The rain caught up with us on day four of London Fashion Week, as guests assembled at an overcast Hyde Park for the first major show of the day. And who better to fight back against the dreary weather than Roksanda Ilinčić, a jewel in the schedule’s crown, beloved for her serotonin-boosting colour-blocking? Located in Kensington Gardens, a yellow brick road-esque catwalk zigzagged around the Serpentine Gallery pavilion, designed by architect Junya Ishigami. Models walked out to Joni Mitchell’s "Both Sides Now", emphasising the sublimity of the collection. The palette this season paid homage to artist Mary Weatherford’s watercolour paintings, and while there were show-stopping dresses galore (heavenly red-carpet material, as ever), we were treated to more wearable pieces too – loose jumpsuits, boxy jackets and slouchy parkas.
From one fanciful designer to the next, showgoers dashed to the Walks at Gray’s Inn, one of the largest privately owned gardens in London, for Erdem’s SS20 show. Erdem Moralioglu always educates and inspires by choosing a radical historical figure and using them as the starting point for his inspiration. This time it was Italian silent film star-turned-communist agent Tina Modotti. Her death (sudden, and in the back of a cab in 1942) is still shrouded in mystery, and she’s seen as a courageous figure thanks to her activism during a time of political and social chaos. Erdem looked to the way Modotti presented herself – through Victorian dress, avant-garde glamour and later, militaristic utility wear – to make a point not about clothes but about dress as self-expression. The collection was dramatic and daring, with puffed-up black dresses made for a funeral, and a colour palette inspired by Modotti’s time in Mexico, all sea greens, hot fuchsias and egg yolk yellows. There was an abundance of prints, from polka dot suiting to floral silk shawls, and as ever, the show left guests with a sense of escapism and fantasy.
Erdem chose Italian silent film star-turned-communist agent Tina Modotti as inspiration.
Next up on the schedule, industry wunderkind JW Anderson returned to the same Bloomsbury venue he showed in last season. This time, Anderson employed artist Liz Magor to design the set, with her found objects displayed in transparent boxes littered around the space. While last season offered a grown-up and equestrian-inspired take on everyday basics – think woollen capes, extreme trench coats and navy workwear dresses – this was a far more glamorous affair. There was diamanté detailing on corsetry, brilliant gold suiting evoking David Bowie’s play with proportions, and summer minidresses that were knitted and iridescent. SS20 yet again proved that JW Anderson makes great clothes that women want to wear – clothes that will be replicated on the high street next summer.
Christopher Kane got cosmic with celestial knitwear and moon landing skirts.
On to something a little more out there with Christopher Kane, who, for his SS20 collection 'Ecosexual' continued to explore all things sex, this time in relationship with nature. "Make love with the wind, sleep with the stars, feel the flowers – this season, the collection encourages us to become intimate with naturae by indulging in earthly pleasures," the show notes read. Minidresses were photo-printed with blue and cloudy skies, vinyl coats featured bouquets and blooms, while Kane got cosmic with celestial knitwear and moon landing skirts. True to form, it wasn’t all pleasant flora and fauna: the designer also explored the lurid side of nature, with chemistry-lab neons on lace midi skirts and fluffy knitwear.
The day ended on a high as Riccardo Tisci closed London Fashion Week with the announcement that Burberry SS20 is certified carbon neutral. "We have offset our impacts, such as the flights of guests travelling to London specifically for the show and the build and production of the event, through VSC-certified REDD+ projects which prevent deforestation and conserve tropical rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon," the Instagram statement read. As an all-star guest list, including K-Pop star Jisoo and Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer, took their seats in the front row, there was a sense that to be truly contemporary in 2019, fashion houses need to cater not only to their customers' aesthetic desires but to their cultural ones, too. Perhaps the future of fashion isn’t looking so dark, after all.