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Best shows from LFW FW18: Simone Rocha, House of Holland and Gareth Pugh

London Fashion Week: Day 2

Best shows from LFW FW18: Simone Rocha, House of Holland and Gareth Pugh
Simone Rocha does Victoriana — deconstructed, House of Holland turns out an archival collection and Gareth Pugh lends his voice to the #MeToo movement

SIMONE ROCHA: BOUDOIR FANTASY
The venue: Staging her fall/winter 2018 collection in the palatial Goldsmith's Hall, Simone Rocha didn't stray from her penchant for grand, historic settings. Replete with actual candle-lit chandeliers, ivory marble statues and stained glass windows, the ambience was palpably sombre, especially the brief pre-show anticipation.

The collection: Transporting us back to the 18th century, Rocha took a leaf out of John Constable's book, one of the most iconic landscape painters of his time. But the collection was anything but backward — Victoriana elements were updated with cascading straps, plaid was rendered in tinsel and tulle, and leg-o-mutton sleeves were slashed at the shoulder seams. There was an astute appreciation for romance, but there was also an underlying devil-may-care attitude that was woven in the lineup — probably thanks to the dose of black vinyl and red check.

Favourite look: In all its drama and glory, that ruched midi with dainty cross-body ribbons and floral embroidery (look 23) makes for the perfect anti-basic CNY ensemble.

HOUSE OF HOLLAND: GROW UP
The collection: By now, Henry Holland has earned his stripes as fashion's exuberant enfant terrible with his themed shows that almost always border on performance. But this season was decidedly pared down for the brand, as Holland took a step back from the character narratives of previous collections. No racer girls, no pirates — just steadfast House of Holland elements taken straight from their own 10-year archive. Collegiate scarves draped over slinky floral numbers, and printed puffers took centrestage. The collection was aptly titled "Grow Up" — and grow up the House of Holland girl did, because this was a fresh approach to ageless, city dressing.

The soundtrack: It's not a House of Holland show without an infectious soundtrack, and this season was no exception. Enlisting the beats of NYC-collective and long-time collaborator The MisShapes, the music worked in harmonious tandem with the collection.

Try this now: Take a cue from stylist Sam Ranger, who teamed tinsel stripes with bold teal plaid (look 24). When it comes to print-clashing, go big or go home.

GARETH PUGH: DEMOLITION DEFINITION
The inspiration: If last season was Gareth Pugh's stage of experimentation, this season was about destruction and re-genesis. Pugh drew reference from Break Down, an infamous performance art piece by Michael Landy, where he destroyed all of his belongings in public, as a commentary on consumerism. 

The collection: In the wake of #MeToo, multiple designers have paid homage to female empowerment and Pugh was on board. His show notes decreed that this collection was designed for "women who accept zero bullshit", and it showed it in the harsh, severe silhouettes he sculpted this season. This was power dressing taken to new heights, as shoulders were so amplified and pronounced there was no way of missing them. Through razor sharp tailoring and assertive catwalk strides, Pugh's creations were a conduit for breaking the glass ceiling. While the colorway of choice remained true to Pugh, the occasional use of leopard and cobalt blue added rhythm to the otherwise all-black ensemble. In Pugh's words, this collection was about "the idea of taking this perfect pristine object, crushing it, and then handing it back, as a new thing. A different thing." A timely metaphor for what it means to be female, perhaps?

Buro loves: The maximalist take on suiting. Now that powersuits are abound, it's hard to elevate something this classic. But what Pugh managed to do here, was amplify every proportion possible, creating some of the most directional shapes we've seen in the last few seasons. 

All coverage from London Fashion Week fall/winter 2018

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