Fashion advances the language of the zeitgeist, but lately innovation in the industry has been lacking. Whatever potentially worrisome foreshadowing that may hold for mankind at large remains to be seen. While everyone has rushed to catch up to an urgently expanding market with very diverse needs and demands – a desire for more diversity being one of them – creativity has dwindled in equal measure.
Yet, day three of London Fashion Week brought with it some welcome reassurance as one of Britain’s most reliable heritage brands decided to go full throttle into experimentation mode. Yes, we’re talking wild looks at Burberry, which riffed on shirting with massive ruffles, knitwear with asymmetrical sweaters, deconstructed menswear, and inventive versions of the classic trench coat. Designer Christopher Bailey owed his directional new mood to the works of British sculptor, Henry Moore, whose influence produced unconventional silhouettes.
Likewise Christopher Kane sided with innovation, but that’s nothing new for the immensely imaginative designer. For his Fall/Winter 2017 collection, Kane fused factory worker uniforms to space-age effects like hologram prints for a decidedly futuristic collection. In fact, he was thinking so outside the box that it was practically cosmic, especially in the case of the new ‘Safety Buckle’ accessories he shot into space and then put up for sale on his website when they landed back on terra firma – in Derbyshire, England to be precise. Kane’s collections are always fun and sizzling with kinetic energy, and this one was no different. Fun fabrications and cool spacecraft prints aside, the fur choices didn’t make that much sense. However, Kane’s ability to project fashion into a bold new future made us forgive him for – once again – collaborating with Crocs.
Other designers revisited the classics. Erdem brought luxurious baroque details to the runway inspired by the designer’s two grandmothers – one from Britain, and the other from Turkey. Erdem blended East and West by etching the majority of his collection in gorgeous Turkish rose embroidery. The ivory stitch work on one black sheer dress was particularly striking. Erdem always treads closely to period pieces, but a figure-skimming silhouette made even the most covered-up gown look red carpet-ready.
For Fall/Winter 2017, Roksanda Ilincic paid homage to her close friend and beloved London designer, Richard Nicoll – who passed away unexpectedly last year – by opening her show with a dreamy look entirely done in Nicoll’s signature shade of baby blue. However, what followed was an orchestra of fiery reds, muted mauves, and citrusy oranges and yellows engineered on pristine Fortuny pleats, long-line silhouettes, and roomy knits. Quilted and padded volumes were of particular concern to several London Fashion Week designers this season, and Roksanda presented its version on cord-trimmed jackets and coats. Fur-trimmed suede vests, a gorgeous cerulean blue fur coat, and a weirdly wonderful flecked wool coat with tremendous drop sleeves also rounded out the outerwear selection in a mostly dress-and-separates laden collection.