LONDON — Over the past five days, brands sent designers running around London, from Simone Rocha’s venue at Alexandra Palace to Emilia Wickstead’s show at Royal Albert Hall and Roksanda’s outing outside the Serpentine Gallery. All the trekking was tiring, but worth it, most retailers agreed.
The trends were also diverse this season, with retailers citing soft tailoring — a welcome departure from hoodies and T-shirts — and bold colors as well as neutral tones and tonal dressing. Lastly, volume was a major story to emerge, with even the most minimalist of designers going big.
“It’s great to see an alternative to the fitted and cropped silhouettes that have been around for a few seasons,” said Ida Petersson, buying director of women’s wear and men’s wear at Browns. “Our customers already love the brands that execute this brilliantly such as Simone Rocha, Cecilie Bahnsen and Shushu Tong, so it bodes well from a commercial perspective, too.”
Here, a roundup of retailers’ highlights from the showcase.
Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew
Favorite collections: Burberry, Simone Rocha and Victoria Beckham. At Burberry, Riccardo Tisci continues to reinforce his design codes and this collection offered exciting pieces for both old and new customers. Simone Rocha’s signature silhouettes were updated with layers of embroidered tulle and exaggerated proportions and Victoria Beckham presented a variety of dresses, the strongest of which were long, flowy and, brightly colored.
Top trends: The top trends for this season were bold and punchy pinks, blues, oranges, and greens seen on flowy dresses; soft tailoring in shades of beige and Seventies-inspired prints; feminine ruffled blouses in silk chiffon or cotton poplin with exaggerated shoulders and sleeves and trenchcoats, whether minimalist by Victoria Beckham or made from mixed fabrications at Burberry.
Best venue: The Simone Rocha show at Alexandra Palace.
Must-have items: The crystal-embellished trenchcoat at Burberry, a ruffled dress in a bold color by Victoria Beckham, and Simone Rocha’s embroidered shirt dress.
Roopal Patel, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue
Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham’s play on masculine/feminine dressing with Seventies references for spring was strong, confident and chic. Simone Rocha’s collection is pretty and feminine. The play of layers with woven crochet and straw added to signature silhouettes that have become her signature. Erdem’s show felt like you were walking into a painting, while Burberry’s chic tailoring mixed with iconic heritage signatures like trench dressing, plaids and the scarf prints is the perfect mix for the Burberry customer. A.W.A.K.E.’s sleek lines and updated take on minimal is the perfect wardrobe for modern-day dressing and JW Anderson, Rejina Pyo, Richard Quinn.
Best venue: There was something very dreamy and haunting about Simone Rocha’s show at Alexandra Palace. You felt like you were on a film set. It was the perfect setting to bring her collection to life.
Top trends: There were many trends that I saw this season, including: Safari/trench dressing, new neutrals, sharp tailoring including lots of blazers, layered looks, fluid dresses, soft pastels, ruffles and tiers, sequins, volume, tulle, cape details and sequins. There were a lot of plaids, checks, houndstooth, soft pastels as well as punchy brights, a lot of white and monochromatic dressing.
Talent scouting: The brand that stood out to me was A.W.A.K.E.
Must-have item: Something pastel and one of this season’s printed scarves to tie.
Ida Petersson, buying director of women’s wear and men’s wear, Browns
Favorite collections: My favorite collections included Richard Quinn, Simone Rocha, A.W.A.K.E., Supriya Lele and Molly Goddard.
Best venue: Simone Rocha at Alexandra Palace, truly breathtaking.
Top trends: The top trends were palette cleansers with beige, white and neutrals ruling supreme. Thankfully, there were also some amazing color pops to break up the army of beige with coral, red and Kermit green coming through strongest. I also loved voluminous shapes, above or knee-length dresses and strong tailoring.
Talent scouting: Positive at the British Fashion Council show space.
Must-have item: The A.W.A.K.E. skirt and trouser hybrid.
Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay
Favorite collections: This season, Halpern, who will be celebrated at The Room at Hudson’s Bay later this season, gave us a fresh take on evening. Simone Rocha’s beyond stunning and romantic “Midsommar” moment gave me the chills. Erdem’s departure from showing at the National Portrait Gallery brought his collection outside to create his own masterpiece that felt more cinematic and picturesque than ever before (kudos to the stylist) and Jonathan Anderson, who is always on the cutting edge and in many ways far ahead of the curve of cool — delivered his best collection yet in what feels like a new and right direction for JW Anderson.
Best venue: Michael Halpern’s show kicked off the week in a ballroom in Westminster where two enormous chandeliers were lowered from the ceiling to dust the floor for a very surreal take on high-fashion glamour.
Talent scouting: We love Olivia Rubin. New to Hudson’s Bay, her bright and optimistic approach to design is resonating well with our customer. Charlotte Knowles delivered a dynamic and stunning collection. A.W.A.K.E. continues to deliver a strong message of modern tailoring with a twist — there was no shortage of creativity (and salability) this season.
What are you saying goodbye to? Shades of neons. The next season is all about going back to beautiful primary color palettes mixed with neutral tones and touches of pastels.
Natalie Kingham, buying director, Matchesfashion.com
Favorite collections: Erdem was very modern with great prints and color, Christopher Kane’s shows are always a highlight, I loved the wildflowers and planetary references. Simone Rocha was beautiful in the perfect setting and Halpern was showstopping.
Best venue: The Halpern show ballroom and Alexandra Palace for Simone Rocha.
Top trends: Color and refining the DNA of the brand as seen at Christopher Kane, Erdem, Molly Goddard, Marques’ Almeida, Halpern, Richard Quinn and Matty Bovan.
Must-have item: The Stephen Jones hats at Emilia Wickstead, which are like wearable art pieces.
Maria Milano, general merchandising manager of women’s wear, Harrods
Favorite collections: There were so many amazing collections showcased this fashion week that brought a huge sense of excitement to London. Roksanda and Victoria Beckham unveiled a mix of draped tailoring and easy, voluminous dresses in pop colors, Halpern reveled in all-things glamorous with sweeping silhouettes and sophisticated sequins and Rejina Pyo elevated the everyday with her relaxed take on suiting and dresses with eclectic, ornate touches. Burberry’s Riccardo Tisci continued to bring his growing vision for the brand to life with modern takes on the classics; belted suiting, exaggerated trenchcoats and crystal-embellished dresses — a stunning collection that cemented Tisci’s unique signature.
Top trends: Shorts and short suits have been extremely popular in the shows this season, bringing a sense of stylized sophistication and tailoring into the collections. It’s been wonderful to see designers play with tailored linens and leathers, enhancing the edge and breadth of the style. Neutral tones and complete tonal dressing, especially in camels and greys, continue to trend next season. This, alongside the introduction of conversely popping shades of lemon, orange and pink, introduces new color combinations that make a fresh statement.
Boilersuits and jumpsuits also continue their reign as the perfect summer staple, both on and off the runway. This week we have seen designers play with feminine accents and experimental fabrics which is really exciting to see as we move further into an era of elegant dressing.
Voluminous dresses and sleeves were noticeably present this year, injecting elegance and romance into each collection in unique and wearable ways. Rejina Pyo and Roksanda are two designers that leaned into the trend with accentuated accordion pleats, huge ruffles and buttery, free-flowing fabrics that each brought an air of grace down the runway.
Linda Fargo, senior vice president and director of women’s fashion, Bergdorf Goodman
Favorite collections: Burberry, with it’s edgy chic neutral looks and modern draping. JW Anderson thankfully defies easy labels. His artful modern nomads were quite extraordinary. Simone and Erdem were both transporting. Victoria Beckham is on a roll. Loving both its wearability, color mixes, and its advanced aesthetic. Richard Quinn was a sensory extravaganza and worth the extra wait, a memorable finale to London’s shows.
Top trends: As the collections wrapped it’s been more and less a Tale of Two Women, one mined romanticism and Victorian references, with the must-have bell and puff sleeve and almost doll-like proportions, while the other opted for slim and trim chic reality based dressing. Volume, fluidity and draping was the yin to the soft tailoring’s yang.
Talent scouting: Perhaps it’s in the tea here, but it’s worth noting that London seems to breed raw break-out creativity like no other city, such as Matty Bovan and Dilara Findikoglu.
Lisa Aiken, fashion director, Moda Operandi
Favorite collections: All of the stand-out collections in London for me had the same thing in common, a tightly honed vision that seems to evolve each season in line with the designer’s unique aesthetic; they were JW Anderson, A.W.A.K.E., Emilia Wickstead, Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, Victoria Beckham and Richard Quinn. A special note on Riccardo Tisci’s third collection for Burberry, which was a juggernaut of a show delivering so many incredible looks that seemingly pushed the brand far beyond its comfort zone.
Top trends: It’s always difficult to define trends within London Fashion Week, as each designer is so individual, but there are a few ideas that seem to be gathering traction as the month progresses: Exposed necklines and revealing back details; a new approach to tailoring, particularly the collarless jacket as an alternative to the blazer; unexpected color combinations; voluminous silhouettes; sheer layers, and ornate prints, embroideries and embellishments.
Volumes were huge this season. How do you feel about them? While this trend isn’t for everyone, we have been selling collections such as Cecilie Bahnsen and Simone Rocha very well, both of which are known for voluminous silhouettes. There were places this trend was more dramatic, such as Molly Goddard, and others a little more fluid and gentle, as at Victoria Beckham.
Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-A-Porter
Favorite collections: My favorite collections this season were JW Anderson, Simone Rocha, Victoria Beckham and Richard Quinn.
Best venue: Simone Rocha’s show at Alexandra Palace.
Top trends: We loved the spring suiting seen at JW Anderson and the 90s minimalism stemming from Bottega’s naked sandal and strappy dresses. We saw beautiful bold color combos, but specifically the pairing of neutrals with pops of color that Victoria Beckham and Roksanda did so well.
Talent scouting: Some of our emerging designers really shone this season, notably Molly Goddard and Richard Quinn.
Must-have item: A romantic blouse and a trouser suit, we might be seeing the return of the flare.
What are you saying goodbye to? Collections felt much more fluid and relaxed in London this season, with softer, looser fabrications and silhouettes.
Volumes were huge this season. how do you feel about them? We love them in the right way, like an exaggerated puff sleeve or clever use of fabrics like taffeta. It’s about playing with proportion; if you’re wearing a voluminous top, go for a cinched-in waist or corseted trouser to maintain a sense of balance.
Read more from WWD:
WATCH: Inside 3 Young Designers’ LFW Spring 2020 Collections