From streetwear to elegant evening dresses, the catwalks of London Fashion Week were not short of choices as designers showcased their spring and summer 2024 collections.
JW Anderson and clay
The invitation to the show of fashion label JW Anderson was a block of clay, arousing the curiosity of the guests. The first models walked down the catwalk in Bermuda shorts and hoodies made from play-dough, resembling moving sculptures.
Then followed colourful ensembles from a shiny plastic material, crochet dresses and feathers worn as belts and on sleeves. Jonathan Anderson also showcased oversized bomber jackets, long enough to cover the thighs, and trenchcoats with long skirts.
"Using jackets as dresses becomes very simple," Anderson, who is also the creative director of Spanish fashion house Loewe, explained after the show.
His show, a staple of London Fashion Week, attracted celebrities including British actresses Suki Waterhouse and Jenna Coleman as well as actor Ncuti Gatwa of TV show ‘Sex Education’.
Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was also among the guests, sitting next to Edward Enninful, the outgoing editor-in-chief of British Vogue.
Enninful will be stepping down in January to take on a global advisor role at Vogue publisher Conde Nast. Media reports have suggested a power struggle between the two but it did not show in front of the cameras.
Red carpet fashion
London-based designer David Koma is known for his contouring dresses. At his show, models walked the runway to the music of Beyonce, who lists among the clients of the Georgian designer.
His collection was dominated by dark colours, especially black, but there were also designs in yellow, orange and even neon pink. Some of the dresses were asymmetrical, short in the front and long at the back, and were worn with tall, over-the-knee boots.
Evening dresses were also at the show of designer Feben, a recent graduate of London's Central Saint Martins University. Among her collection were largely transparent dresses made entirely of beads with long fringed skirts.
Eudon Choi, the impressionist
The collection of South Korean designer Eudon Choi was inspired by the works of French Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. Models of all ages walked the runway at his show with some of Choi's designs presented by older women.
The collection, presented in the garden of a church in central London, was elegant and refined. The designer wanted to freeze a moment in time in the way Morisot, the 19th-century artist, had done in her paintings.
The looks were often monochrome with a neutral colour palette. The tones evolved from a soft powder pink to anthracite grey. With the colours, the outfits transitioned from daytime to evening wear, combining transparent and opaque fabrics. Choi also used floral patterns and the contrast of black and white.
Roksanda and Serbian monasteries
Roksanda Ilincic, the founder of fashion brand Roksanda, was inspired by the monasteries of her native Serbia. Tall headdresses worn by models at her show resembled those worn by Orthodox priests.
The straight, almost austere lines of some pieces were countered by a vibrant pop of colour or heels with tassels.
Silk dresses and capes were accessorised with large jewellery items, which blended in to become part of the garment. The silhouettes were sometimes straight and narrow, sometimes fluid and moving, sometimes imposing and rigid.
Labrum, 'designed by an immigrant'
British label Labrum's collection was inspired by a nomoli, a figurine from Sierra Leone, where founder and creative director Foday Dumbuya was born.
The winner of this year's prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design opened his show with ex-footballer Ian Wright walking the runway in a double-breasted suit and Adidas Samba sneakers.
The collection continued mixing casual and formal elements, with designs featuring mixed textiles and high-contrast patterns. Male and female models walked to music by singer-songwriter Tawiah, with piano accompaniment.
Dumbuya chose the Four Seasons as his venue to bring the people of Brixton "into a world where they think they don't belong", he told AFP.
"The story I'm telling is about population movements, migration," added the designer, whose brand is known for the unofficial slogan "designed by an immigrant".
London Fashion Week continues on Sunday with showcases from Ukraine-born Masha Popova and fashion house Erdem, among others.