This felt like an extremely polished London Fashion Week. Roksanda, JW Anderson, Victoria Beckham and particularly Mary Katrantzou showed mature, slick collections that nailed their individual DNAs. And while you expect the newbies to be a bit scrappier in their presentation, they too were impressively coherent.
I was blown away by Matty Bovan, who, assisted by Katie Grand’s crack styling team and a helping hand from Coach, delivered a super-sophisticated spectacle reminiscent of Westwood or Galliano. His USP is a very British artsy-craftsy take on knitwear that was bricolaged with crochet, ruffles and Liberty-print florals, styled to the max with platform shoes and giant bow hats.
Maximalism aside, my personal standouts lean towards the cleaner cuts and less trend-driven pieces. (Read: no feathers for me. There were so many feathered frocks. Who are they for?!) JW Anderson showed a refined maturity compared to past seasons of experimentalism, with these exacting capes and coats opening the show. I reviewed the show on a SHOWstudio live panel alongside Rosanna Falconer, Katie Baron and Maria Kastani, so you can watch us unpicking the secret to his success here.
Pringle of Scotland did what all good heritage brands do, delved into the archive and modernised some signature house codes. Cue graphic argyle sweaters, tartan tailoring and some fab knitted headwear by Stephen Jones. And take note, the blanket cape is still going strong for AW19. On the whole, it was a very clean and uncluttered showcase for the incredible yarns and knitting techniques Pringle has produced over 200 years.
Meanwhile, Margaret Howell gave us the familiar gender-fluid classics we’ve come to expect, in this case relaxed layering, a tasty spice-seasoned colour palette and lots of belted baggy pants. And Victoria Beckham’s styling was also bang on point – the contrast coloured footwear, pointy collars over heritage knits and perfect funnel neck sweater for tucking your hair into, stuck in my mind. (Also, ICYMI, Victoria Beckham will be launching her own beauty line this autumn.)
I always head to Dover Street Market for a breather between shows; it’s good see what’s actually happening at shop floor level. Jil Sander menswear is looking particularly good, alongside the Dries van Noten Verner Panton pieces. And I liked the Noah section and skater tees downstairs. That £50-100 price point is actually quite good for statement casualwear that won’t date too quickly. There were a few pieces from the Aries X Jeremy Deller collab, inspired by Stonehenge spiritualism and mysticism (an emerging AW19 trend).
You’re not supposed to take photos of the clothes at DSM but I snuck a few pics; an Aries X Jeremy Deller shirt, a rail of dreamy Dries and Robert Wood womenswear, men’s knitwear by Survival of the Fashionest, Michael Kostiff’s tabloid tales punk tees and a mini pop-up from Idea Books’ vintage London books archive…
I also checked out the new Riccardo Tisci Burberry collection that had just dropped in the Regent Street flagship. The main store has a huge focus on bags and accessories with the RTW going on upstairs around the edges. Off the runway, it’s the classic pieces that stand out, whereas the streetwear pieces lost some of their impact without the styling and look – dare I say it – a tad gimmicky.
LFW has been pushing its sustainability credentials for a few seasons. On the last day of the shows, we were treated to the Bethany Williams AW19 show, a brilliant young designer who was awarded the QEII Award For Design by the Duchess of Cornwall post-show. I mentioned some of her work in this post about the Maiyet Collective, but as well as employing creative techniques and materials, she’s an advocate for giving back to society in a number of ways. For this season she worked with a Liverpool women’s shelter and a prison rehabilitation initiative.
And the funnest, ‘interactive’ show award goes to Mother of Pearl, who presented its SS19 collection in a sea of (recycled) plastic balls for us to ‘swim’ in at the incredible Fitzrovia Chapel. (Not joking, I legit nearly drowned in there!) The collection promotes circularity (hence the balls) and sustainable practices and a nine-piece collection will be sold at Net-a-Porter in June.
Want more London Fashion Week AW19? Head to Proportion London, where I blogged my daily LFW AW19 trend round-ups here.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: JW Anderson, 2 x Matty Bovan, 2 x JW Anderson, 2 x Pringle of Scotland, 2 x Margaret Howell (via Catwalking.com), 2 x Victoria Beckham, 5 x Dover Street Market, 2 x Bethany Williams (by Jamie Stoker), Mother of Pearl
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