From Bimini Bon Boulash strutting her stuff at Art School to Ahluwalia's collab with South London jazz musician cktrl.
Withstanding hell, high water and, quite clearly, coronavirus, London Fashion Week was back for another season. Cramming together presentations and films from 92 womenswear and menswear brands across five days, the digital showcase demonstrated that the UK’s talent can shine, in even the toughest of circumstances.
Kicking off the festivities on 19 February, poet Kai Isaiah-Jamal performed spoken-word piece We Applaud Here and today, at the week’s close on 23 February, Priya Ahluwalia was announced as the recipient of The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design for her positive contributions to the industry.
Now let’s talk clothes. From Molly Goddard’s signature ruffles, these time reworked with a distinct 80s flair, or Art School’s beacon of gender-inclusivity, there was a lot to celebrate on the (digital) runway. Below, we cherry-pick some of our LFW stand-outs — you can thank us later.
The tulle queen is at it again, this time throwing in some unexpectedly “Made in Britain” pieces such as Fair Isle knits and tartan coats and kilts. The standout looks, which you’ve no doubt already seen on your IG feed, included strapless, layered tulle prom dresses with a distinct 80s flair — think Jenna Rink pre-time jump. Personally, we’ll be saving to buy the gold platform knee-high boots for when clubs reopen.
Splitting from former creative partner Tom Barrett, this season Eden Loweth debuted his first collection as a solo designer. Keeping queer inclusion at its heart, the core offering included the brand’s signature drape dress smock coats, a delicate sparkle knit and a genderless bag in XL and mini sizes (*pauses for thunderous applause*). Using a bias cut to accommodate different genders and tapping Trans Pride organisers Lucia Blayke and Emily Crooked to do the casting — which featured queer nightlife favourite Chiyo and Drag Race UK’s Bimini Bon Boulash — the brand continued to set the bar for trans and non-binary inclusion in fashion.
The Bloomsbury Group (Virginia Woolf’s cronies, if you need the explainer) served as the inspiration for Qasimi’s latest collection — giving a certain air of intellectualism to the proceedings. Presented via a lookbook and in a video featuring dance choreographed by Bakani Pick-up Company, the clothes embodied elevated casual and functionality through utilitarian outwear, playful co-ords and bucket hats.
With equally high-brow references, Bianca Saunders pulled on Surrealists Man Ray and Jean Cocteau for her “Superimposed” collection exploring positive and negative spaces. With black cotton workwear and relaxed tuxedo jackets, she delivered on wearability while also branching out into the more abstract, applying prints of crumpled garments onto a cotton sweatshirt and Wrangler jeans. Très surréaliste.
Sending out invites in the form of a (very social media-friendly) logo-bedecked camping chair, Burberry celebrated the great outdoors for AW21. With a digital runway show set inside the Burberry flagship store, Riccardo Tisci’s standouts included a reinterpretation of the classic trench, a crowd-pleasing bomber jacket and a faux fur jacket replete with tongue-in-cheek bunny ears. In summary, it must be getting cold out there because we’ve been served sumptuous outerwear — and lots of it
Clearly, designers must have coats on the brain: ethical designer Bethany Wiliams used her fashion week slot to unveil a gender-neutral capsule coat collection, created exclusively for Selfridges. The offering was accompanied by a film delving into the designer’s process, revealing that the patchwork coats were created from recycled materials (admittedly no biggie for Ms Williams) that were sourced from different vintage blanket across the UK. Inspired by her work with the Magpie Project, a charity that supports women and children under five in temporary accommodation and provides all newborns to the Magpie family with a blanket, the order of the day was clothing with a cause.
Winning big this season with The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, Priya Ahluwalia’s latest offering didn’t disappoint. Tapping the likes of South London musician cktrl to model, Priya’s sustainably-made menswear collection interpreted utilitarian basics like tracksuit bottoms and football shirts in a striking colour palette of red, navy, yellow and black, as inspired by painter Kerry James Marshall. Extra points for the Scouts-ready neckerchiefs…
Check out our Future Issue interview with Priya Ahluwalia here.
23 February 2021