It should perhaps come as no great surprise that by the time London Fashion Week drew to a close yesterday the bucolic view of femininity which characterises the current spring season had given way to a rather darker mood for the forthcoming autumn.
Gone were the flowers, frills and gauzy fabrics which are - for reasons practical as well as aesthetic - the staples of the summer wardrobe. In came warm wools, tartans and tweeds in rich and even sombre hues that knocked the ubiquitous pink and ivory well and truly off its girlish pedestal. Vivienne Westwood Red Label, House of Holland, Paul Smith as well as just about any other designer one might care to mention were doing it. So far, so predictable.
Perhaps more significantly, with the word luxury by now so over-used it has become meaningless, this was a moment when a more distressed and at times Gothic vision came to the fore, one indebted to the iconoclastic archive of Dame Vivienne Westwood but also to early Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons and the great Belgian designers.
The word deconstruction fails to do justice to Noki’s autumn collection, after all, which saw clothing torn apart at the seams and then reassembled in ever more inventive a manner. Gareth Pugh’s fetish-inspired take on glamour was equally unsettling; so too was Marios Schwab’s layered broken surfaces that were so fragile they fluttered when models walked. A more well-mannered take on this particular theme came courtesy of Roksanda Ilincic whose silk charmeuse cocktail dresses and evening gowns came complete with raw edges and zips undone to expose neon-pink linings.
All of the above - including, of course, the easy oversized tailoring (Ann-Sofie Back, Paul Smith, Betty Jackson) in black and all the shades of greige - had its roots in the early Eighties.
But this was also a moment that nodded to the 1970s. The Ossie Clark revival might not have lived up to the hype but the brains behind the new Jaeger London line had clearly taken note and turned to both the colours and silhouettes of that decade. Trousers here were long, lean and boot cut and colours across the board – tights in burnt orange and olive at Luella, plum and muted shades of green at Giles, deep purple, Coleman’s Mustard yellow and olive again at Aquascutum – brought this period to mind.
Micro-trends – as they are known in the trade – were equally nostalgic. Exposed zips (Giles Deacon, Roksanda Ilincic, Westwood Red Label) are a feature of Eighties dress, fringing (Giles, Emma Cook, Louise Gray) of the Seventies and so forth. Hosiery, meanwhile, has never looked more high-profile. Tights were jewelled (Betty Jackson), printed with stars (Westwood Red Label), coloured (Luella) and, most remarkable, in tie-dyed latex (Emma Cook).
Skirt lengths were similarly extreme, either micro-mini (House of Holland, Luella, Westwood Red Label) or maxi (Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab). Paillettes are the new sequins (Christopher Kane), organza is still fashionable but only in neutral colours and especially when grey (Christopher Kane, Betty Jackson, Topshop Unique).
Finally, there are some things in fashion that simply will not die and top of this particular pile is the chunky, platform-soled boot/shoe. Suffice it to say that these have never looked bigger, almost orthopaedic in appearance in places (Emma Cook, Westwood Red Label, Marios Schwab), with wooden heels (Luella) or encrusted with crystal the colour of boiled sweets (Giles).Reuse content