Dear British Fashion Council, please can there be no 9am shows next season? And definitely not 9am shows in Kings Cross? Please? Luckily, the Preen by Thornton Bragazzi show was worth getting up for. Set in the unlikely show venue of a new walkway in Kings Cross St. Pancras underground station – used by Whistles last season just after it opened – the modern setting contrasted the collection and Carpenters soundtrack. A patchwork of checks and florals on floating chiffon, hardened with lace up leathers and sporty but witchy looking boots were warmed with dense checked wool and patchwork shearling, all in beautiful mash of autumnal hues. The contrast of eras continued when seventies floral embellishment met Victoriana ruffles and lace; a modern take on many days of old.
David Koma’s show gave other designers a lesson in the power of good casting. Each and every one of his models were dressed up and ready to go, and looked the epitomy of the girl that Koma expects to spend their wages on his sexy little dresses, and spend they will. Safety buckles held together dresses of sheer fabrics, leather and macramé lace, while his signature skater shapes were less obvious and favoured a sixties silhouette. Peepholes and daring front splits were as sexy as a high collar and trouser, which Koma still managed to keep suggestive with his choice of fabrics and cut. The Swarovski embellishment which closed the show further dazzled an already impressed audience – the highlight of LFW so far!
Issa’s new creative director, Jamie O’Hare, took a step back in time from the brand’s recent LFW outings, but not necessarily out of his comfort zone. Seventies tassles, tribal beading and intricate reptilian embroidery sat with subtle updates to their now famous slinky wrap dresses. Although devoid of any significant outwear for an autumn/winter collection, the classic Issa girl might be happy that her favourite party dress now comes with a handkerchief hem and some sheer panelling, but she has the option to go wild should she wish.
Palmer//Harding’s presentation saw the duo delve into print and embroidery, but keep the palette dark in a break from their usual bright but unblemished aesthetic. What resulted was a grown up and romantic collection, androgynous but just enough. Topshop’s creative director Kate Phelan spoke of the collection mirroring its Tate Britain setting in the colour of the opening stone duffles. Chunky knitwear and tweed with faux fur and shearling trims marking the life of a “a country girl roaming the moors of Northumberland around an ancestral home, and then making her way to London,” she explained. A journey into womanhood is certainly how this collection played out, picking up influences from the tweed sixties pinafores to nineties rouched mini dresses, it was a life in fashion fast-forwarded in front of our eyes, and left the customer to choose when to hit pause.
Despite her pushing her political agenda on her audience, which is starting to take its toll many people’s patience and thwart their opinions on why they are there – her collection – Vivienne Westwood shows some rather beautiful gowns and shimmering eveningwear in her Red Label show that was a nice appetiser for the looming Oscars red carpet viewing. Mary Katrantzou was all about texture for AW15. From plastic fluting, sequins and intarsia fur to studs, flocking and heat-embossed leather, there was no offer of practicality. The garments were technically very impressive for a ready to wear collection. Stunningly so, in fact. But while the editors were working out just how to describe the one-pot fashion recipe presented to them, and the buyers were trying to translate it into commercial sense, the rest were on tenterhooks waiting for a model to trip on the pink, spikey, squishy runway.