Jing Zhang reviews vibrant autumn-winter 2014 collections in London

Established and up-and-coming designers strutted their stuff at London Fashion Week. Jing Zhang braved the downpours to catch the vibrant collections for autumn-winter 2014

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 9:12am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 February, 2014, 9:12am

Gloomy weather and widespread flooding failed to dampen the spirits of fashionistas who turned up in droves for the colourful final shows of London Fashion Week on Tuesday.

Somerset House, which hosted the event again this year, was packed with street-style bloggers and outlandish onlookers, hoping for their 15 minutes of fame.

Especially raucous was the Burberry Prorsum show. British models Cara Delevingne and Jourdan Dunn stalked the catwalk in wearable looks incorporating plenty of shearling, shawls, earthy tones and watercolour prints.

Boxy 1980s suits were a point of departure at Vivienne Westwood Red, with some great tartan sets showing off classic Westwood style. Another British icon, Paul Smith, went loose, silky and relaxed in deep inky hues and patterns.

The new establishment (Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, Peter Pilotto, Mary Katrantzou, JW Anderson and Roksanda Ilincic) set the trends.

Quite a few young Asian names have come up from the London fashion circuit in recent years. The likes of Eudon Choi, Haizhen Wang (who was a 2012 Fashion Fringe Award Winner), J. JS Lee (by Jackie Lee) as well as TopShop-supported Ryan Lo are making inroads in the city. But let's not forget one of the longest lasting Asian names in London design - Hong Kong-born John Rocha who is mixed Chinese and Macanese. His autumn-winter 2014 collection played with rich velvet and crochet dresses, enormous volumed tops and headdresses made from swathes of fabric frills. His daughter, Simone Rocha, has emerged as one of the brightest new names in London - inheriting her father's design talent but finding her own rebellious, playful message.

Henry Holland did a debauched debutante ball, playing with a combination of metallic shine, girly frills and distressed denims.

Also big on colour (as always) was Pilotto, who offered sporty bombers, cute dresses and graphic, bright knits for his quirky girl.

Jonathan Saunders' corsetry was far more sensual and sexy: tongue-in-cheek vinyl, set close to the body and exaggerating the womanly shape. Tom Ford, who revived Gucci in the '90s and showed how to embrace sex in fashion again, surprised many with his conservative column dresses (no sexy nipped waists here), floor length hemlines and high collars.

One person not shy of playing up sex appeal is Julien Macdonald. Glistening metallics, netted crystals, sheers: sensational - sexy showgirl veering into couture.