Mary Katrantzou – Atelier Swarovski
Ask any designer what their inspiration for this seasons collection was and you’ll be hit with the word escapism. Seemingly a common theme throughout, Mary Katrantzou channelled her childhood nostalgia to design an exuberant collection that amalgamated kids crafts with couture-like structure. “I’m an 80s baby!”, she stated, as her infectious anecdotes were mirrored in the blindingly bright designs. Katrantzou seemingly knows when to brighten and spreads joy in times of hardship, her trip down memory lane reflecting happier times, yet positivity for the future.
Hop aboard the nostalgic trains, where hama beads inspired sporty, yet chic dresses, colour in books and spirograph became the inspiration for prints and balloons translated into inflatable sleeves and silhouettes. Despite the through and through nostalgia, it was outright contemporary and fashionable. Jelly shoes given a grown up makeover with a lace cage like design, chic kitten heels and lofty flatforms embellished with marbles. Katrantzou has taken advantage of a seemingly new market of nylon rainwear that is rather trendy, giving the effect of couture bespoke-ness about the construction.
For SS18, Amishi added a much need glam to kaftans. Embellishment, bright colours and prints dazzle this season loose fitting silhouettes with asymmetric hemlines and sheer fabrics. Deep plunging necklines give a sexy twist with glass mirror jewels and matching embellished sandals, Amishi have you covered for your beach days that are right around the corner.
This collection’s main feature was texture, with a plethora of sheer, tassel, and crochet. In a state of edgy theatricality – platform booties, lycra socks and ankle-tied pumps combination, low ponytails and blunt-cut silver wig, bright-hued lips - the figure-hugging looks left little to the imagination, using an abundance of diaphanous sheer and spiderweb-like crochet. Metallic tassels, with the length and flow of Rapunzel’s hair, cascaded from necklines and hems, busts and hips, giving a gothic, festival feel to the alluring looks; the resulting sway as the models strutted the length of the catwalk breathed a confidently sassy attitude. A fantastical air swept through the collection, feeling both ethereal and bewitched: an ivory feathered coat resembling angel wings was paired with oversized neon-pink sunglasses; pale pink, under-the-sea-inspired lilac mesh dress with glass jewels that were reminiscent of an oyster’s shimmery pearl interior.
Nicola Formechetti presented his latest SS collection for his brand Nicopanda in London. The collection was all about bringing streetwear and sportswear on the runway and the concept of high-school cliques shined through the creations. The brand also collaborated with Amazon to create “see-now-Prime-now” which allowed the audience of the show to scan the looks and buy them from Amazon Prime. The fashion show started with the clique of jocks wearing Adidas-esque twisted tracksuits with double lines running down the arms, legs and sports bras of the models. The punks and goths were next walking on the catwalk in kangol berets, knitwear with badges, vinyl overalls and boots. The color palette of the collection was a combination of bold and pastel colors such as black, red, navy blue with baby pink and lilac. Formechetti created a collection which alluded back to high-school with the addition of a high fashion esthetic and energy.
Just five short years ago, the Central Saint Martins alumni, Levi Palmer and Matthew Harding created the American-British brand that, essentially, specialises in shirting. Their aim? To challenge the original ‘classic shirt’ design and its construction. Taking a wardrobe staple like the simple button-down and creating a collection around it is a feat that has earned Palmer//Harding the name of ‘The Shirt Boys’.
With their Spring/Summer 2018 collection, they devised a compilation of multi-purpose looks appropriate for your nine-to-five, as well as your last-minute, thrown-together, weekend outfit. The standout silhouette made its own statement: light, cloudy fabric cascaded from the form with effortless fluidity, mere drawstring nipping in the waist as its only definition. Draped and pinned as if they’d only been fashioned moments before the model stepped out onto the runway, the billowing shapes conveyed an abstract feel.
Just short of coming across as slouchy, loose-fitting culottes looked airy and relaxed, oversized shirts with their cuffs rolled up to the elbow, felt oh so comfortable and, most of all, wearable. Tops glided over the hips, ending in an asymmetric hem, and voluminous ruffles undulated lazily to form knee-length skirts. Paired with simple, calf-length boots and minimalist geometric earrings, the palmer//harding boys proved they could take simplicity and make it a statement.
The palette was a settling mix of warm and cool tones: an array of quietly-dominant pale shades featured stone greys, sky blues, and muted creams, whites, and beige. These gave a calming effect to the collection, almost reminding one of a soft, ocean breeze. Then, a stark yet welcoming difference came with black, navy, and some autumnal caramel and red, creating a laidback California meets polished New York feeling. Mostly block colour focused, the only pattern to show its face was the always dependable stripe, from a softer, less severe choice with pinstripes, to a wider, more column-like style.
The elevated, tailored ease of the looks achieved the brand’s intention: to create for the modern woman. Both the pieces created and the way they were styled made the versatile collection accessible for any woman in 2017, be she a career-oriented highflyer, an errand-running housewife, or just on her way to a mid-morning pilates class.
It’s always inspiring to witness a designer manifest their past into something that inspires and warms many who have faced a similar history. Like many, Berardi’s family moved to Britain and were diligent in what they had to make money and survive. Berardi’s SS18 collection showed respect and admiration to his past. They had little but were insistent on looking their best. They relied on relatives in America would send clothes which they remade and made fashionable.
The prince of wale check was reimagined and complimented by waves of olive, pink, grey, black and white, elegant and feminine, given an edge with knee high lace boots and blazers fastened with studded belts. It was simple and punchy power dressing, sexy silhouettes, cropped trousers and handkerchief skirt hemlines. A softer side to this collection with draping, free flowing fabrics and layers of lace and broderie anglaise and models with stencilled prints on their hands as if they were wearing lace gloves – a nod to his mother who insisted on wearing them whenever they went anywhere formal.
Marques Almeida’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection had a little bit of everything in it, from different patterns to references, many unique combinations were created. According to designer Marta Marques, “there are a lot of crazy references, American and trailer parks, oriental references, it was a messy mood board, but as always it’s about the girls themselves and how they wear it.” It is more about the individuals and how they decide to layer each piece rather than the clothes themselves – this way the collection is found upon a sense of individuality for every woman.
The fashion show took place in the arches of Brick Lane in east London with the models walking on a metallic catwalk while trains were passing over the bridge as if they are on their way to work or to an important meeting in the city. The industrial neighborhood was filled with the songs of Dolly Parton – an inspiration for the designers as Marques admitted singing them to her daughter as goodnight songs.
Many contrasting materials and patterns were seen walking down the SS18 collection such as low-waisted crumpled linen cargo pants together with stripped canvas cotton tops, floor-length tuxedo coats, silk dresses with chunky black biker boots, oversized denim boiler suits, mandras plaid halter necks, kitten heel boots, cheongsam dresses and sequined shorts. Despite the overwhelming amount of contrasts in the collection, there was a common color palette throughout the collection as the combination of bold colors such as black and red mixed with moments of baby blue and frost pink keep coming together to form unusual sequences of colors.
The waist-line of the models was accentuated with the use of belts, sequined waistcoats, low-waisted pants, and cuts on both dresses and shirts which would otherwise had been hidden behind the many layers and patterns of the collection..
Different accessories were also present in the collection – always adding a little bit more attitude to the final looks. Big rectangular bags with metallic straps, metallic hoop earrings, and thin black rectangular sunglasses accompany the creations of the designers highlighting their eccentricity.
Marques Almeida created a memorable collection using multiple different patterns, fabrics and colors. As the models walked down the catwalk, it became apparent that the designers opened up to a new era of experimentation in their designs and, although the creations might look like disorganized to the eyes of the audience, the designers’ focus on the women wearing the clothes was the most important factor of the show.
At her fingertips, Margaret Howell can trasform any banal clothing to a chic and sleek garment that no longer hangs out in the back of your wardrobe. Being in the industry long enough to put the focus on wearability in the “real world”, Howell’s eager desire to put forward functionality in her Spring Summer 2018 collection is more than effectively conveyed. With a modest colour scheme of neutrals, black and white, each wardrobe essential is crafted with the finest materials and classic British tailoring is nowhere to be compromised – something the designer strongly insists about. Neck wrapped scarves, pinstripe shirts, varied bottoms, knitted fitted tank tops, transitional outerwear, old-school Mary Janes and buckled slip-ons are all pieces one should be thankful for when going into warmer months. No more, no less, Margaret Howell’s line is not for the trend-seeker, but for the style-seeker.
In Ashish’s glistening swamp of hanging disco balls and plastic coated stage, his celestial and ethereal Spring Summer 2018 collection sway through the dark-eyed and barefoot bodies. Unlike some who fight sadness, Ashish embraces it to create cathartic garments, inspired by Martin Luther King’s quote: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” Placement lettering and graphics bring minor humour to an all-back, silver and red party. Astronomical and rhinestone embellished laced gowns, gold-woven dragon embroidery, see-through high slit seductive silhouettes, asymetrical ‘liquid’ cascading mermaid tails and pagan sacrificial shapes, constrast with the lightness of unsual head gear and virginal white accents. In a way, a not-so ambiguous statement is also made about the queer community. Not only is the word featured black-on-white, literally, it’s equally reflected in the casting. Perhaps the multi-dimensional uncertainty of the perplexed designer was a lot deeper than it seemed.
The nostalgic 80’s recall in Ashley William’s Spring Summer 2018 collection travels across a (bed)room with lime green curtains, plush toys and crystals. The graphic and animal prints, high-waisted track pants, tie-dyed denim, bermudas, cowl necks and padded shoulders are styled with a decorated pink cast, chunky earrings, metallic hairpins, retro sunglasses and a wild child hair-do and make-up. Velcro tape sandals one day, stilettos the other, neons are always dulled down by tonals, casual contradicts dressy, the clashing fabrics of the hatler neck dress; the grown woman who rediscovers her inner child is stuck in time and wavers. Her emotions bleed through the clothing, and the audience can’t figure out whether the straw hat is used as a summery accessory or an emotional hurt locker of her journey to womanhood.
At J.W. Anderson in Spring Summer 2018, it’s all about a noise-reducing and calm-inducing wardrobe, as the designer believes in the luxury of serenity in a hysteric media-driven world, making sweatshirts the star of the laid-back show. The monochrome lace boots, nappa-corded waists discreet branding consistently adorn the looks. Handkerchief skirts and dirndl hems, kaftans, jumpsuits, ribbed and knitted pieces may sound banal, but anyone who knows Anderson knows to expect a quirky element. While the colour scheme remains neutral with the intermittent pastel, the artist doesn’t hesitate to put together a head-to-toe orange cropped Bardot top and skirt co-ord, or even a colourful striped turtleneck dress. More subdued playfulness can be spotted on the metallic components and unconventionally proportioned sleeves. The cool toned sequined number with puffy cuffs and the black belted leather outfit are rather dressy pieces compared to the slouchy pastel puffed-leg jumpsuit and simply cut linen wear.
House of Holland
It would be something of a travesty to turn up to a House of Holland show and not be bombarded by a flurry of eccentric colours and prints. Models sashayed to The Streets, a rather quintessential British album – ‘Original Pirate Material’, – the premises of the show, this collection paid to surf culture in the most House of Holland-esque fashion. Sending out “tomboy styled beach babes” as he referred to them, Holland has reimagined ‘surfer-cool’, an archetype of British millennial culture – a new wave of easy-breezy girls who are carefree and confident as they float through London as if summer won’t ever end.
Henry Holland did not shy away from making waves a literal display on his clothing. Everywhere from horizontally printed on silk shirts, vertically down pastel fitted jumpers, cut out on free-flowing dresses and printed on fanny packs, there was a rich display of pattern and hypnotic colour palette that graced a luxuriant amount of texture. Knitted crotchet, chiffon, frayed hemlines and tinsel sport sandals, this collection epitomised a psychedelic beach aesthetic the way only a chic London girl would know how to.
Burberry, it seems, has become synonymous with ‘Britain’ just as tea, crumpets, and the queen have. But though this is clear-cut, what’s classed as ‘British’ fashion is an entirely different discussion; British style, unlike its military, doesn’t have a set uniform.
Burberry used its Spring/Summer 2018 collection to explore the two clearest ‘genres’ of modern British style – the upscale luxury and the downtown urban – in a marriage of unlikely sorts. The aim was to highlight every aspect of the British person from one end of the spectrum to the other; there isn’t a specific trait that person has, but rather a certain quality, an air of je ne sais quoi. As Christopher Bailey said, the collection was created to “celebrate a very British way of life and way of dressing”.
Held at Old Sessions House in East London, the show consisted of both male and female models in a casual, edgy retelling of the classic Burberry look. To the synthpop tunes of the Pet Shop Boys, each look that unfurled was a fusion of both styles – the polished merged with the laidback – in a balanced silhouette.
Where there was an oversized, candyfloss-pink hooded coat, there was a figure-hugging, silk coral skirt with lace hemming to counteract it. Every piece was met with its opposite equal: a chunky black combat boot with a single, silver, statement earring; vibrant Fair Isle sweater vests – not unlike the ones Grandpa wears for Sunday dinner – with clashing, punk-inspired plaid trousers; a monochrome, geometric-print, woolen pencil skirt with a white plastic raincoat.
The brightest hues stood out like pop art with electric tones of crimson, pea green, lemon yellow, and cobalt blue. It was almost a representation of the palette of different ethnicities within Britain; it is a society that is no longer white-dominated, nor is there one ‘way’ to be British. The vivacity of the colours used shows the collection is here to celebrate uniqueness; there are no carbon copies or single prototypes. This boldness shows Burberry’s zeal for the energetic diversity that is British society.
In the midst of a celebratory discord of prints and colours, there is an odd sense of harmony with the addition of earthy tones such as olive, sand, and ginger; it’s an acknowledgment that the only thing that ties them together is their individuality.
And the medley of polar opposite components didn’t stop there. Fluidly feminine, sheer-and-lace embroidered dresses and maxi skirts were shown against the rigidly-tailored riding coats and structured high-neck blouses. Argyle socks and strappy sandals were paired together to fight the chilly April showers, an appropriate choice of footwear easily transitioned into summer. Endlessly-wound, woolen plaid scarves were pinned into place with a dramatic, vintage-inspired, diamante brooch in a dripping floral design. Oversized plaid totes were counteracted by small, compact shoulder bags.
And, of course, the familiar camel and butterscotch check made its appearance on the runway. Known as the hallmark pattern of Burberry, paired with tailored trousers and bulky, eggplant-purple loafers, it gave a slouchy, boarding school air.
Grounded by nothing but the desire to capture the British spirit, Christopher Bailey released a collection that signified the union between two paradoxical walks of life. With no common ground but the country they live in, it was that very point-of-interest which tied everything together in a neat, tartan bow.
This collection is the chain that links couture to sportswear. It begins with a muted palette of black and nude, yet each look is unique: matte leather bralet and mini-skirt set; high-waisted frilled-hem shorts; flared shouldered dresses; tight-fitting, cutout-shoulder top; smocked panel-like wide belt to accentuate the waist. Then, a sudden explosion of startling-red trackpant-like trousers and rompers, and vertical-striped midi-dresses worn with electric-blue calf-length lace-up boots. A wave of cobalt rolled in in the form of mini-dresses with dramatic ruffles undulating asymmetrically from the shoulder to beyond the thigh-length hemline, as well as structured jumpsuits. Ruffles featured extensively, added a striking romantic flair to the otherwise severely tailored cuts. Brocade-inspired prints and silver-beaded stripes harkened to the days of flapper girls in the extravagant ‘20s. Sheer and lace skirts, thigh-high slits, low necklines, and strapless dresses added a sexy, femme fatale energy to the collection.
At the age of 40, Holly Fulton makes a come-back collection for Sping Summer 2018, after taking a year out to branch out on collaborations, and of course the visual feast of retro and Art Deco prints is not disappointing, and this time not just on the clothes but in the whole room. Brights and tonals make a sturdy background for the peeping or mass-attack pattern extravaganza for the silk separates. The vertical garland and striped hems and zipped collars pave the fitted mini-dresses and elongating trousers, and give the overall look a touch of sport chick. When there’s a statement headband, chunky jewellery is never far behind. The bag and socks are studded, giving it an edge to the preppy pumps.
1st image Mary Katrantzou
2nd image Ports 1961
3rd image Pringle of Scotland
4rth image Ralph & Russo
5th image Teatum Jones