The Fashionista team is in London, bringing you the best of the collections across the pond. Read on for our first-hand reports on the latest from the runways.
Preen's Hip-Hop Athleticwear Fusion
Preen -- known for its feminine, day-to-night dresses and complex layered prints -- went a notch sexier for spring, showing flowing silk dresses decorated in a patchwork of bright stripes and other graphic prints, and flirty black dresses fringed with fluorescent pinks, blues, yellows and greens, suitable for a rave. (It looks like New York designers weren't the only ones to be influenced by rave culture this season.) Creative Directors Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi cited a range of references -- from hip-hop culture to Harlem's Dapper Dan to the uniforms of the Maasai Warriors cricket team (they're seriously cool -- check them out). The outcome was a collection that felt trendy yet distinctive, wearable but with plenty of editorial appeal. -- Lauren Indvik
Margaret Howell's Wearable Simplicity
Margaret Howell's simple tailored suiting was a nice break from the profusion of fringe, sequins and stripes we've seen all over the runways in New York and London. The tone was set in the opening look: an understated black silk blouse and trousers with a beige blazer and white flats. More suiting -- some with shorts -- followed, as did more ladylike looks: cream cashmere pullovers paired with a pleated A-line or a white cotton pencil skirt, and a simple gray wool dress with a cinched waist. Most of the looks were paired with socks and sandals, enhancing the sense of casualness and ease. -- Lauren Indvik
Sophia Webster Throws a Jungle Rave
Sophia Webster may not have the backing of a major fashion conglomerate or public investors, but her London Fashion Week presentations are every bit as impressive as those designers that do. The former assistant of Nicholas Kirkwood showed her spring 2015 collection presentation in the Vaults, a graffitied series of tunnels that run beneath Waterloo Station. There, in a spot once popular for raves, she assembled a mock jungle-themed rave of her own: Visiting press and buyers were led through a black, graffiti-walled maze that still smelt of fresh spray paint, designed by set designer and illustrator Gary Card. Scantily clad models with bright heavy makeup and coiled or braided hair posed against the walls or on benches shaped like jungle animals, wearing Webster's candy-colored shoes and pop art-style clutches, which were labeled with words like "Wildest Dreams" and "Bananas." Read our full review and see all the looks here. -- Lauren Indvik
Richard Nicoll, Brought to You by Tinkerbell
Richard Nicoll literally lit up London Fashion Week on Sunday morning by opening his show with an otherwise effortless, fringy slip dress composed of some fiber-optic technology I don’t entirely understand that made the dress glow like a jellyfish. According to a release, the dress was “sponsored by Disney’s Tinkerbell,” who we did not know was sponsoring runway shows, but we do hope to see this dress alongside Allison Williams in "Peter Pan."
The dress set the tone for a dreamy, ethereal collection of beautiful, fluid dresses, jackets and skirts, as well as lightweight hand knits, some of which were layered over — you guessed it — activewear. Though, interestingly, it wasn’t activewear-inspired clothes, but actual sports bras, tanks and shorts done in collaboration with Sweaty Betty. The show came to a close with a series of ‘90s-inspired minimalist silky slip gowns — perfect antidotes to the frothy, floral dresses Marchesa showed the night before. Overall, it was one my favorite collections thus far. -- Dhani Mau
Temperley London Goes Casual
Alice Temperley recently merged her diffusion line Alice by Temperley into her main line, which means we did not see the typical parade of ultra-feminine, precious-yet-cool dresses she’s known for. In fact, it was a little alarming to see how far she strayed from that. Temperley said she wanted to focus on a full, versatile day-to-evening offering, so there were a lot of tailored separates for daytime including jackets, vests, skirts and button downs. She did some interesting things with layering, like long, below-the-knee length button-downs worn open over pants or shorts; she also added thin scarves to several looks. Much of it was very menswear-inspired. The most casual statement of all, however, was in the footwear. For spring, Temperley is introducing lace-up trainers that mirror the prints and fabrics of the show, which every model wore, and which will be available to buy come February. -- Dhani Mau
Topshop shows are about both the clothes and the overall experience. First the clothes: Obviously, there were activewear elements because how could a spring 2015 collection exist without those? The brand intended to mix that with the style of a young girl partying in the British seaside. There were sportier pieces, like sweaters and dresses with varsity stripes, sweatshirts and the like; as well as flirty, girly dresses — some were satiny with ruffles; others had sweet off-the-shoulder necklines and others were completely sheer and adorned with Swarovski stones. The clothes were cute but the models were probably more talked-about, including Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and newcomer Hailey Baldwin. More on that here.
There was also some pretty good front row action, including Hailee Steinfeld taking this selfie with Anna Wintour. -- Dhani Mau
Mary Katrantzou Dulls Her Colors
Mary Katrantzou is, relatively speaking, still early on in her design career, and she seems determined not to be pigeonholed into one particular style category. Last season's Greek-themed show gave way to a collection inspired by early Earth formations -- specifically the time in the Earth's history when all the land was part of one continent, Pangea, on a wide sea, Pantalassa. This season's inspiration yielded a mix of beautiful, subtle colors and textures: forest and sage greens; pale rose with glittering ivory, which resembled pink quartz; and green and blue lace, which replicated the lines of granite and a tempestuous sea. The textures, too, were compelling, particularly a set of black dresses that looked as if they were made of lava rock. As compelling as the clothes were, one wonders how the Mary Katrantzou customer, drawn to the vivid digital prints she shows each season, will respond to this one. -- Lauren Indvik
David Koma's pulling double duty this season. He showed his spring 2015 namesake line in London on Sunday and will do his first runway show for Mugler (his first collection was for resort 2015) in Paris next week... Read more here.
Is there anywhere better to host a fashion show than in a historic British museum? After seeing Jonathan Saunders's fall 2014 show in the Tate Britain in February, and his spring 2015 show in the entrance of the British Museum Sunday evening, I'm beginning to think no: It's difficult not to be awe-inspired by a collection shown against such an impressive backdrop. Saunders opened the show with a double-breasted navy coat and matching trousers decorated sparingly with florals -- a nod to spring, but a dark one. A succession of varied looks, riffing mostly on floral patterns and exaggerated pinstripes, followed. Saunders closed the collection with a series of gowns with sheer sleeves and midriffs and full, gathered skirts -- one that looked ethereal in white, another in navy and dark green worn with black moto boots that had a bit of a punk fairy vibe. -- Lauren Indvik
Pringle of Scotland
Pringle of Scotland is the UK's reigning king of knitwear, and for spring, Creative Director Massimo Nicosia created ivory knits so lightweight they could be mistaken for crepe. The rest of the collection was equally cool, in a palette of refreshing aquas and darker blues, fashioned into simple dresses, jumpers and and textured wrap skirts. -- Lauren Indvik