Art and Design

London Fashion Week: Trend report

Zeenat Mahomed

Designers may have had different inspirations and target markets in mind, but feminine strength and confidence with an edge dominated the shows.

Paul Smith designs at London Fashion Week. (Supplied)

The runways were a parade of colours and prints in a range of A-line and pencil skirts, chic dresses, oversized coats, slouchy sleeved blouses, waistcoats accessorised with belts, collars and headpieces that will soon be mimicked in most mainstream stores around the world, including in South Africa.

Here’s what to expect, and where track down the trends.

Prints meet the futuristic world
Digital prints made their way to the catwalk over the last few seasons, but while monochrome still dominates, a variety of prints were seen in many of the collections. Sci-fi, especially the futuristic world of Star Trek, has also heavily influenced this season’s trends.

Christopher Bailey’s latest collection for Burberry, titled Trench Kisses, displayed a host of printed fabrics, including animal prints such as leopard prints and more romantic love-heart prints on range of pencil skirts, blouses, fitted dresses and trench coats. The collection, showcased at Kensington Gardens in London, depicted classical, romantic notions with a wild edge, created by the safari theme. The use of gold metal collars and belts finished off each look in a futuristic way.

The brand recently opened a new store at OR Tambo international following their one-year anniversary at their flagship store in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

Colour palettes
Paul Smith’s runway show took place at the Tate Britain and consisted of classic cuts explored with a contemporary twist by the use of colour-blocking, in a palette of autumn colours including fuchsia, cobalt, teal and rust, balanced by navy, white and silver. Geometric prints appeared in several of the collection's pieces.

The range of tailored trousers paired with slouchy blouses and sharply-cut collared jackets as well as skirts; shirts and dresses were accessorised with the new range of handbags including an oversized portfolio clutch.

Paul Smith opened a new store in Cape Town at the end of last year and chose to adapt its selection of fashion with a focus on everyday wear to reflect Cape Town’s laid-back culture and environment as opposed to formalwear, which are available at Paul Smith’s South African flagship shop in Parkhurst, Johannesburg.

Nature and landscapes
Chinese designer John Rocha who is based in Ireland, was inspired by the country's beautiful landscape for his latest collection. The palette of colours, including salmon pink, grass green and sunshine yellow, made his collection feel like a painting. The dresses were layered with organza to give the A-line skirts volume and the oversized coat and jumpsuits were a clearly on-trend. However, the addition of black and the eccentric veil-like headpieces gave the collection a darker edge.

Summer is the new winter
With shorter winters in the southern parts of the world, many designers are turning summer looks into winter ones. Australian designers Sarah Jane Clarke and Heidi Middleton from the label Sass & Bide, created a collection that looked perfect for summer but is warm enough for winter.

The collection consisted of monochrome mixed with bursts of yellow and metallic in a range of wide-legged tailored trousers, sharp cut blazers, mini dresses and skirts. The fabric prints and elaborate necklines gave the collection a futuristic look.

Decades
London-based Turkish fashion designer Bora Aksu’s inspiration might have been Dolly Sisters in the1920s but the range of leather tops, lace skirts and flapper dresses were paired with ties and crocheted headbands which gave the collection a very sci fi edge.

British fashion designer Jasper Conran’s inspiration for his latest collection was actress Mia Farrow during the peak of her fame in the 1960s. The range consists of cloche hats, military trench coats, collared dresses and shirts paired with shorts and box skirts in a variety of colours including purple, black, yellow, pink, orange and red.

Zeenat Mahomed is currently completing a Masters degree in strategic fashion marketing at the London College of Fashion.

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