Anya Hindmarch's playful collections and incredible set design are quickly making her one of the most anticipated shows in London. Showgoers were met with an abstract mountain built into her venue on Sunday, the perfect setting for her Old Norse-inspired collection. The motifs nabbed from Scandinavian culture were subtle, with oversize touches of scalloping, leather craft-style hearts and nods to woodland creatures.
And fitting for winter, there was plenty of fur, from fur-lined sandals to fur stoles worn around the biceps. The colors were especially pretty: Pale pinks and blues layered ombre style over darker counterparts. Of course, this is Anya Hindmarch, so the accessories were perfectly covetable. Are stackable coin purses practical? Perhaps not, but when they're this lovely, who cares?
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
New Romantics, a staple of the early '80s scene in London, were a major source for Preen's Fall 2017 collection. Ruffles ruled the runway, scattered across necklines, snaking around jacket sleeves and poking out from under corsets. Layering was key, with sheers and knits giving way to pattern underneath. Black and white gave way to yellow plaids, sequined reds and purples, and florals, finishing up with some rather literal floral blanket coats. Hey, that's one way of having to never get out of bed.
Designer Roland Mouret celebrated 20 years in the business on Sunday, and if his Fall 2017 collection is any indication, he's not particularly interested in moving the needle forward. "How many biased cut dresses can you show?" asked one editor after the show. Apparently not enough, at least not when it comes to Mouret: He's built a business on making his customer clothing they feel sexy in, and this collection will certainly accomplish that.
If you're looking for exciting, directional design in London, you can't do much better than Toga by designer Yasuko Furuta. The Fall 2017 collection featured lots of oversize cuts to garments — think too-long armholes or skirts slit open at the sides to slip a pant-covered leg through — that made layering interesting. My personal favorite look was a cream colored dressed layered so that the delicate button detailing flowed over the back of a red, sequined top. Even mundane garments, like white-button downs and denim, featured slashes and explosions of gorgeous embellishment; it's only a matter of time before Furuta becomes a fashion darling.
The Fall 2017 A.W.A.K.E. presentation was entitled "Octopus," which, thankfully, did not translate into crazy, eight-armed garments. Instead, it meant oversize blouses with tiers of ruching, midi-skirts with oversize pleating and some very cool outerwear. The kimono-inspired details were an especially nice touch.
Sincerely, if anyone can get us back into the halter-necked dresses of our youth, it's Topshop. The brand sent model and Vogue covergirl Adwoa Aboah on the runway in this sheer pink dress with blue floral embroidery that looked both incredibly sexy and comfortably casual at the same time. Now, if only we had a vacation to wear it on.
Traveling was on the minds of Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos for Fall 2017; specifically, to Peru, from which they mined the 'Nazca' style quilting and rug-knitting that gave texture to the collection. Rendered in shades of bright colors against neutral backgrounds, it was a more subtle pattern than that which made Peter Pilotto famous, but it was also very beautiful. The Mongolian goat hair-trimmed coats are sure to top wish lists come fall.
Newcomer Johnny Coca is still finding his footing at Mulberry, and while the Fall 2017 collection was certainly better than the brand has been in a while, the sources of fashion inspiration were a little too clear. There were hints of buzzy brands like Gucci and a Demna Gvasalia-fronted Balenciaga (perhaps no accident, as Lotta Volkova served as stylist) throughout the show, which could have been a few looks shorter.
While there were excellent pieces in the mix, Coca's ode to British heritage could have been slightly more precise, veering from equestrian plaids to tea rose prints to crochet knits. Still, the bags and the accessories — Mulberry's bread and butter — were wonderful, and it's clear with a little more time and direction, Coca can make the ready-to-wear a hit, too.
Phoebe English presented a sparse collection of looks inspired by eight motifs: tyranny, fear, apathy, voice, courage, unity, repair, and hope. Each model represented a concept, set sparsely in a small chapel. It was a strong statement about the time in which we live, but also a collection which proved that sometimes, less really is more.
Mary Katrantzou's models took the runway to live music by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, all the better to provide a backdrop to her "fantasia" inspired clothes. She dove equally into the worlds of fairy tales, "Fantasia," and M.C. Escher for her fantastically strong Fall 2017 collection. Traditional houndstooth received an Escher makeover with swans, some in mirrored panels. The shoes by Louis Leeman, though reminiscent of Prada, were like those you might see on knights and Lords — with an added platform, of course.
The evening looks were Katrantzou's take on the dress-over-pants eveningwear trend, with sheer, embroidered gowns tied open at the back over velvet slacks. The garments had a surrealistic jewelry touch, with bejeweled necklaces on backdrops imitating the stands seen in jewelry stores.