Here's who impressed the buyers this season.
Oftentimes, Fashion Week coverage is dominated by the legacy fashion houses. With their extensive sartorial history and prowess, they have the greatest reach which entails more attention. While this is both well-earned and well-deserved, it would be remiss not to also keep an eye on those fledgling designers who are starting to make sizable ripples in the industry.
Easier said than done if you're not actually on the ground attending the shows. So we've passed the baton to those who know best: the buyers. This past month, they've devoted countless time and energy to previewing all the new collections both at fashion shows and market appointments. From LVMH-prize winner Nensi Dojaka to Fashion East's prodigy Maximilian, four buyers reveal the collections that caught their attention this fashion month below.
- Nensi Dojaka: "Recent LVMH prize-winner Nensi Dojaka staged her first solo show in London this season, to great acclaim. Her 'barely there' pieces, engineered with impressive precision, are a unique bridge between ready-to-wear and ultra-sexy underwear, speaking loudly to the post-pandemic 'big reveal', seeing bodies more on show and more liberated than ever."
- Maximilian: "Maximilian Davis' third collection as part of Fashion East explored a nostalgic freedom inspired by childhood summer holidays in Trinidad, and showcased the emerging designer's unique ability to balance quiet elegance with a punchy, modern sexiness that speaks loudly to the collective mood for liberation and the freedom of choice."
- Kenneth Ize: "Noting his new collection as feeling like a 'new dawn,' designer Kenneth Ize showcased an upbeat offer, dipping a toe into uncharted territory via unexpected eveningwear elements, moving the brand into a new realm. Beyond artistic talent, Ize exemplifies the business mind and community consciousness required to be a young designer in today's industry—having built a factory in Nigeria where 80% of his materials are woven, Ize impressively gives back to the local economy."
- Alejandra Alonso Rojas: "At her intimate presentation, Alejandra Alonso Rojas shared with me the inspiration for her collection: her great aunt who was one of the first female pilots in Spain in the 1930's. The backstory only further enriched her offering, which was a standout on its own, complete with several hits of the season (crochet, fringe, bijoux details, primary colors, and natural dye techniques). The tightly edited collection captured a sense of ease and confidence in perhaps the designer's strongest collection to date."
- House of Aama: "The mother-daughter duo Rebecca Henry and Akua Shabaka behind House of Aama are true story tellers, amplifying the Black experience through their collections. The spring ’22 'Salt Water' collection tells a narrative of the seafaring legacy of the African diaspora through vibrant prints (maps, flags, and tattoos) and beautiful fabrics designed in-house in L.A., where the brand also produces the collection. In a market saturated with product, it is inspiring to see strong pieces that also have a soul."
- Sid Neigum: "Following the success of his tension cutout top—which went viral on social media during lockdown—Sid Neigum continues to innovate on his signatures as the brand evolves. The introduction of his 'loop' knots and 'mushroom plisse' fabrication are technical feats with high visual impact sure to grow his cult-like following."
- Laquan Smith: "It was so great to see so many interesting fresh talents showing during the spring ’22 fashion weeks! The one that really stood out to me was LaQuan Smith. He took his very sexy looks to the next level by introducing terry cloth and smooth draping jersey fabrics as well as lace to his pieces which gave them a soft yet beautiful edge.
- Haus of Honey: "Italian brand Haus of Honey also keeps getting better and better with every season. I love their idea of inclusivity and their striking designs based on using the lightness of cork."
- Del Core: "Seeing Del Core's second runway show was also a real highlight. He showed an amazing range of red-carpet-ready looks. Everything from the white chiffon printed dress to the cape-dress entirely covered in green sequins to the pale pink kimono with the long train was just pure beauty."
- Maximilian: Maximilian, who presented his third collection as part of the Fashion East cohort, was a real highlight of London Fashion Week, especially as it was his first live runway show. He captured the mood of the season; sexy is officially back, with exaggerated micro-minis, cut-out details and sheer draped silks, all whilst paying homage to his Trinidadian heritage. We particularly loved the black fringe minidress, as worn by Rihanna on the cover of Dazed's 30th Anniversary issue.
- Jil Sander: "Lucie and Luke Meier delivered a minimal, pared back collection that contrasted with the overt sexiness that we saw elsewhere in Milan and London. The deconstructed tailoring teamed elegantly with denim and tonal kitten heel boots and slingbacks was that perfect blending of smart and laid back."
- Thebe Magugu: "Thebe is such an exciting one to watch and continues to evolve each season, beyond expectation. His collections always pay homage to his South African heritage, however this presentation seemed even more personal, with references to his family, identity, and iterations of his mother's wardrobe. We were particularly enamoured by the feathered knitwear separates, feminine tailoring, and exaggerated pleated skirts—all chicly teamed with pointy footwear."