Off-white on ivory, satin over velour: this collection deployed a harmony of associations, all revolving around rethought and pared-down suits. In his uniquely fluid aesthetic, Ackermann opened the show with a buttoned-up frock coat from under which peaked out leather trousers - a combination resulting, against all odds, in timeless femininity rather than biker chic. This was followed by the designer’s personal favourite, an oversized pinstriped suit, that later came in a body-hugging graphic version, worn on bare skin. The collection also incorporated menswear, kicking off with monochrome looks such as a pair of pearly rolled up trousers and a jumper effortlessly tied around the hips, or a cropped camel peacoat worn with matching trousers. Velour came in luminous midnight blue as a double-breasted overcoat or a loose cardigan. Bright lime silk was cut into buttonless blazers; and white streaks peaked out on the lapels of tenebrous jackets, creating a bold, geometrical contrast. It is no news that Haider Ackermann is one of the maestros of minimalism — but interestingly, he manages to convey different moods to his staple cuts. This season pointed at a form of urban bohemia — a desire for reconciliation between our hyperactive lives and a secret quest for inner peace?
A master at modernized glamour, Joseph Altuzarra focuses on the female figure rather than concepts. This collection notably highlighted the waist and neckline, starting with a series of crossover and shawl collars on belted blazers, or popped straight collars on cinched jackets. Mixing both 1940s rigorous silhouettes, a touch of garçonne chic and Audrey Hepburn-esque elegance, he went on experimenting with crushed velvet skirt suits, in navy or powdered pink; monochrome ensembles in mismatching knits – which came belted, as for most of the looks. Although sleek and minimalist for the great part, Altuzarra nevertheless introduced escapist touches, such as a pleated floral midi skirt — yes, for winter! — paired with a bodycon jumper with graphic cutouts; or bright feathers, outlining the waist, adorning slip-ons or in the shape of clutch. Last but not least, the show closed with a lamé floor-length dress — to awaken the disco-queen in all of us.
Tartan, in the shape of a bomber jacket and a deconstructed skirt, opened the show and set the tone: this season, symbols of British heritage and nobility were to be confronted with the country’s counter-cultures at Vivienne Westwood. This involved quoting and distorting classical elements of 16th Century Tudor fashion — think low necklines, puffed sleeves and headpieces — by reworking them in jersey or nylon, customised by cords and straps. Pairing classicism with streetwear and functionality, the designer reminded us of the multiple functions a garment can play. Indigo and midnight blue made recurring appearances, such as on a bouffant corseted dress lifted by strings. This aligned with the show’s overall critique of the distinction between high and low. Indeed, the tone simultaneously hinted at sumptuary laws (which once made it illegal for the shade to be worn by anyone but royalty), as well as blue-collar workers. Graffiti — a trend this season it appears — popped up on t-shirt dresses, a symbol of rebellion echoing Vivienne’s long-standing history of activism. Genderplay was also addressed, as a male model appeared in an effortlessly draped fuchsia dress, paired with rubber-meets-combat boots. From gender to social class and politics, the show explored the plethora of meaning each garment, cut, the tone can convey.
Black futuristic suits with ruffled white seams opened the show at Rokh — so as to celebrate, one could suggest, the craftsmanship and the process behind the garment. This dystopian note was carried out on a body-hugging military coat embellished with metallic chains and topped with minuscule triangular sunglasses - a trend that seems to last, nuanced, however, by distant references, such as a wrap-around belt reminiscent of the ones found on kimonos.Nevertheless, the collection took a different path as it introduced a tunic somewhere between an empire dress and a dirndl on the runway, to be followed by plenty more feminine classics. This included a loose floral jumpsuit, a speckled high-collared floor-length dress, or a skirt in tears of tulle ruffles, to name but a few. This hybridity between two seemingly opposite wardrobes was synthesized by a timeless trench-coat, deconstructed and rebuilt with pleated panels of blossomy silk — could it be to suggest an inherent duality inherent in all women?
Legs and a blazer opened the Kwaidan Editions show. The clear-cut contrast, between a sexualized female attribute and classic menswear, was carried through with, yes, more legs — but the following time topped with a silver lamé overcoat. Yet, the latter rather than the former proved to be a point of focus in the collection: trench-coats, military coats, raincoats, peacoats, some oversized, others quilted, figure-hugging and buttoned-up, poured out onto the runway – giving centre stage to outerwear as a central part of an outfit. Kwaidan Editions went on to unveil a series of essentials for a daily wardrobe: cowl neck tops, baggy jeans, nineties-style; shirtdresses were given a makeover by playing with sheen and bold colours. Designed for a busy, modern woman and intended to be worn rather than gazed at, the clothes oozed a sense of uplifted realism.
By Alice Pfeiffer