Feb 21, 2017
Politics and parties as London Fashion Week wraps up
Feb 21, 2017
Political engagement, a fondness for parties past and the love of a good frill were just some of the highlights of this season's London Fashion Week.
- Speak up -
From Brexit to Donald Trump, the febrile political mood extended to the catwalks of London, just as it did in New York.
Gareth Pugh painted a vision of a dystopia in a dark, concrete basement, with black-clad, dead-eyed models walking to a disturbing soundtrack of samples including US President Trump promising to "build that wall".
Bora Aksu took as his inspiration the Suffragette who fought for women's right to vote in the early 20th century, and embroidered words such as "Freedom", "Hope" and "Love" onto tights and collars.
Meanwhile the white bandana signifying the #TiedTogether campaign for inclusiveness and unity, which was launched in the United States, was worn on the runway and on the front rows.
- Luxe leisure -
Versace's youthful Versus line had a "trackdress" with the back cut out and men's tracksuit trousers made of wool, as well as chunky trainers with an exaggerated tread, padded jackets with zips down the back and t-shirt dresses.
At luxury knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland, there were rich woollen tops and updated argyle-print jumpers worn over hooded, sports-style tops with their strings hanging down.
Up-and-coming designer Ashley Williams had yellow or grey matching tracksuits worn with cowboy hats and heels.
- New femininity -
Two of London's leading lights sought to push the boundaries of femininity with eclectic collections that drew on metallics and utility wear.
J.W. Anderson had belts for straps on dresses, bodices lined with zips and also pockets, whether incorporated into a silvery gown or silk workman's pockets attached to the front.
Christopher Kane hailed what he described as a "tougher femininity" with iridescent knits, spaceship prints, tunic dresses and flowers stuck onto dresses with velcro.
- Parties from the past -
With references to full moon parties in Thailand, Brit pop and rave culture, high-street giant Topshop took London back to the 1990s for its top end Unique collection.
There were cropped army trousers, ribbed dresses in soft knits with rainbow edges, and bias cut dresses that slipped off the models' shoulders.
Roberta Einer, the hotly-tipped Estonian designer, looked to the faded glamour of Mediterranean hotels from the 1940s and 1950s for her colourful mix of dresses, skirts and jackets.
- Frill madness -
From a girly pink number with puffed sleeves to an extraordinary turquoise dress made of tiers of tulle, Molly Goddard was the queen of the latest trend for frills.
They were matched with shiny silver leggings, while brightly coloured tutus were worn under bumblebee-striped jumpers on a set designed to resemble the aftermath of a dinner party.
More understated were the white lace ruffs and cuffs at Temperley London, inspired by Anthony van Dyk paintings, in a collection also marked by fan-like glittering pleated skirts.
- Diversify -
Older models protested outside the shows against age discrimination in the fashion industry, while a number of modelling legends took to the catwalk for the show by Irish designer Simone Rocha.
Among those walking for Rocha, who is known for her intricate floral detailing, were 70-somethings Jan de Villeneuve, who posed for David Bailey, and Benedetta Barzini, the Italian actress and model.
British design duo Teatum Jones also made London history by using two disabled models in their show, after last season championing gay rights.
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