15 September 2023

LFW: SS24 as it happens

As LFW gets underway, we're here to update you on all of the shows, looks and trends from the runway.

Stefan Cooke opens LFW

Stefan Cooke and Jake Burt’s LFW opening for their SS24 collection took militaristic pageantry and holiday nostalgia and made it sexy. Kicking off LFW day one at the Old Selfridges Hotel, Cooke’s collection saw nostalgic picnic blanket patterns reworked as ponchos draped around necks or wrapped around waists — often the only clothing present — red saches stitched from shoulder to thigh, reworked blazers that framed the collarbone, contrasted with structured coats buttoned up to the chin and, of course, Cooke’s collaborative pieces with British brand Mulberry.

In a welcomed departure from tradition, the only place to spot Cooke’s signature slashed-pattern jumpers was on the front row, not down the runway. In many ways, distancing this collection from Cooke’s previous ones aligns with the title of the brand’s SS24 offering: ‘Away’.

And the theme beat to the same tune throughout, presenting the patterns and materials as not only remnants of memories of being ‘away’ but as relics of usage, such as the collection toying with sun bleaching, as well as actually taking pieces of clothing Away from a look. Cooke and Burt have set an astute tone for LFW: Reflecting the prominent craving for escapism.

Bora Aksu

When there’s a tranquil, spacious, grand and sun-embalmed space, Bora Aksu is never far away. Opening up the gates of Good Enough College in Bloomsbury again (this time in the courtyard, not one of the halls), Aksu continued the brand’s penchant for making you feel as if you’re watching figurines filing through a dollhouse. With students poking their heads out of their windows, Aksu presented a collection that paid tribute to his Turkish heritage — delicately, with bows on top.

“After embarking on a research trip to Istanbul, Bora discovered fresh perspectives and cultural inspirations that fused his collection,” the show’s press release stated. “A captivating duality of innocence and romance runs through the collection, from fabric choices to colour combinations.”

Romantic it was — Aksu’s shows always feel like the perfect fairytale, penned behind layers of sheer and lace, and this time, topped off by various crocheted Fez. The bright colours, complimentary to both the space and the blue sky, entwined with Aksu’s commitment to meticulous details like small bows hidden around looks like a treasure hunt, brought the joy that the designer instils into his work. It was, in many ways, emotional, as only last season, we were watching the fashion world’s responses to the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria earlier this year (Dilara re-sculpted the reasoning for her collection in the moments after the earthquake had happened). And now, to watch Aksu’s loving, innocent and romantic tribute to Turkey and the globally revered staples of the country’s tradition be celebrated in the midday sunlight feels like a collection well and truly fulfilled.

Edward Crutchley

It seems as though there could be departures – or moves ‘away’ from previous collections and brand staples – throughout fashion week. Edward Crutchley, known for show-stopping latex looks, like something far kinkier than that thing from American Horror Story, are often sent down the runway to close off the collections. Or there are the bordering-on-the-dangerous platform boots paired with the tiniest of briefs. These regulars, however, were not present at the brand’s SS24 show.

Maybe, as mentioned, it was a departure. Or, perhaps it had something to do with how presenting kinky, rhino horn-shaped penises may not have felt quite right in a church behind Baker Street. But some leather dog collars could have sufficed to keep more of the essence of Edward Crutchley alive and well.

That’s not to say the show lacked sexiness. Muscular torsos were printed onto shirts, vests, trousers and blazers. Some showed well-sculpted pecs and V-lines, others showed full jockstrapped bulges. And there was some latex, of course. Notably, the final look of the show – a yellow, transparent dress that drooped into layered frills which skirted the cold church floor and did well not to conjure any thoughts of prophylactics.

Did the show feel incredibly Edward Crutchley? Not as much as previous seasons, but that seems as though it could be down perhaps to a feeling within the designs to make a departure of sorts. The church, the lack of latex… The brand is confident, loud, and commanding, and it should remain so, but Crutchley’s SS24 show did well to keep us keen, especially for next season.

  • Writer Ry Gavin

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