Veronika Heilbrunner recaps the best moments of London Fashion Week Spring / Summer 2017
Just recently I was talking to a friend (of course she’s a total fashion insider) about how it actually has nothing to do with which collection is the best of the city, fashion week, or season, but rather which is a designer’s best collection over the course of time. At the end of the day, you absolutely want to know – for example, as a Christopher Kane fan – when the best time to invest is and which of the four collections each year you can leave out in the meantime. This way of thinking is especially fitting for London, because in my opinion most of the designers you find here do their own thing and develop their own look without taking too much influence from the outside world. That’s also the reason why this “weekend trip” (unfortunately London Fashion Week is only four days long) is always so much fun!
Best Surprise: Burberry’s change of location.
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Since practically forever, Christopher Bailey has shown in a purpose-built tent in Hyde Park that’s always decorated to match the theme, and usually has a see-through roof so the weather can play a part in the show. To mark the start of the traditional house’s #Showandshop era, they also changed the location. And namely to Makers House, located near Oxford Street. The show transformed into a social media experience. Nonetheless, this “see now, buy now” collection – which can also be seen on the October covers of many magazines – isn’t just typical Christopher Bailey for Burberry, but also magnificent. Starting with key pieces like officers’ coats, all the way to pyjama jackets (even if this trend is becoming a little rampant, it’s indispensable here) and relaxed sweater looks combined with stand-up collar blouses underneath.
Favorite Collection: Erdem and Christopher Kane
At the risk of repeating myself: Erdem and Christopher Kane! An Erdem show like this one leaves me feeling like my 14-year-old self, sitting hypnotized in front of the epic Legends of the Fall – or to stay in the present, like when I enter a fantastic castle and completely stop looking at my phone because I’m so impressed with its calming, historical wealth of beauty and the stories that must be connected to it.
But, back to the London shows. At Erdem, the models walk to heavy, romantic music over a weathered wooden bridge across a pond and swamps decorated on the surface with open books just about to sink. Actually, Erdem explained backstage after his show that the idea behind his collection involves a 17th century dress that was recently found in remarkably well-preserved condition buried at the bottom of the sea near the Dutch island of Texel. This fantastic find inspired him to make up an entire world around it: loosely pinned up hair decorated with crystals and black ribbons. Empire waists, gorgeous colors (woo-hoo, a mustard yellow dress again) and exquisite, undulating fabric, an endless parade of robes that set off a yearning in me for the red carpet. That there’s only one pantsuit and hardly any separates, it’s all the same to me. I AM IN LOVE!
Christopher Kane again – also nothing new – played with contrasts. Hideous ingredients like Crocs (stone-studded) and (pardon me, poo-like) -hats become fantastic, held together with metal rings. Glitter dresses, spider web-fine strappy dresses, and amazingly a comeback for his debut collection dresses (skin-tight tulle patchwork mini dresses). In addition, loose grandma cardigans that fall over the shoulder and fantastic bags with Virgin Mary pendants hanging from them and so many details that I’m really looking forward to the re-see in Paris.
Look(s) of Love: linen dresses and Star Wars pullovers at J.W.Anderson
The surprisingly feminine linen dresses at J.W.Anderson and his Star Wars pullovers with tire seams. Especially the one with the screaming tree (something of a Game of Thrones reference ) and matching bucket bag and a big effect on me
Best Finale Music: Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City at Mary Katrantzou
Mary Katrantzou sent her models down the runway to Guns N’ Roses’ Paradise City for the finale! Beyond that, her journey into her Greek roots with antique prints and glittering embroidery in kaleidoscopic patterns was wonderful to see. I was especially impressed by the dazzling party overdress inspired by Paco Rabanne’s plastic dresses from the 60s, which look exquisitely cool hanging on the body and have to make great sounds when you’re dancing. They did in any case as they walked by – heavenly music to my ears!
Loaction: Simone Rocha
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Also no surprise here: Simone Rocha showed in a historical building as always, this time Southwark Cathedral. Its splendid atmosphere of dark show spaces may not have been the best for taking photographs, but really otherwise it was a dream come true for me (aka two hobbies – namely fashion and churches – in one). Her typical draped, checkered, floral, ruched creations with a Japanese edge let her Irish roots flash through this time = magnificent result!
Cocktail Without the Cocktail: Charlotte Olympia
In the ballroom at the Sheraton Grand Park Lane Hotel, the designer stole the show with her show! She made up for an hour wait (unfortunately without a cocktail) with an amusing presentation. A Brazilian entertainer band played for the burlesque dance group that alternately shared the stage with a handful of models (my absolute favorite, Lili Sumner, among them). Of course, the highlights for me were the fruit looks and a blowup banana as the giveaway! Cheers!
Outstanding Set: Anya Hindmarch!
Anya Hindmarch! Also no surprise here, as Anya shocks her fans anew every season with the craziest mobile show space and I’m always fascinated that the models don’t lose their footing – and who the hell came up with this choreography!?!? WOW.
This time the circular runway opened up and became a flying saucer. The models came from a sub-level entrance reminiscent of a football stadium. In all my astonishment, it was almost hard to pay attention to the accessories. In any case, when Anya’s are always so good, that’s also ok! I’m placing red exclamation points on my mental “must have” list as these little miniminimini handbags in silver metallic with oversized shoulder straps marched past me.
HQ-Envy: Peter Pilotto
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He showed at the company headquarters, where the designer duo (Italian-Austrian Peter Pilotto and Belgian-Peruvian Christopher de Voss) bring their ideas onto paper and develop them. Alone on the path to a small, picturesque canal, by the corner coffee shop and the food stands with a view of the water, the slightly remote location above London’s East End is worth it. As far as the collection, I liked the lightness with which the colorful, ornate, and patterned designs were shown. And the icing on the cake: the small crochet bag!!
More Impressions of London Fashion Week:
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Translation: Melissa Frost
Born and raised in Munich/Germany, Veronika’s professional career has developed from being a model to a fashion editor, to online luxury retailing and most recently style editor of Harpers Bazaar Germany. She currently lives in Berlin where in the beginning of 2015 she started a company with Julia Knolle, the ex-editor at large of Vogue Digital.
Oh, and she loves pugs!