Burberry’s youth play
Burberry swapped out its interactive show format this season with a much-simplified version. In recent seasons it has created cultural exhibitions as its catwalk backdrop that are then open to the public for a week or so. This season – Christopher Bailey’s last collection for the brand – it took place in a vast, dark warehouse with plain Jane chairs lining the perimeter.
The only dramatic feature were fantastic pendulum spotlights to-and-froing above us, illuminating the models on the catwalk.
The collection was a continuation of last season’s youth-focused fare, a dedication to LGBQT communities and club culture. That translated to rainbow puffers, silk Burberry check tracksuits and the kind of post-ironic logo sweats usually found on Wavey Garms. A polarising collection, the press were confused (“it can’t decide if it’s Gosha or Gucci” quipped my seat mate) but my Insta followers loved it. The best moment was the finale, when the haunting Jimmy Somerville soundtrack erupted with The Communards’ HI-NRG rendition of Don’t Leave Me This Way, accompanied by a wall of rainbow lasers (yep, the lights were in fact an art installation by United Visual Artists). Cue a standing ovation for Christopher Bailey’s final bow.
At the re-see two days later, I got a closer look at the collection. Burberry has evolved its see-now-buy-now strategy (in which the catwalk collection is immediately available in stores) making it ‘order now, ship in August’. A more affordable line of logo tees and other pieces reissued from the archive are available now in selected outlets (buy it here). There will be more drops throughout the year, nodding to the drop culture of Supreme and Vetements-style hype commerce. At Dover Street Market the following day, I saw a steady stream of interested customers making a bee line for the sweats and Burberry rainbow check totes…
Silhouette-wise, it’s been the season of the spectacular sleeve. At Delpozo, Emilia Wickstead and Christopher Kane, modest high-necked blouses and dresses had really great sleeve details. Oh and collars. Big-ass 70s collar shapes were a standout at Emilia Wickstead and Erdem. Meanwhile I loved the fetishy undercurrent at Christopher Kane…
Is street style too young (white and thin)?
After the Delpozo show, a Spanish brand, I couldn’t help noticing how many gorgeous and stylish 50-something guests were milling about afterwards. When I mentioned them to street style photographer Moeez outside, he flagged up this article on The Cut about the lack of age diversity in street style…
Zelens invited me backstage for a pre-show snoop at Emilia Wickstead. I had no idea these guys do makeup as well as skincare but they do and their lipsticks and glosses were just the kind of easy, juicy shades that I love. Make-up wise, it was all about ‘cheeks and a smile’, with apricot blusher doubling up on lids, topped with eye gloss. Zelens called on Caroline Hirons’ team to give the models rejuvenating mini facial treatments before being whipped into the makeup chair. I was interested in the Zelens Power D vitamin D oil serum, which is a secret weapon for anyone with traumatised skin (eczema, allergies, acne) or who just wants plump, healthy looking skin.
Erdem X NARS
At Erdem, the beauty look got a universal thumbs up – a collaboration with NARS that launches in April. It’s all suitably film noir, with deeply pigmented berry lip stains and an eye palette of aubergines and teals.
Mary Katrantzou’s graphic statement
I love how Mary Katrantzou goes her own way. Example: the Bauhaus typography tailoring and modesty dresses. Expect to see these replicated on T-shirts in the inevitable trickle-down.
Art of the scarf
Scarf style has been everywhere this week. From the equestrian silk scarf prints at Burberry and Toga, to the deconstructed styling at Faustine Steinmetz, it’s an easy look to emulate if you’re handy with a sewing machine. Headscarves are always trying to (unsuccessfully) rear their heads at fashion week, but this season it might just take off. Thanks to a surprise appearance by Her Majesty the Queen at newcomer Richard Quinn’s show, plus his own focus on silk scarf styling, there was no escaping the lure of the printed silk carrés. (If you’ve ever wondered how luxury silk carrés are made, step this way).
The Queen and Quinn
In case you missed it, we had a very noble visitor at the main London Fashion Week venue. At the Richard Quinn show on Tuesday, murmurings started as front row guests spotted a rogue Perspex chair complete with velvet cushion in their midst. Yes, the actual Queen of England was in attendance to present the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to Quinn. How magnificent! As if that wasn’t enough, she also toured the Designer Showrooms where smaller designers have their stands. Imagine being jeweller Lily Kamper, feeling slightly deflated as all the big press and buyers have already trotted off to Milan, then finding your work being presented to the Queen…!
One to watch: Rejina Pyo
Reading the buyers’ round up on WWD, there’s a lot of enthusiasm for Rejina Pyo right now. This designer has slowly and steadily honed her brand and aesthetic and her off-kilter gentlewoman vibe (plus beautiful bags) is a look women can’t get enough of…
There was a sad note at fashion week, as the industry said goodbye to the legend that was Judy Blame. One of the most influential figures of the last 30 years, if you love bricolage fashion, safety pins, deconstruction and customisation, you have him to thank. Read Paul Flynn’s heartfelt tribute here.
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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
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