Over the past couple of seasons, London Fashion Week has gone from being a showcase of established names and brands to a stomping ground for fresh, young, and, notably, just graduated talent. Central Saint Martins has long showcased its MA students’ work during the Autumn/Winter season; now there is London College of Fashion, which went on the eve of the biannual showcase and the University of Westminster.
Sheryn Akiki and Goom Heo at the Central Saint Martins MA Fall/Winter 2019 show in London. Photo by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
This now means that day one of London Fashion Week is actually quite a lot more interesting than it has ever traditionally been. The lure of newness, ambition, and excitement is at its core as aspiring students set out about their careers and take their first bows.
Sheryn Akiki and Goom Heo, crowned joint winners of the L’Oréal Professional prize at the Central Saint Martins show, in that respect might then be names to watch out for in the future, commended as they were by judge and buyer director of concept store Machine-A Stavros Karelis, for embracing diversity and a sense of self.
Collectively, though, there was a new mood and direction brewing: fresh ideas from what will become the future of the industry. Here’s what stood out.
Tailoring Takes Off
Xiaonan's collection at the London College of Fashion Fall/Winter 2019 show in London. Photos: Courtesy of PR.
The trickle-down effect of tailoring, which is currently exploding among the international menswear and womenswear collections, has already begun to make its mark among the student community. At London College of Fashion, no longer was there all that layering nonsense of non-clothes and non-shapes and non-silhouettes. Instead, there was an overarching lean towards serene and precise tailoring coupled with drapery for clean and professional-looking pieces. Xiaonan presented an especially strong collection with outfits pieced together almost like a paper doll. And a sleek high-neck navy puffa was the look to zoom in on from Yooju.
Eduardo Vegas' collection at the University of Westminster BA Fall/Winter 2019 show in London. Photos by Gio Staiano for NOWFASHION.
It began on Thursday night with LCF’s Danyuan Chen showing a dress slit below the bust to create a peekaboo natural cup and continued to Westminster for Eduardo Vegas’ codpieces and corsets, then expanded rapidly among the collections of Central Saint Martins’ students for more codpieces (one of the winning collections), nipple highlighters, and bust cups. Erogenous zones are proving to be very inspirational right now. It’s perhaps hardly surprising given that fashion spent so long hiding under layers of hybrid clothes – of course we want to reclaim our bodies and designers seem now more than happy to help us show them off.
Best in Show
Nensi Dojaka's collection at the Central Saint Martins MA Fall/Winter 2019 show in London. Photos by Regis Colin Berthelier for NOWFASHION.
It’s a funny coincidence that the strongest and most developed collections from Westminster were both infused with a blue colour palette: Glenn Wigham dived into a maritime and nautical theme for a sailor-style collection that riffed on everything from the sailor hats to buoys and netting, map prints and traditional wide-leg trousers; while Louisa Young combined blue transparent capes and shapes which came covered with life drawing illustrations on top (another one for the erogenous zones category), red lace underwear on show beneath. And at Central Saint Martins, it was Nensi Dojaka’s little sexy sheer dresses, wisps of things, all dishevelled, some with cycling shorts, that had whiffs of early Christopher Kane about them. A cool, seemingly simple but focused idea.