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, including House of Holland, Hunter, Whistles and more!
Sportswear-inspired ready-to-wear is having another big season -- and frankly, we're getting a little tired of seeing sneaker brands' signatures refashioned into expensive handbags, shoes and anoraks. And then we saw Jasper Conran's spring 2015 collection, which combined the utility of sportswear with painterly prints to create clothes that were polished, modern and easy to wear. Read our full review here. -- Lauren Indvik
Lulu & Co., Sibling and House of Holland's Party Girls
There was a fearlessness to getting dressed in the '70s, '80s and early '90s, and also at raves, that seems to be influencing a lot of designers of late. This was especially true of Lulu Kennedy’s line Lulu & Co. and, later the same day, at Sibling and House of Holland.
The Fashion East founder, who collaborates with artists and designers (this time, Louise Gray) on her four-year-old line, showed a small assortment of wild, rave-inspired, casual, graphic separates, metallic skirts and sequined tees and dresses.
At Sibling, Joe Bates, Sid Bryan and Cozette McCreery were inspired by '80s New York, which they mostly interpreted as Madonna. Every model wore an enormous exaggerated bow on her head, paired with skin-tight separates with Stephen Sprouse-esque prints and, at the end, some amazingly OTT ballgowns made of knit.
Henry Holland, the British designer with perhaps the most loyal following of British “It” girls — Alexa Chung, Rita Ora, Pixie Geldof and Daisy Lowe were all in attendance — was inspired by the groupie. This particular groupie existed in the '70s, wore way too many colors, had way too many flowers sewn onto her clothes, and wore a little too much silver eyeshadow, but she was definitely very fun. -- Dhani Mau
Emilia Wickstead designs beautiful, feminine, luxurious, tailored clothes -- the kind not suited for the everyday, but for the red carpet and the rarified, chauffeured grande dames of the Upper East Side (as well as a certain duchess). Perhaps Wickstead was feeling that her clothes were appealing to too old a customer, because for spring, she chose youth as her muse: The colors brighter, the cuts more adventurous. There were even rompers, and roomy evening dresses and gowns offered a relaxed alternative to jumpsuits tailored closely to the body. It was more youthful, but still dressed up. For as Wickstead said in her show notes, the girl who dresses up can "[reinvent] herself a star." -- Lauren Indvik
Lupfer’s decision to cast only blonde, white models for his beach-themed presentation may have fit his collection’s obvious California surfer inspiration, but the homogeny was a little unsettling. And while his boxy sportswear-inspired pieces were constructed well and looked real cute, they also looked a little familiar — to Marc by Marc spring 2014 and Christopher Kane spring 2012; there were some Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga vibes, too. Ignoring that, there's something about Lupfer’s playful, youthful, not-so-serious approach to making clothes makes him hard not to like, and the clothes did look good. But, we were most obsessed with the shoes: Glitter jelly sandals (also not an entirely original concept) adorned with rainbow studs. They are possibly my favorite shoes I’ve seen this week. -- Dhani Mau
Danielle Romeril, one of the designers being sponsored by Topshop this week, was inspired by an Ireland camping trip. The models at her presentation sat on a makeshift dock, “fishing,” gathering tackle, and just standing there like models normally do at presentations. This certainly was not the first utilitarian themed collection we’ve seen this month, and it probably won’t be the last, but we liked how Romeril interpreted a tough concept in a feminine, yet subversive, way. -- Dhani Mau
Like Coach, Hunter is trying to up its fashion cred -- and expand its business beyond rain boots in the process. Last year, it brought on Stella McCartney's husband Alasdhair Willis to develop a runway collection -- featuring mostly waterproof parkas and rubber boots, all very Hunter -- which debuted at an elaborately staged London Fashion Week show in February. Willis was back to show his second collection for Hunter on Saturday, seating his guests around a four-sided video screen on top of what was once an indoor swimming pool. There, vivid animations of sharks, submarines and light houses (I believe there was even an ice cream cone) formed the backdrop for the collection. The first looks much resembled the khaki-colored fare shown for fall, but progressively became more graphic and colorful -- and unexpectedly appealing when layered beneath semi-transparent rain jackets. The prints were in fact a type of camouflage called "dazzle," which until recently was used to hide navy ships from satellite photography, but which is quite eye-catching when viewed from any other angle. In addition to the colorful ready-to-wear, Hunter also explored new types of waterproof shoes , its staple: There were rubberized oxfords and platform wedges, and pool slides emblazoned with the Hunter logo. There were also a handful of bags, which were equally rubbery. As for why the brand is investing in these elaborate shows, Willis said backstage after the show: "It's not just about putting looks on the runway, it's about putting on an experience." -- Lauren Indvik
London's golden boy Jonathan Anderson showed a strong, confident, conversation-changing collection, along with some statement-making hats. Crazy hats aside, several looks feel new and unlike anything we've seen before, but also luxurious and appealing, which is a testament to Anderson's skill as a designer. No wonder LVMH is so into him. -- Dhani Mau
Under CEO Jane Sheperdson, who took over the label in 2008, Whistles has evolved from a fusty, boho brand into a destination for refined, minimalist clothing -- the kind that appeals both to women who work in the fashion industry and those who are employed in far more conservative environments. For spring, Whistles relaxed its restraint a degree and incorporated more texture: There were broderie jackets and pants done in black and white leather, black fringed skirts and tops, and a jacket and a culottes patterned with loose ends of thread. There was a sporty feel too, in the banded crop tops layered under the vests and perforated pieces. "We are quite aware that we can be a bit purist sometimes," Sheperdson explained. "We're definitely trying to loosen up a bit." -- Lauren Indvik
Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig went all out for their brand’s 10th anniversary...read more here.