So just as everyone at London Fashion Week are waking up after the Rihanna for River Island after party, it was time to start day three of proceedings.
First on the bill was Preen. Picking up the punky vibes, the colour palette was black, white and red, using Derek Jarman’s Jubilee as a starting point. There were zips everywhere, sometimes across pockets that could be unzipped and taken off, and on biker jackets and skirts alike; competing with the studs. Longer skirts flashed red underneath as the models walked, and collars were edged in fire engine hues. Textures were added by leather and lace and leopard print, with a bejewelled range at the end getting everyone’s hearts aflutter.
Holly Fulton kept up with the punk theme – with punk rock groupies leading her inspiration for AW’13. Love tokens as accessories, foil T-shirts and graphic prints on skirts led to a collection brimming with attitude. Throw in some lipstick prints, biker jackets (still a massive trend), dropped waists and appliqué flowers and leaves, and you’ve got a pretty, punky, party collection. “It’s a little bit ladylike but still very youthful,” the designer told Vogue post-show. We hear you.
It was utilitarian femininity at Margaret Howell for the Sunday morning. Reminded of the practicality of clothes during World War II, fabrics were durable and wearable – corduroy, wool-felt, twill and tweed – whilst shoes were equally sensible. But it wasn’t a boring collection; the precision of the cuts – from the cinched waists and careful pleats – created something feminine and appealing without needing bright colours or loud prints to say it. Touches of preppyness from the brogues and satchels made it a collection I could get on board with.
More Central Saint Martins alumni, this time in the form of Emilia Wickstead, was next up. In the delicately beautiful surroundings of The Connaught Hotel, it was a mixture of pleats and plaid that came down the runway in familiar elegant style. Colours were soft and warm, and tailoring was all gentle curves and prim shapes. Checks, plaids and houndstooth moved into romantic florals and lace with little pearls. There was a brief nod to the Sixties by way of a bright shift dress, but for the most part this was a simple, chic and terribly modern collection – for a woman of genteel quality, but also with great sense of self and power.
Mulberry is a fashion power house in its heyday, and I can only see it getting better. More skirts over trousers were spotted in this AW’13 collection, but these were less Nineties grunge and more sleek – “We’ve made trousers the new tights,” said Mulberry creative director Emma Hill. But it was the outerwear that really shone for me. Puffed sleeves, and plaid and sheepskin all played their part. Long gloves (spotted on various catwalks so far) ran all the way up the arm, and woodland creature prints were smattered across the collection. Colours evoked that British feel – forest green, oxblood red, navy and maroon – with glimmers of yellow and dashes of dusky pink. It felt chic without being unattainable, and with a little bit of humour – a balance Mulberry are so good at achieving. And the bags? Matching, of course, in structured shapes with croc effect, or smooth matte leather for an elegant finish.
It was Tippi Hedren and Hitchcock to inspire Temperley London‘s latest collection. It was a more reserved affair than the SS’13 riot of colour – think black, navy an emerald flecked with gold. On Charlotte Olympia shoes (of course), models came down the runway in metallic jacquard, dogtooth-esque knitwear and cocktail dresses. Flowing blouses were tucked in to knee-length skirts, whilst silk neck scarves and dark sunglasses had that Hedren dare-to-look attitude. It was sexy, which seemed to add an injection of confidence into a usually classically-inclined designer. It worked!
From Temperley London, and a brief turn at Kinder Aggugini, the fash pack then descended on L’Wren Scott…