Fashionistas braved high winds in London on Friday to attend the first Fashion Week shows, with a program dominated by young, up-and-coming designers.
Gusts swept through the streets of the British capital as crowds, wrapped in coats and hats, flocked to the first live shows of the week with attendees, which make up around half of the event’s schedule from five days.
It started with the sustainable label SOHUMAN, created by Spaniard Javier Aparici, which promises “radical transparency” about the factories used to make its clothes.
He showed off an ultra-feminine collection of cocktail dresses in red and black with appliqué flowers, sheer panels and giant bows.
Young British designers were then in the spotlight, with Saul Nash showcasing a relaxed but luxurious streetwear collection of merino wool tracksuits, hoodies, puffer jackets and scarves, many of which featured his Saul logo.
With a background in dance and performance, Nash graduated from the Royal College of Art in menswear in 2018.
Another British brand, Poster Girl, known for its ultra-revealing shapewear-style dresses worn by celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Dua Lipa, staged its first après-ski themed show.
Poster Girl designers Francesca Capper and Natasha Somerville, who studied at the prestigious fashion college of Central Saint Martins, showcased their neon-hued designs in a freezing building being demolished.
Models wear tube dresses and leggings bundled up in faux fur coats and puffer jackets. There was even a ski suit, accessorized with bright pink high-heeled sandals. Fans snapped photos on their phones and whistled in approval.
Missing marks –
SS Daley, a brand based in Liverpool in the North West of England recently founded by Steven Stokey Daley, opted for classic unisex tailoring, with baggy trousers and Sherlock Holmes-style check overcoats.
Meanwhile, Matty Bovan, another Nordic designer from York City, presented an Americana-themed collection with models wearing eccentric assemblies of baseball jackets, gingham, denim and colorful crochet.
Absent from this week’s events are several of Britain’s best-known fashion brands, including Burberry, Mulberry and Victoria Beckham.
Burberry has announced it will hold a separate live show in London in March, while Beckham has not attended London Fashion Week, even digitally, for a year. She complained about the high cost of fashion shows.
Another big name in British fashion, Ozwald Boateng, announced at the last minute that he would be holding a comeback show on Monday.
The former creative director of menswear Givenchy, who was the first black-headed designer at a luxury fashion house, hasn’t shown a collection in London for 12 years.
As sustainability and upcycling become industry buzzwords, Britain’s Bethany Williams and Ireland’s Richard Malone will host shows focusing on repurposed materials on Tuesday.
Williams’ materials include abandoned festival tents for clothes and scrap books for bags, while Malone’s designs feature fragments of materials including scrap leather.
Following in the footsteps of designer brands such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, Serbian designer Roksanda Ilincic has announced that she will be selling non-fungible tokens (NFTs), offering digital ownership of a 3D image of her brand’s dress .
– Future stars –
The event, which showcases the fall/winter 2022 collections, was held entirely almost a year ago as it coincided with a nationwide lockdown. Live parades resumed last September.
This time there are nearly 40 such shows including Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, Roksanda, Erdem and Rejina Pyo. Other designers are sticking to digital formats, like punk icon Westwood, who will showcase his latest designs in a video.
After being hit hard by the pandemic, Britain’s fashion sector, which employed around 890,000 people in 2019, is looking for a path to recovery.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, which organizes fashion week, told AFP the industry had had “a very difficult two years”, exacerbated by Brexit-related changes which came into effect on January 31, 2020.
The five-day London showcase is followed by fashion weeks in Milan and Paris later this month.