Making sequins not look like mainstream sequins, ruffles not look like mainstream ruffles – it’s a tough job. Especially in London, where a sequin isn’t merely expected to look new, but edgy, too. Christopher Kane made them big and then veiled them under layers of chiffon. This is a country that has always secretly liked clothes that put on a show.
Kane’s sequins still looked a bit like sequins, but classy, and you could imagine it being a while – several weeks, anyway – before the Wags catch on and we’re back to square one.
Others – Bora Aksu, Luella Bartley and Roksanda Ilincic, put in sterling work on behalf of the ruffle and the flounce, stiffening it, exaggerating it and generally making it – and us – stand to attention. Femininity abounds for next winter, but it’s anything but girlish. Instead it’s dramatic, stealing its hauteur from punk and from the 1950s.
Standards across London Fashion Week may not have been consistent this time, but these designers have to grow up in the spotlight. Henry Holland, who a season ago was showing T-shirts with in-jokes daubed across them, hired a tailor and got (semi) serious with an upbeat parade of St Trinians-short tartan kilts and mohair knits.
Of course, it was derivative, mainly of Vivienne Westwood, who, back in London the following day, showed how an asymmetric mini-skirt with a hint of bondage should be done. But it was cute and upbeat and if you’re going to take inspiration, the queen of British swagger isn’t a bad place to go.
Meanwhile, at 26, Gareth Pugh, has a weight of expectation on his shoulders. Perhaps subconsciously, this is why he makes such heavy, armour-like clothes. Magnificent ornate constructions comprised clusters of black leather prisms, they are the kind of clothes that one could imagine Elizabeth I wearing, if she were alive today and shopping in Harvey Nichols. Now there’s a girl who knew how to swagger.
Trends to think about
Belted, kimono-style coats
Clashing colours – heather with mustard; neon pink with brick red
Tufty textures – either Mongolian wool jackets or fluff à la Prada
Layers of chiffon, best at Richard Nicoll
More platform ankle boots
Colour and lots of it, particularly, plum and berry, sapphire blue, yellow and every shade of green
Short-sleeved tunic dresses over pullovers. In fact short-sleeved anything. Global warming’s giving designers a whole new array of options to play with in the winter
Trends best not thought about for too long
Tights as a focal point – either daubed with abstract patterns at Paul Smith, or decorated with chunks of crystal at Betty Jackson
Skinny leather trousers. Repeat after us: just because Chrissie Hynde wears them and Christopher Kane features them, doesn’t mean that they’re a good idea
Jumper dresses, good in theory, overstretched or shrunk in reality
Gold catsuits with crotches round the ankles – there’s avant-garde and there’s freaky
Tassels and fringeing – what are you, a lampshade?
Most arresting accessory
The model Agyness Deyn’s tartan eye-patch. She had conjunctivitis but her friend Henry Holland came to the rescue with a couture cover-up. Could be a nice sideline for Holland – think how much cuter Abu Hamza would look.
The crowds regularly make for better entertainment than the shows. The big news is headwear: jewelled Prada-esque hairbands for the girls, regular hats (with the occasional bowler) for men.
Curiouser and curiouser
The boot socks at Betty Jackson, made from organza are probably not recommended for that country walk
The designer Noki’s predilection for coming on to the stage in a mask. Mind you, if you’d made Skin, the beautiful lead singer of 1990s indie group Skunk Anansie, wear a crocheted shrug with a baby blue taffeta fishtail you might want to be incognito
Gareth Pugh’s peaked leather helmets with uni-horn
The white face, blue lips and blusher make-up at Gareth Pugh. Imagine Dita Von Teese, but dead.
Pieces to update all your clothes next season?
A demure chiffon blouse, with or without a pussy cat bow, and a blazer.
People: who was where – and who was everywhere
Hardest-working groupies Peaches ’n ’Pixie were seemingly ringside at most shows, and when they weren’t, Kelly ’n’ Pixie were. Also putting in repeat performances: Sophie Ellis Bextor, Lady Victoria Thingie
Most dedicated fan Lily Allen, who went from brunette to black – with matching lips – not, as you might imagine, as a gesture of peace towards Amy Winehouse, but because she’d heard that the theme of the Luella show was Hallowe’en. Just as well Luella Bartley didn’t have a change of heart.
Least dedicated Courtney Love, who failed to make the Mulberry show. Well, it was the crack of midday.
Controversy of the week
Ossie Clark’s sons v Mark Worth and Quorum OC Limited, the company behind the revival. The former issued a statement, nicely timed to get more publicity for the show, saying that they were considering taking legal action for unauthorised exploitation of their late father’s name. The latter say that they have all the necessary authorisations.
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