Following a jam-packed first day at London Fashion Week, the second run of shows commenced with the promise of a thought-provoking blend of big names and emerging talent.
Day two kicked off with a strong showing from younger brands, including from Molly Goddard and Alexa Chung representing the next generation of designers.
The relative newcomers’ cool-girl reputations meant their shows were some of the most popular this season, especially with celebrities.
For Alexa Chung – who held her first ever catwalk show for her namesake brand – this meant a front row brimming with familiar faces like Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe and even Steve Coogan.
Meanwhile, Goddard enlisted the help of her friends and fellow fashionistas Adwoah Aboa and Edie Camobell to model her new season collection, taking to the runway with each of them by her side at the end of her show.
But, the schedule provided further inspiration elsewhere with a number of stalwarts in the business inciting a seismic shift in the industry. Think J.W. Anderson’s cross-pollination of menswear and womenswear to Gareth Pugh’s grippingly beautiful radicalism and Temperley London’s diverse cast of models.
Whether you favour the old or the new, day two’s offerings left us feeling hopeful that London Fashion Week hasn’t lost its playful spirit.
Here are the highlights from the very best of today’s shows.
One of Britain’s most successful designers, Jonathan Anderson, has become renowned for producing clothes that create conversation, are androgynous and yet entirely wearable.
Celebrated for his cross-pollination between menswear and womenswear elements, the designer recently made, what felt like a natural progression, to co-ed collections, showcasing both at the same time.
However, for spring/summer 2019 the runway was dominated by women. Of course, these weren’t any ordinary women. These were swashbuckling sirens navigating the sartorial seas, pirate-style bandanas and all.
Anderson was clearly having fun with the clothes this season, constantly switching between the traditional and the avant-garde. The aforementioned headwear, while thematic, was surprisingly chic, finished in black or white and decorated with interlocking gilded loops.
From lime green and red cowboy boots to chainmail tops, trousers with knee pads and puffed out shoulders, the most divisive of trends were presented in a way that made us want to, and feel like we could, wear them.
The collection also offered a lesson in layering. From midi skirts worn over wide-leg trousers to doily-esque mini capes worn under strappy tops and shorter dresses piled ontop of longer ones, in Anderson’s world, almost anything goes.
House of Holland
Over the years, we have come to expect the tongue-in-cheek and eccentric designs that House of Holland has embedded into its DNA, however this season felt different.
In a show called “Pull in Emergency”, designer Henry Holland eschewed the spectacle of the runway – minus the hordes of influencers that sat front row vaping on a new e-cigarette which he has launched – in favour of a more grown-up collection.
With a focus on the commercial future of the pieces he had created, this season was all about garments that you might actually consider wearing; if you’re into neon that is.
Injected with a glaringly palpable Eighties vibe, Holland’s crew of models stormed the runway wearing everything from boxy two-piece suits to snake print shirts and even skintight speedo catsuits in a rainbow of neon colours. Pieces that will undoubtedly appeal to the House of Holland girl.
In what felt like one of her strongest shows yet, designer Alice Temperley cast a crew of diverse models spanning all ages and ethnicities, but sadly not sizes. From 64-year-old photographer Ellen Von Unwerth to 50-year-old actress Helen McCrory and pregnant model Arizona Muse, it was an all-star cast and clear that Temperley wanted to prove she was about so much more than sparkly dresses.
That being said, the dresses were divine. Diaphanous and free-flowing, the gowns came swathed in gilded motifs, monochrome stripes and peach satin, but there was still plenty on offer for those who want to look embrace their femininity without wearing a frock.
Here, everything from day-ready jumpsuits, to two-piece suits came intricately festooned with colourful sequins and prints inspired by neo-classical architecture.
The offering, like the woman it was made by, the women who modelled it, and those who will inevitably buy it, was brimming with confidence.
On her 10 year anniversary, Mary Katrantzou’s show notes began with a heartfelt thank you to her team, mentors and friends, press, retailers, her parents and anyone that played a part in her life since she established her namesake brand in 2008.
And so, to celebrate the occasion, Katrantzou’s mind turned to the concept of what a collection is, and so created one inspired by collections, collecting and collectors.
In this instance, each of the garments made reference to stockpiling specific objects. From dresses fashioned out of oversized postage stamps sealed in plastic to butterfly adorned tunic tops and gowns that became walking works of art, every piece was inspired by a specific approach, shape and of course print, Katrantzou’s signature.
As the finale ensued, the models themselves became collectibles as shimmering dresses were made into blown glass shapes that transformed the women into living, breathing perfume bottles. It was certainly a sight to behold.