The first days of London Fashion week featured trousers, braces, and jumpers reminiscent of “sartorial pop art.”
By Samantha Sault
London Fashion Week began on Friday, September 16, taking over the city from London’s Covent Garden shopping district to the palatial halls of some of the most historic buildings and museums. It is sometimes forgotten, between the glamour of New York and the glitter of Milan, but is an incubator of designers and trends. Indeed, many of the runways in London are as much art as they are fashion.
The first day featured mod fashion in intense colors – sartorial pop art, if you will.
The highlight was Sass & Bide’s collection at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. “I’ll be needing to pick up a few pieces,” I overheard a fellow attendee say after the show – and I’m sure most would agree. The collection was blinding – think metallic blue leather, neon statement necklaces, and multicolored bling – but universally wearable paired with soft navy and white. A few of Australian designers Sarah-Jane Clarke’s and Heidi Middleton’s standout pieces included embellished shorts and a draped white dress with an embellished bodice. The designs were fresh, but the colors were straight from an Andy Warhol painting.
Meanwhile, Orla Kiely, the Dublin-born designer known for her fruit and leaf prints, showed her casual “snapshot of summer” at Somerset House near the Thames River. Her collection incorporated her signature clean aesthetic, from the neutral sundresses and skirts, to the pops of citrus and salmon, to the mod furniture also by the label.
Finally, Christopher Raeburn’s “Spectral Line” lit up the Museum of London in a real piece of fashionable performance art. The museum typically displays the city’s long history, but Friday night it displayed Raeburn’s collection in a presentation featuring the complete color spectrum. The models, in his signature bright anoraks along with basic jersey knits, rotated through swaths of coordinating colors that covered the gallery space. The jackets were styled differently on every model – and even the PR representatives wearing Raeburn’s anoraks from previous seasons styled them in a new way with edgy dresses and skirts. It was colorful and creative – and if the first day is any indicator, the rest of the week will be, too.
Samantha Sault is a writer in Washington, D.C., who covers global fashion and the intersection of fashion and politics. Her work has appeared in the Weekly Standard, the Washington Times, and Policy Review, as well as her own blog, SamanthaOnStyle.com.