London Fashion Week is here again and for SS20, the capital’s sartorial schedule looks a little different. The British Fashion Council has opened up its doors to those outside the fashion industry, with several designers – namely Alexachung, Self-Portrait and House of Holland – hosting public-facing shows. Meanwhile cult labels Shrimps and Ashley Williams are taking a break this season, activist group Extinction Rebellion is protesting by holding a funeral for fashion, and Victoria Beckham is launching her highly-anticipated eponymous makeup line.
From celebrity sightings on the front row to the best looks in each show, here’s everything that went down at London Fashion Week SS20 so far...
Here are the highlights from Saturday...
Show-goers were blessed with 23-degree heat and clear blue skies on day two – summer’s last gasp before autumn truly arrives. First up, editors and influencers flocked to Brick Lane, where east London’s coolest label, Marques’Almeida, was presenting its collection at the Truman Brewery.
The show opened with big screen projectors playing clips of young women – the brand’s gang of girls, from models to musicians – responding to the statement: "If I had a daughter…"
M’A shows are always empowering and it’s a galvanising start to the day, with the women musing on the advice they would give to the next generation: "I would teach her to be unapologetic", "I would want her to know the word 'no' is hers to use freely", "I would want her to know how much power she has." The collection itself had the usual mishmash of references that make the label’s rebellious aesthetic so distinctive: this time, the freakish side of ‘50s LA meets ‘90s Riot Grrrl zines. The brand’s signature raw denim came in flared jeans and puffball dresses while pink satin was taken out of its saccharine context when paired with vinyl and leather.
Next up was Molly Goddard’s show at Seymour Hall, which is not only an Everyone Active gym but also a Grade II-listed Art Deco space. Models stomped in and out of rows of guests to a soundtrack featuring Outkast, and two of Goddard’s muses – Jess Maybury and Edie Campbell – returned to the catwalk. The collection was a more subdued take on Molly’s signature pleats, puffs and tulle, with boxy knitwear and cotton slip dresses offering sumptuous everyday-wardrobe alternatives. Studded leather bags and square-toe ballet flats also made an appearance, and there was still a standout dress moment, as per every season at Molly’s shows: a supersize meringue-esque butter yellow dress that brushed guests on its way through the aisles.
Across town in Westminster, high octane glamour was taken up 10 notches, courtesy of the king of glitz, Halpern. The show was inspired by The Ziegfeld Follies, a series of mega showgirl acts staged on Broadway that sat in fabulous contrast to their staid Prohibition-era backdrop. Michael Halpern was introduced to the Follies via Barbra Streisand, who immortalised them in the ‘68 film Funny Girl, and his collection took on a hybrid exploration of the glittering ‘20s and Streisand’s 1970s style. The result? Dramatic draping, exaggerated silhouettes and plenty of shimmer and shine. Models traipsed in and out of the two iconic crystal chandeliers in the gold-leaf embellished Great Hall at One Great George Street, only adding to the breathtaking aesthetics.
As the sun was setting, showgoers raced from central London to the canals of King’s Cross for House of Holland, where guests gathered at the recently refurbished Grade II-listed cast-iron gasholder structure, set up with a giant mirror ball in the centre. 'Dance the Pain Away' was the name of Henry Holland’s collection – fitting, as models strutted around the venue to a soundtrack mixed by friend and Radio 1 mainstay Nick Grimshaw. Inspired by a collision of dance-centric worlds,‘70s disco and ‘90s rave, Henry dedicated his SS20 show to "the pleasure seekers, the heavy hitters, and the dance floor fillers". Drawing a stellar front row cast, from drag queen Aquaria to Love Island’s Ovie Soko, musician Poppy Ajudha and performer Billy Porter, the clothes themselves brought the party: leopard print bodies were layered under sheer neon shirts, and dance-all-night kicks were given the logomania treatment.
Another dash across the city brought guests to Marylebone Library for Rejina Pyo’s highly anticipated show. One of the most thrilling new visions on the London Fashion Week schedule, her grown-up femininity has had editors and influencers hooked for the past few years. While we were treated to Pyo’s usual arsenal of hits – think statement leather bags, architectural heels and pastel-hued palettes – an unannounced surprise of debut menswear hit the catwalk, too. Two-tone shirts, peachy suiting and tropical-printed fabrics had us just as taken with her men’s pieces as her women’s.
Saturday ended on a high, as Naomi Campbell and the mayor of London welcomed fashion’s finest to the British Museum for the model’s Fashion For Relief global charity event. While hip-hop legend Eve provided the performance, Naomi joined models Erin O’Connor, Adut Akech, Tiwa Savage and Damson Idris on the catwalk, before 30 students of The Elmgreen School also hit the catwalk (Campbell invited them after meeting them with her charity earlier this year). Work by art history’s greats was up for auction, including Salvador Dalí, Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol, while Dolce & Gabbana, Ellen von Unwerth and David Bailey also donated items to raise funds for disaster relief. It was the first time the show had been held in the model’s hometown since 2015, and it ended day two of London Fashion Week with a bang.