While the September 2022 edition of London Fashion Week may have been overshadowed by the passing of the Queen, the February 2023 iteration was infused with the joy and punk spirit of the recently-departed Queen of London Fashion, Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Parties were firmly back on the schedule, colour and movement abounded in the majority of shows and presentations, and the inventive methods of displaying new collections made the festival as eclectic and exciting as it should be.
London Fashion Week is known for its blend of big-hitters and new blood, and this season showcased the best of both.
Here are our highlights.
By far the biggest show of the week, and one which became even more anticipated after the late cancellation of September’s and the revelation that it would be the first collection helmed by Daniel Lee. It did not disappoint.
Giant tents erected in Kennington Park – designed by Lee and inspired by Burberry tents of the late Victorian era – were filled with celebrities and fashion icons eager to glimpse the start of a new age for the proudly-British global fashion powerhouse.
Those inside were treated to rich, opulent colours – plum purples, deep burgundy and vibrant yellow were spread throughout the collection – alongside expanded logo tees and the newly evolved Equestrian Knight Design.
Daniel Lee made a strong name for himself with his reinvigoration of Bottega Venetta and will now look to do the same with Burberry; backstage, he spoke of following the legacy of British fashion left by designers like Westwood and presenting an image of Britain, and London in particular, as the vibrant, creative place he knows it to be.
Previously, the brand’s CEO, Jonathan Akeroyd, had commented on true super-luxe customers only coming to the brand for the trench coats, and expressed a desire to offer the younger, more modern luxury consumer what they were after. Enter Mr. Lee, and this wonderful collection of bright, expressive clothes, which should surely do just that.
As a traditional Savile Row tailor, Huntsman is not usually a name associated with London Fashion Week. Happily, neither is it overly concerned with the rigours of tradition.
Huntsman is fiercely, and rightly, proud of its long history of bespoke suiting on The Row, but is equally proud of its track record of breaking with convention in order to better serve their stylish customer base.
That is exactly what they have done with the Huntswoman of Tomorrow collection – a concept for bespoke garments for women which can be transformed with just a few strategic moves, giving a far greater range of use to each piece than ever before.
One bespoke jacket can be embellished with a range of lapels and accessories to create a multitude of looks; crucially, the process takes just a few seconds to complete and requires no real skill or expertise.
This allows the wearer to enormously increase the usability of their bespoke commission, as well as allowing them to pack more easily when travelling.
The collection has come about thanks to the collaboration of Huntsman’s Head of Womenswear, Magdalena Handwerker, and Vogue contributor Susan Bender Whitfield – the pair took their inspiration from the famous women of Huntsman’s past client books, like Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis.
What they have produced could well be the future of bespoke for many more women to come.
British-Canadian designer Edeline Lee has become known for using music, movement and performance in her shows. The latest was an immersive tour through some of Mayfair’s most stylish spots – first a stroll through Burlington Arcade, soundtracked by live strings and punctuated with dance, before meandering through the galleries of Cork Street and on to a performance by a choir at the steps of the Royal Academy of Arts.
This truly interactive method of displaying the works served two important purposes: firstly, it allowed not just invited guests but also members of the passing public to engage at their own pace and spend time with the parts of the show which resonated most with them and secondly, to show how thoroughly wearable and practical every garments was.
The concept of the collection is to dress the “Future Lady” – sharp, tailored lines contrasted by voluminous, flowing dresses, all in vibrant shades of green, will give that lady plenty of choice.
The Helen Anthony show was a typically flamboyant affair, as well as being one of the most extensive collections to be shown.
The brand took over Soho’s Gotham City-themed Park Row for their show, and there were enough purple suits on display to have satisfied Jack Nicholson’s Joker.
Bold, oversized tailoring was once again the bedrock of the display, accompanied by silk shirting and often cut from fabric which bore Helen Anthony’s trademark extravagant check patterns
This has always been a brand which brings drama and showmanship to a wardrobe, and this latest collection doubled down on its previous efforts.