London Fashion Week’s winter guide: big sweaters, rich colours and silver

Leading labels such as Pringle, J.W. Anderson, Ports, Julien Macdonald, Mary Katrantzou and Versus Versace parade an eclectic mix of patterns and fabrics for shirts, coats and dresses

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2017, 8:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 February, 2017, 8:01pm

London Fashion Week has always had an arty edge and the autumn-winter 2017 collections reflected a broad spectrum of textures and colour. There were the patch works of argyle at Pringle of Scotland, created with artist Lucy Orta; the collage of fabrics at J.W. Anderson and Ports 1961; the layering of swatches of sequin-embroidered fabric and wool at Christopher Kane; and the mash-up of knits, tribal print and geometric patterns.


Black took a back seat for next autumn, with every colour on the catwalk. Shades were intense – the embroideries at Mary Katrantzou, the prints at Peter Pilotto, the tutu dresses at Molly Goddard, the sugary pinks of Ryan Lo’s collection, and the prints from Matty Bovan, who is one of London’s rising stars showing under the Fashion East banner. Roksanda’s slinky satins in warm red, burgundy and terracotta and colour blocked knits were a standout.


Silver continued to be the metallic of choice with silver strasse a surprise at J.W. Anderson but not so at Versus Versace, where the chainmail is a house signature. Ports 1961’s giant knits featured enormous mirrored paillette sequins. Chalayan’s finale shirts exploded with shiny tinsel and Mulberry’s bags were decorated with tinselly silver embroidery. Julien Macdonald’s silver lurex spidery knit, high voltage gowns (slashed to the nether regions and cut away at the hips) were smothered with silver beading.


So many collections featured uneven skirt hems, occasionally counterbalanced with a one-sleeve top. Fabrics were draped across the body, with the hems of the fabric dipping into points that elongated the body at J.W. Anderson, Peter Pilotto, Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Roland Mouret, who was celebrating the 20th anniversary of his label by returning to London with his show. Sharp-angled geometry contrasted with more fluid hankie hems at Christopher Kane, while gentle spiral effects with tiers of fabric descended on pretty silk and floral lamé dresses at Mulberry.


Big sweaters were a big story and Johnny Coca at Mulberry and Alice Temperley at Temperley London favoured the English country house look where a warm sweater and long skirt (particularly sparkly at Temperley) are essential for winter evenings spent entertaining. Many catwalks featured long sweater looks with wispy printed skirts peeking into view such as those at Peter Pilotto and Topshop. Ports 1961 and Pringle of Scotland went for richly textured voluminous knits warm enough to take you to the Antarctic.


Canny fashion editors were stocking up on Zara’s new blue-and-white striped cotton shirts before London Fashion Week and it’s been a sound investment for cotton poplin is sticking around. Ports, Preen and A.W.A.K.E. all produced crisp shirting with a lot of sleeve action. There was loose masculine shirting at Eudon Choi and Palmer//Harding, the duo who have long championed the voluminous shirt look. Burberry, admittedly in its see now/buy now February collection, presented countless versions of crisp white shirts with ruffles and layers of white lace, worn with cream asymmetric sweaters that had customers dashing to the rails before the last model had left the catwalk. However, cotton poplin was not limited to shirts: Erdem showed several ruffle-hem, white cotton dresses under a veil of black tulle and lace


There has been little in the way of tailoring on the catwalks, but there were some brightly coloured designs at Anya Hindmarch embellished with leather motifs (inspired by Norse folklore in the style of Swedish kurbits). Mary Katrantzou’s collection, drawn from Disney’s Fantasia, featured three beautiful statement coats, brightly coloured with 3D embellishment and furry collars. Simone Rocha’s sturdy suffragette-style bonded velvet coats were based on military uniforms inspired by recent Women’s Marches. Camouflaging them with red roses, however, softened the image.