An unusual sense of optimism took over London Fashion Week this season, as Burberry presented a collection of lace pastel dresses, Paul Smith’s catwalk lit up with sunshine prints and Christopher Kane considered sequinned orchids and buttercups. Up and coming designers were not oblivious to this cheerful state of mind as they explored femininity in its brightest, airiest form (but also with a deep understanding of its complexity) through ruffles and asymmetries uniquely interpreted in each one of their shows.
J.W. Anderson’s woman is somewhat reminiscent of a deluded Tennesee Williams heroine, wearing long, ruffled, romantic dresses of pale blue and white yet living in a sanatorium. Anderson’s clinical fixation was expressed through sheer, crisp organza tops and asymmetrical skirts open in the front, akin to hospital gowns.
Asymmetrical hemlines were also in the spotlight at Eudon Choi, who transformed his models into Asian flowers. His tailoring background was revealed in the graphic, almost austere lines of his flared skirts, mellowed with a delicate palette of blue, pink and gold. One-sleeve silk dresses and kimonos felt particularly Japanese, and gave the collection a relaxed edge.
Frilly slip dresses, lacy skirts and ruffled sleeves made for a playful Meadham Kirchhoff collection. The ahistorical mix of references and camp details (from Elizabethan corsets to Victorian broderie anglaise and Belle Epoque schoolgirl dresses complete with curly hairdos and wide-brimmed hats) could, however, not hide the powerful craftsmanship of the duo, akin to that of Christian Lacroix, and getting better every season.
Lucas Nascimento chose to focus on the intimacy of undress through his imaginative towel dresses (worn with off- shoulder strap chiffon tops underneath), inspired by the image of a sultry Brigitte Bardot in Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Mépris. Plongé leather skirts with radically asymmetrical hemlines, sheer make-up and damp, casual hair filled the collection with a rare sensual appeal.
Thomas Tait’s obsession with sport took an unusually feminine turn this season. Long, ruffled parachute coats made out of paper-thin nylon were worn over graphic, lean silhouettes and duchess satin A-line dresses were sewn with draped nylon panels in fresh shades of pink, green blue, white and peach.
Darker and more sophisticated than ever, Simone Rocha’s woman was in control. Ultra feminine shapes were styled with Mohawk-like hairdos and Perspex-soled brogues. Full skirts hung low from the hips, almost as if they were about to fall down, and pearl-embroidered, frilly slits revealed skin in an inviting, yet ladylike manner.
Text by Marta Represa
Marta Represa is a freelance writer specialising in fashion, art, photography and culture.