilst remaining edgy and challenging. Collections balanced on a knife edge. Great design is hitting the sweet spot, making it all too delicious to resist. 

 

The Brits are known for their love and execution of a good period drama. This one would begin in the 1640s. The broad lace trim collars of the time repurposed at Preen, Christopher Kane and Simone Rocha. The best show for this was Preen. The letter A, for adulteress embroidered angrily in red in a reference from The Scarlet Letter. Diaphanous frocks styled with blood red bonnets and socks echoed the Handmaids Tale. Exploring the themes of totalitarianism and religion that still impede women’s freedom today. Preen placed the control back into the body of the protagonist and so can you. Other designers chose later periods, focusing on romance for inspiration. White flowing gowns with gauging and lace trims were reminiscent of the undergarments and dressing in vogue post French revolution. Plenty of satin slips, sheers layers and swash buckling sleeves to make you go weak at the knees. Jane Austin couldn’t write a love story better. Might need to go have a cold shower now.

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History repeating itself

All in the detail... Lace trimmed collars and cuffs, full sleeves, ruffs and waisted gowns. Walk round like a modern day heroine in your own Bronte novel.

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Romance is not dead

Well, not on the catwalks anyway. White, dreamy dresses conjure thoughts of wafting though summer meadows. I'm not really sure how this look will translate to my daily commute on the tube but I'll give it go.

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for the frill of it

The ruffle is very much alive and kicking according to London so don't throw them out just yet, pack em away for next year. Designers move the detail forward by creating tiers and a-symmetry.  

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sheer luck 

Dress as normal and then, just when you think you're done, throw a tulle dress over the top. Be as daring as you like with the under layers. It's totally weather dependant. Being a nesh (Nottingham slang for feeling the cold) sort of a gal, I'll probably be donning it over jumpers and jeans. 

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lady in red

Our scarlet woman this winter moves through to Spring. Worth thinking about when doing your sale shopping or wondering what Autumn frock to buy.

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sunshine on a rainy day

This sunny hue comes in a few shades but my favourite is Marigold as seen at Ports 1961. This is the optimistic shade of generation Z. Yes, that's a thing, Gen Z yellow as championed by Manrepeller. Millennial pink is so last season! Who wouldn't be happy dressed like a daffodil?

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power pink

Ok, so we're not quite ready to let go of our favourite shade of sugared almond. Pastels of all hues were strong throughout London's catwalks. Try tonal dressing for a big impact or clash pastels together like my old friend Chris Candy Sugar Kane here.

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holliwood's call

Like New York, satin was a key fabric on London's catwalks. Most prevalent in dresses, I couldn't help think of 30s screen sirens. Or 1935's Bride of Frankenstein. Again, something about a romantic and historical notion of women wandering around in nightdresses.  

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retro bloom

The granny floral trend I highlighted in May continues to be popular. So don't stop scouring the vintage shops for the very best in Grandma's attic. I thought the mixing shown at Peter Pilotto and coloured grounds at Erdem were particularly strong. 

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stripe out

Bye-bye Bretton. Not a hint of a sailor in these stripes. Bold tracks cut on the bias enhance the a-symmetric feel. 

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spot the difference

Keep your polka face this season, we're not done with you yet.

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what the check?

The answer to this is as plaid as the nose on your face. Nice to see that we are over gingham and happy to issue in the return of a traditional check in non-trod ways.

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suit you sir

Not all flouncing around in frocks. London's more serious side was kept soft and light. Fluid viscose, linen and cotton fabrications added to the easy feeling. Slightly oversized with a rounded shoulder. I like the rope belt detail at Roksanda.

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in the trenches

The humble trench was reworked this spring by exaggerating proportions. All midi length. What you wear underneath them is entirely up to you!

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wind breaker

And style maker! Cagoules are not just for walking holidays in Wales. Take to the streets in them too. If only I had one camping at Port Eliot this year. See Burberry above for styling cues. 

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uniformity

Joseph's whole show was based upon the uniforms we wear and you can see this clearly above. JW Anderson and Natasha Zhinko also saw merit in the perpetually useful utility pocket. Large enough for the iPhone X I suspect.

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cut it out

Slashed, cut, peep holes, splits, notched... whatever it is, make sure it's not whole.

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don't sleeve me this way

I'm happy to continue the discussion on sleeves because they have such ridiculous names. Arm augmentation persists and I even saw a bit of leg-o-mutton action this week. But my favourite are the lantern, angel and bishop shapes. Or go full pirate a la Roksanda above. 3 sheets to the wind!

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I see your point

A little detail but one I must highlight... the pointed collar. I know what you're thinking, I've not seen a point like that since John Travolta in 1977. Indeed. And now it's back from the disco and in the office on crisp, serious shirts. Let your style do the Jive Talking if you know what I mean.