Home to punk and Regency fashion, the only thing one can reasonably expect from London Fashion Week is the unexpected. London, much like New York, is filled with myriad cultures and perspectives, which results in collections that explosively differ from one another—while some brands lean towards classic silhouettes and prints like the tried-and-true windowpane trench, others go for a cyber-punk and anime hybrid of vinyl pants and utilitarian vests. In short, LFW: always a pleasure, always disruptive, never boring.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Nanushka’s impeccable styling and use of complementary colors. Blue and orange are such an underrated coupling!
From the looks of fashion week, the Matrix-inspired/cyber-goth era has only just begun. Jenn Lee, an up-and-coming-but-pretty-much-there brand that focuses on empowering women’s wildness, produced a VR show filled with subversive interpretations of everyday characters. Over a Basquiat-like background filled with chaotic doodles and bright, rudimentary colors, folks of all ages (almost entirely of Asian descent) stepped into their assigned roles with raucous style. The two models (one pregnant and looking far too cool) portrayed “Cat Family” dressed in tight BDSM-royalty pieces while carrying whips and a chunky tabby cat. Another character was that of Sassy College Girl, she’s seen wearing pigtails, heeled loafers, an asymmetrical dress with zippers underneath a puffer jacket also filled with zippers. In true sassy college girl spirit, she carries a skateboard in one hand and a funky tote in the other. AV Vattev, another sky-rocketing brand, who was inspired by the moon, also released a futuristic selection featuring icy, metallic ribbed knits and loads of galactic color blocking similar to that of a Star Trek prom night.
Is the future going to make outcasts out of folks with names unlike Elon Musk and Grimes’ baby? Will the reign of regular names end with this sartorial wave of cyber guerilla brought to us by AV Vattev and Jenn Lee?
Femme is Fierce
Suffice it to say that Roksanda—worn by Kate Middleton, Cate Blanchett, and Michelle Obama—is an established brand by now. The London-based but of Serbian-origin designer, Roksanda Ilincic, known for her fanciful, romantic shapes and fearless use of color, did not disappoint. For AW21, she released a video of English actress, Vanessa Redgrave, reciting Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 in her daughter’s countryside home. It was intimate, incredibly feminine, yet bold in terms of tailoring. The collection itself was punctuated with ruffled collars and inordinately puffed sleeves in shades of bright red and lilac and in striped patterns. Overall, it was dreamy but fiercely so. Duro Olowu, a Nigerian-born British designer, similarly, released a colorful, hyper-femme line. This one, while also featuring puffed detailing, focused more on colors, mixing prints, and ruffles. Top looks include: a kelly green coat + midi ruffled skirt ensemble with a striped brown and orange belt and a psychedelic floral button-up underneath, and a strappy floral maxi dress tailored to look as though the bottom half was floating on its own.
Thank you, Roksanda and Duro Olowu for making me want to wear dresses again (and maxi dresses, no less!). Seriously, can’t wait.
The Whimsical Non-Silhouette
It’s hard to follow the many innovations of the prolific Jonathan Anderson—being the creative director of Loewe and his own eponymous brand, JW Anderson, the British designer somehow manages to consistently keep us entertained and stylish. JW Anderson’s AW21 collection this year felt personal and incredibly special, and it included models of all shapes, colors, and abilities. Anderson was only one of many to explore the whimsical non-silhouette, his collection featured coats layered to seem like a cocoon or conch shell and knits that were heavy on the hem and exaggerated in proportion. Likewise, Osman Yousefzada showcased his collection in an up-close and personal fashion, through a video that explored movement, warmth, and heritage—if only for the soothing optics and music, it’s fully worth the watch. Aside from the artful direction, the clothing itself is jaw-dropping. Featuring a riveting mix of textures and shapes—a dramatic head-to-toe veil, as well as earrings that run from the model’s ear down to her midriff, were only some of the many plays on proportion we were fortunate to see—his AW21 exhibition was reminiscent of a Beyonce-esque opus.
How many of you are partial to the idea that the pandemic is responsible for all these sculpturally roomy pieces by Osman Yousefzada and JW Anderson?
Leather Up or Leave!
Being the originators of punk culture—safety pins, tight pants, mean face, raggedy shoes, and leather on leather on leather—it’s safe to say we were excited to see the leatherware at London Fashion Week. As usual, the interpretations varied. Simone Rocha’s expounding upon the idea of the classic moto jacket was, frankly, genius. In a bit of a controversial spirit, she sent models down a church aisle dressed in puffed, full-length motos and paired them with tutus and tights for a look that screams corrupted ballerina. And we love it perhaps too much. Nanushka, helmed by Budapest-bred designer Sandra Sandor, had a collection that didn’t rely as much on leather pieces but, rather, expert styling and color-coordinating. However, the leather pieces that they made were very different from what we’re used to. My favorite had to be their diamond patchwork full-length bodice, where they mixed different forms of hide and tied it all together with thick pieces of fringe for a look that is intentionally messy and incredibly sleek.
Two takes on leather: on the left, Nanushka’s bohemian patchwork coat, on the right, Simone Rocha’s schoolgirl rebellion.
Like most fashion weeks, there are so many designers we simply couldn’t get to, however, I’m satisfied with our mention of smaller, growing brands run by individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. If we can take anything away from fashion week as a whole, it’s that we’re all destined to be space royalty obsessed with puffed sleeves and leather. Catch you during SS22!