Diversity with a Capital D – LFW AW18 Day 1
BFC Positive Fashion Ambassador, Adwoa Aboah, opened LFW with a passionate speech on the diverse capital that is London. “Our objective is to become the most diverse Fashion Week – we are currently 2nd behind New York City, with all spring 2018 runways more diverse than ever before,” she stated to press and buyers at the opening of the trade event. While we may have some way to go in terms of diversity on the catwalk, the variation and range of designs on show already reveal that diversity is here with a capital D. From one show to the next the inspirations took you on a rollercoaster ride that could twist and turn in the most unexpected way.
With plenty of photographers, street style and paps, waiting to snap all the action, the main LFW hub often attracts pop-up designers and of course campaigners. PETA (pictured right) turned up first thing with seven topless females wearing the slogan ‘Wear Your Own Skin’ painted across their bodies. The group stated that designs created from fur, leather, shearling, and other animal-derived materials are cruel and unnecessary.
This was followed by Hayley Hasselhoff and a line-up of models clad only in underwear out to promote women of all shapes and sizes. Organised by plus-size retailer ‘Simply Be’ the models held up placards emblazoned with ‘LFW – Where Are The Curves.’
Back to the designer shows and Day 1 began with Xu Zhi and his sophisticated collection inspired by Jane Morris. Who is Jane Morris he asked – as he looked at the woman beyond the Gabriel Rossetti art works. More than a muse, Jane was a collaborator and an inspiration. Xu Zhi, appears to regularly immerse himself in art, as this AW18 collection also celebrates Gerhard Richter’s 85th birthday. So how does this reflect into his designs? Think paintbrush print affects in watery grey/blue and burnt orange on demure, well-executed shapes that feature fine pleats, gathers and tucks. Xu Zhi also combines texture with soft tailoring with all-over tassels and fringing.
Xu Zhi images JoJo Iles
In stark contrast Amy Thomson presented a playful, very pink capsule collection entitled ‘Chasin Dreams.’ An abundance of girly, silk frills and ruffles received Amy’s distinctive, hand rendered illustrative prints. These were combined with hi-shine leathers and faux fur. On the collection Amy said, “Telling a narrative and connecting with an audience is very important to myself as a designer. ‘Chasin’ Dreams’ is based on real muses, real stories and my own and there is no story truer than the one you are living.” This was kitsch with bows on.
Amy Thomson images by JoJo Iles
This season’s Fashion Scout Merit Award winner – Fortie meanwhile, transported us back to MTV circa 1990’s as the show played out like a music video. Bring on the dancers, a buff guy in a faux-fur coat showering the audience with cash and plenty of girl gang attitude. Fortie girls mean business – from their butt-cheek revealing swimwear to their triple-hooded jackets. Rich caramel and rust tones prevailed throughout along with a dominant use of sheer fabrics and gold metalware. Don’t mess with these Fortie females! Fashion Scout’s Creative Director Martyn Roberts said that: “The brand was an easy decision for the judging panel to award Merit, due to the intriguing fabric combinations and pattern cutting skills, mixed with strong cultural inspiration.”
Fortie images by Chris Daw
Waiting for the Matty Bovan show to start the press release mentioned the likes of the North Yorkshire Moors at dusk, tweed, houndstooth and crochet, and while these traditional elements were indeed present – nothing could prepare you for Matty’s re-interpretation. Bring on the hardcore techno. Matty’s models were strong and striking, the tweeds were ravaged, the yarns were chunky and the houndstooth was oversized. His signature square shoulders, fin-shaped backs and asymmetric neck and hemlines were all there, along with cinched waists, jodhpur style trousers and skirts maxed out with tulle. Each outfit appears ragged and undone and yet the work and craftsmanship involved is exceptional. The Stephen Jones headpieces created from balloons wrapped in tulle complemented Matty’s bonkersness perfectly, as did the make-up and for me this collection was incredibly exciting.
Images courtesy of Matty Boven AW18 at LFW
XIAO LI was inspired by the skate culture of the 70’s taking a keen look at photographer Hugh Holland’s saturated, hazy colours and the unapologetic attitude of skaters. XIAO LI aims to continuously push the boundaries and incorporate strong femininity with sportswear elements. There was a feel of retro Americana from the vibrant city of Los Angeles, coming together to create unique, wearable designs. There were beautiful padded architectural pieces in electric blue with statement pastel faux fur outerwear along with a reoccurring illustrated skater print.
“The way of life and attitude of Los Angeles is really inspirational in the way that there’s a place for everyone, and it is a place everyone can be accepted for who they are. It is a city full of hopes and dreams where everything seems possible.” – Vanessa Hill
At Claire Tagg the eye was drawn to the gorgeous illustrative oriental inspired print that featured throughout. The print was enhanced with embellishment and hand-beading giving a unique touch to each and every piece. Featuring oversized full skirts and ballgowns constructed in luxurious Duchess Satin to structured jackets and blazer style dresses, Claire taps into her airhostess travels as her key source of inspiration.
Claire Tagg images by JoJo Iles
Claire Tagg images by Chris Daw
Johnstons of Elgin brought heritage and tradition to the Fashion Week table with a history of over two centuries in textiles and manufacturing coupled with craftsmanship and quality. Created in Scotland the label is synonymous with fine cashmere and now the well-established brand has been injected with a contemporary take for the AW18 season. Pared-back simple lines combined with bold checks and diagonal stripes this was modern luxury at its best.
The club kiz were out in full force at Pam Hogg, which as per usual was rammed to the gunnels. Usually frequented by a member of the 80’s pop band Duran Duran, this time it was down to lead singer Simon Le Bon’s model wife, Yasmin, to pretty-up the front row. If there’s any one designer pushing the idea of diversity and inclusion it would be Pam and her eclectic cast of models. The one shared notion being that you have to be super confident whoever you are. Certainly not for the shy, Pam displayed her signature sheer catsuits where the models modesty was saved by a strategically placed tulle ruffle or two. Glossy black batwing dresses, punchy pink trench coats piped in black along with tartan, gold fringing, lime green and pearl embellishments were all thrown into the mix – the overall feel was the circus meets S&M club on acid.
Pam Hogg images by Chris Daw
By JoJo Iles