The Must-See Collections from London Fashion Week

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Simone Rocha AW19 Fall 2019 collection fashion week
Simone Rocha Autumn/Winter 2019Photography by Daisy Walker

As London Fashion Week draws to a close, catch up on the highlights from this season’s shows

JW Anderson

The set for JW Anderson’s show was a square of shaggy cream carpet with 19 rocks poking through its surface – the same number found in traditional Japanese Zen gardens, a recent fascination for the designer. Post-show, Anderson revealed that the set encompassed loftier ambitions, too: the carpet, to him, evoked clouds – as if his women were levitating on air. “The idea of a woman walking on clouds – this idea of fantasy and imagination in fashion,” he explained backstage. Here, that imagination conjured at once grand silhouettes – expansive floor-touching capes, broad-shouldered jackets, and ballooning hems – and delicate touches, like the clouds of tulle that trailed from heeled shoes, or the loops of fabric which decorated the hems and sleeves of dresses like exaggerated whip-stitching. It was a convincing and beautiful proposition for a woman’s wardrobe, with accessories to match – all eyes were on the fist-sized gold chain necklaces and ‘levitating’ leather caps. JM

Christopher Kane

Past seasons have seen Christopher Kane mine the curious kinks of British sexuality for inspiration – from the erotic illustrations of 70s do-it-yourself manual The Joy of Sex to the domestic interiors of Streatham brothel owner, Cynthia Payne (A/W18 and S/S18, respectively). This season, he and sister Tammy mined further still into the world of fetish, specifically, rubber, food, balloons and liquids – if you’re curious, may we refer you to our handy fetish guide. Prints included slogans like ‘Rubberist’ and ‘Looner’, along with rubber gloves and balloons, while the garments themselves teetered between the ladylike flounce and excess of couture – baby-doll ruffles of duchesse satin, lace and paillette-embroidered organza – and kink, in sleazy rubber trench coats and crystal-studded harnesses. JM


British codes remained at the heart of Riccardo Tisci’s sophomore collection at Burberry. But, as is often the case with Tisci’s work, they were communicated in unexpected ways – enough to ruffle the lapels of Burberry traditionalists. The show was titled Tempest, referring to the fickleness of British weather and perhaps also the stormy political climate in the UK, though the latter was left open to interpretation. There was, of course, plenty of Tisci-esque streetwear with ‘dad’ trainers and references to 1990s rave culture through deconstructed tracksuits and puffer jackets. The show was comprised of a whopping 100 looks, with the former section – mostly consisting of this aesthetic – paving way for the latter: ‘ladylike’ trenches, pleated skirts and pussy-bow shirting worn by the likes of Mariacarla Boscono, Natalia Vodianova and AnOther Magazine’s latest cover star Rianne Van Rompaey. It was a collection that celebrated both the old and the new – and one that we predict is likely to fly off the rails when it arrives in stores. HT

Simone Rocha

Actress Chloë Sevigny was one of the models to walk in Simone Rocha’s beautifully considered A/W19 show, alongside an ensemble cast who represented the brand’s dedication to women of all ages. Wearing Rocha’s much-loved design signatures – broodily romantic dresses, gauzy outerwear, beaded headpieces and accessories – Jade Parfitt, Jeny Howorth, Marie Sophie Wilson Carr and Kirsten Owen took to the runway at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, next to the likes of Adut Akech, Lily Nova and Sara Grace Wallerstedt. The work of Louise Bourgeois reverberated throughout the collection, too, in prints and embroidery made in collaboration with the Louise Bourgeois foundation. HT

Wales Bonner

Grace Wales Bonner’s A/W19 show was a very special and very spiritual affair. The show opened with the great American author and musician Ishmael Reed, who had flown in from the US for the event, playing a jazz composition on the piano, followed by the Nigerian writer Ben Okri reciting a poem that he had written especially for the show. Staged within her exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, the collection itself was dedicated to the American outsider artist James Hampton and took inspiration from 1980s college attire – namely that of the historically black Howard University. Surrounded by works she had curated, the show was a complete realisation of what Wales Bonner is trying to do – explore ideas of African spirituality and how those ideas have been interpreted by subsequent generations. Oh and, as usual, the clothes were beautifully cut and impossibly elegant. TS

Molly Goddard

Guests were asked to arrive early for Molly Goddard’s A/W19 show to account for security processes involved in getting into the venue: the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s Durbar Court, a grand, glass-ceilinged space in the building’s India Office, completed in the 1860s. In the vast hall, models “stomped through the storm” in a collection imbued with an intrepid sense of fun. Goddard’s signature tulle gowns were present and correct, in shades of pink, yellow and green (and often worn over trousers), as were argyle knits, pastel taffeta dresses, “robust” tailoring and woollen balaclavas. A raised central catwalk was fitted with air vents on its floor which caused skirts to blow up as models walked, adding a note of theatricality. And fitting with Goddard’s British girl aesthetic, the designer explained that the thinking behind this gust of wind was more Tess of the D’Urbervilles than Marilyn Monroe. BH

Margaret Howell

Margaret Howell doesn’t do fireworks. She doesn’t create elaborate sets or attempt to orchestrate ‘social media moments’. She does what she has always done: create simple but sophisticated, minimal but magnificent clothes – which, this season, came in a palette of black, white and earth tones. It was lovely and we want to wear it all, and it served as proof that even in today’s nasty, noisy world, you don’t need to shout; that there’s always space for quiet beauty.

Kiko Kostadinov  

At Kiko Kostadinov A/W19, the second womenswear offering under the creative direction of Australian sisters Laura and Deanna Fanning, the label’s signature sporty aesthetic was once again adapted for a modern, practical woman. Laura and Deanna’s reference points came by way of turn-of-the-century Central American outlaw women (banditas and pistoleras) – whose uniforms combined menswear with delicate detailing like gatherings and bustiers – and the futuristic costumes of 1988 Polish film On the Silver Globe. Staged in London’s Swiss Church and featuring gargantuan orange rock-like sculptures by set designer Thomas Petherick, the collection saw typically feminine design codes and silhouettes reimagined in jewel-toned velvets, knitwear and bright sports nylons, paired with positively wild hair and make-up. BH

Richard Malone

A deft Autumn/Winter 2019 show from Richard Malone saw the Irish-born designer explore ‘dressing up’ across different generations: namely, a child and parent, an idea which began from finding a photograph of his brother as a young boy among bored-looking adults at a party. Accordingly, he opposed the colourful dress of a child – fun-fur, made from repurposed dog beds, psychedelic prints and smears of paint – with grown-up party wear, from elegant tailoring and mohair outerwear to form-hugging gowns, fastened with toggles, in red-lipstick shades. A dedication to fabric innovation remained central to his practice: a number of especially labour-intensive pieces, like swirling frayed silks and laddered-knit jumpers, took his studio days at a time to complete. JM

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

For A/W19, design duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi traced the history of folkloric dances through a journey across the British Isles, culminating in a celebration of the 80s rave scene. Clothes were enmeshed with grunge elements and vintage party wear references – from clashing tartans and jacquards (recalling the Scottish Highland dance), to double-breasted tailoring and rosette fastenings (resembling Morris dancers), to ruched lace dresses and graphic knits to echo Manchester’s nightlife venue The Haçienda, where both designers were regular attendees. The rave scene reference, however, wasn’t limited to the clothes: the set design – multi-coloured and hazard-striped poles placed in disorderly fashion in an industrial Vauxhall warehouse – came courtesy of Ben Kelley, who designed the legendary club in the early 80s. EP


The ornately titled Princess Orietta Doria Pogson Pamphilj served Erdem Moralioglu with ample inspiration for his A/W19 collection for Erdem – an Italian noblewoman whose colourful life prior to her death in 2000 utterly fascinated the designer. Her father was a staunch anti-Fascist, refusing to support the policies of Benito Mussolini, and the princess was even unable to attend school because she did not possess a Fascist card. Sumptuous clothing in brocades inspired by the furnishings in the Pamphilj’s family palazzo (which Moralioglu visited) riffed on 1960s silhouettes, nodding toward the Principessa’s visit to London during that time. Dame Joan Collins also sat front row in head-to-toe Erdem regalia. A very royal affair indeed. HT

Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood’s latest outing was less a traditional fashion show – though there was plenty of fashion to be had – more a diatribe towards the powers-that-be on the prescient issues of climate change and rampant consumerism. An almost 30-minute show, just a moment’s walk from the houses of parliament, saw her A/W19 own-name collection interspersed with various orations from activists, actors and models – from Rose McGowan to Sara Stockbridge, and Greenpeace’s executive director John Sauven – about the imminent destruction of the planet. The clothing itself, which riffed on Westwood’s well-known codes – deconstructed tailoring, plaid, kilts, corsetry and the like – served also as a call to arms, imprinted with slogans like: “Politicians R Evil” and “What’s Good for the Planet is Good for the Economy”. Westwood herself closed the show with typical flourish, leading an enthusiastic round of song before embracing her models. JM