london fashion week fall 2020

Everything You Need to Know about London Fashion Week

Resisting doom and gloom with optimism, subversion, and simplicity, British designers take a clear position on the future.

By: Shyam Patel

London’s fashion scene has a rich history of taking risks, challenging the establishment, and promoting young talent. The city’s fall collections undoubtedly affirm that legacy. Living in a post-Brexit UK led by a Tory government, British designers are edging toward rebellion—they’re subverting yuppie uniforms, serving up megawatt evening wear, and countering ubiquitous malaise with shimmer, shine, and nonchalant simplicity. And yet, London Fashion Week has proven itself more than a defiant end-of-the-world party.

From the simplicity and unaffectedness at Victoria Beckham and Margaret Howell, to the off-kilter sensuality seen at Christopher Kane and JW Anderson, longevity and distinction was front of mind. Elsewhere, sustainable practices took the lead. Long-standing environmental activist Vivienne Westwood used recycled textiles, Burberry’s show was certified carbon neutral, and designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi turned to recycled cotton, deadstock wool, and biodegradable Corozo buttons. Meanwhile, the city’s budding talent—from Fashion East’s five recently graduated designers to buzzy names like Dilara Findikoglu, Matty Bovan, and Richard Malone—showed up and showed out.

While it may seem like LFW is rife with conflicting ideas, its message is clear: One can rebel, throw a party, and look to the future all at once.

 


The Trends We Spotted


 

Candied Red Apple

While color palettes ran the gamut, a particular shade of candied apple red appeared at every turn. The saccharine hue saturated sharply tailored suits at Burberry, frothy tulle gowns at Molly Goddard, and polished cocktail dresses at A.W.A.K.E. Mode and Emilia Wickstead.

 

The Yuppie Subverted

Feminine shapes and couture-esque details have upended the yuppie uniform. From pinstripe rosettes at Dilara Findikoglu to Yasuko Furuta’s ostrich feather-framed look at Toga and exaggerated shapes at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, serious suits got a playful makeover.

 

Powerful Plaid

Expressed in full looks that span day dresses, separates, and tailored layers, punchy plaid in colors from classic black and white to bright cobalt and dusty mauve continued NYFW’s tartan trend across the pond.

 

Our Favorite Looks

JW Anderson

Topped with a glossy, shearling-like collar, this jet-black ensemble—bookended by a turtleneck and bell bottom trousers—channels Kansai Yamamoto’s theatrical, black-and-white jumpsuit which accompanied David Bowie on his 1972 Ziggy Stardust tour.

Photo: Isidore Montag / Gorunway.com

Simone Rocha

Dripping in Chantilly lace, this sudsy, yet sinister white look touches on Simone Rocha’s Irish heritage through Aran pattern socks and references the cascading garments seen in Catholic icons of The Virgin Mary around the designer’s native Dublin.

Photo: Carlo Scarpato / Gorunway.com

Halpern

After Michael Halpern’s first outing in 2018, editors and buyers immediately fell for the sensual liquidity of his party-ready dresses. This season, the London-based American expat carried his signature fluid touch forward in glinting looks including this conical gown with a charming, powder-blue neckline.

Photo: Alessandro Lucioni / Gorunway.com

Roksanda

Fueled by her artful sense of color and decisive shapes, Roksanda Ilinčić’s kaleidoscopic, highly tactile collection is informed by British-Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum’s colorful works. Case in point—this undulating coat made up of varying knit panels in hues from ocher and oxblood to tangerine and bubblegum pink.

Photo: Carlo Scarpato / Gorunway.com

Fresh Faces

For the first time since Lulu Kennedy founded the nonprofit talent incubator in 2000, Fashion East combined its men’s and women’s shows, hosting five designers including Korean-born menswear designer Goom Heo, multimedia designer Gareth Wrighton, and Peter Pilotto alum Nensi Dojaka. Coincidentally, Fashion East grad Yuhan Wang held her first solo show the day before, opening LFW with a beautifully unsettling homage to Victorian mourning dresses. Other noteworthy shows by emerging designers include Vivienne Westwood favorite Matty Bovan, 2020 International Woolmark Prize winner Richard Malone, womens-wear designer Charlotte Knowles, and Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu. Visiting from Vienna, designer Petar Petrov made his runway debut, while veteran American designer Tommy Hilfiger showed his fourth collection with Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton at the Tate Modern.

 


Memorable Moments

True to form, front rows were packed with celebrity guests—the Beckham family with Anna Wintour at Victoria’s show, FKA twigs and Mahmood at Burberry, powerhouse actors Vanessa Redgrave and Cate Blanchett at Roksanda Ilincic, and Billy Porter virtually everywhere. A few stars even swapped their seats for a spot on the runway. Lena Dunham—whose personal pre-show pep talk included a reminder to not smile—made her runway debut at 16Arlington, while Tommy Hilfiger and Lewis Hamilton enlisted the likes of Naomi Campbell, Luka Sabbat, Halima Aden, and Jourdan Dunn to walk their see-now, buy-now show.

 

Top photo: Getty

 

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