LONDON: Winter coats with sandals? Furry bags with long satin gowns? Anything goes as the fashion pack descends on London to take in the latest runway shows, where bright colours, clashing neons, a ’70s vibe and sports-chic vied for attention.
Veteran designer Jasper Conran, model-turned-designer Alexa Chung and House of Holland were among those showcasing their spring and summer designs at Day 2 of London Fashion Week on Saturday.
Conran, one of the founding designers of London Fashion Week, chose the Royal Academy of Arts as his show venue and fittingly offered up a collection of bold, saturated colours — and a surprising dose of women’s rights activism.
There were monochrome striped dresses, graphic prints, beautifully tailored bias-cut dresses and sporty outfits, all in clashing hues taken straight from the artist’s paint box: pea green, tangerine, butter yellow and fire engine red. Some outfits even featured paint splatters.
Some models wore the same bold shade from head to toe. One sported a bright pink jumpsuit, paired with forest green hair. Classic, elegant shapes ensured the overall look was tasteful, not garish.
Sharing the catwalk was a T-shirt dress with large, abstracted letters reading “Equality not Minority.” In his show notes, Conran cited sobering statistics about women’s pay and referenced the #MeToo movement, writing: “As a young boy I remember seeing my mother working hard lobbying to gain rights for women . it is clear that the battles fought for equality are still far from over.”
Actress Kristin Scott Thomas, who watched from the front row, said she loved the simplicity and sophisticated tailoring.
“The colours always amaze me. And that pink jumpsuit has my name on it!” she said.
Long a fashion week regular, model and TV presenter Alexa Chung made her debut as a designer at London Fashion Week.
Known for her quirky fashion sense, with her penchant for boyish styling, schoolgirl collars and penny loafers, Chung offered a look-book for fans keen to replicate her style.
Playing on a theme of “arrivals and departures,” guests were first treated to a theatrical show of models coming and going, half-glimpsed through openings in a wooden panel.
When the models finally emerged, they wore an array of lacy camisole slip dresses, capes accessorized with headscarves and dresses with postcard prints. There was something for everyone, from a sexy sequined party dress to an egg-blue PVC raincoat to dorky-cool cream dungarees and boiler suits.
Some of the silhouettes had a distinctly ’70s vibe. A cream, double-breasted suit featured high-waisted, slightly bootcut trousers. Brown suede coats and separates also recalled styles from that era.
House of Holland
Slogan T-shirts, loud clashing prints, exaggerated shapes: Designer Henry Holland isn’t known to shy away from over-the-top designs, and this season is no different. There’s neon — lots of it — as well as large logos, body-hugging lurex, sportswear, snakeskin, plus slinky crystal-encrusted dresses.
Titled “Pull in Emergency,” the show is themed around hectic city life, and Holland said the neon pops of colour are meant to convey a sense of “panic and urgency.”
Violently clashing colours — bright blue and yellow, purple and orange — demand immediate attention, and sheer lurex tops are emblazoned with large logos or a slogan reading “Out of Order.” There’s humour, too. The first outfit says it all: A neon orange double-breasted blazer with matching shorts, worn with clumpy neon sandals and a sporty body harness holding a highlighter pen.
Model Winnie Harlow sported a baggy neon tracksuit with a matching sports bra. Other more wearable pieces include voluminous hooded tops, printed sports leggings, and purple snakeskin print shirts that can be toned down with jeans. Iridescent silk party dresses encrusted with tens of thousands of colourful Swarovski crystals balance off the tough, urban cool vibe with a feminine touch.