London Fashion Week’s autumn/winter edition concludes today, and what a week it’s been – five days of stunning catwalk shows, stellar front rows, and epic after-parties.
There was a real buzz in the capital this season, as fledgling designers like Matty Bovan and Alexa Chung really found their feet, returning VIPs Victoria Beckham and Riccardo Tisci cemented their star status, and seasoned veterans like Erdem and Christopher Kane continued to do what they do best.
Missed any of the major headlines? Don’t worry, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know to be prepared for next season.
From the front row to backstage, here’s what happened at London Fashion Week AW19…
Tisci triumphed at Burberry
Managing to swerve ‘difficult second album’ syndrome, Riccardo Tisci followed up his debut at the helm of Burberry with a collection and show that was hailed a resounding success.
Held at the Tate Modern, the show space was divided in two, one-half sleek and serene, the other an industrial rave populated with rowdy club kids.
The clothing was similarly split, ranging from ladylike beige skirt suits and elegant wool coats to puffer jackets, polo shirts, and chunky trainers.
Tisci said he wants to appeal to every kind of Burberry customer, from high-end clientele to streetwear brand fanatics, and he certainly offered something for everyone with this expansive but focused collection.
Activism was in the in the air
The biggest trend of London Fashion Week AW19 wasn’t a hemline length or particular shade of purple, it was an attitude. Specifically, activism.
It kicked off on the opening day when model Adwoa Aboah and singer Emeli Sandé took to the catwalk alongside bereaved family members in support of the Justice4Grenfell campaign, to highlight the lack of progress in rehousing families and improving other buildings following the fire that killed 72 people in 2017.
On Saturday, Alexa Chung staged her second LFW show, which she said was inspired by a ‘gaggle of women’ who have gone off the grid to plot and prepare before they rise up.
The female empowerment theme was also felt in the mannish cord and velvet tailoring and the demure prairie dresses, which we’ll see flying off the shelves come autumn.
Perhaps Chung has also been plotting with pal Henry Holland, because later that day he presented his own ode to activism, with a show called Global Citizen.
Referencing everything from cowboys and Cambodia to Prince of Wales check and Chinoiserie, the eclectic, millennial-friendly collection was dedicated to those who feel unheard and misrepresented.
It also included a T-shirt collaboration with Netflix comedy series Sex Education, featuring a slogan – ‘It’s my vagina!’ – that just about sums up the season, really.
The original fashion rebel, Vivienne Westwood was back on the London schedule after two years of doing digital presentations and she was as political as ever, casting activists in her show, which was themed, as usual, around climate change.
Matty Bovan recycled the past
Prior to her own show, Westwood was in attendance as a spectator at Matty Bovan, the young upstart who is tipped for big things.
No doubt the doyen of British fashion will have approved of Bovan’s third outing at LFW, in which he repurposed old knitwear, vintage Liberty fabrics and assorted cast-offs to craft his signature bonkers-but-brilliant full skirts and corsets.
Wearable it wasn’t, but creative? Certainly, and that’s what makes London better than all the other fashion weeks.
Erdem was more regal than ever
Frequently worn by Kate Middleton, Erdem has quickly become a British fashion institution – and this time around designer Erdem Moralioglu really leaned into the royal theme, with a collection inspired by Princess Orietta Doria Pamphilj, an Italian noblewoman whose fashion heyday was the Sixties.
That meant swathes of billowing floral satin, voluminous jewel-toned gowns, and feathery cocktail dresses. We can’t wait to see Kate or Meghan in one.
Puffy proportions were also trending on another beloved Brit’s catwalk, but these were mostly short, sweet and ready for the dance floor, not a state dinner.
Christopher Kane’s fabulously Eighties-inflected slew of bright baby doll frocks, teensy mini skirts and satin midi dresses came with his usual injection of black humour. Literally – what looked like a black leather coat was actually latex, and the fetish fabric was used throughout the collection. We wouldn’t expect anything less.
Victoria Beckham branched out
It was a big season for Victoria Beckham, as she announced her forthcoming beauty brand just before fashion week, launched a YouTube channel and held her second ever show in London, which was deemed by many as her best yet.
The collection focused on ‘modern femininity’, meaning the soft tailoring that Beckham has become known for, alongside lots of midi dresses that swished about models’ calves – the lipstick red iterations were much admired.
Oh, and did we mention that the former Spice Girl also partied with her Posh drag queen alter-ego at the after party? We salute you, VB.