London Fashion Week is a hotbed of fresh creative talent, with shows from newcomers such as Matty Bovan and other Fashion East designers showing on the schedule alongside British luxury brands Burberry, Mulberry and Pringle. The contrast of the old guard vs the new guard is a huge international pull and this season London offered plenty of key trends and brands to watch. Here, store buyers pick their top collections for autumn/winter 2018
At London Fashion Week AW18, directors from major stores lauded Christopher Bailey’s final collection for Burberry for its sense of hope and optimism, while stalwart London names, such as Mary Katrantzou, Preen, Simone Rocha, Roksanda and Erdem, delivered collections that celebrated homespun techniques, use of rich fabrics and heritage themes. The arts and crafts trend from spring/summer 18 continues with London’s designers offering up rich, beautiful pieces full of tactile surprises – from jacquard to lace, tulle and shearling – that will stand the test of time.
Key trends with buyers included layered knitwear, luxury streetwear, femininity with an edge, prairie dresses, romantic layering, dark florals, craftsmanship, partywear, cinch-waisted or high-waisted trousers and tailoring for women who like to dress up. Brocade, jacquard, tapestry and even quilted upholstery silks and rich layered knits were everywhere, showcasing how London designers love to turn tradition on its head to deliver modern, investment pieces for international customers.
Sebastian Manes, buying and merchandising director, Selfridges
Favourite collections: Gareth Pugh, Burberry, Preen, Simone Rocha, Toga, Mary Katrantzou and Huishan Zhang.
Top trends: 'This season London has been all about femininity with an edge. Our key trends have been feminine textures such as lace or embellishment, luxury streetwear, leopard print, rainbow stripes and delicate crystal beading. There is a sense of femininity but with a darker elegance.'
Key pieces: Simone Rocha’s feminine ruched dresses, Preen’s dark floral coats, Toga outerwear, Mary Katrantzou statement dresses, Burberry rainbow leather jackets and sneakers.
Rebecca Tinker, womenswear buyer, Harvey Nichols
Favourite collections: Roksanda, Peter Pilotto, Erdem and Rejina Pyo.
Top trends: 'The empowerment of women was a key trend that transpired through most collections at London Fashion Week.’ We loved Erdem’s show, which was held within the rooms of the National Portrait Gallery, that marked the centenary of women gaining the vote in Britain – the setting was perfect for the collection that took us on a fairy tale journey.'
Key pieces: 'I loved the accessories at Rejina Pyo and exaggerated yet expressive gowns at Roksanda. In particular, I loved the use of colour at Roksanda – pastel blues and yellows which transpired into buttery tans and deeper burgundies. Peter Pilotto gave us fun and lavish party dressing with a focus on intricate flowing prints. At Erdem there was a shift from the usual – silhouettes were more sensual, with skimpy bustiers and transparent dresses adorned with netting, and mesh headwear.'
Alexandra Gordon, womenswear buyer, Liberty
Favourite collections: Marques’ Almeida, Ports 1961, Roksanda and Matty Bovan.
Top trends: layering, shearling, the 1980s, tailoring that focused on the waist and oversized outerwear.
Key pieces: Marques’ Almeida x Louise Gray graphic sweatshirt, Rejina Pyo oversized structured trench and shearling coats
Candice Fragis, buying and merchandising director, Farfetch (owner, Browns)
Favourite collections: Burberry, Preen, Ports 1961 and Halpern.
Top trends: femininity ‘from bows to lace details,’ flowing florals, fluid tailoring, layers of knitwear, ‘clothes that remind you what it’s like to dress as a woman,’ and fun partywear for going out.
Key pieces: floral dresses, feminine prints, fluid tailoring, blankets as oversized scarves and Halpern’s sequinned jumpsuits.
Lisa Aiken, women’s fashion retail director, Net-a-Porter
Favourite collections: Rejina Pyo, Preen, Simone Rocha, Halpern, Erdem and Roksanda.
Top trends: rich exuberant fabrics and textures, such as sequins, jacquard and heavy lace. The heritage theme was key in London – for example with jacquard knits, checks and blanket dressing. There is a big shift to faux fur and shearling is particularly topical. Roksanda’s collection stood out for its elegant use of colour and unexpected combinations.
Key pieces: the midi-dress, trouser suits and trench-coats.
Jenny Jioe, managing director of fashion, VIP.com
Favourite collections: all the Fashion East designers, including Asai, Charlotte Knowles, Supriya Lele and Symonds Pearmain. Plus we loved the knits at Matty Bovan.
Top trends: the key trends from London Fashion Week are street fashion and colour blocking, as well as textures – lots of great new textures created from different fabric mixes and patterns. These are the trends that will translate well for our Chinese customers.
Key pieces: knitwear, multi-media and clashing textures across coats, dresses and knits.
Keep up to date on see now, buy now fashion week shopping trends across our @GlobalBlue social media accounts.