With both Mary Katrantzou and Victoria Beckham celebrating their 10th anniversary, and Riccardo Tisci’s anticipated debut at Burberry, there was plenty of highlights from London Fashion Week SS19.
Underlying all of JW Anderson’s collections is a masculine and feminine mix. But those exaggerated leopard print puff sleeves, crochet bibs and tiered sleeves, and handkerchief hemlines suggested he had favoured the latter for Spring 2019. Saying that, masculine elements crept in. Suit jackets fitted oversized, trousers were wide and loose, and the stripe pattern and leather headscarves veered towards marine pirates.
Part of his extraordinary success lies in his ability to re-construct garments and mix fabrics like the punk era. Here, he manages to collage cotton patches to shirt suits and get all artsy with crafty fabrics mixed with tailoring. He said,
I wanted something a bit more bohemian. A celebration of fashion. Everything with a fluidity to it, and patch worked somehow.
…And he succeeded.
Back in 2009, Mary Katrantzou presented digitally printed jewellery on trompe l’oeil shift dresses. Buyers and fans took note and her career skyrocketed. Fast forward 10 years, for the Spring 2019 finale, her love of the art technique is explored again with models walking the runway looking like perfume bottles thanks to embroideries and hand-painted Swarovski crystal mesh.
Her anniversary collection was split into things people collect; postage stamps, art, insects, jewellery, flowers and blown glass were turned into intricately detailed fashion pieces with silhouettes reflecting the theme. Katrantzou may be exploring the urge to collect but ever since her debut, she’s produced clothes worthy of a museum exhibition.
With not much belief from the fashion industry, in 2008, Victoria Beckham presented an intimate collection of body-con dresses with exposed zip fastenings all the way down the centre back and removable grosgrain ribbon at the waist. She spoke in-depth about each design and explained it had been “a lifetime in the making.” She surprised each person with her success, and 10 years later, set in a gallery beside her Dover Street store, she unveils her Spring 2019 collection.
Stella Tennant opened the show in a blazer over a lace-trimmed camisole, belted loose-fit trousers and silver boots, proving how far Victoria has come. Just like her debut, the bright orange belted tunic, long asymmetric skirts, skinny trousers with split hem in various colours were everything you could image seeing on yourself and fans that have followed every strategic paparazzi shot of the designer dressed in her own designs. She’s certainly proved her credibility and staying power.
Erdem Moralioglu showed his latest collection in the Nation Portrait Gallery, where we accessed the photography archive and found Victorians dressed as men. His starting point was a plaque near his home in Bloomsbury, dedicated to sisters Stella and Fanny, christened Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton. In 1870 they stood in a magistrate’s court and charged with ‘the abominable crime of buggery’. “Far beyond any thrill of cross-dressing, these were individuals with the courage to explore the power of self-expression,” Erdem wrote in the show notes.
What came from this was Victorian sweeping gowns, trouser suits with both skinny and wide legs, puffed sleeves, check patterns and velvet brocades. Some models wore hats with veils shielding their faces, but making sure they’re dressed to reveal who they want to be, even at the gallery under the watchful eye of portraits of leaders who would have dismissed this idea and sent them to jail.
Christopher Kane’s show was titled ‘Sex In Nature’ and it wasn’t hard to figure out why. Those ‘80s power shoulders, leg-of-mutton shirts, wasp waists, plunging neckline, cut-out openings and thigh-high splits were a clear indication of this woman’s sex appeal. There was also the fabrics; tulle, boned lace, crystals and more sparkles. But in the mix was loose shirts, oversized jumpers and a pair of jeans, garments you wouldn’t necessary think of when sex comes to mind. But as the designer explained after the show,
people who dress in Christopher Kane don’t do it for anyone but themselves. Me and Tammy (sister and co-creative director) don’t do sex like anyone else. It’s intellectual. It’s subversive.
After Christopher Bailey’s departure after 10 years in February, it was now time for Riccardo Tisci’s debut. Rather than seating the A-lists he has on speed dial on the front row, it was an introduction to his Burberry for friends, family, journalists and buyers. Titled Kingdom, the collection was split into three sections: refined, relaxed and evening. He explained, “I’m trying to build, over time, a wardrobe for a mother and a daughter, a father and a son. Why just offer one identity when you can really design for every age, for every culture and every different lifestyle?” So he tapped into the British lifestyle and society.
Look one was the brand’s signature trench. But it was slimmer than usual with a thick belt cinching the waist. What followed was clean and sophisticated; pencil skirts, shirts, pussybow blouses, trouser suits, lace camis, and pleated skirts, some in leopard print, printed with the recognisable check or the new TB (Thomas Burberry) logo. For the younger generation he loosened silhouettes deconstructed clothes and added photography prints of old Victorians, Shakespeare and the ‘Why did they kill Bambi?’ slogan, after all, he did popularise Bambi at Givenchy. Finishing with sleek black maxi dresses, Tisci made sure he cemented his mark at the historic house by designing for everyone.