The usual ebb and flow of London’s fashion week hit a bit of a snag this year. Like New York just last week, London faced the daunting task of having to reinvent itself or suffer becoming irrelevant. With the fashion world once again putting all of its eggs in Paris’s basket, cities like London, Milan, and New York are starting to see its big names uproot and make way for the City of Lights. This has left many fashion capitals in a bit of a limbo. Luckily, London and its designers carry a resilience about themselves that allows them to push forward, to spin the wheel of reinvention time and time again. Which in today’s day and age, is the only way to stay relevant and in business in the ruthless fast fashion dominated landscape.
Often times, it’s the most unexpected combinations that are the most rewarding when paired together. At Emilia Wickstead, the idea of mixing early settler pilgrim garb with hints of contemporary casual worked wonderfully. The designer, who embodies the aesthetics of England’s well-to-do women, focuses her designs on prim and proper frocks. However, this season seemed to incorporate a far more costumey and playful sensibilities to her usual designs. Long 17th-century gowns were made fresh and interesting by translucency that exposes the model’s breasts, while sheer dress coats were paired with high-waisted denim pants, echoing the big denim boom that’s taken hold of the fashion world for the past two years. When it came to the more formal evening gowns, the same wisps of first settler fashion were felt with just a touch more glamour. One of the real stars of the show was a beautifully bright floral gown that can be worn separately from the soft bowtied sweater, though the sweater adds that perfect hint of modern femme and makes the gown so charming.
Ralph & Russo
To the complete and utter joy of many couture lovers around the world, Ralph & Russo have finally created their first ready-to-wear collection. Not only does this mean that lovers of Ralph & Russo couture can stock their closets with everyday creations, but those with the means to buy designer can opt for a piece of R&R’s luxurious pie. One very important thing that should be taken from the design duo’s step towards becoming a year-long, four-season brand is the notion that the big dream is not dead within fashion. Sure there are tons of fashion houses that pop up throughout the year, receive a quick following, then sadly disappear as quickly as they came. But there hasn’t been a full fledged fashion powerhouse that’s managed to grow to the level of Ralph & Russo’s fame in quite some time now. But the growth is well deserved. Designer Tamara Ralph knows exactly how to dress a woman perfectly, without any fuss or smoke and mirrors. Her designs are pure modern glamour, pairing relevant metallic leathers, with vintage draping that rivals the greats of fashion’s yesteryear. And what a better way to appeal to the growing group of millennial rich kids than to modernized and translate their parents’ luxury into something familiar to them?
This season, Nicola Formichetti’s label Nicopanda came out with a big surprise. Now, the brand may have made waves within millennials since its inception. It sadly fell into the luxury streetwear category almost immediately due to its penchant for creating very wearable and often comical athleisure collections. However, this season seems to have marked a change for the designer. Nicopanda showed a collection that not only adds far more runway flare, but also even more high fashion digestibility, opening the doors to an entirely new fashion crowd for the designer and the brand. The real highlight of the collection is its completely visible and satisfying linear story, which echoes a modern high-schooler’s athletic wardrobe. It takes the trend of luxury athleisure and injects a much-needed dose of high fashion appeal. Ruffled tracksuit skirts and shorts add a hint of whimsy to what would have been a standard athleisure look, while oversized varsity sweaters became dresses with the addition of wispy chiffon skirts, giving the look a grungy millennial art school vibe that’s sure to sell out in stores immediately. One interesting look that came down the runway was what could only be described as a matchy-matchy red Peter Pan collard leotard, thigh highs, and beret combo, which came fully embellished with chains and knick knacks, bringing to light Formichetti’s high fashion spark.