Fashion isn't always as attuned to the weather as the British public but – appropriately, given the current conditions – the autumn/winter shows at London Fashion Week have been firmly focused on coats – and no one does luxurious, practical outerwear better than the British label Burberry Prorsum. With images of falling rain projected on to the sides of the marquee and guests protecting themselves from the real rain cascading down outside with Burberry's signature checked umbrellas, the season's practical message was underlined perfectly.
Billed as "the Burberry cadet girls", the collection played on military silhouettes and detailing and had a slicker, harder feel than usual. American Vogue's Anna Wintour, the actress Kate Hudson and Twilight star Kristen Stewart watched as designer Christopher Bailey sent out very covetable boyish coats teamed with thigh-high stiletto boots.
First up were roomy sheepskin aviator jackets with exaggerated collars and double-buckle details at the neck and wrists, some jackets were cropped or made with the sheepskin inside-out. These were worn over wispy or ruched dresses in shades of moss and mustard.
More tailored shapes came in the form of officer-style greatcoats, pea coats and trenches in khaki and Windsor blue. Gold buttons and epaulettes provided extra military touches. For the more rock'n'roll civilian, there were shaggy white takes on the Afghan coat, ruched silk or velvet dresses and skirts in plum and chartreuse and lace shirts. This is the second season that Burberry has shown its collection in London, after it returned to the capital from Milan last September amid much excitement. The show was streamed live in 3D to special screening sites around the world.
Earlier in the day the label Peter Pilotto held its collection in the grittier surroundings of the Selfridges car park. The label has recently crossed over from being a favourite with fashion insiders to a brand with celebrity fans including singer Rihanna, Claudia Schiffer and Michelle Obama. This season, design duo Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos took the futuristic combination of drapery and galactic mineral prints they are known for and moved it on to a softer look. Inspiration for the highly accomplished show came from the colour schemes of 1970s interiors and faded modernist buildings, which meant browns, oranges, plaster and putty shades, combined with a distorted version of the Liberty print.
Draped and tucked silk dresses in green and ecru shades exuded a modern romance, while draped mini-dresses in red and mauve marbled prints looked as if they had been swirled around the body. Skinny leather trousers in orange, grey and dirty pink were teamed with long-line jackets. Tweed skirts came with silver and leather panels, and a leather and wool cardigan came with a huge furry pocket.
Peter Pilotto's past prints have been heavily copied on the high street and London Fashion Week has produced plenty of other trends that are bound to be "homaged". Start your shopping list for next season now with capes, luxe utility pieces, wide trousers, leather and velvet.