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A Breath of Fresh Air on the London Catwalks

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At London Fashion Week the labels presented their collections for autumn/winter 2016. We observed not only the fashion, but also the changes that are coming along with the changing of the season.
After quite a lengthy break from the shows, Mulberry has finally returned to the London catwalk. The excitement among the spectators in London’s Guildhall was palpable. It is the first collection by new Creative Director Johnny Coca, who had previously been a long-time member of the design team at Céline. And he didn’t disappoint. He has given Mulberry a youthful image. You get the feeling that Coca has pinpointed exactly what the woman of today needs – and then skilfully jazzed it up. Colourful shoes with high platform soles; coats in black, olive, aubergine; braces and bags in various sizes. Alexander McQueen’s designer Sarah Burton is expecting her third child in just a few weeks’ time – but she certainly doesn’t look willing to start her maternity leave any time soon. The collection is as intricately detailed, feminine and couture-esque as ever. Ruffles, buckles, lace – and new this year: hand-painted flowers on leather coats and corsets worn on the outside, feather dresses and vast numbers of butterflies as decoration. For the first time in many years, the label showed its collection in its home city of London, setting new standards in the process: the degree of perfection is still better suited to Paris.

Tradition & innovation

Burberry chose a glam rock collection for its last show along its old lines after consolidating its various positioned labels Prorsum, Brit and London. From this autumn, Christopher Bailey will show menswear and womenswear together before delivering the looks straight to the stores. With that announcement the traditional brand recently injected a galvanizing shot of innovation into the whole fashion industry. Vivienne Westwood, too, has cancelled her second brand, Red Label. Her first universal collection, entitled “Intellectuals Unite”, was inspired by the Renaissance artists Donatello and El Greco, which resulted in an impressive combination of colours and silhouettes. Westwood’s shows always aim to achieve her longstanding mission of uniting intellectuals to fight against the politics of environmental destruction – this year was no different.

Humour & provocation

Charlotte Olympia debuted on the London catwalk. Dressed in black, her models circled around the spectators in front of a black backdrop. On a raised catwalk, of course, so that their shoes and bags were on the audience’s eye level. She combines artisanal skills with her tried and tested tongue-in-cheek approach: from transparent bags to leopard print shoes, she doesn’t always take fashion seriously. There was also a good helping of humour at Paul Smith: alongside boyish suits, two big dots appeared on jumpers at chest height. And there are just a couple of teardrops left of the dense paisley patterns this year. Gareth Pugh revealed that he has fallen for ’80s power dressing: exaggerated shoulders, flared trousers, suits with pencil skirts and as catwalk folly…Hannibal Lecter’s mask. The trends from Peter Pilotto’s catwalk left behind a bitterly cold chill. His inspiration: the unnatural colours and patterns of a winter sky. Which were transformed into unearthly winter looks on the runway. Last but not least, A.F. Vandervorst delivered a clash between military and civilian, formal and informal.
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