London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2023: Part 2
It was a Celebration of Blighty across the Board – from Burberry’s ‘All Weather’ Campaign to Christopher Kane and JW Anderson’s ‘Alternative Britishness’. The Late Great Doyenne of British Fashion, Dame Vivienne will be Winking from Above.
Image and Video Credit London Fashion Week, Participating Designers and Vogue
London Fashion Week pulled out all the stops to showcase all the fabulousness and foibles (including the British weather) of being British this year. Having kicked off in parallel with the sending off of one of its most famous fashion celebrities, the late Dame Vivienne Westwood, the event seems to have had her ever-present in most collections, with many designers tipping their hat – in one way or another – to the great doyenne of British fashion.
No wonder hints of punk and grunge emerged in many collections. Even Emilia Wickstead digressed a little from her usual style; Erdem (whose first mentor was none other than Dame Viv herself) flaunted voluminous asymmetric skirts like the ones Westwood did back in the eighties. Burberry went in overdrive and blatantly flaunted the plaids, the tartans, the woolens that we associate with being British and both Christopher Kane and JW Anderson did their take on an alternative version of British fashion. How more British ‘everyday’ can one get than JW Anderson’s ensemble constructed from Tesco bags? ‘Absolutely fabulous, daaaahling!’
But don’t take our word for it, snuggle up in all those cosy tartans, fluffy plaid blankets and delicious faux furs (oh and don’t forget your cuppa tea and Tunnocks …) and enjoy the selection!
The most quintessential British brand of all British brands – the brand of foul weather. Of wind, rain, sleet and snow, of trench coats and of that most iconic of tartans to keep us cosy and wrapped up in style for all eventualities, presented a collection that was a tongue-in-cheek version of what they do best. Diagonal plaids in knits and in tailoring, woolens, heaps of oversized faux fur, rooster feathers, blankets in striking white and the most vibrant shade of cobalt blue, wraparound kilt skirts and Russian hats, cute plaid handbags and sheepskin booties all vied for attention. Here’s where functionality meets style!
And just in case one didn’t spot the ‘theme’ of the collection, one T-shirt actually read “Winds of Change”! This is truly dressing for all weathers, and particularly for all sorts of typical outdoor adventures in good Old Blighty. The colours across the spectrum were exceptionally adventurous for the usually restrained Burberry, with ensembles featuring royal purple and canary yellow, autumn shades and deep purples (in a delicious feathery coat), bison and turquoise, ochre and grey … This season’s ‘wow’ shade at Burberry – that vibrant shade of blue – was seen across many pieces – not only is it striking, it’s pretty ‘must-have-able’ now that we’ve spotted it. No doubt a shade we’ll all have developed a perceptual set for, come Autumn 2023, bring on the Autumn Blues!
Watch Burberry’s show here:
Erdem Moralioğlu’s collection for AW 2023 is a love affair with the gothic and with Victoriana – from the frilly-collared lace dresses with their sharply nipped waists and cascading tiered skirts to the extravagantly sleeved taffeta frocks with their wholesome ribbons and modest necklines … but there was also an certain element of wayward punk that crept into this offering. A deliberate nod, perhaps, to Erdem’s start in the fashion world with his mentor having been the late grande dame of punk and drama, the late Vivienne Westwood?
As for the collection, skirts hems were endearingly irregular and tattered in places, knits were punctured and deconstructed (very punkish indeed) and the colour palette ranged from sombre, deep shades to neon in lilac and acid yellow (incidentally, these were fashion colours reminiscent of the Industrial revolution!) with some prints literally resembling florid Victorian wallpaper. Standout pieces are the striking lace dresses with their oversized, contrasting taffeta sleeves as well as the dramatic, asymmetrical taffeta skirts that are pure theatre!
Watch Erdem’s show here:
It was a frilly affair at Christopher Kane’s, with tiered peplums, cheeky frills and voluminous bustles abound. Contrasting and sleek vinyl pencil skirts were the backdrops to these frilly appendices. These pieces with a decidedly futuristic feel to them, oozed and purred with infinite sex-appeal (incidentally, during the show the audio included a cat purring – a metaphor for pleasure, self-admiration and contentment …)
To add to the surprises, there was an element of fauna and flora included too: dainty botanical flowers were embroidered on structured capes and cloaks, butterflies fluttered across frocks and realistic-looking baby chicks, piglets and rats decorated bodycon dresses (Kane, who grew up in gritty Glasgow, evidently paid homage to the stubborn little flowers that sprout up through concrete paving in urban cityscapes and the rats and chickens in folks’ urban back gardens.)
One of the most memorable ensembles has to be the very striking oxblood red sequin skirt and top with its contrasting yellow, white and lavender-striped finely knitted sweater.
Jonathan Anderson’s AW 2023 collection is celebration of likeminded souls, the other soul being Scottish choreographer, dancer and celebrity Michael Clark. Looking through the archives – and no doubt inspired by another legend’s legacy – that of Dame Vivienne Westwood – JW Anderson created a collection that showcased the alternative edge of British culture and fashion.
The allure of this collection – like with so many previous JW Anderson collections – is that the clothes aren’t only striking, they’re actually also totally wearable. Take, for example the coats with their oversized lapels, the trapeze dresses with their nonchalant hem drapes, the kite-shaped trousers and knits with their overly long sleeves and fraying hems. These would all work in most folks’ wardrobes and yet – there’s something terribly special about each. And then there’s the now famous Tesco bag creation – more everyday (and yet special) than that you’d struggle to find!
Designer to Kate Middleton and many precious starlets of the red carpet, Emilia Wickstead produced a collection for AW 2023 that was, well, still very Emilia Wickstead … but slightly off-base, certainly more relaxed and far more quirky than usual.
There were of course also many signature floral prints – in voluminous skirts as well as fifties-style nipped-in-the-waist dresses. Plaid came in many guises, from knitted jumpers to coats and jackets. Silhouettes were less fitted and more relaxed than usual, with knits, jackets and coats being very generous. The shapely, fitted dresses, in contrast, showed off every curve. Particularly striking were the sequin frocks.
Ensembles that look decidedly grunge-y were an unexpected and brilliant surprise. Take for example the dirty olive green jumper worn over the pale pink flaired slacks, the oversized plaid coats and the seventies-style jumpers tucked into pencil skirts … Allegedly Wickstead took inspiration from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks – no wonder we’re seeing preppy, grunge-y jumpers and oversized men’s shape coats!