Ten things we’ve learned from London Fashion Week

London Fashion Week is over and those in the know are already discussing Spring/Summer 2015’s trends. Drop these designer phrases into conversation to sound like a front row regular.

Ten things we’ve learned from London Fashion Week

1. “Marchesa gave us a red-carpet preview: 

The celebrity favourite took a break from the New York schedule to celebrate its tenth anniversary with an opulent show at London’s Whitehall Palace. The gown-centric brand was founded in an unglamorous Soho studio on a dream that took it all the way to Hollywood. A cynic might say the road was smoothed by designer Georgina Chapman’s marriage to super-producer Harvey Weinstein but she and partner Keren Craig certainly know how to get a starlet on the best-dressed lists. Expect to see looks from their “bohemian-luxe” collection at next year’s Oscars. Tiered gowns laden with sparkly fringe, lace, feathers and tulle only really work in La-La Land.

2. J.W. Anderson does leather with grace:

Jonathan Anderson will soon make his Paris Fashion Week debut as Creative Director of Loewe, the LVMH Moët Hennessy-owned luxury leather brand. Anticipation was certainly heightened by his London show. The Magherafelt-born designer made exquisite use of his new resources in his most feminine collection to date. Butter-soft looking leather was cut into shapely dresses, cropped tops,and camisoles. Waspie-thick belts were secured around torsos with nautical buttons. His black leather sunhats were definitely the accessory of the week.

3. Simone Rocha is on fire:

Rare is the show that makes you want to race backstage and try every last item on, as Simone Rocha reminded me on Tuesday. Rocha was inspired by German dancer Pina Bausch and 50’s filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s Hong Kong. After opening the show with fun, marabou-trimmed satins, she showed lightweight cloque dresses in black and white. Trench-coats and trousers in pink tulle or bone-coloured mesh captured “the fleeting time of youth, beauty and love”. Silk-brocade and hand-crocheted numbers should tempt the more conservative. The designer’s signature pointy brogues were reworked with feathers, floral prints and Perspex kitten heels. For evening, there were scalloped leather pochettes and fluffy or satin slippers. Fabulous!

4. Bugs, birds and reptiles are the new motifs:

Summer staples like tiger and leopard-prints were lesser spotted at the shows, replaced by webbing and wings. Burberry Prorsum’s “The Birds and the Bees” collection highlighted this with the word “insects” looped across dresses, as well as the catwalk. Giant bumble-bees and butterflies featured on skirts, bags and the brand’s signature trench coat. Giles Deacon’s rainforest-themed show included oversized jumpers and silk dresses covered with sequinned snakes, exotic birds and claws. Most creatively, Mary Katrantzou’s lingerie-like dresses had extraordinary, imagined creatures from the 300 million-year-old supercontinent Pangaea worked into lace.

5. Spring shoes will be feet-friendly:

I would never go so far as to declare the stiletto dead but sales of lawn-stabbers look set to take a serious stomping next season. Models clomped through the week in brick-like platforms, chunky heels and pool sliders. Sophia Webster attached supportive t-bars and ankle straps to anything higher than two inches. Markus Lupfer made those jelly sandals we wore as toddlers pink and studded them with crystals. Paul Costelloe paired 60’s baby-doll dresses with wedge-heeled plimsolls. Trainers will look appropriate with any clothing, apparently: pencil skirts, tailored trousers, voluminous gowns...

6. Embellishments are blooming marvellous:

Flowers for spring may not be groundbreaking but London designers’ interpretations made them look box-fresh. Orla Kiely invited Californian artist Alia Penner to paint wildflowers on a glass screen behind models in her bloom-dotted collection. Staying true to her signature 60’s silhouettes, she decorated dresses, skirts and patch-pockets with two-tone floral jacquards. Her daisy appliquéd shoulder-bags and Mary-Janes are sure to sell out. Scottish designer Holly Fulton applied poppy-shaped silk patches to PVC bustiers and extended geometric, 3-D flowers down the front of A-line dresses. First Lady-favourite Erdem Moralioglu embroidered palm fronds and hothouse flowers into his dark, floaty gowns.

7. Tom Ford is bringing sexy back:

Tom Ford has always been a fashion maverick but even long-time fans were surprised by this week’s return to his 90’s roots. The Texan made millions for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent with unapologetically sexy clothes and ad campaigns that would make a Kardashian blush. His Spring 2015 show was packed with skin-tight leather, thigh-high slits, stockings, gold bandage dresses and bondage-style strips posing as tops. The sheer raunch and decadence of it was so at odds with fashion’s current mood as to seem revolutionary. People will still buy it; new-old look may even prompt a broader return to pre-recession sexiness.

8. Madonna is still in vogue:

Madonna enthrals a whole new generation of fashion designers. She DJ-ed at Jeremy Scott’s New York Fashion Week after-party and was present in spirit for London label Sibling’s show. Her Desperately Seeking Susan incarnation inspired “Holiday Celebrate”, a collection of clothes reminiscent of the work of Maripol, her 80’s stylist. Maripol released a collection of photos of former clients (including Madonna and Grace Jones) in February. Sibling designers John Bates, Cozette McCreery and Sid Bryan likely own a well-thumbed copy. Ruffles, distressed denim, shoulder pads and bra tops were the order of the day. Huge Minnie Mouse bows and rubber bracelets accessorised the looks. Hand-crocheted sundresses and a terrific tiered dress with ribbed bodice were the most covetable pieces.

9. Sheer is a clear trend:

Forget bags and shoes — a slip, or a nude bra and boy-shorts are next season’s must-have accessories. Super-light, gauzy fabrics have never been so ubiquitous. See-through seems suggestive but there is something naive and romantic about the new sheers. DAKS chiffon skirts looked balletic, not blush-inducing. Antonio Berardi gave Women’s Wear Daily a philosophical explanation for his gossamer-thin gowns. “We live in a time when there are a lot of heavy things going on and I think we need to calm down and breathe. I wanted these clothes to breathe as well.”

10. A female creative is the muse of the moment:

The brush-strokes and paint-splashed prints of this season’s “art-pop” trend won’t survive the winter but designers’ interest in artists endures. Roksanda Ilincic translated Canadian sculptor Julia Dault’s abstract minimalism into boxy silhouettes and vibrant colour-blocking. Korean designer Eudon Choi channelled the personal style of American modernist Georgia O’ Keefe with his oversized, masculine-tailored suits and ditsy floral prints. Christopher Kane’s show was a heartfelt tribute to legendary Central Saint Martin’s professor Louise Wilson OBE, who passed away suddenly in May. Inspired by photos taken with her during his MA course, he created silk dresses and skirt-suits embroidered with cord, rope and coils.

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