LONDON FASHION WEEK Spring/Summer 2022: An Overview
From SIMONE ROCHA’s Gothic Cherubs to PREEN’s Romantic Punks, the scene was set for Eye Candy with a Kick.
All Image Credit London Fashion Week and brands featured
London Fashion Week has always been a platform for the slightly off-beat, the eccentric and the most fearless of fashion fundis. To boot it’s always had the reputation as a titillating springboard for new talent and this season was no different: the ‘younger’ designers strutted their stuff yet again in a way that epitomized the nonchalant London approach that ‘anything goes’. (It goes without saying that the heavyweight, iconoclastic designers like Vivienne Westwood were also there to add that certain oomph to the proceedings.) Unlike its more ‘serious’ European Fashion Week compatriots – Paris and Milan – London Fashion Week has always been lighter on its feet and a thing of quirky, eclectic, whimsical and eccentric bliss. Over the piece live show venues in London are rather unorthodox and furthermore it’s a phenomenon where the whole city gets swept up in the madness of the moment. The street style surrounding London Fashion Week is, well, a fashion event in its own right.
A darling of the London Fashion Week scene is Simone Rocha, whose extraordinary SS 2022 collection was presented live in the dark, Gothic St Bartholomew The Great church in the heart of the city. This collection coincided with the brand’s 10th anniversary as well as the birth of the designer’s second child. The result? A celebration of epic (and aptly themed) proportions.
The atmosphere was palpable as the seated audience waited for the first of Rocha’s models to appear. One by one virginal-looking models clad in swathes of broderie anglaise, tulle, lace and dripping in encrusted jewels, appeared. Oh, but hang on a minute, these models were representing young mothers who have just been through the birthing process! They bore christening shawls and in fact many of the voluminous skirts with their ruffles, embroidery and underskirts resembled the traditional robes one would dress a child in for the rituals of baptism, the wraps those one would happily swaddle babies in.
The anticipated Simone Rocha silhouettes were undeniably there, but this time cleverly trans-morphed to represent communion, child birth, christening and all the rituals around nursing. (Incidentally, nursing bras were endearingly encrusted with jewels and the models’ hair was wet and glossed – again, a nod to the ritual of baptism!)
Not that there was anything even remotely run-of-the-mill or purely practical about these ensembles … the amount of detail in each piece was staggering. The coats resembled nostalgic and treasured eiderdowns – as if deliberately brought down from the attic to comfort and nurture, the monumental collars on the shirts with their scalloped edges reminded one of crisp, starched vintage cotton bedlinen. The shiny red and black vinyl jackets had a darker undertone – perhaps a reminder of the brutal process of childbirth?
An outstanding feature in this collection were the stunning thigh-high, lace-up boots that are vaguely reminiscent of children’s booties, but again, the injection of blood-red vinyl had a rather more significant symbolism that what meets the eye. The dropped shoulder with its gathers in many of the jackets and coats were a feature that ran right through the collection – a sentimental and enchanting touch.
Starting off as white and black, the palette eventually gave way to the softest of lavender –like a beloved nightie in one’s boudoir – with, eventually, the punchy injections of shiny blood red and ink-jet black. It was sensory overload in the best sense of the word and the audience clearly lapped up every moment of this very personal and special collection from a designer who has been more and more impressive with each new collection. For us as spectators Simone Rocha’s collection was without a shadow of a doubt one of the ultimate highlights of London Fashion Week.
Watch the video of Simone Rocha’s show here:
Following on, on the baby theme, Molly Goddart drew on her memories of her very own baby dresses for her SS 2022 collection. “I was 8 months pregnant when I started designing this collection and imagined the clothes my child would wear, I was fixated on smocked dresses, tracksuit bottoms and ballet pumps. I enjoyed the repetition in this collection and the familiarity, it is nostalgic and visceral.” For Molly Goddart lovers the iconoclastic features of the brand were interwoven in the collection –the ruffles, the tulle, the aran jumpers, the smocking, the ballet pumps and stripy jumpers.
Watch the video of Molly Goddart’s show here:
Emilia Wickstead’s offering came in the form of her never-disappointing, ultra-feminine, precisely cut and flatteringly-shaped ensembles, fit for the likes of a princess. Never one to shy away from bold colours, this collection featured shocking pink, tangerine and emerald green in all its brightness but was toned down a little by nostalgic rose-printed ensembles. Beautiful silhouettes were on display in the Spring-green English landscape – refined, regal and subtle in their simplicity. As ever, Emilia Wickstead presented a collection that is eternally elegant and endearingly classic.
Watch the video of Emilia Wickstead’s show here:
Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi of powerhouse Preen typically presented a darkly romantic, slight punk, slightly vintage-looking collection, with eye-popping bright Eighties-inspired touches (in fact, the rainbow stripe test card on the side of their lookbook images is very much a remnant from the days when TV channels used to sign off for the night!).
Preen’s offerings included a kaleidoscope of recycled and upcycled patchwork knits, asymmetric ruffled dressed, frilly bras and other deconstructed super cool pieces. The colour palette was bold and inspired and the silhouettes wonderfully quirky. No wonder the likes of the late Amy Winehouse was a huge fan.
Watch the video of Preen’s show here:
As the inimitable London fashion week draws to a close and we say good-bye, we’ll leave you with Emilia Wickstead’s models walking into a bright and colourful future!
Until next time, London!