London Fashion Week: Trend round up

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Trends count for everything in fashion and London is beginning to prove that it has a consensus of ideas.

BY Lisa Armstrong and Luke Leitch
22 February 2012


A look from the Peter Pilotto autumn/winter 2012 show.

A look from the Peter Pilotto autumn/winter 2012 show.
Photo: Vladimir Potop

Do trends count for anything anymore? The frequently aired view of the sophisticated fashion consumer is that they don’t matter to anyone apart from Chinese teens converging on Topshop.


At the risk of parroting Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, trends mean everything in fashion. Sure they can be and often are, a blind alley, but they can also be the first whispers of a uniform that sweeps the world. London Fashion Week traditionally lights the touch-paper of a new idea, stands back – and waits for everyone else to reap the profits. But not anymore. Alongside those mad, sublime moments of individual creativity, London had a consensus of ideas. That doesn’t mean we’ll be bludgeoned into conformity, because there are enough trends to allow for maximum manoeuvre and every designer had their own interpretations. So make way for big skirts and slinky ones, kick flares and leggings, padded hips, long knits, winter florals, military, the upscale parka and military. There’s plenty to tempt.

But a fashion week can no longer simply be judged solely in terms of its ideas. Its commercial clout has to be on display. This season saw Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen come home, albeit with caveats. McCartney’s show may be a one-off before she returns to Paris. McQueen showed its diffusion line. But even these gestures would have been unthinkable four years ago. As a showcase for fashion, London’s arrived. It even played host to an Italian brand, Moschino Cheap and Chic, this week.

This certainly counts for something. Ever since London Fashion Week began to be regarded as a serious player among the fashion capitals, the home team designers have walked that bit taller. There’s a growing belief that if Burberry can base itself here and still go global, so can they. Mulberry is on its way, registered a tripling of pre-tax profits in December 2011 and with a new COE from Hermès. But even if they don’t all make it, they’ll have given us some great clothes.


5/5 – Destined for the masses

4/5 – Bound to be big

3/5 – For the fashion conscious

2/5 – Strictly attention seekers

1/5 – Rather be naked

The Hip Replacement: Antonio Berardi

Left to right: Antonio Berardi and Mary Katrantzou

Take a pair of normal hips then amplify them with padding. It shouldn’t work but in Berardi’s hands it looked elegant and oh so flattering. Dresses and jackets were padded with horse-hair and lined with silk chiffon (no animals were harmed in the making of these clothes, we were promised, although a few brains may have been sorely taxed: one dress comprised 78 pieces and every single seam on every garment was curved) This is how to wear a peplum – not as a Dallas-meets-Pat Butcher soggy tribute but as a piece of silky sculpture. LA

Will it work?
Yes, for those who like their Forties updated.

Where else?
Stella McCartney, Mary Katrantzou, McQ, PPQ, Burberrry


Street style at London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012

Winter florals: Erdem

Left to right: Erdem and Giles
Floral is a spring-trend staple that tends to wither in winter. Not this time: Erdem was London’s florist-in-chief via his trademark one-two of neatly-demure silhouettes heaped with flower upon flower upon flower. From the floral black lace overlays to the blurry 3D-effect (without the glasses on) turquoise and yellow on silk (with blue lace flowery, arms) this was a show to rival Chelsea. Even his shoes were flower bedecked. LL

Will it work?
There’s no reason why florals shouldn’t be hardy fashion perennials.

Where else?
Giles, Temperley London, Christopher Kane, McQ, Maarten Van Der Horst


The Big Knit: Jonathan Saunders

Left to right: Jonathan Saunders and Acne

A generously-proportioned jumper that ends sub-buttock will a) keep you warm and b) act as a midwinter-mini. This a heady combo particularly well utilised in Jonathan Saunders’ acid-coloured, Japanese-equestrian (it’s a long story) collection, was one of this weeks finest. This big knit incorporated check, another strong trend in London. LL

Will it work?
Everywhere, and for nothing: simply pinch a man’s jumper and pin up the sleeves.

Where else?
Christopher Kane (overlayed with mesh wires), Mary Katrantzou (embroidered with star-dust crystal) Mulberry (monstrous) and Acne (long and lime)


London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012: Models off duty

Quilty Complex: Peter Pilotto

Left to right: Peter Pilotto and Christopher Kane

Keeping warm was on the brains of many, although not the poor loves risking hypothermia in their fashionable spring jackets. A pragmatic padded coat simply doesn’t cut the street snappers’ mustard – yet. Peter Pilotto’s fabulously quilted printed jackets for next winter offered warmth and style in spades. Some were prettified with a little frilled hem, and teamed with cocktail dresses and convincingly sold as evening wear – music to the camera slaves’ ears. PL

Will it work?
Day time, night time – it will work overtime.

Where else?
Christopher Kane, Marios Schwab, JW Anderson


Brocade: Osman

Left to right: Osman and Temperley
Why should C18th fops have all the fun? We’ve secretly loved this fabric for years, so allow us a moment of joy because it’s everywhere. And no one cuts a sharper pair of trousers than this man. If London can’t quite decide whether to keep it skinny or experiment with a kick flare that starts at the knee, consider it a bonus. In the world’s first parliamentary democracy, no one trouser shape should dominate. Let’s hear it for proportional representation. LA

Will it work?
Yes, in a similar way to marmite. You either love this or hate it. But however much you adore brocade, limit yourself to one piece at a time time. Keep the rest low-key and you can wear this day to night.

Where else?
Michael van der Ham, Temperley, Kinder Aggugini


London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012: stars on the front row

Leggings: Clements Ribeiro

Left to right: Clements Ribeiro and Issa

Leggings were flatlining – then Clements Ribeiro’s show happened. Every look with a skirt or dress came with a pair. It was a brilliant defibrillator for a previously dead-in-the-water trend. The new way of doing them is under longer lengths (something bright or patterned looks might pretty), and for evening, bare legs be damned. PL

Will it work?
With a bit of mental rewiring – think slim midi skirts and heels instead of minis and ballet pumps.

Where else?


Girls In Glasses: Paul Smith

Left to right: Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood

Boys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses. Not even if they’re worn with as much vim as they were at Paul Smith? Bespectacled models in sharp tailor jackets and cigarette pants cut an appealing figure. Marc Jacobs and J Crew also sent out girls with four eyes instead of two in New York last week. Clearly, not seeing, um, clearly is cool. PL

Will it work?
If your vision is less than 20/20.

Where else?
Vivienne Westwood


London Fashion Week autumn/winter 2012: Stella McCartney eveningwear show

The Big Ball(sy) Skirt: Stella McCartney

Left to right: Stella McCartney and Giles

Swish, swish, swish, here come the skirts. How feminine, how flirty – and how modern, thanks to that larger-than-life marbling and obligingly architectural duchesse satin. This is the Mad Men Skirt for women who normally prefer something harder edged and just a bit arty. McCartney had other mould-breakers up her sleeves, too. Think lace is too twee ? Try a thick-as-crochet tangerine weave appliquéd onto a flesh-coloured mesh column dress and await the flashbulbs. Coming to a red carpet soon. LA

Will it work?
Yes, this concept suits pretty much everyone, but you’ll need a big ball(sy) heel. Ballerina length’s the way to go.

Where else?
Roksanda Ilincic, Giles, Emilia Wickstead, Mary Katrantzou


Military Manoeuvres: McQ

Left to right: McQ and Burberry

Attention! For instant promotion up the fashion ranks, simply advance to your nearest army surplus store. For this long-standing masculine trend invaded womenswear this season, no more so than in McQ’s opening section of two-toned soldier-girl outfits shot through with “Black Watch” tartan, ceremonially-high spit-and-polished boots and furry-epauletted submariner knits. After the uniform came some crazily over-the-top flower-strewn ballet dresses. LL

Will it work?
Only for the brave: and don’t be too literal.

Where else?
Burberry, Belstaff, Christopher Raeburn, and the beavers at Temperley


The Longer Skirt: Roksanda Ilincic

Left to right: Roksanda Ilincic and Topshop Unique
We’re talking really long – not just below the knee, but right past the lower shin. That creates a lean sinuous line that brings to mind white Russian emigres or slinky Thirties illustrations from artists such as Christian Berard – unless they’re Ilincic’s full-circle skirts, which brings to mind pictures of the young Queen Elizabeth in the early Fifties. But Ilincic reared back from the precipice of parody by teaming her languid lengths with blouson tops or big glittery tweed blazers, and occasionally trimmed her pencil skirts with the deep ruffle hem that has become one of her trademarks. As usual, it’s her colour mixes that intrigued: claret with deep violet or turquoise. LA

Will it work?
Especially if you’re tall and slender and game for a five-inch heel. Ilincic jacked her models up on canary-yellow ones and got herself a statement look.

Where else?
Jonathan Saunders, Topshop, JW Anderson

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