Due to further laxed Covid regulations, selected buyers and editors were able to view collections a bit more intimately during S/S 2021 London Fashion Week.
London Fashion Week S/S 2021
While some lines opted for more intimate one-on-one appointments in showrooms, and some chose to continue staging audience-free runway shows and lookbooks with a digital approach, other designers returned to the traditional way of showcasing their latest fashion achievements: as smaller scale fashion shows, as the good goddesses originally intended.
British fashion has always been acclaimed for its individual sense of style. We fondly appreciate the mixed prints, patterns, and styles that are consistently pulled off so effortlessly. Below, our favorite, most covetable collections:
The Spring/Summer 2021 collection was much smaller than usual, with only 20 looks, very low-key and pared back. She even featured jeans! But, the collection still holds onto the elegance that the line is synonymous with. The original plan was to stage a number of small salon-style catwalk shows, with audiences of just 15 people in attendance for each. At the last minute, Mrs. Beckham changed her mind, feeling the shows would not be appropriate for gatherings, and instead presented her collection to editors in an even more intimate small group, talking them through the looks one by one.
Her long-standing mission statement of “Buy less, dress up, swap clothes” is once again her guiding light. In this unisex collection, she draws inspiration from traditional English tailoring but adds more detail, and clings to the notorious Westwood-Drama: oversized graphic prints, ties and collars, and little gimmicks like detailed buttons or peculiar embroidery.
As more and more fashion brands announced to not run through seasons anymore, after nearly 50 years in fashion, Vivienne declared she will begin presenting non-seasonal collections, and showcase only one presentation a year.
Quarantine was a real blessing for Creative Director Erdem Moralioglu. For this collection, he got inspiration from a historical novel he read while being locked-up in his London house, “The Volcano Lover” by Susan Sontag. The book portrays an affair in the 18th century that ends in intrigues and poverty. Erdem was drawing a parallel between crises past and present, seeing beauty in a time that is very ugly. The designer interpreted the novel onto the body with nymph shift dresses and puff-sleeved empire silhouettes in embroidered muslin and crinkled organza, evoke a sense of romantic, artistic poverty. The audience-less runway imagery was shot in Epping Forest, a sprawling woodland in the north of London.
Along with Erdem, the Turkish fashion designer Bora Aksu drew inspiration from long-gone times. For this season, he took us back to 1918 with a presentation that could be placed during WWI, as relevant than ever. With a deadly flu pandemic occuring at the tailend of a major world war, it was the tireless working nurses that served as the inspiration for this season. Dedicated to contrasting times, the collection reflects on WWI, times of past pandemic, and the ultimate decadence of the 1920s, which featured feminine, light, and layered dresses. Facemasks gave the presentation a nod to the now.
Let us remember back to the start of the pandemic, when masks and toilet paper were a concern for all: a union of young London fashion designers teamed up together to combat the lack of personal protective equipment, providing UK’s hospital workers with handmade masks that they were not able to rely upon by their own government. It was those months that became the genesis for this Irish designer’s new collection. With time on his hands, he began to experiment at home, hand-dying in his bathtub and washing machine. DIY is the manifesto for this collection, and it is characterized by richly colored fabric and high quality draping.
Irish designer Simone Rocha is known for her extroversion. She enlisted some high-profile ballet dancers to model her Spring/Summer 2021 collection. As she calls the collection a celebration of “comfort and security in the extreme”, the featured pieces are an emphasis on exaggerated hips, bows, and the feminine form we know from the Baroque. She once again proved her excellent talent in draping and inflating voluminous silhouettes. This collection is also the first of hers to add underwear accents and harnesses over the garments, which is a very natural next step.
The long-standing British fashion label started off the upcoming season with a show that celebrates renewal, nature, and British summertime. It seems like Creative Director Riccardo Tisci drew inspiration from the four elements: natural colors are the key chromatism of the collection. Burberry collaborated with the German interdisciplinary artist Anne Imhof to create the setting of models walking through the forest, and the show was presented digitally.
Preen by Thornton Bregazz:
Creative duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi spent a lot of time with their children during lock-down. This time not only welded the family further together, but it also gave them inspiration for their latest collection, which was created in their idyllic countryside home. Preen by Thornton Bregazz embraces ruffles, patchwork, and recycled old season materials, continuing to set an example for sustainable high fashion.
While many designers stripped back their visions for Spring/Summer 2021, London-based designer Molly Goddard went in the opposite direction. As the lockdown requirements eased and factories reopened, a wider array of fabrics became available again. She revealed a collection of extravagant, colorful, and voluminous dresses created in her signature tulle, presented in a catwalk show before no audience. To try and move on from the dark and depressing, she brought back colours: neon pink tulle, green and black checkerboard, orange florals with black and yellow polka dots, bright blue vinyl bags, and a great collaboration with Uggs in the form of platform slip on shoes.
Michael Halpern is a London-based designer whose label, with its distinctive sequinned designs, made a tribute to the Covid-19 heroines by dressing eight key workers from across the public service sector who have remained working throughout the lockdown period. These special muses wore two looks, created completely for them personally. Each individual look was largely constructed in-house, using haute couture techniques and luxury fabrics.
Quarantine has changed the way Christopher Kane wants to work. He has not had the desire to create a large collection, and rather decided to focus his attention upon reducing and simplifying his brand. Instead of designing, he turned to painting. His own paintings were the inspiration for his new designs. The presentation seemed like an art exhibition, with the clothing an extension of the paintings. Some were digitally rendered, while others were hand-painted. The exhibition is entitled ‘Home Alone’ – and you can book a viewing slot by getting in touch with the Christopher Kane shop directly.
Text: Olivier Mohrińge and Janna Shaw
Images Provided by Corresponding Designers