Trends That'll Inspire
Straight from the LFW AW2020 Catwalks
With emerging themes such as planet positivity, and collection designs extended through to equally innovative installations, the LFW shows served as more than just fashion previews. AW20 delivered holistic, immersive experiences that can be recreated in store. Trend forecaster, Navaz Batliwalla (better known as DisneyRollerGirl), reports back from the catwalks on the biggest trends that'll be influencing visual merchandising techniques.
WRITTEN BY DISNEYROLLERGIRL
19th February 2020
Rare is the designer who hasn’t taken a considered and inventive approach to zero-waste design for AW20. Phoebe English has become an advocate for the circularity cause, this season using excess fabric from her fellow designers’ past collections to create new pieces artfully layered and patchworked together with minimal need for trimmings or fastenings. At Richard Malone, upcycled leather offcuts donated to the studio were recast as extremely sophisticated trousers, coats and tunics. With his fabric dyes coming from organic, plant-based sources, the sustainability issue is increasingly becoming a key narrative of this luxury artisan story. The message continues in retail. Mulberry used London Fashion Week to showcase its Portobello bags, with a mini in-store factory set up to demonstrate how the 100% sustainable leather bags are made with minimal waste. Colourful, interactive displays and services drive the eco message home, using education and inspiration to instil curiosity and encourage customer loyalty.
The Joy of Colour
While neutrals and black have their place, AW20’s colour story is all about joyful maximalism. In particular, a sulphurous yellow that ignited everything with which it came into contact. For example, Molly Goddard’s signature tulle dresses in ray-of-sunshine yellow, Victoria Beckham’s Shetland knits and Erdem’s neon-bright quilted evening coat. Searing reds, corals and fuchsias were omnipresent in eveningwear, with Roksanda and Huishan Zhang expressing a couture sensibility with full-length trapeze gowns in sunset pink and blazing orange. Adding a kitsch note, the highlight of University of Westminster’s BA graduate show was Marina Patalano’s folk-costume inspired collection accompanied by a joy-giving bouquet of multicoloured inflatable flowers.
Expect to see an explosion of retro-futuristic silver wherever you go in the coming months, as the twin influences of Andy Warhol’s Factory and Cecil Beaton’s coterie of socialites infiltrate our consciousness. Both have London exhibitions opening in March, with Warhol’s retrospective at Tate Modern sure to inspire a new generation of pop art enthusiasts, while Cecil Beaton’s National Portrait Gallery show directly inspired Erdem’s AW20 collection. Shown within the gallery’s historic rooms, Erdem’s models walked on a silver foil runway, with silver hair, eye makeup and elbow-length gloves accompanying his reinterpretations of 20th-century youthquakers. The high-gloss, mirror-shine theme continued at Victoria Beckham and Burberry, where the models navigated sleek, reflective runways. And no show was complete without a generous shower of sequins and Swarovski crystals. Christopher Kane’s crystal mesh dresses, JW Anderson’s ‘tinsel’ gowns and Halpern’s bedazzled disco sheaths (complete with Swarovski-fringed boots), were noteworthy examples.
A prim-versus-sexy tension underpinned the London collections, most evident in designers known for buttoned-up chic. Victoria Beckham’s towering platform calf-clinger boots added a fetishy frisson to genteel shirts and culottes, while Rejina Pyo contrasted classic masculine tailoring with sheer ladylike blouses and rubber-look macs. In fact, kinky-lite outerwear became a recurring theme, with shiny vinyl coats cropping up at Preen and Halpern, or at Toga as a hint of vinyl lining on otherwise unassuming utilitarian-wear. Christopher Kane, however, refused the uptight, furtive approach. His ‘Naturotica’ collection went for unapologetic sex appeal - peekaboo cutaways, lingerie lace and wipe-clean surfaces. Sometimes it seems, you just have to get these things out in the open.
Female artists have been in the spotlight in London’s galleries, and their graphic and abstract expressions were equally welcome on the AW20 catwalk. Roksanda, a passionate art supporter, worked with British-Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum on her set design, a colourful ode to poetry in geometry called ‘no 976 Net’. Roksanda’s equally graphic collection was also inspired by painter Lee Krasner’s abstract brushstrokes, while Christopher Kane and Erdem used Bridget Riley-style op-art pattern-play on dresses and skirts.
What could possibly be more British than an overblown bouquet of wild flowers, especially printed on a dress the size of an overstuffed sofa? This seemed to be the thinking behind a swathe of blowsy all-over floral prints from Rejina Pyo to Molly Goddard to Erdem. At Halpern and Richard Quinn, extravagant gowns were embellished in 3d floral embroidery, while Huishan Zhang appliquéd delicate roses onto a sequin ball gown. Flowers may be as old as life itself, but the most exciting treatments are unexpected and experimental.
A Retro themes are always a Fashion Week winner, and for AW20 there was a clear thread of 80s excess stitched through the shows. Cocktail hour, in particular, piqued our designers’ imaginations, with puffball silhouettes (at JW Anderson), shoulder-baring necklines (at Huishan Zhang) and unrestrained embellishments (at Halpern) a fresh antidote to 2010s streetwear-glam.
With the recent opening of Linder Sterling’s Linderism exhibition at Kettle’s Yard, there’s a feeling of raw ‘cut-and-sew’ alchemy in the air. Art collector Jonathan Anderson (recently named a trustee of the V&A) used collage references for his JW Anderson pieces, mashing up mohair blanket stoles with tinsel-like fil-coupé in his inimitable maverick way. Preen’s deconstructed argyle knitwear gave the nod to 90s grunge while tapping into the sustainability conversation of crafty upcycling (do try this at home). For Erdem, the execution was one of beautiful chaos, mixing different eras, gender fluidity and fabrications in one outfit. And Simone Rocha excelled in her sartorial mash-ups of suits tangled with dresses. Main takeaway? Anything goes.
A Light Touch
London designers delight in presenting eccentric contrasts, and one of our favourites was feathers with everything. To hell with practicality, we saw froufrou feather trims adding a tactile lightness to everything from outerwear to footwear. At once decadent and witty, we loved the hard- meets-soft contrast of Toga’s ostrich feather-edged trench - just try not to get it wet. Why feathers now? In the digital realm, sometimes we just want to touch something light and fluffy.
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