Backstage at Simone Rocha RTW Fall 2019

LONDON — There may have been many young talents showing during London Fashion Week, but buyers still favored established brands such as Victoria Beckham and Simone Rocha, nodding to their elegance.

“My favorite collections were ones that stayed very true to their signature aesthetic, including Molly Goddard, Halpern and Simone Rocha. I loved Victoria Beckham’s approach to dressing a modern woman,” said Lisa Aiken, fashion director at Moda Operandi.

Coats were also strong this season, and retailers were eager to pick up the winter staple in a variety of styles. Ida Petersson, buying director for women’s and men’s wear at Browns, praised Ashish’s sequin crochet-effect coat, while Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director at Neiman Marcus, and Mario Grauso, president of Holt Renfrew, championed the “conversation-creating” coat.

Here, a roundup of standout shows and highlights from retailers:


Roopal Patel, fashion director, Saks Fifth Avenue

Favorite collections: Ricardo Tisci’s fall collection was powerful. The mix of street, elegance, tailoring and glamour told in two parts continues to illustrate his vision for Burberry. Victoria Beckham delivered an effortless and chic collection which feels right for today’s modern day woman. Simone Rocha’s collection was dreamy, romantic, expressive and powerful. She continues to champion women and the female spirit. JW Anderson delivered a dramatic play on proportion, shape and texture. With oversized capes to beautifully draped Jersey dresses, the show was an absolute delight.

Top trends: Tailoring, capes, statement outerwear, color blocking, feathers, ruffles and tiers, scarf prints, liquid gold, volume, wall paper florals and corset and bodice details

Best venue: Burberry’s “two tank” space at the Tate Modern was an interesting social experiment with half of the audience seated in a caged room encircled by scaffolds and the other half seated in a super plush viewing room.

Must-have items: A statement coat from Burberry. There was everything from down coats, to the statement trench, to beautiful feather-embellished evening coats.


Elizabeth von der Goltz, global buying director, Net-a-porter

Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham, Burberry, Simone Rocha, JW Anderson and Richard Quinn.

Top trends: The top trends were “Country Style,” consisting of argyle, country tweeds, checks and cape coats and modern eveningwear from emerging designers such as Molly Goddard and Richard Quinn (lots of feathers and organza). There were also a lot of color combinations; London designers always have a great sense of color.

Best venue: Burberry at the tanks at the Tate had the most comfortable show seating. It was also great being served martinis and champagne at Le Caprice for Emilia Wickstead.

Talent scouting: We continued to love The Vampire’s Wife, Anna Mason, Molly Goddard, Richard Quinn and Wales Bonner.

Must-have item:  A reworked trench from either Burberry, Simone Rocha or JW Anderson; a small vintage Frame bag, the black-and-white key bag from JW Anderson, a shrunken country knit from Victoria Beckham.


Maria Milano, head of women’s wear, Harrods

Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham was effortlessly elegant, Burberry was epic with its 106 looks and finally Emilia Wickstead was the last word in chic.

Top trends: Top colors such as camel, either head-to-toe or paired with a primary shade, and chocolate tones, tailoring, belted coats, feathers and the return of cocktail hour.

Talent scouting: We have picked up Shrimps and Myla lingerie for fall 2019.

Best venue: The Reform Club, where Peter Pilotto staged its show amid floor-to-ceiling bookcases and moody oil paintings.

Must-have items: A wrap coat. Something, anything, in camel and a frivolous feather bag.

What are you saying goodbye to? Shapeless silhouettes, dresses, coats and blazers are now belted for waist definition.


Ida Petersson, buying director for women’s wear and men’s wear, Browns

Favorite collections: Asai, Molly Goddard, Rejina Pyo, Simone Rocha and Wales Bonner.

Top trends: I have seen lots of strong tailoring come through already this season. There has also been lots of sequins and feathers on the runway alongside arts-and-crafts-inspired knits.

Talent scouting: Keeping quiet for now on this subject!

Best venue: Molly Goddard, without a doubt.

Must-have items: Burberry’s deconstructed trench, Molly Goddard’s yellow tulle dress, Ashish sequin crochet effect coat, Henry Holland platform boots, Wales Bonner varsity jacket and Simone Rocha jewelry.

What are you saying goodbye to? We are definitely cutting down our investment on hoodies and tees for the season ahead. There are so many more interesting trends out there that we want to explore.


Ken Downing, senior vice president and fashion director, Neiman Marcus

Favorite collections: Victoria Beckham’s stunningly chic take on the understated, pared down elegance of the season — fluidity, femininity and tailoring came together in absolute perfection. Roland Mouret’s masterful mix of men’s wear and liquid lamé, conversation-creating coats and effortless dresses made for his best collection to date. Riccardo Tisci’s second runway for Burberry is what we’ve been waiting for. Signature Riccardo redefining Burberry for the next generation, from streetwise to polished perfection, Riccardo delivered a standout collection for fall. JW Anderson, Jonathan’s eclectic, eccentric English attitude that defies time and trends brings the creative spirit to London that fashion can often lack. His capes, coats and free-flowing utilitarian straps and ribbons prove fashion can continue to dream and challenge our conventional ideas of dressing.

Top trends: Conversation-creating coats — oversize, caped, draped and tailored, coats that make a statement are a must-have. Volume is the new decoration and adornment, bigger is better, voluminous tiered flounces and ruffles on dresses, skirts and tops, to oversize volumes in outerwear. Big is back.

There’s also an understated elegance that nods to the Nineties as well as rich colors: camel, moss, marine blue and the shock of hot pink at Mulberry, which has become an important color palette for clothes that are defined by cut, quality of textile, precision and execution.

Talent scouting: All eyes are on Wales Bonner, the name and talent to watch.

Best venue: Tate Britain for the Victoria Beckham show.

Must-have item: The conversation-creating coat.

What are you saying goodbye to? Superfluous decoration.


Lisa Aiken, fashion director, Moda Operandi

Favorite collections: My favorite collections were ones that stayed very true to their signature aesthetic including Molly Goddard, Halpern and Simone Rocha. I loved Victoria Beckham’s approach to dressing a modern woman, as well as JW Anderson for always pushing the boundaries. Awake, Rejina Pyo and Wales Bonner added to the strong lineup of emerging talent.

Top trends: In contrast to New York, the London collections pushed the creative boundaries with unexpected color combinations, voluminous silhouettes and experimental fabrications. A fresh take on heritage came through with plaids and argyle knits.

Talent scouting: There were quite a few off-schedule presentations that looked interesting, though I have yet to see them in the showroom.

Best venue: Emilia Wickstead at Le Caprice transported us to another era.

Must-have items: Argyle knits at Preen, patchwork blazers at JW Anderson, and an elevated trench coat from Simone Rocha, Rejina Pyo or Awake.


Mario Grauso, president, Holt Renfrew

Favorite collections: Burberry was a really strong continuation of the story Riccardo Tisci started to tell last season. He showcased his range from the hippest street, to the most polished lady. The outerwear was over the top and everyone needs a piece or two.

Victoria Beckham’s second runway presentation during London Fashion Week was on point with a variety of easy-to-wear blouses and skirts, novelty overcoats and strong bodycon knits. Simone Rocha showed a collection of coats and dresses that will resonate with our advanced customer, just the right amount of edge without going too far.

Top trends: There were layers on layers on layers everywhere, there are no shortage of pieces to take your wardrobe from fall to winter. There were also preppy varsity influences from argyles, oversize plaids and tailored schoolboy jackets and trousers to polished Park Avenue lady-like silhouettes, whether it was a beautifully constructed overcoat or the perfect length mididress or pencil skirt. There were also pops of red.

Best venue: Simone Rocha at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Must-have items: The duffle coat, deconstructed trench and the puffer from Burberry, any of the preppy argyle knits from Victoria Beckham and the patent leather trench coat from Simone Rocha.


Tyler Franch, fashion director, Hudson’s Bay

Favorite collections: JW Anderson, Wales Bonner, Simone Rocha and Halpern

Top trends: There was still a lot of play on oversize volume and proportion. Embellishments were an important feature, in particular feathers, sequins and appliqué. At the same time, fashion is feeling simpler and cleaner, illustrated by the new look from Jonathan Anderson. The statement-making coat continues to be the ultimate cold weather staple.

Talent scouting: Grace Wales Bonner continues to have a very promising future in both the art world and fashion.

Best venue: Molly Goddard held her show at the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

Must-have items: A floor-sweeping dress from JW Anderson.

What are you saying goodbye to? Plastic and PVC.

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