Biannual fashion extravaganza London Fashion Week has just wound up after a packed schedule of menswear and womenswear shows, spread across all corners of the capital. Highlights included established designers like Burberry, Paul Costelloe, Molly Goddard, David Koma and Malan Breton’s final show, plus a new crop of designers from BFC NEWGEN and Fashion Scout. London proved its credentials once again as the world’s most innovative fashion hub, with wildly creative designs that included flower pots and bags made from discarded sneakers, laser cut dresses, suits made from upholstery fabric, repurposed army shirts and football jerseys and much more.
Karina Bond’s signature pieces are made from laser cut organza which is sewn to create sculptural and luminescent futuristic dresses. Her new collection was inspired by Tim Burton’s fantastical film Edward Scissorhands. The 24 looks, in a delicious color palette of deep purple, vibrant coral and saffron yellow, each represent an otherworldly creature like Edward. Thousands of hand-beaded flakes, like fish scales, wrap around the body, while fur-like frayed bias panels of organza spread down to the floor. Cabaret performers brought the looks to life in a magical runway show at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
The founder of All Saints has launched Stuart Trevor, a fashion brand built on sustainability that uses existing clothes, dead stock fabric, recycled yarn and organic cotton, linen and hemp that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Military shirts, overalls, leather jackets, silk pyjamas and more are reworked, rebranded, cut up, distressed, reimagined and handcrafted with care – patched, printed, sprayed, washed and embroidered. Stuart Trevor said ‘I have been asked multiple times about launching a new collection. I always replied “there are already far too many clothes in the world, the last thing we need is another clothing brand. What about a clothing brand that doesn’t produce any clothing?” And the result is not only highly covetable items but a new brand that’s good for the planet.
Asian American designer and 2020 graduate of Central Saint Martins BA Knitwear, Chet Lo presented a collection featuring seductive prints, a modern ode to ancient Chinese erotic art and Shunga. These prints are on knit lace trousers and satin devore tops. Also on show were knit lace mini dresses, second-skin skirts and white leather jackets. This season, spikes take on various levels of intensity; on babydoll tees and on maxi skirts.
Graceful fluid folds, dramatic split capes and sinuous waterfall drapes, Edeline Lee’s designs were beautifully showcased in a white-walled gallery. The brand’s core shapes are in bold colors, often accented with ivory hand-covered buttons and buckles with gold hardware. The palette features shades of Fuchsia, Saffron, Lime, Turquoise, Lapis, Malachite, Royal Blue, Navy, Ivory and Gold. The house’s signature pebbled Flou Bubble Jacquard, heavyweight Georgette Champion and lightweight Georgette Crinkle fabrics are complemented by a Charmeuse Crinkle with a soft sheen, a sparkling Sequin Stripe Net, a bold Macro Square Sequin Net and a molten gold Lame Jacquard.
London College of Fashion and the Royal College of Art graduate JE Cai’s strong range of womenswear in neutral colors and high-quality fabrics, draws inspiration from architecture, and using a Product Design approach. The collection of base layers and components are interchangeable, using the JE CAI Algorithmic Modular System [AMS], allowing products to be engineered to form individual expression and used season after season.
Sagaboi designer Geoff Cooper has collaborated with Ukrainian accessories brand Etape to create a collection of gorgoeus leather handbags in four colors and three sizes: black, orange, green and yellow. The bags feature Sagaboi’s village print and links two peoples separated by decades and thousands of miles, but united in the migrant experience. The rectangular shape of the bags can be seen as a lovely tribute to the designer’s father who had bag like that as a conductor on London buses in the 1960s. The result is an iconic bag that pops with color, energy, style and above all – confidence and hope.
Scottish designer Hector Maclean, formerly of Alexander Mcqueen is a talented young designer to watch. His second collection, presented in an atmospheric church and garden, included extravagant dresses in a range of lavish fabrics and textures, all recycled or offcut fabrics, reinforcing the idea of rejuvenation, which is very close to Hector’s personal experience. The fabrics were donated, some are decades old and yet there is a freshness to the garments and a lightness in the silhouettes.
Helen Kirkum has expanded her upcycled range further to include housewares like flowerpots made from discarded sneakers. Also on show were handcrafted mini bags made using woven and knotted shoelaces, as well as a crossbody bag made entirely from salvaged tongue linings. In addition to the return of the Palimpsest Sneaker V2 in the core colours, the brand unveiled a new collaged mesh material way in ‘Bleached Lime’ and ‘Process Blue’ tones, accompanied by a new low slip-on silhouette crafted from their woven shoelace material.
David Koma can always be counted on for the wow factor at London Fashion Week. Showing this week at the cavernous tanks at Tate Modern, his Spring-Summer 2024 Collection was inspired by the idea of the English rose as embodied by a young Elizabeth II. The rose is apparent in silhouettes, embellishments and prints on clothes and boots. Evoking petals, sculptural ruffles burst from the body like roses in bloom, hand-crafted sequined petals encrusted on tulle create fallen-leaf effects and the acidic colors of oversized rose prints are amplified by black backdrops. The color palette includes green, orange, pink and lilac shades, complemented by black and white.
Ray Chu’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in the use of eco-friendly materials. Suits are the brand’s signature, with meticulous workmanship and precise tailoring that captures the gender-neutral silhouette.
Presented by fashion show producer, Global Fashion Collective, art meets fashion in WooLeeX by Taiwanese design duo Jerry and Cynthia Hsieh. The graduates of the London College of Fashion create colorful menswear and womenswear featuring hand-painted graffiti, embroidery and a blend of different patterns and textures. Coats made from upcycled upholstery fabric were particular standouts.
Francisco Zhou and Asya Ter-Hovakimyan founded Omniss in 2016, while still studying at London College of Fashion. Combining the ingenuity of AI and meticulous manual craftsmanship, this season’s offering repurposed off-cuts and pre-existing articles, in keeping with the values of an ecologically conscious generation. Pieces are made to last from sustainable materials in sustainable way. The idea is to buy one good pair of trousers or dress and wear it in multiple ways or you invest in one jacket and by changing collars you can achieve different looks.
London-based womenswear label Apujan is inspired by themes from fantasy and literature. Each season, armed with a list of books, Apu Jan creates a story containing his favorite elements. This collection includes fine-knit garments, evening gowns, sportswear and leisure wear, printed dresses, shirts and some menswear. Off the runway, the designer has collaborated with various industries and created In-flight loungewear for EVA airline, the costumes for the Cloud GateDance Theatre of Taiwan and uniform design for SAMSUNG global.
Showing as part of London Fashion Week’s NewGen, the University of Westminster MA Menswear has an outstanding reputation for producing talented, original fashion designers and this year was no exception. The attention to detail and exquisite finishing from all 14 designers on the runway was astounding. Westminster alumni include now established designers Robyn Lynch, Liam Hodges, Roberta Einer and Ashley Williams, as well as Christopher Bailey and Vivienne Westwood.
Pam Hogg, presented as always by Fashion Scout, was a fabulous mixture of eccentricity and high drama. This season, the collection was dedicated to Sinead O’Connor and included Pam Hogg’s trademark punk and original designs, using materials like PVC, gold lurex, sheer mesh and metallics.
Hosted by London Fashion Week, Ukrainian Fashion Week showed three brands: Kseniaschnaider, Elenareva and Nadya Dzyak. Despite the air raid sirens and missile attacks, Ukrainian designers continue to create. In the finale, Ksenia Schnaider, Elena Reva and Nadya Dzyak come out draped with flags of Ukraine with signatures of Ukrainian heroes.
Jayne Pierson’s art-driven designs using leather pleating, luxe woven fabrics and silks, are made in West Wales. The brand aims to be sustainable, with hand-painted fabrics and bespoke direct to textile digital printing. The use of 3D printing technology enables the commitment to producing in limited, on demand runs.