You have just got to love British fashion. There is such a strong sense of self in the clothes of each designer. There is such a disparity amongst them that it is the very thing that also unites them.

For instance, the show by Ashish Gupta saw him try to unite India and Britain. Never mind that he took his post-show bow in a tshirt that had ‘immigrant’ inscribed on it. According to him, he “wanted to celebrate Indian culture, because it is also an integral part of British culture”. 

This was one of the times when Emilio De La Morena‘s Spanish heritage shone through. The color palette was as vibrant as ever: fuschia, lime green, lavender, and sunburst yellow were rendered in silhouettes with sculptural bouffant sleeves. Sometimes, the colors were combined together with one in a structural jacquard and the other in ruched tulle overlaying or underlaying the other. 

Sharon Wauchob ditched Paris for London for her spring 2017 outing. There was a streetwise toughness to her lingerie-inspired pieces. Her French flair lent her clothes an effortless dishabille feel, like when she layered a slouchy metallic dress over pants, or when she elevated pyjamas by throwing a trench over it.

The duo at Marques Almeida, Paulo Almeida and Marta Marques, are known for inviting their cool-girl friends on the runway. It always makes for a mash-up of different styles that is as cool as the girls that wear them. On their runway, punk and street and coquette met, and it was just from the first look out: a tshirt with puffy tulle sleeves layered beneath a lace-trimmed floral print dress, grounded by gold boots. Frayed denim, which is what their known for, made an appearance too. Sometimes, the said denim came with fronts that were fastened with black grosgrain ribbon. 

Osman Yousefzada became a household name after Beyoncé wore a monochrome jumpsuit of his to the Grammy awards. This season, his collection focused on Victoriana, voluminous sleeves, and polished denim (a first on his runway).

Designer turned CEO of Burberry, Christoper Bailey, was inspired by the Virginia Wolf novel “Orlando : a biography”. It made for the Elizabethan-era references that could be spotted through the show: ruffled necklines, voluminous (but structured) sleeves, and brocade jackets with thick yarn embroidery. Layering was also part of his story. A fantastic cream-colored sweater was layered over a pyjama set, fur-lined shearling was shrugged coolly over a lace dress, and a striped silk coat was belted over a floral print dress. There was a lot to take in, but with his see-now-buy-now formula, the clothes will fly off shelves in no time.

Christopher Kane has so many ideas that it is sickening. His collections never really have a particular thing it is inspired by, save for his first collection ever of lace-trimmed neon-colored bandage dresses that won him instant fans. The connective thread of his spring outing was nostalgia, since it celebrates his 10 years in the business. “Patchwork of memories” were the words he spewed concerning his clothes. Amongst his stellar pieces: Polaroids that decorated dresses, pleated metallic lamé frocks that concealed and revealed at the same time, and a dress that could have been made from a doodle from his much-younger self. All maintaining sophistication. Superb.

Louis Trotter’s clothes for Joseph were poetic. She started out deconstructing and reconstructing men’s shirts and trench coats, but drawstrings cuffed the over-long sleeves. The same treatment was equally rendered to wrap dresses and shirtdresses with an emphasis on proportion. Her play on layering was intellectual: transparent polyester was mounted on a perforated knit, mesh tops were worn under multicolored fringed tops & paired with asymmetrical plastic skirts, and windrunner riffs came beneath bonded transparent topcoats.

Yasuko Furuta used water as inspiration. Her Toga show was called “Flux.Temperance.Release”. Puddle motifs appeared as oversized silicone embellishments on masculine shirting that was worn with wet-looking, embossed cotton trousers. Gingham had an iridescent quality. Evening was made up of wispy diaphanous silk dresses.

Finally, Andreas Kronthaler maintained Vivienne Westwood‘s signatures: British punk tailoring of tweeds, vintage-y patchwork, and gender-fluid separates.

As London fashion week ends and that of Milan just on the horizon, let’s hope the designers maintain the spirit of individuality running through the collections, with the end result being one thing: fashion-forward but wearable clothes.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi