London’s entirely digital fashion week showed that while production value may be limited, creativity and messages of hope and optimism were not. Proving that, even in times of adversity, London's fashion scene is still a hub of creativity and fun. Joyful dressing is here to stay, here we celebrate designers who captivated that mood entirely.
The British designer says it has been the most challenging season (she is eight-and-a-half-months pregnant with her first child, and has had to stay at home since January). Goddard repainted the walls in her studio in East London in joyful yellow, and cast four models - - three girls and one boy - to walk in her signature taffeta dresses, multicoloured Fair Isle knits, and traditional tartan knits from a Scottish factory. “Pieces in this collection are for celebrating and enjoying”, explained Goddard in her show notes. “Each item could have been handed down through generations, and now hopefully will be. Long lasting, but spiced up wardrobe classics”.
This season, Turkish-born designer Bora Aksu filmed his presentation in the empty Neoclassical central hall of Tate Modern, where models marched in his signature organza gowns, paired with cropped tuxedo jackets, XXL knitted-sweaters and belted blazers. The collection was inspired by renowned mathematician and physicist Sophie Germain, locked down in her father’s home during the French Revolution, when she discovered all the treasures of his library and became interested in maths. “Despite the 200 years between us, I felt an immediate kinship with Sophie”, pointed out Aksu, who sought positivity even in the most turbulent of times. “Sophie’s own isolation allowed her to find the ideas that would drive her for the rest of her life. In that way she has shown me that even in the bleakest of times, there is always hope, if one chooses to seek it”.
London’s favourite fashion duo behind 16Arlington, Marco Capaldo and Kikka Cavenati, dedicated their AW21 collection to the notion of being luxuriously trapped, referencing the hypnotic ‘Caddis’ collection by French artist Hubert Duprat, where he adorns protective cocoons with gold leaves, opals, pearls, corals and diamonds. The 16Arlington riff? Think embellished statement coats, power suits and evening gowns with their signature feather detailing.
Though the British designer will not unveil his autumn-winter ‘21 collection in full until March, he presented one of the hand-embroidered dresses on a Barbie doll. “If we were able to show this season, Barbie would be our woman of choice to open the show”, the designer shared his thoughts on Instagram. “She stands for inclusivity and beauty in all forms and embodies the Richard Quinn brand. This graphic silhouette allows the flowers to be placed in an organic way with a combination of shine and matte to add depth to the piece”.
Matty Bovan’s collection, Odyssey, is a metaphor for finding your way out after the storm: “Odyssey is ultimately about humanity’s constant survival against external forces, and a battle with reality. The characters are swept away in a cycle of extreme events, and whether this cycle ever ends or just continues, is unknown”, explains his choice the designer, who divided his collection into three parts. The Fall; with dresses and skirts garnished with giant hand-made sequins and Swarovski crystals. The Void; with hand-dyed funky colourful knits. And The Light; with denim jackets and merino jumpers painted in vibrant tones.
“I wanted to explore how time, space and spirit connect women together, and how nature is an ever-present teacher,” explains Central Saint Martins graduate, Yuhan Wang. She drew inspiration from the pictorial language of Chinese classical landscapes (Wang is also an artist, and spent time practicing watercolours during lockdown). Her romantic and playful dresses, suits and coats, adorned with pine trees, deers, blooming roses, are packed with meaning. “The pine tree represents long life, courage and constancy. The sika deer symbolises intuition and gentleness,” points out the designer.
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