The catwalks in my home city of London are known for offering up an edgier vibe than the other main fashion cities, and this season was no exception. While some of New York’s trends carried over to London — there were hints of chocolate brown, forest green and voluminous dresses — the designers of the city brought cool cutouts, black and white prints and bright poppy red to the game.
London has a great tradition of tailoring going back centuries, and combined with heritage tartan, there was a clear trend towards sharp suiting that will easily make its way to the High Street. To pick up this trend in full, ladies, you might want to brush up on your skill at doing up a necktie.
Black and white vortex
Harlequin, dogtooth, stripes and geometric shapes were all given the runway treatment in stark black and white. Erdem and Roksanda combined it with the continuing trend towards oversized cuts, but Ashish hinted at the move back towards a slimmer silhouette. There was a distinct 60s vibe from the looks at Ashish, Chalayan and Richard Quinn.
New York designers kept the penchant for voluminous shapes from last year, and so did their London counterparts. JW Anderson showed epic wide lapels, while Ashley Williams and Molly Goddard created oversized ruffles. Halpern showed a figure-swamping, multi-layered dress that epitomises the trend. Marques’Almeida is always fun, and offered up echoes of Sesame Street’s Big Bird. But Paul and Joe made the trend much more wearable, and proved leopard print is going nowhere.
Some kind of blue
New York had a thread of royal purple, but London designers took the colour further along the spectrum for pops of bright blue — from the purple-tinged layers at Roksanda to the powdery tone at Molly Goddard. Halpern gave it a sleek look and Vivienne Westwood came through with her signature casual cool.
Staying on the primary colour wheel, there was also plenty of bold red to be seen. Roland Mouret opted for a deep red, while Roksanda took it closer to orange. Chalayan’s cutout dress made the case for sultry red eveningwear. Ruffles made it glam at Molly Goddard but Burberry hinted at how red can be wearable for every day.
Not just at Chalayan, cutouts in the front of dresses were prevalent throughout the collections. Burberry and Christopher Kane took them through towards the navel. As would be expected, Victoria Beckham kept it subtle at the neckline. Ashley Williams and Fashion East targeted those who have worked hard on their abs!
Veering away from the solid blocks of colour, there was a contrasting tendency to throw bold patchworks together in chunky knitwear or newsprint-style dresses. Ashish took it to the maximum with a beautiful coat over an equally vibrant jumpsuit.
There were some suits on the runways of New York, but there was a distinctly British heritage feel to the tailored looks in London. And there was a clear masculine feel, with Margaret Howell and Emilia Wickstead completing the look with ties and Temperley London adding a waistcoat and a bow at the neck reminiscent of a cravat.
Burberry and Victoria Beckham maintained their reputation for classic tailoring and Emilia Wickstead’s suit had a beautiful sharply cut jacket. Richard Malone and Temperley London adopted the New York trend for purple suits — which I personally hope makes its way to the High Street.
There was an abundance of plaid, or tartan, in New York, but of course, the Brits do it best. The suits were often in plaid, and Burberry led the way with its heritage print. Preen by Thorton Bregazzi took it to the suit and tie look in effortless style, as did Vivienne Westwood. Shrimps brought a glamourous twist with a striking red fur-trimmed gown.
While the tartan of autumn/winter 2019 had a country tinge, the likes of Victoria Beckham, Mulberry and Roland Mouret gave it a city-girl vibe.
There was a thread of glamour that ensures the Christmas party circuit will be full of silver gowns and cocktail dresses. JW Anderson created a loose tinselled confection and Burberry styled a sleek look with tassels. For those who shy away from dresses, Erdem offered a floral silver suit. Dilara Findikoglu’s hoop dress was worthy of appearing on a red carpet.
London built on the trends from New York Fashion Week with its typical flair, with offerings that I’m looking forward to seeing interpreted by the High Street brands.