PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI: ROCK AND ROMANCE
The inspiration: Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi looked to English poet Edith Sitwell and spunky girl band The Runaways to set the mood for fall 2016. The collection started on a saccharine note, with beguiling blooms giving way to seductive boudoir dressing — a deliciously romantic ballad that will have women head over heels for the expert remix of rich textiles.
The collection: Florals, ruffles and lace given the punk treatment with boyish silhouettes and sexy fishnets. Throw in a little leather and plaid and we've got a '70s rock band's tour wardrobe on our hands. Covering all bases with louche velvet, sequins and crisp chiffon, the defining rockstar moment was when look 28 hit the runway. Sunglasses worn indoors and yesterday's curls secured by a turband? We'd recognise the tell-tale signs of a seasoned raver anywhere, even as a stylistic device on Thornton and Bregazzi's FW16 runway.
Enamoured with: The spunk and 'tude of it all. The designers left us with something invaluable this time around. Namely, the thrill of discovery. Envision walking into the corner vintage store and unearthing some of these hot leathers and floral frocks — the purchase after all, is only as good as the hunt.
ANYA HINDMARCH: CHILDHOOD CHECKMATE
The inspiration: From the designer whose most esteemed quality is spinning fashion into a whimsical trip down memory lane for women all around, Anya Hindmarch drew on the arcade and video games of the '80s for an exuberant and nostalgic fall outing.
The collection: Pac-Man ghost motifs were generously appliquéd on coats and bags, with the marker of pre-Millenial technology — prominent pixel patterns — in Rubick's cube colourways serving as the base (looks 2 & 3). If anyone thought that the spring/summer technicolour coats were the pinnacle of whimsical outerwear, Hindmarch just raised the bar with sunny-side up topcoats (look 17) and checkerboard fur (look 27). Eat that.
Something you might have missed: A rendition of the designer's much-loved Emoji goods. Longline vests (look 31) and silver leather shoes and bags (look 33) were animated by punchy words and vibrant emoticons — beautiful chaos we're dying to tote around.
MARY KATRANTZOU: RODEO AND JULIET
The inspiration: A cross between cowboys and princesses, to create a hybrid mix that took inspiration from the panoramic cinematic landscapes and saturated technicolour imagery of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet and Andy Warhol's portraits of cowboys and queens.
The collection: Colourful, bright and arresting, Mary Katrantzou brought the mesmerising factor with prints galore: Hearts, horses, stars, eagles and hellfire flames with angels' wings brought a psychedelic mix of clashing prints. Creating wearable pieces of art as always, tulle pleats were appliquéd with nylon (look 38), lace and sheer full-length dresses embroidered with the collection's motifs (looks 36 & 37) and, Swavrovski crystal embellishments on dresses (look 23). Katrantzou once again created an alluringly pretty collection.
Standout pieces: The multicoloured mink fur coats that were intricately pieced together to create a mélange of patterns and graphics (looks 29 & 31).
TOPSHOP UNIQUE: REBEL IN A RUSH
The location and spirit: Held against the austere backdrop of the Duveen galleries in the Tate Britain, the Topshop Unique girl for fall/winter 2016 is a carefree rebel who has taken a cool spin on classic British style.
The collection: A playful mélange of fur, sequins and wide-legged trousers styled with an insouciant flair. Creative director Kate Phelan took the heritage houndstooth print and slathered it across a billowing car coat lined with a chestnut shearling revere (look 8); drew attention to the décolletage with a deep-V knit sweater in camo leopard print pulled low over a mustard dress (look 17); and, a personal favourite, ramped up the sex appeal with the provocative pairing of an elongated fur gilet (worn louchely over just one shoulder) on top of green bra-top paired with a sequined midi-skirt (look 24). It was a seductive rebel in a rush.
Check out the accessories: Destined to be a hot seller — those metallic Chelsea boots with clear Perspex side inserts and monogrammed courtly pearl chokers inspired by Tudor rebel Anne Boleyn, the former Queen of England from 1533 to 1536.
VIVIENNE WESTWOOD: ELEGANTLY ECCENTRIC
The inspiration: Always the designer with a conscience, Vivienne Westwood's shownotes stated that it was all about creating a climate revolution and warning the fashion crowd of a mass extinction due to the rising temperatures.
The collection: Unlike what the show invites and notes suggested, Westwood brought a sea of whimsicality on the runway with slouchy dresses (looks 29 & 30) and loose fitting jackets (looks 4 & 5) — pieces that were very inherently Westwood by nature. Starting off with dark hues, the collection then moved on to colourful quilted duvets transformed into jackets (look 17), before bursting into a neon explosion of suits and dresses (looks 27 & 31). It ended with magnificently stunning evening gowns in black and silver. Our favourite? Look 37.
Something you might have missed: The models' manicures at the show took the meaning of 'colouring outside the lines' to a whole new level — fingers and not just nails, were painted as well.
MULBERRY: HEAVY METAL
The location: Set in the medieval Guildhall in London, the location was given a modern twist with a multi-mirrored installation — the perfect set up for Mulberry's return to London Fashion Week.
The collection: The British heritage brand made a triumphant return under the direction of newly appointed creative director, Johnny Coca who was previously in charge of handbags at Céline. Making sure to position the brand with more to offer than just quality leather goods, Coca featured sharp tailoring that went well against the acute femininity of the collection, inspired by Shakespearean text. Majestic capes with statement collars (looks 1, 3 & 6) and utilitarian inspired pieces such as bomber jackets came in floral prints (look 25), lace (look 27) and even intricate beading (look 30), juxtaposing functionality with femininity. We first saw exquisitely delicate pieces with whispers of tulle and sheer dresses before Coca delved into the masculine yet sexy silhouettes with heavy overcoats and leather jackets (look 31). All in all, Coca managed to capture the uniqueness of Brit fashion while still pushing the boundaries with his poetic edge, giving Mulberry that much needed makeover.
Buro loves: Coca's tenacity. Updating the Mulberry handbag classics with heavy metal detailing (such as, large chunky metal chains and rivets) and hitting the runway with the all-new Clifton bag, the brand will be issuing a capsule collection of the designer's first creations in April, purchasable in store and online. Details of the pre-order here.
PAUL SMITH: ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
The location: Another show, another unique set location. This time it was the double-storied Royal College of Physicians with its orange carpet and gold hand-rails — very old school '70s glamour; almost very Austin Powers — with models starting their walk on the second floor, bypassing a large LED screen showing pre-shot slow-mos of the collection, before taking the angular staircase down to the first floor.
The collection: A concise offering that revolved around the colour palette of orange and black. Unlike the men's fall/winter 2016 show unveiled in Paris just a month prior, characterised by colour-blocked suit separates in rich primaries and propelled forward by an energetic sportswear influence, the ladies' collection had a more subdued heart; its restraint and pared-down aesthetic in harmony with the contemporary art showcased on the walls of the set location. All in all, it was the more masculine looks that held court: The opening black double-breasted suit accented with a single bold orange stripe (look 1); the grey double-breasted suit worn over a black-and-white top of profile faces (look 21); and the black overcoat embellished with metallic embroidery of blown-up paisley tear drops (look 32).
Favourite look: Undeniably the shirt and trouser combo constructed from a glistening fabric of abstract floral prints, neatly accessorised with black flats and a classic rectangular leather clutch (look 7).
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: HARD AND SOFT
Coming home: After years of showing the womenswear collection in Paris, Alexander McQueen has returned to London with its fall/winter 2016 offering. And the homecoming venue of choice? The expansive Lawrence Hall on Greycoat Street, Westminster, as part of the Royal Horticultural Society in central London.
Hard and soft: It was the age-old dichotomy of hard masculine leather crafted into dresses and coats juxtaposed against the soft femininity of tiered lace gowns and ruffled chiffon outfits. But instead of appearing derivative, the collection rang true with creative embellishments: Butterfly appliqué to liven up the black leather pieces (looks 8, 9 & 10); chain metal chokers for a punk take on classic suiting (looks 16 & 17); and goddess-like gowns fitted with sweeping capes encrusted with silver (look 33) and gold (look 34) star sequins and beading. And for a touch of magic, there were also two sheer dresses embroidered with swans and winged unicorns (looks 38 & 39). It was fashion for the fantastical escapist.
Buro loves: The closing trio of quilted looks — comprising of a cropped jacket (look 40) and an oversized blanket wrap (look 41), both cast in a champagne gold hue embroidered with romantic florals, and the closing silver jacket embellished with fluttering butterfly appliqué (look 42) — all trimmed with opulent fur. Deluxe.
For all coverage of London Fashion Week fall/winter 2016, click here.