Britishness a recurring theme as London Fashion Week closes
Many designers have Brexit on their mind, and we choose three of our favourite shows from Christopher Kane, Roksanda and Erdem, whose collections are inspired by a jazz singer/queen hybrid, domestic goddesses and soft lines
London Fashion Week draws to a close, and with the uncertainty about Britain’s future outside the EU, there has been a strong sense of Britishness on the runways. Erdem’s show was about the queen, Burberry trumpeted its British roots, and tartan and Prince of Wales checks were all over catwalks.
There was also comfort in classic, almost vintage, domesticity, with a collection of dresses inspired by children’s arts and crafts from Mary Katrantzou, cushion and pillow handbags from Anya Hindmarch, Irish linen tea towel tops from J.W. Anderson and a collection completely devoted to the domestic goddess from Christopher Kane. Then there was Hong Kong-born designer Ryan Lo announcing at his ‘church wedding’ show that he had just received his British citizenship. We look at our three favourite shows:
Kane’s show was loaded with visual puns and a combination of high and low looks, which he says he had a lot of fun designing. A dainty floral print covered a shower curtain coat in a cleaning-fluid shade of blue. Glamorous fluffy white dresses inspired by mops were worn with shiny rubber gloves. Doily-style lace decorated collars and cuffs of a shiny black coat and jacket, and pegs were used to fasten a dress. Overall the theme was cleaning, whether it was the duster-like hems of lace dresses or the mop-like details on shoes.
Kane wanted to look at the idea of interiors, of a closed domestic world, made into the exterior look of a person. “There is something so OCD about it, something both clean and kinky,” he says. “It’s what goes on behind closed doors.” The references are not so literal when removed from context of the show – the beautiful lingerie slips had a fresh sensuality.
Roksanda Ilincic’s early collections had a fluffy deconstructed delicacy. But in recent years her passion for architecture, which she studied at college, has led to more structural looks. This season, however, Roksanda returns to a softer, more fluid line in her collection, which she showcased in the Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park. Long billowing dresses in cool linens and cotton that are perfect for hot summer holidays. She spices things up with sensuous ruched satin gowns in vivid shades of pink, golden yellow and red and a series of blouses with long trailing cuffs worn with trousers. Prints and raffia embroideries, along with the terracotta and white linen textures gave the collection a lovely artisanal feel.
Erdem’s collection was an elegy to Queen Elizabeth. During the summer the designer was given privileged access to the queen’s wardrobe at the same time he came across a photograph of her meeting jazz bandleader Duke Ellington in 1958, which has led into a collection with a rich narrative.
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Erdem blended the queen’s 1950s style tailoring, rich brocade dresses and swing-back coats and lace appliqué gowns with what he imagined the famous chanteuses like Billie Holliday and Dorothy Dandridge would have worn if they had lived at Buckingham Palace or if the queen inhabited a famous jazz venue. So Harlem glamour meeting elegant balloon skirted ballgowns led to some ravishingly dresses on the Erdem catwalk.