By Maeve O’Sullivan – Fashion Editor
London Fashion week is upon us once again, only a far cry from the live runway shows twelve months ago. In true pandemic fashion, the British Fashion Council took to the digital format for the London showing of collections. I got a chance to sit back in bed with a trusty cup of tea and be engulfed in the remarkable collections. Didn’t get a chance to watch? Never fear, I have put together my highlights from the week just for you.
Friday, February 19th set the bar high for all designers involved. Nicholas Daley shared his Spring/Summer 21 menswear collection, unusual for the traditional time frame. Notably, it was his approach to the casual and muted ‘70s tones that caught my eye. In his film, ‘Stepping Razor’, Daley explores the meeting of martial arts and reggae culture during the 1970s, digging deep into a unique cross-cultural connection felt across the black diaspora.
“Whether through the development of unique textiles with specialists in Japan and the UK, the music of reggae legend Peter Tosh or the unique story of black British karateka athletes told via World Champion Jordan Thomas – everything becomes interconnected and pushes my own creative journey, uniting fashion, music and culture” – Nicholas Daley
Temperley London – designer Alice Temperley created an AW21 collection engulfed with the spirit of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Alice moved the HQ to Somerset last year and this move definitely impacted her process. Once in the countryside, the designer suddenly found herself exposed to all the artisan producers. This changed her production to include local produce such as Britain’s oldest lace, recycled nylon, essentially pushing the brand deeper into sustainability. The brand is notorious for the evening wear however, coming off the back of last season’s subtle transition to everyday, this season cements Temperley London’s place in the everyday collection. The aim of the collection was for a ‘’better, brighter, bolder tomorrow” and that is certainly expressed.
Yuhan Wang’s collection presented female relationships in such high regard. The seamless video left me feeling energised once finished. The AW21 collection was inspired by the pictorial language of the traditional Chinese landscape painting Pine trees and sika deer, blooming roses and fleeting clouds. The designer devoted the collection to the study of women and nature. The diverse casting of women of all ages really expresses the emotive collection. A digital collection I recommend all to watch.
Molly Goddard transported me back to primary school with her collection. The visual show was subdued in mood, sticking with the traditional catwalk, yet the editing layered the digital audience’s experience. Goddard is known for her tulle and the introduction of knitwear in past seasons. The piano techno beat added the playful atmosphere of the schoolgirl dream of colour and clashing print. Goddard provided the mood we have all been deprived of this year and in doing so, gave us a true sense of comfortability in her brand and aesthetic. Additionally, this year the designer introduced handbags.
Sunday, February 21st was a short day at LWF, however, most certainly an important one. Bianca Sanders took to the digital catwalk with her menswear collection in a surrealist gothic film. The evocative imagery had me holding my breath, afraid to breath. It was a risky film for the designer as much of the clothing is hidden, but the artistic expression is so beautiful I was dying to take a glimpse at the look book that would be released after.
Emilia Wickstead’s collection was contrasted against the fuchsia pink backdrop, constructed to appear like window displays. The collection encapsulated the form fitted, classical 1950s glamour that is sure to be a trend for the season. While for the majority, the designer came through with modest pieces, the subtle cut out clothing, such as the back or high chest area added an extra layer of sexy femininity.
Roksanda ‘Friday in February’ AW21 collection has left me breathless. Was it the collection instead of the fact that Vanessa Redgrave led the mythical film with daughter Joely Richardson and granddaughter Daisy Bevan, evoking my Call the Midwife superfan? Redgrave recalls Shakespeare Sonnet 73 while the tri-generational women perform on screen, captured on iPhone this month. The collection oozed simplicity and divinity. Richly diverse in structure and colour palette, the Autumn Winter 2021 Collection celebrates a vitality and optimism that is replicated throughout this season’s key shapes and silhouettes. When reading the fabric list from the collection, I felt I too was uttering a Shakespeare sonnet for printed dupion silk, moiré taffeta, silk twill organza, washed silk satins, hammered silk satins, high gloss and bespoke striped natural cloth, Italian wool check, lightweight wool mohair, and Japanese starched gaberdine rolled from my tongue.