Best shows from LFW FW18: Bora Aksu, Fyodor Golan and Ashley Williams
London Fashion Week: Day 1
BORA AKSU: DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO
The inspiration: The story of Dr. James Barry, one of the most renowned surgeons of the 18th century — born Margaret Ann Buckley, Barry spent the majority of his life going against the grain of Georgian society. A tale of brave conviction, the collection adopted a similar defiance towards notions of femininity.
The collection: At face value, Turkey-born Bora Aksu's oeuvre may come off as unassuming with its generous offerings of ruffles and tulle. These are fail-proof occasionwear tropes, but with Asku, always expect a dark twist that takes his creations from pretty to alluring. There are many ways to flout the norms of gender, and we've seen many a power suit this past season. Asku decided to embrace — and challenge — the stereotypically feminine, by committing to a distinctly pastel colourway. In every iteration of gender, Aksu made sure to nuance it by adding both literal and metaphorical layers to his creations. Floral appliqués took on a crackle-glaze effect, while pleats went perpendicular. The tailoring oscillated between ultra-light to sturdy, employing the use of everything from tissue-thin organza to heavy velvets.
The soundtrack: Aptly playing in the background was Grace's rendition of "You Don't Own Me" — strong statements of "don't tell me what to do," and "don't put me on display," crooned as Aksu's army of angels sauntered down the runway.
FYODOR GOLAN: UP, UP AND AWAY
The inspiration: Aerodynamics took the leading memo for Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman this season. The design duo invested in ideas of flight, inflation and general upward movement, as a metaphor for some much-needed, unwavering positivity in our increasingly cynical climate.
Special note: Now known for their offbeat yet totally fitting collaborations (Coca-Cola, My Little Pony, Post-it) this season, the London-based label joined forces with noughties nostalgia powerhouse, MTV. FROW guests were greeted with MTV logo-emblazoned rainbow doughnuts on their seats — not gonna lie, it was slightly jarring to see a Facebook food trend IRL. "MTV has been the voice of youth culture for decades," said the duo. "This collaboration combines the iconic pop culture symbol with the vibrancy and bright colours of today's MTV."
The collection: Vintage athletic silhouettes get a major update by way of holographic textiles, metallic sheens and luxurious finishes. Think faux fur-lined tracksuits, crystal-encrusted bodycons and velvet bombers. There was a real sense of movement in this collection, from the way the asymmetrically spliced pleats swayed to the billowing parachute skirts that took up considerable runway space.
ASHLEY WILLIAMS: UNDERGROUND MUSE
The collection: Clashing animal prints, sheer tulle frocks flocked in barbed wire, feathered bosoms, diamante-encrusted slogan hairpins that read "GIRLS", "BOYS", "ANXIETY". Biker shorts were styled under ponchos, and slouchy hoodies bore blasé slogans such as "Don't Know, Don't Care". The Ashley Williams girl is deliberately hard to demarcate. Just like femalehood, it's amorphous, confusing, yet enlightening all at the same time. Not shying away from lurid hues of pink and green, the collection was a clear rejection of tacit sartorial rules.
The set: Taking the LFW crowd out of its literal comfort zone — the main venue at The Strand — this show took us down to Ambika P3, an underground art exhibition space in the heart of Baker Street. Faux stonehenge-like structures punctuated the runway, with lights that doused the space in true Ashley Williams spirit.
Spotted in front row: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Brit it-girl Alexa Chung and multi-hyphenate model Naomi Shimada were among those in the guest list.
All coverage from London Fashion Week fall/winter 2018.