And with that, London Fashion Week is finished, and if you thought Storm Eunice was going to steal any of her thunder, you were seriously mistaken.
As the home of heritage brands and the breeding ground of fashion prodigies like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood, London has range. There’s got to be something in the Thames’s water!
Here are some of our favourite shows from this season’s London Fashion Week.
We think it might be safe to assume that if anyone won LFW, it was Richard Quinn.
Richard Quinn has garnered laurels nonstop since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2016. Even the Queen has recognised his designing prowess, with Quinn receiving the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in 2018. With this in mind, the bar is set pretty high for Quinn, so it’s a good thing he outdoes himself with his AW22 show at London Fashion Week. Quinn presented “a love story to silhouette and craft” with a collection that is a testament to the craftsmanship and creativity that have earned him a beloved name in the industry.
Playing on romantic themes and inspired by classic couture form the ‘50s and ‘60s, Quinn kicks off his show with a series of trapeze swing coats donning plate-scaled rose prints, expertly coupled with oversized wide-brimmed hats. Blue, lime, and yellow colours and quaint patterns encapsulate enormous caftan dresses.
Then, the collection departs from tradition with two skin-tight dominatrix ensembles encased in shiny latex. The model wearing the first, RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Violet Chachki, has the second model on a leash. After a brief foray into bondage territory, flowers and midcentury shapes in caftan and tafetta return. Necklines then begin to creep up until they frame the face with what Quinn describes as “protective” hoods. Kate Moss’s daughter, Lila Grace Moss Hack, closes the show in a bridal ensemble, replete with a bouquet and floral headband.
For his first London Fashion Week show since January 2019, Daniel Fletcher has continued to draw inspiration from his own background, blending his personal experiences with current affairs. These personal touches have never been more personal than for his AW22 collection.
The poignant line, titled Before the Morning Comes, was influenced by the late British designer’s father, who died at the end of 2021. He generated a ’70s vibe by referencing his late father’s style, the Rolling Stones, and the era’s preppies and football fans. Despite the fact that his creations have always appealed to a broad demographic, it was also the first time Fletcher, a menswear designer, sent women’s pieces down the catwalk.
Fletcher’s flair for tailoring was revealed from the first exit: a white tuxedo-style shirt with a high collar and buckle detail at the neck. Following that was a line of lightweight suits with silky striped untucked shirts flowing out from beneath the coats. The sleek, padded military jackets in satin, as well as a long coat created with cream patent leather at the top and wool at the bottom, were certainly standouts.
References to the designer’s upcoming collaboration with luxury cognac firm Courvoisier were also visible. As showgoers enjoyed the cognac’s signature cocktails, items that made their way down the runway nodded to the drink as well. Bold oranges, pinks, and cobalt blue were used in paint-stroke patterns and embroidered knitwear to hint at the future collaboration.
Sustainable materials are becoming an increasingly important element of the arsenals of London designers, and Fletcher was no exception. This season, he worked mostly with deadstock and favoured local seamstresses and tailors for his collection.
This was a sombre show by Irish designer, Simone Rocha, a work of extreme fashion assemblage and magnificently bold proportions, presented in semi-darkness and beneath gigantic stain glass windows. But the jury’s decision is in: she’s had another hit collection.
Last season, Simone Rocha wove her experience of new motherhood through her pieces. This time, Rocha turned towards her own childhood, reliving the well-known Irish fable Children of Lir, the terrible tale of four children of an Irish king who were turned into swans for 900 years at the jealous hands of their magical stepmother.
Guests, including FKA Twigs, Bukky Bakray, and Francesca Hayward, came to discover a gloomy, dimly-lit room full of creepy shadows with a round runway created to imitate the form of the lake where the Lir children resided as white birds.
The show notes read, “Two sons and two daughters, A dark lament,” before the next line, “Crushed Taffeta wings,” hinted at the literal ways the fable was incorporated into the garments – in particular, Rocha’s favoured white cotton ruffles shaped like wings burst out of outerwear.
Rocha also broke new ground with semi-sheer lingerie dresses worn over micro cable sweaters cut off like a bra and combined with pearl-trimmed black stockings. Rocha’s romanticism is given a naughtier, racier edge.
Then there was the casting, which included a slew of newcomers like Vivian Jeremiah, Mariana Arias, and Amy Holt, who all looked the part of immortal children wanting to be free.
Since the designer’s graduation from Central Saint Martins in 2017, the Halpern brand has seen massive commercial success, and this collection offered something for a wide range of women, from his signature disco aesthetic seen in flowing flares and electric shots of neon to blush pink ruched column dresses and hand tie-dyed fringing.
“What if it was all a dream?” is the subject of the collection. It is about “infusing real life with a kind of glamour that will lift the spirits”. It was the remedy after the drabness of the previous two years, as well as a celebration of the return of red carpet clothing. It’s understandable that the designer known for hyper-glamourous occasion attire and a love of sequins would want to be bold after two cancelled party seasons. And he was fearless in his use of sumptuous satin, sequins, and embellishment.
It was an experimental collection, but Halpern’s demi-couture method lends itself to such creativity, and seeing a designer relish experimentation with different cuts seemed suitable for London’s left-field fashion culture. A green dress with an integrated cowl hood that softly stretched up from a crossover neckline and draped elegantly down the backs of the head – a subtle hint to our work-from-home loungewear rising from the cocoon into post-pandemic splendour – was an absolute standout.
If you ask any habitual LFW attendee which show they are most looking forward to, they will almost certainly say Fashion East. Lulu Kennedy‘s talent incubator and presentational platform, which has been in operation for over two decades, has gained a reputation for elevating the careers of some of the most renowned designers working at the moment. This season’s performance by the current generation of players on her roster — Jawara Alleyne, Chet Lo, and Maximilian — suggests that winning streak will persist.
These designers debuted their AW22 designs at a concrete-pillared, cavernous nightclub in Shadwell, marking Jawara and Chet’s second and Fashion East appearances, and the fourth and final appearance for Maximilian. It was among the most inspiring moments of the week, with each of them displaying remarkable developments in their own design identities, as well as the conceptual frameworks in which they locate their work.