London Fashion Week SS17

London trailed behind in terms of innovation, as designers were reluctant to take risks with many basing their collections off of “trending” brands – i.e Mulberry taking codes from Vetements while Burberry seemed very Gucci thanks to maximalism and historic references.

This London Fashion Week has been a particular milestone for me because it is the first time I happen to be living in one of the world’s greatest fashion capitals – simultaneously unpacking cardboard boxes in my dorm room and juggling a very busy fashion week schedule. How incredible it is to live in a city renowned for pulsing with new ideas, passion, and talent. There was however a general consensus that this season, London trailed behind in terms of innovation, as designers were reluctant to take risks with many basing their collections off of “trending” brands – i.e Mulberry taking codes from Vetements while Burberry seemed very Gucci thanks to maximalism and historic references. Such styling clearly legitimising the power of Vetements and Gucci as the current dominant trendsetters.

My overall feeling is that the week emphasised styling more so than challenging ideals.

Was this lack of freshness due to the confusion of “see now buy now?” Was it the translucent fog of BREXIT covering the clarity of creative direction? Was there simply too much noise- too many shows too many clothes too many photographers too many bloggers too many stylists too many consultants diluting the appreciation for excellence? Overwhelming it is as a mere spectator hopping from show to show- but the pressure and change designers constantly endure is unimaginable and I think we are on a verge of a tipping point either at the cost of creativity or commerce. My overall feeling is that the week emphasised styling more so than challenging ideals. While some shows were exquisite (Erdem and Simone Rocha stand out to me), most looks on display could be compared to buzzwords- eye-catching, striking, bold but after turning the page, forgettable.

Nevertheless, some key trends emerged over the 4 days for SS17. First of all, linen is back and all the rage connoting to simpler times with elements of purity and innocence as shown at Paul Costello. Also a power shoulder making the 80’s proud has developed into all the rage and whether leg o’mutton or puffed – your sleeves will be loud and proud. The colour which swept the runway was A. chalky powder pink -delicate yet refreshingly tangy as interpreted at Roksanda (a true magician of colour) and B. crisp white. Another trend which sprung out from this week was the cradles and cradles of historical references. From the subtle renaissance cues at J.W Anderson with a rolled hem at the cuff and waist, to Erdem’s early 20th century lean silhouettes, to Art Deco structured architecture at Anya Hindmarsh. Most importantly paying a tribute to the past was the time traveling Orlando inspired collection at Burberry. Brocades! Baroque! Arts and Craft – the whole works. The Burberry show at Maker’s house displayed an intimate, gender fluid collection, readily available for purchase in store and online immediately after hitting the runway.

Change is good and it will be exciting to see how the sales figures compare to normal fashion cycles. The buzz around the show was immense and is sure to spark interest immediately. On the other hand though, this model seems almost passé or stuck in the time travel machine in the past. Vetements displayed their SS17 show in July while most other showed their spring collection now. Burberry could be interpreted as late to the party of Autumn/ Winter or perhaps is everyone else late to this #showandshop strategy tailor made for future generations. Only time will tell. Virginia Woolf wrote “He who robs us of our dreams robs us of our life” so let us hope that those dreams of cutting edge design will not be robbed by a fast-fashion model.

The lack of this “Ooomph” statement made the week feel generally lukewarm apart from few exceptions such as Louise Trotter’s collection for Joseph.

As in every fashion season, there are moments of brilliance and each collection is fuelled by passion and hundreds of hours of work so effectively no show can ever be “bad”. However what people were desperately craving was a justification for “why am I here?” Why have I travelled to London, stuck in traffic, waiting for a 40 min late Addison Lee cab in the rain?” The point is to celebrate genius, celebrate talent and generate conversations on a wider political sphere and on human behaviour through the catalyst of clothes. The lack of this “Ooomph” statement made the week feel generally lukewarm apart from few exceptions such as Louise Trotter’s collection for Joseph highlighting contemporary nomadism providing food for thought on the concept of home, expats and the migrant crisis all in glorious layered 90s athleisure wear and windbreakers sculpted into abstract forms thanks to a drawstring.

But maybe this is exactly the point. In times of uncertainty why shake things up even more? Stagnation is sometimes necessary and we all need a moment to regroup, adjust…. keep calm and carry on – pardon the cliché!

In other news:  crocs are back on the scene thanks to the “make do and mend” mentality by Christopher Kane. Pair those bad boys with a velour Juicy Tracksuit and its a full on #FBF 🙂