The recent completely digital London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2021 showed how the fashion industry has been able to pivot and change to reflect a new world. There were parades, notably one filmed in an eerily empty Tate Britain, panel discussions and digital catwalks. In all ninety – five designers showed their collections which embraced gender fluidity and the repurposing of clothing plus opulent designs, fabrics and looks designed to tempt shoppers who are now embracing their roadmap out of lockdown.
One of my favourites was and always will be, the beautiful Temperley London, who showcased their Glastonbury inspired collection, aptly named Rock Swagger. This collection will hopefully inspire everyone’s inner rock star as they begin to step out and about again. There were leather pant suits, leather adorned with studs, sequins in animal and purple prints, denim on denim culottes and jackets, vibrant flowing print dresses and a showstopper gunmetal gown with cut out back, as well as a cool ribboned back dress in black. Rock chic looks at their finest!
Gender fluidity was also a big statement this year with the lines between men’s and women’s fashion blurring. Fledgling talent Harris Reed, creator of the Vogue cover dress for Harry Styles, showed off a six piece collection. It was titled For Now, Unexplained. His work comprised a series of tuxedoes in a gender neutral and fluid form. Think suit jackets with full skirts, cigarette trousers and flashes of striking fuchsia. Fuschia is one of my all time favourite colours.
Designer, Bethany Williams created a gender neutral coat collection made from upcycled vintage blankets which were shown on the first day. It is available in the mainstream store, Selfridges and shows how much traction this concept has gained in recent years.
Turkish designer, Bora Aksu , was lucky enough to show his designs on an actual catwalk in the Tate Gallery, albeit without a real time audience. There were such feminine and optimistic pieces in this collection with plenty of lace, tulle, velvet and taffeta. Colours were beautiful with yellow, pale pink and a vibrant fuchsia standouts for me. He also debuted his first handbags.
Marques Almeida mixed fashion and entertainment through a film collaboration with Nenny, a teenage rapper. Nenny showed off the brand’s sustainable designs plus a glimpse inside her world and a musical performance. It seems the creative juices have been flowing during lockdown and the designers have produced their most sustainable collection to date. They have done away with petroleum based fibres and all cottons used are organic. They have also used vegetable dye in most of their designs. Designs were colourful, playful and freeing, embracing a new generation. Big sleeves and oversized jackets were a feature as were bright colours, cool blues and yellow.
One of the most elegant fashion films showed three generations of Vanessa Redgrave’s family that was filmed at her daughter’s home ( Joely Richardson). Granddaughter Daisy Bevan completed the trio. Shot via iPhone the film captured elegant moments with the women wearing Roksanda. The film was aptly titled – Friday In February.
Roksanda dresses women as goddesses in their ageless and timeless designs. They really do suit women of all shapes and ages. Features were the ruffles and bows that adorned the magnificent gowns, in shades with the exotic names of honeycomb, vermillion, blush, sienna and celadon. Many shapes were billowing and oversized.Taffeta and silk organza featured and there were plenty of pintucks and great tailoring which so suited Redgrave.
Fashion never ceases to amaze with its inventiveness, willingness to change and to embrace the power of now, whilst looking to the past for influence. London Fashion Week will always remain cutting edge and it was great to see so many designers using their creativity in a multitude of ways. Next stop on the Fashion Week calendar is magnificent Milan. See you there.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).