The Union Jack is flying high for a second season as London Fashion Week designers dipped into the British Isles’ heritage for their inspiration. The result? Britannia ruled the runways.
Always proud to sing the praises of her country, Vivienne Westwood’s show was an unabashedly British affair. In past seasons Westwoods fiery attitude has come through the collection but like many brands, this AW12 seems to be a more muted affair. The styling was quiet with only a nod to the usual theatrics a Westwood show has. Englishness, in its present polyglot incarnation, was the theme du jour. Grey tweed suits, cropped trousers in tartan and pleated suit skirts all featured in this oh-so British show. And Westwood wasn’t the only designer to dabble in all things British.
Elsewhere patterns and prints synonymous with the Scottish Highlands prevailed. Tartan is the fashion clans’ print-of-choice every AW, and has been reworked variously this season – by Daks in oversized coccoon shape coats and elegant kneee length dresses, Corrie Nielsen in elaborate ball gowns, and Prophetik to a certain extent with various kilt skirts.
Meanwhile the countryside made way for war cries at Aquascutum and Topshop Unique, where girls marched to the tune of MIA. At Aquascutum the tailored silhouette echoed the military precision of the brand’s past, in a gray officer’s coat or olive jacket cropped over matching pants and a snowy-white poplin shirt. While Topshop Unique opened the show with their own take on an officers coat, in khaki. This set the pace for the dramatically scaled outwear with a strong utilitarian bent. Outfits mixed fabrics—like the pants that were leather in front, wool in back, or the green felt dress with the leather bodice.
The utility theme was elaborated on in military and workwear touches, like the thick-soled, spike-heeled “army” boots, that are now on every fashionistas wish list.
A folk-y Slavic thing seems to be a micro-trend that we have noticed cropping up at London Fashion Week, and thats no surpise really. The fashion world’s interest in the 70s has resulted in a folk infulence being brought up season after season in various forms. Whether is the summer boho-chic, kaftan-shapes, paisley patterns or a fuzzy-fur gillet – we’re never far from the trend.
Alice Temperley steered her particular bohemian leanings in an opulent direction for a look she called “polished folk”. Bright floral embroidery, fur hats and Cossack inspired double-breasted 0fficers coat gave the collection the edge.
Clements Riberio started off their show trying to steer a folk-y Slavic inspiration into edgier, more modern territory. Teaming prints with leather and colour blocking the look was achieved. Issa’s show notes spoke of a Trans-Siberian journey from Moscow to Beijing, which explained the mish-mash of Russian patterns on Oriental shapes. The all-over printed dresses layered over matching leggings echoed the folk-y inspiration, with some models wearing printed scarves tied around their heads like modern matryoshkas.
Mulberry echoed similar ideas with their collection entitled, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’. Beastly Monogolian coats and skirts, rabbit-trimmed hooded coats, and knitted fur pieces—gilets and a full dress— all nod to the folk-y theme. Belted layers with chunky hand-knit scarves showed the influence too.
So these are just some of the trends we’ve picked up from London Fashion Week so far, have you spotted any? There are plently more!