Five things to know from London Fashion Week
London Fashion Week sashayed its way through the city this week in a welcome explosion of colour and sexiness, reflecting growing optimism in the industry as Covid restrictions ease.
Here are five things that stood out at the Autumn/Winter 2022 collection shows, which ran from Friday to Tuesday, featuring both physical catwalks and online presentations.
- Debutants vs established brands -
In a city renowned for its fashion colleges, LFW is a major showcase for young designers, who took centre-stage this year as more established brands such as Victoria Beckham and Burberry opted not to take part and punk veteran Vivienne Westwood submitted a short video.
Beckham, who has complained of the cost of putting on catwalk shows, put in a surprise appearance in the front row of the show of Supriya Lele, known for her sensual and see-through designs.
- Sex appeal -
There was plenty of sex appeal on display as designers reflected the current trend for mini skirts: from Westwood's punk-style tartan to pastel fake-fur micro-minis from up-and-coming Asian-American designer Chet Lo.
Some of the most revealing designs came from UK duo Poster Girl, known for tight "second skin" minidresses.
In their catwalk debut, they teamed neon-coloured shapewear with fake fur coats and cropped puffer jackets, to whistles of approval from fans.
Even more minimal were lingerie-like strappy dresses from Albanian-born Nensi Dojaka, described by The Times as "sheer nothingness".
- Ornate details -
At the same time, many designers went for elaborate trimmings such as fringing, appliqué flowers, Swarovski crystals and sequins.
Models wore feathery false eyelashes tinted to match their outfits at a show by Chinese-born designer Yuhan Wang.
Named "Venus in Furs", it also featured a model in a fake fur coat cuddling a real long-haired cat.
"Women are like cats," the designer explained. "Sometimes we can be very cute but sometimes we bite".
Some designers took inspiration from history, such as Ireland's Simone Rocha, who showed voluminous dresses in demure white and sumptuous blue velvet, reminiscent of the Victorian era.
Rising star Liverpool-based S.S. Daley (short for Steven Stokey-Daley -- hailed by GQ as "one of the most exciting voices in British menswear" -- put on an Edwardian-themed show with models in wide-legged trousers, checked suits and knitted tank tops, reflecting his concerns over Britain's classist society.
- Diverse -
As the need for greater diversity becomes accepted, catwalks and presentations routinely included a mix of white, Black and Asian models.
Former Givenchy head of menswear Ozwald Boateng put on a show at the Savoy Hotel about "the influence of Black culture in the UK over the last 40 years".
Born to Ghanaian parents, Boateng was the first black person to head a luxury house, and admitted he used to deny experiencing racism in interviews.
"I wouldn't even answer the question. I'd say: 'It's about the work'," he told AFP as he prepared for the Monday show.
"(The killing of) George Floyd had an impact on me, and you know, I think now we're at a time where we can finally really say what matters," added the British designer, known for his sharp, colourful tailoring.
Young designer Saul Nash showed luxurious streetwear featuring a print inspired by Guyana's flag, reflecting his mother's heritage, introducing his show with a film set in a nostalgic London barber shop.
The show was based on stories that "set my imagination running", he said.
Some designers -- among them Poster Girl, Nensi Dojaka, Supriya Lele and Yuhan Wang -- also addressed taboos around weight with some less-skinny models.
"With each season I'm learning more, and how to dress every shape," Dojaka told The Times.
"For me the power comes from the diversity," Wang said.
- Sustainable -
Designers embraced the trend for reusing vintage fashion or left-over stock.
In a well-received show, Ireland's Robyn Lynch repurposed "deadstock" outerwear from US outdoor brand Columbia in chartreuse green and brown.
Another young designer, Matty Bovan, reworked readymade clothes from other designers.
He added multiple layers to a puffball dress from Roksanda Ilincic, turning super-model Irina Shayk into what Vogue magazine called a "high-fashion Little Red Riding Hood".