London Fashion Week has come to a close once again and AW19 wasn’t short of heart-stopping moments. Molly Goddard’s larger-than-life hot pink dress had everyone aflutter, Vivienne Westwood enlisted activists and environmentalists to spread the word about sustainability, while Richard Quinn’s breathtaking show closed the week with live music and confetti.
While there was sartorial inspiration aplenty outside the shows, the real magic took place on the catwalks. Ahead, we’ve rounded up our favourite trends to emerge this season, from homespun knits to power puffers.
Return Of The Mac
How many times can a classic trench coat be reinvented? We’ve surely had every iteration possible by now, but there’s something so enduring about the staple outerwear that whenever a designer refreshes it for the zeitgeist, we take note. That’s not to say, though, that all trenches are made equal. There were plenty on offer this season, from A.W.A.K.E’s pleated number to Eudon Choi’s bus red piece (Burberry, of course, had no fewer than 12 iterations in varying styles, from its signature check to contrast piping). But there were three brands that nailed the 2019 trench.
JW Anderson’s show was pure brilliance and all anyone could talk about afterwards were the two trench coats: one beige, one black, both with heavily ballooned sleeves and checked lapels, both near-perfect. Editor and influencer favourite Rejina Pyo also gave us a refreshing take on the classic style, with a rustic brown patent leather finish (think Chesterfield sofa) that was also seen across trousers, skirts and cropped jackets. Expect to see these pieces all over Instagram next season. Finally, there was Simone Rocha’s romantic rendition, all translucent cream and lilac gauze; paired with a blush bag and frosted crown, it was fit for a royal.
Yellow hues have been going strong since this time last year, but what began as a vibrant Gen Z yellow has morphed into natural, softer shades: less sherbet lemon, more marigold and buttercup. Last season saw the likes of Erdem, Richard Malone and Roksanda explore yellow, and designers brought the typically summery shade into their collections for AW19 (perhaps to lift our mood during the dreariest months?).
Molly Goddard’s show was brimming with paintbox brights but this daffodil number was a standout, as was her dress in a deeper yellow – with consistent ruffles and a belted waist, it felt like an homage to Big Bird. JW Anderson also explored the sunny shade, contrasting a flowing sleeveless dress with black trousers, while Emilia Wickstead created one of the prettiest dresses of the season in an egg yolk hue, with a full '50s skirt, fitted bodice and ruched décolletage.
The demand for puffer jackets shows no sign of waning this season. While padded outerwear has been popular from catwalk to high street for the past few winters, the focus has moved from neat cropped pieces to XXL power puffers. Think of it like wearing your duvet to work and you’ll find the trend hard to resist.
Burberry led the charge with an ultra futuristic-meets-sportswear silver, red and black number, which featured extended sleeves and trailed on the floor behind the model. If that’s too much of a statement, Christopher Kane’s oil-slick black puffer was pitch perfect (think goth Michelin Man). Over at ASAI, whose first catwalk show independent of the Fashion East family was mighty impressive, the general aesthetic was homespun Withnail and I fabrications, but the oversized puffer jacket was actually the most minimal of all the looks. It ticked three trend boxes: oversized, beige, and cosy as they come.
Hair accessories have become the smartest way to upgrade your get-up in recent seasons, from Shrimps' and Ashley Williams' embellished hair slides to Simone Rocha's and Erdem’s SS19 veiled hats. Perhaps a throwback to the kitsch butterfly clips we wore to school discos in the '90s (trends re-emerge every 20 years, after all) or maybe an extension of the hyper-feminine aesthetic we’ve seen reign supreme over the last few years, we’ve been diving headfirst into this trend. Prada’s SS19 XXL headband only confirmed our suspicions that hair accessories are going nowhere fast.
AW19’s catwalks moved on from the pearly slides that have dominated Instagram though, starting with Erdem’s graceful netted headbands. Less widow at the funeral and more lady of the house, the hair accessories made the elevated looks all the more playful. Going all-out on the impish accessories was Shrimps’ Hannah Weiland, who paired yellow dresses with fuzzy faux fur headbands, while Molly Goddard gave her girls a pared down take on the trend, with simple black Alice bands on scraped-back hairstyles.
The annual debate between tights and bare legs in winter rages on, but where once the only viable option was a pair of Marks & Spencer’s trusty 60 deniers, designers have presented us with a world of brightly coloured, patterned tights that – while quite the statement – actually work. This season, Burberry gave us pastel pairs in pink, orange and green, worn with strappy heels, and Huishan Zhang emphasised the prettiness of his frocks with doll-like white pairs.
But it was the more out-there aesthetics that caught our eye and convinced us that, when it comes to your hosiery, it’s go hard or go home. Ashley Williams, who always pays homage to punk details in her collections, gave us pillar-box red tights with pink leopard print dresses, Preen paired the cornflower blue hues in dresses with matching tights (layering fishnets over the top, which we’re trying when the cold snap hits), and Shrimps took a brown, orange, yellow and blue check to the extreme by coordinating a full look in the print – tights included. Consider us converted.
It’s time to don your best old man knit, because according to fashion search engine Tagwalk, the keyword with the biggest percentage increase on this time last year is 'argyle knit pattern'. Twenty-three looks at AW19 featured the style, ranging from Molly Goddard’s homespun take to Pringle of Scotland’s more sleek diamond pattern. While the golfer’s favourite was also seen at SS19 shows like TOGA, this time around they felt all the more wearable IRL.
As well as his trench coats, the piece that got people talking post-show was JW Anderson’s blown-up paisley knit, complete with sweet Peter Pan collar. With extra long sleeves and nipped in with a waist belt, the Sunday pub knit just got upgraded to workwear. Victoria Beckham took the grown-up vibe even further by pairing her argyle knit with a tweed skirt and shirt with pointed collar, while Preen got us thinking about hitting the slopes with its multilayered, multi-patterned take. Suddenly, we’re no longer wishing for spring.
BDE (Big Dress Energy)
If AW19’s shows were anything to go by, the way to make an entrance is by donning the biggest dress imaginable. Thanks to brands like Reformation, Ganni and Rixo, dresses have been given the kind of airtime once lavished on bags and coats – that one item that makes the look, rather than just adding to it – but this season, things got ruffled, plumped and pouffed to the extreme.
Molly Goddard showed us what Killing Eve’s Villanelle would be wearing next with her larger-than-life hot pink tulle gown – the dress that sparked a thousand Instagram Stories on day three of London Fashion Week – while Roksanda’s regal, rust-hued beauty was the highlight of the collection. Richard Quinn closed the season with his breathtaking show on Tuesday, sending out dreamy dresses with a twist. Giving 'high neck' a new meaning, collars were taken up to model’s ears, while black latex gloves tempered the saccharine floral prints.
A checked coat is a perennial classic but we’ve seen new life breathed into the wardrobe staple over the past few years. We’re only halfway through AW19’s Fashion Month and there’s already been a host of styles and shapes on offer. At Vivienne Westwood we saw mannish pieces in heritage checks; at Victoria Beckham, work-appropriate pieces that feel relevant for seasons to come; and at Peter Pilotto, patent pieces that combine two trends at once.
What we loved about LFW's checked pieces was the number of designers paying homage to the countryside. With Brexit looming large, the fashion industry has made clear its feelings about Britain leaving the EU, and many used their collections as a love letter to the aesthetics, traditions and craftsmanship of England. ASAI paired gone-for-a-ramble chunky socks with brown boots and oversized coats, Alexachung’s signature blazers got an escape-to-the-country refresh with tweeds and contrasting lapels, and JW Anderson went full-on equine with his riding hats and accompanying checked capes.