LONDON — Accessories played a prominent role both on the runway at London Fashion Week and in showroom presentations for fall, with designers taking fresh looks at their archives, launching new collections or enriching their offers with new product categories, and lots of logos.
Their focus was on functionality, fantasy and, in some cases, philosophy. Designs ranged from the geometric and sharp-edged to softer, more organic shapes.
Stephen Jones dipped into his archive of 40 years and picked 15 hats at random, refashioning them for today. He called the collection “Why? why not…” and answered that question with an eclectic mix of the rock ‘n’ roll, the surreal and the practical.
Among his designs for fall was a dark green rock chick tiara-cum-wig made of acetate; a single hat made from a series of boater styles that got progressively smaller, and tiaras that morphed into the outline of a top hat, or a fedora.
Jones never runs out of ideas, and that’s lucky because his business is coming back in a big way. “Clients are going to weddings, lunches and charity events,” said the designer during a walkthrough at his showroom and shop. Asked why there were so many tiaras, he replied, “They’re very ‘now.'”
Priya Ahluwalia, who staged a coed show at the start of London Fashion Week, enriched her accessories offer, introducing sunglasses and footwear. The sunglasses are made by Ace & Tate, and the footwear (and belts) were embellished with her large “A” monogram.
Standouts included the “A” sculpted heels, knee-high boots with polygon-shaped toes and different versions of the Chelsea boot. The leather designs came in shades such as blue, cerulean red, black and with a zebra pattern.
Helen Kirkum Studio, which uses old sneakers to create new, handmade ones, hosted a presentation titled “Step Back,” which showcased the process of producing each sneaker.
There were 824 single shoes, all of which had been collected from a recycling center in London, displayed on the floor. The studio showed how they are cleaned, deconstructed and transformed the waste into materials for the fall 2023 collection.
“Our collections are always about the story of the material, the story of the process, the people that make the shoes, and that sort of speaks for itself,” said founder Helen Kirkum.
The collection, which features colors such as wild moss and dusty stone, is available for preorder.
The Romanian-born footwear designer Ancuta Sarca also focused on upcycling, and said this collection was inspired by AI and nature.
“I looked at two different things. One is the obsession with artificial intelligence nowadays, and the other is nature,” said Sarca backstage at her presentation. “I wanted to bring a more organic texture into my collection while still keeping these high-tech fabrics as well.”
The shoes, which included clogs and backless pumps, were primarily made from deadstock materials or secondhand garments such as denim jackets, jeans or trainers. End-of-roll faux fur was used to embellish pointed-toe kitten-heel boots.
The Nigerian-born designer Mowalola Ogunlesi returned to the London runway with a show set in a New York parallel universe.
Called “Dark Web,” it explored the control that technology has on humans contrasted with people’s will to act on their own terms. The accessories had New York-inspired logos that were playfully altered to represent the brand. They included belts and Timberland boots with what appeared to be the New York Yankees logo — which was instead an “M.”
In a nod to the blinding power of technology in the modern world, the designer covered models’ eyes with wraparound sunglasses. Some of the sunglasses were fitted with Bluetooth headsets, for a techno-apocalyptic touch.