There was no real unity this season. The diversity of London was at its best, with a juxtaposition of fabrics, trends and even historical periods. Topshop’s bohemian girl was recovering from the recession of the 1970s, browsing through flea markets and choosing bold animal prints, latex skirts and bright pinks.
J.W. Anderson looked to the time of Henry VIII for inspiration. Christopher Kane was reminiscing about London in the 1940s, while Mulberry was feeling nostalgic for the bygone uniforms of Great Britain.
As the Tudor period found its way on to the catwalk, a new silhouette emerged. Oversized sleeves, cotton robes reminiscent of armoured undergarments, and button-up dresses became the main pieces of the new season.
Neo-baroque details were important touches for the Burberry collection. Inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Orlando for his non-seasonal, gender-fluid collection, creative director Christopher Bailey brought in exuberant silk bows, the softest smoking jackets and gorgeous lace dresses that wouldn’t be out of a place in a romantic novel.
Erdem Moralioglu, founder of the brand Erdem and the favourite designer of front-row editor Anna Wintour, was intrigued by a 350-year-old trunk recently discovered off the coast of Holland and containing damask silk English court dresses. Making the shipwreck the main theme of his collection, he dressed his languid models in frocks with exquisite lace detailing.
Johnny Coca of Mulberry made utility central to his uniform-inspired collection. The designer focussed on the formal dress of British society, from girls’ school jackets to classic Oxbridge undergraduate-style blazers.
New retail concepts
Burberry and Topshop presented their new retail models. In the world of social media and bloggers, no one is willing to wait six months for a collection to be released. Having realised that, these retail behemoths provided a new approach, focussing on a business model of ‘see now, buy now’, with the collections available in stores and online immediately after the shows.
This put extra pressure on the designers to deliver a range that customers can wear in the current season, while previous stock is still in the shops. It’s fair to say that the business model worked well: the Topshop pop-up that was presented to the press after the show was out of stock within an hour. The same happened at the brand’s online store and key retail outlets.
Since London Fashion Week moved to the Brewer Street Car Park from the comfortable and spacious Somerset House, the designers’ shows have spread around town. This season may have been a disappointment, however, with more empty seats at key shows than ever before, owing to the traffic and the widely spread locations of the events.
Mulberry’s new collection has a strong feeling of a future sell-out, while Anya Hindmarch has introduced three new styles, including a micro-sized bag.
J.W. Anderson’s Pierce bag was the firm favourite among the street-style stars and show goers, proving that this designer is going from strength to strength.
Topshop’s Unique collection included a strong footwear element in the same animal themes as in the womenswear line. Its striking shoes were a great addition to the show.