London Fashion Week reset
London Fashion Week reset
British designers will have you dressed in positivity, inclusivity and sustainability come spring next year. By Sandra Porto
It was a real reset: the most sustainable, inclusive and diverse London Fashion Week to date and that didn’t happen by chance. The British Fashion Council went to great lengths to ensure it followed up on its promise to work towards a more sustainable and inclusive industry.
Watching the shows this season felt like turning a page, the starting point towards a new reality. The pandemic has accelerated many incoming changes and London Fashion Week responded with a hybrid event combining digital and Covid-safe physical events, strictly controlled and by invitation only. Designers’ stories and inspiration during lockdown were translated into creations and shared in a multimedia platform available for everyone to see. It was a seamless collaboration between fashion, culture and technology that a few years ago would have been difficult to achieve.
Only a few seasons ago, fashionistas and press commented on diversity and sustainability as desirable but still distant improvements. In this new world however, the discussion has moved from “we need to do this” to “we’re doing it, how can we improve and keep going?” It’s a world where digital, diversity, sustainability and responsibility are no longer desirables but imprint into the very fabric, as the BFC said: “by resetting business models, rethinking old schedules and planning for a better, more responsible future.” Positive Fashion, the BFC Foundation initiative set to improve equality and opportunities in the industry, has already seen 67 designers and students be granted £1.5 million towards a better and more inclusive industry.
Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council CEO, said of this year’s event: “LFW is one of the few international events to still be going ahead in London, proving the industry’s resilience, creativity, and innovation in difficult times. This ability to adapt and the creativity of the brands and the teams to embrace new ways of working and showcasing is exciting to see.”
Over 80 designers, businesses and other parts of the industry rose to the occasion with a renewed desire to create and stir. Most designers took inspiration from lockdown with their deepest reflections projected on to collections that are perhaps some of the most meaningful of our generation.
So, then, what are the trends for Spring/Summer 2021? According to British designers, optimism, nature and colour in copious amounts are some of the strongest trends for next year. Wrap yourself in light, a colourful dress and hope for the future; and you’ll be on trend. Here, we share some of the most topical visions to inspire you:
Opening London Fashion Week, designer Ricardo Tisci invited us all to be in nature and explore our new reality, inspired by the three months he spent with his family in Lake Como during lockdown. The brand chose to livestream its fashion show from an undisclosed forest near London via Twitch – a platform mostly used for video games. It was a surreal experience watching the show live opening London Fashion Week alongside tens of thousands of viewers from around the world. A truly diverse cast of models and performers presented the brand’s collection from a clearing in the woods revealing a vibrant, classic and yet edgy collection where tones of indigo, white, tan, splashes of orange and silver balanced together.
Always a highlight with its romantic creations that never fail to empower, the Erdem collection was inspired by Susan Sontag’s novel ‘The Volcano Lover”, which the designer of the eponymous brand, read during lockdown. With a lookbook set in Epping Forest, the 18th century-inspired pieces evoked femininity and power that truly represents the designer’s ethos to create special, timeless pieces that are good investment. We’re talking flattering floral dresses, admiral jackets in a light colour palette which also invites splashes of vibrant reds and indigo in sensuous and luxury fabrics.
But if contemporary art is more your hue, then take inspiration from Christopher Kane. The designer turned to painting during lockdown and the results are here for us all to benefit from. Colours are embedded in textiles in the shape of strokes and splashes creating prints that complement the designer’s modern cuts. What is not to like?
If you haven’t heard of Edeline Lee, then I consider it my privilege to introduce her to you. Ever since her very first presentation a few years ago, the designer has never failed to wow with seemingly simple but incredibly thoughtful designs showcased with deeply human presentations. Her shows not only create a truly inspirational and immersive experience but her creations propel you into the very core of what it means to be feminine with no fuss, just being a woman. Her collection this year is another triumph of wearable and special designs that can take you to work, then an evening out; but I’d not stop myself from walking down Richmond Park in one of her dresses! With a restrained palette including blues, greens and coral, Lee’s designs stand the test of time.
Roksanda Ilinčić brought social discussions and sustainability to the very heart of her collection. Her physical event invited guests to engage in topical discussions ranging from loneliness and isolation to age and frailty whereas in the collection, the designer chose to use repurposed fabrics for most of the creations showcasing her signature colour–rich, modern and flattering pieces.
(Pictured top: LFW Designer Diaries featuring Roksanda)
Halpern has honoured our essential workers by inviting them to model his collection. Designer Michael Halpern is relatively new to London Fashion Week but has made his presence noticed since 2018 with unashamed glamour and escapism. Some may wonder if it has a place right now in the times we’re living, however, we’re of the school of thought that positivity and imagination is often exactly what is needed to respond to a crisis. Especially when the designer in question has a history of liberal political statement supporting inclusivity. Paying homage to essential workers whom he defines as “heroines who put their lives on the line for us every day”, he put them at the very heart of his concepts and visuals. Cheerful and colourful pieces feature alongside billowing shapes in prints such as check and polka dots worn together and equally contrasting colour combinations, predominantly reds, golds and greens. Positive in every sense of the word.