London Fashion Week SS18: A Colourful, Sequenced and Checked Resistance

The UK has tragically experienced a difficult summer, but whoever thought this season’s collections would reflect doom and gloom is mistaken. The land of “Keep calm and carry on” held its head proudly and London fashion week proved itself as a creative pool of optimism, ingenuity, and fun – all in a let your hair hang loose kind of way. One moment which particularly captured the adventurous spirit of London was at Molly Goddard’s show, where homegrown supermodel Edie Campbell pranced around the catwalk (model colleagues behind) with a glass of wine in hand and a cigarette to her lips. The Goddard girls wore high-waist dresses with bouncy layers of tulle as skirts bringing the energy and the naughtiness of a toddler. She captured London Fashion Week in a “you know what, things are crazy but while we are here – let’s have fun!” kind of way.

Other, particularly young brands, resonated with this cheerful attitude through bright colours, big silhouettes, and lots and lots of bedazzle. And really, who today does the dazzle better than Michael Halpern, labeled as “darling of the season”, with his satin and sequenced Studio 54 homage. (Disco isn’t dead – its back and who doesn’t want that?) Halpern, who only now presented his sophomore collection, is experiencing unprecedented success and has already sold out a collection at Bergdorf’s. The question remains however, as Halpern has made a name for himself under one style- Can he evolve and adapt or does he risk the supernova burnout of a one hit wonder? Who cares really? He’s having fun, we’re having fun. Burn baby burn.

Another stand out “New kid on the block” was British designer Richard Designer. Quinn, who graduated from Central Saint Martins only last year, too exhibited a pulsing collection full of zeal. Due to his exceptional talent with prints, the iconic London department store Liberty provided the up-and-coming designer a global platform to debut. Sartorially speaking, his floral printed jumpsuits were not groundbreaking, however Quinn managed to capture the vibrant energy of London and we look forward to his future outings.

For me, best in show was J.W Anderson, Simone Rocha, and Chalayan who like Marc Jacobs in New York, seemed to cut through all of the “noise” and presented honest forward thinking collections true to their own creative visions. They did not need to hide behind the “bells and whistles” of a Tommy Hilfiger Roundhouse extravaganza or the very questionable “Sex sells” attitude presented at Julien MacDonald.

Also, Christopher Bailey at Burberry presented a refreshingly authentic collection at the Old Sessions house in Clerkenwell amongst a backdrop of 20th-century British photography hung on crumbling walls. It was less polished than previous seasons, but the Fair Isle sweaters, hooded anoraks, and winter accessories brought an unfiltered warmth. With many nations currently divided, including the UK, it was almost heartwarming to see that the iconic Burberry check is back, bringing with itself a unifying identity to the brand and in a way to the country.

The big takeaway in London was that the collective fashion community gave a big fat NO to Brexit where colour, pattern and vibrance acted as flamboyant forms of political resistance. However, with the falling pound since the referendum and with London still the epicentre for incubating tomorrow’s creative talent, could the local industry perhaps reap benefits from eager international buyers?

Time will tell, but for now, time to get your groove on.