20 For SS20

By Jo Phillips

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As this is a fashion issue we asked our guest editors to pick 20 designers that this season they really enjoyed. Here there are from across the fashion capitals from shows to presentations these are their picks for SS20 with a little intro as to why.

Comme Des Garçon

We are fans of Rei Kawakubo and Virginia Woolf so this was a very inspiring collection. Bringing theatre and fashion together is exciting as is the narrative around identity and gender TD.

Comme Des Garçon is an iconic brand in the world of fashion. The hugely influential Rei Kawakubo founded the company in 1969 in Tokyo and has continued to challenge convention and push the boundaries of fashion ever since. The company has developed into a highly regarded, luxury brand, known for its high quality and handmade materials, while also managing to retain its core identity. This is largely due to Kawakubo’s talent and ingenuity that remains unmatched to this day. She is also fiercely independent and true to herself, avoiding influence from popular trends or financial backers.

Comme des Garcons RTW Summer 2020

Kawakubo’s aim has remained unchanged for fifty years: to make beautiful and never-before-seen fashion. Her non-conforming clothes are now infamous and the brand has become renowned for exhibiting exciting and unexpected collections. Her Spring 1992 collection famously appeared to be the paper patterns of clothes rather than the clothes themselves. Her Spring 1997 line contained outrageous padding that fluctuated between horrifying and stunning. Across all her lines, however, her unusual ideas, gothic touches and the blurring of the masculine and feminine remain consistent.

Comme des Garcons RTW Summer 2020

The Spring / Summer 2020 Comme Des Garçon collection emulated opulence, grandeur and exquisite luxury. The clothing consisted of draping fabric, puffed sleeves, extravagant embroidery, shimmering tassels, feathers, 3D flowers and dramatic padding, demonstrating a refusal to be ignored. In Kawakubo’s usual non-conformist style, the design was filled with dichotomy. The material used was a mixture of softly falling silk and thick quilted fabric wrapped tightly around the model. The gothic red hair, falling slightly over the face, was contrasted with hyper-feminine shapes and floral patterns. The deep and dark colours of red and black were contrasted with soft, natural hues. And, as ever, the masculine was contrasted with the feminine.

Kawakubo’s celebration of high European culture in this collection is reflective of her ongoing project with Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth. The two pioneering women are currently working together in the production of Neuwirth’s adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando at the Vienna State Opera in December, in which Kawakubo is designing the costumes. Orlando is a momentous production, following the life of an Elizabethan boy that transcends generations. The narrative refuses to conform to the constrictions of both time and gender, a fitting tale to parallel Kawakubo’s non-conforming fashion.

Libertine

We loved the juxtaposition of combining and clashing all types of references from print to 19th-century blue-and-white Staffordshire porcelain. TD

Libertine, led by Johnson Hartig in Los Angeles, is perhaps one of the loudest brands in fashion. Known for its vibrant patterns, upcycled vintage, and crystal embellishment, the Libertine look is not for the shy. Hartig, who was an art student and an actor before he launched Libertine in 2001, based the brand off of L.A.’s bright-coloured DIY punk scene from the 1980s. His first public design was a pair of trousers Hartig had made for himself in 1999; they were spotted by a retail buyer, and Hartig’s career in fashion was born.

Libertine’s Spring 2020 collection was emblematic of the brand in its emphasis on extravagant patterns and bold colours. Clothes for both men and women were crafted primarily using silky, flowing materials that created a wider silhouette, often paired with feathery or bulky shoes for contrast. This season’s iconic Libertine patterns included orange tigers, pink dragons, and ink-like drawings of landscapes and faces, sometimes accessorized with crystals. These patterns are a unique part of the collection, even for Libertine; the Spring 2020 release is actually part of a larger collaboration with Schumacher to create wallpaper patterns identical to those on the clothing!

Gucci

This collection was a departure from last few collections with a shift in look and feel, but nonetheless brilliant.

A lot of colour blocking with bright greens, turquoise, electric blue and pink. Many models wore Sunglasses on chunky plastic chains which looks great.We loved the exposed labels saying Gucci Orgasmique and the opening with models wearing straight jackets and  ‘Mental Health’ written on their palms was an interesting message. TD

In 2017, Gucci announced that it would no longer be using fur in its designs in an effort to be more conscious of animal cruelty. The decision was a shock to many people—after all, Gucci had heavily relied on fur for many years—but the decision was undeniably on-brand. Gucci will always be committed to luxury style, but it is also committed to fulfilling the expectations of its modern audience. This is one of the reasons why Gucci, now nearly one hundred years old, is one of the most popular and well-known luxury fashion houses.

            Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, a young hotel porter who was inspired to create his own company by the extravagant luggage he carried for guests. His new company produced luxury leather luggage, the staple of the young brand, and quickly became known for its leather loafers embellished with a metal snaffle. Leather was how Gucci began, but today, the brand produces an eclectic line of clothing, shoes, and accessories, often marked by signature logos such as the intersecting Gs. Gucci has become synonymous with Italian design, so much so that in 2011, the Gucci Museum opened in Florence to celebrate the brand’s 90th anniversary.

Gucci’s Spring 2020 collection, designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, is as eclectic as ever, featuring a collage of colours and patterns, including a leaf cut-out that appeared on many items. Mesh and other translucent designs were popular, allowing the clothing to take the silhouette of the model’s body. Large sunglasses with thick chains, chunky suede heels in vibrant colours and, of course, Gucci leather—including shoes, handbags, and the occasional horsewhip as an accessory—rounded out the ensembles. Although the designs were each very different, Gucci’s presentation united them all; modern and techno, Gucci’s runway performance was the encapsulation of the brand.

Marni

Painterly prints in a bright palette, lots of colour blocking. A jungle of foliage and flowers, and mesh. Cheese plant leaves for headwear, we can’t wait to go undercover.TD

Marni is a renowned brand, recognised all over the world for its luxury ready-to-wear clothing and accessories. Marni was founded in 1994 by Milan-based husband and wife, Consuelo and Gianni Castiglioni. Marni wasn’t always the fashion powerhouse it is today. The brand grew organically, developing its aesthetic in the process and without any help from advertising until 2015.

Marni SS20

Marni is now associated with subtlety and elegance, refusing to adhere to ‘sexy’ fashion trends. The brand is also known for its creative and experimental approach to colour, using bold prints and often clashing colours. Over the years, the brand has also grown an affiliation to nature, celebrating their twenty-year anniversary by setting up a Marni flower market in Milan. In 2016, the founder of the company stepped down and was replaced by the extremely talented Francessco Risso. Risso has brought yet more success to the company, entering the BoF 500 list in 2018 as one of the most influential people in the fashion industry.

In Risso’s Spring / Summer 2020 collection, Marni’s traditional love of flowers and the natural world shone through. The collection radiated nature and humanity’s deep connection to it, with flower and jungle patterns used throughout. The collection began in a jungle setting in which an imagined disease had taken hold; an unsettling parallel to the growing destruction of our own jungles and rainforests by humans and our changing climate. As well as this damning metaphor, Risso also put sustainability at the forefront of his design. He used up-cycled materials, organic cottons and ‘recuperated’ leather in his production, while the audience sat on recompressed-cardboard benches and the set was made out of recycled plastic.

The collection had a deeply romantic atmosphere. Puffed sleeves, wrap around skirts and fishtail dresses gave a feminine aura, while oversized jackets provided the familiar demure elegance of Marni. Risso used every detail of the design to reflect the wildness of nature. The shapes were relaxed and often asymmetric. The colours were bold, bright and zingy; often displayed in block, contrasting colours, such as orange, red, green and blue. The flowers that dominated the design were hand painted, with exaggerated and overlapping brush strokes that were beautiful in their imperfection. The models wore simple sandals, oversized bags and crochet dresses as if walking freely across the beach and make up was kept minimal. Hair was slicked back in a striking sweep of white and the only accessories to be seen was the occasional bold flower feature that appeared to grow out of the models heads.

Mary Katrantzou

We have admired Mary from the moment we first saw her Perfume Bottle dresses at London Fashion week. Her beautiful, couturesque SS20 collection was presented from a Greek Temple a sunset encapsulating an array of ideas from Physics to Philosophy. TD

Imagination is at the core of Mary Katrantzou’s fashion design and her clothes, subsequently, never fail to stand out amongst the top players of high fashion. Born in Athens, Katrantzou draws inspiration from the stories and philosophies of her ancient Greek ancestors, making her design even more intriguing. As well as this rich artistic inspiration, she also draws upon her knowledge of architecture, which she studied in the USA, using this skill to create structural optical illusions that deceive the eye and give the impression that her designs live in three dimensions.

It is this signature style, that she exhibited in her 2008 graduation show from Central Saint Martins, that took the industry by storm. Since then, she secured a number of prestigious stocklists, including Browns, Joyce and, the then highly regarded store, Collette in Paris. She then went on to establish her own namesake brand. Her creations are always an awe-inspiring display of innovation, exquisite fabric, dramatic shapes and, most notably, experimental prints; which has led to her becoming known as ‘the Queen of Print’ in fashion circles.

Katrantzou has certainly lived up to this name in her Spring / Summer 2020 collection. Her show at the Temple of Poseidon exhibited some spectacular pieces, ranging from monochrome column gowns embellished with philosophical quotes from Socrates and Aristotle to an empire line ballgown made out of silk petals, chiffon and a ‘fantasy map’ of reimagined countries. The collection is diverse and endlessly imaginative, with each individual design having its own name, for example, Socrates, Olive, DNA and Imagination. This made each look a project in itself, with varying colours and shapes used, but always with a consistency of elegance carried throughout.

To achieve these designs she used crystals, ostrich feathers, sequins, bugle-beads and pearls for her intricate embroidery and contorted her luxury fabric to create varying shapes, including ruffles, twisted sleeves and huge circular structures. She used floor length, metallic fringe to create a shimmering and majestic aesthetic with, often, metallic make-up to match. Accessories were kept minimal and hair was slicked back to provide no distraction from her stunning clothing. She used many different colour schemes, including, black and white, metallic gold, copper, bronze, emerald green, limoncello yellow and deep purple; often using an ombre technique to draw the eye down the fabric. This collection also marks three decades of ELPIDA, a charity dedicated to supporting children suffering from cancer in Mediterranean and Balkan societies, something Katrantzou is very proud to support.

Matty Bovan

We worked with Matty on his first LFW show in 2016 and we are always in anticipation of what he’ll create next.  The Stephen Jones’ headpieces are next level, made to magnify the model’s faces but making it hard for them to navigate- a comment on our times. TD

Matty Bovan graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 with a graduate collection bursting with sculpture, originality and a boldness that immediately captured his critics attention. He won multiple awards that year, including the LVMH Graduate Prize which saw him complete a placement year at Louis Vuitton as a Junior Designer. In that year, fresh from his graduation, he also worked with world-class designers Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu, catapulting him into the world of high-end fashion design.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 13: A model walk the runway at the Matty Bovan show during London Fashion Week September 2019 at the BFC Show Space on September 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/BFC/Getty Images for BFC)

Four years later, he has already held three stand-alone shows at London Fashion Week and launched his own ecommerce where he can sell his own ready-to-wear pieces. He has worked with countless artists and designers throughout these early years that have helped shape his brand and bring his ideas to life. One particular collaboration that has hugely impacted Bovan’s style is with fabric designer, Liberty London. Bovan has previously expressed his love of vintage Liberty prints that, for him, represent a quintessential Britishness that will always have a place in fashion. He finds joy in bringing these nostalgic prints into the future and, in the uncertain society we now find ourselves in, bringing Britishness into the future is a welcome artistic angle.

In Bovan’s Spring / Summer 2020 range, Liberty fabric is present but always contrasted with clashing prints and modern ideas. After delving into Liberty’s rich archive of iconic floral, paisley and oriental inspired fabric, Bovan entwined these prints with his own distinctly futuristic and highly structured design; clashing tradition with the modern and the feminine with the masculine.

The delicate prints were lined with tulle netting and tied up with string to create a gathering of fabric, resembling traditional dress. This was then layered with block colours of red, black and lime green. Puffed sleeves, which are usually associated with the hyper-feminine, were contrasted with military style bomber jackets and panelled chaps. These clashes were then contrasted with the added dimension of Bovan’s science-fiction inspired styling. He used futuristic makeup, statement accessories and even crafted a disturbing rectangular lens that was fixed to the heads of the models, warping and magnifying their faces. All this, combined with his signature gigantic shapes, made for an unsettling but highly interesting and modern collection.

Richard Quinn

The range of models from school girls to the more mature was a great reflection of what Richard Quin is all about. Floral and leopard prints were exciting to see but the pièce de résistance was the yellow silk dress sculpted into the shape of a rose, it is everything! TD

Richard Quinn is a young designer that has made a huge impact since establishing his label in 2016. Like many of his peers, Quinn graduated from Central Saint Martins with a Fashion MA and many opportunities to follow. Having graduated from such a prestigious university, he found himself immediately on one of the highest regarded platforms of modern UK fashion; and he did not disappoint.

Quinn has been awarded with countless awards since his graduation, including, the H&M Design Award 2017, the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design in 2018 and British Emerging Talent in Womenswear at the Fashion Awards 2018. This huge critical acclaim has been largely attributed to his bold originality and unapologetic, forward-thinking, creative vision.

Quinn’s collections have become known for his use of masks, extended from the fabric of the clothing to cover the model’s face and identity. In his Spring / Summer 2020 collection he removed the signature masks from his design, replacing them with hooded jackets, embellished with feathers, that left only the face to be seen. These additions were fun alternatives to his usual dramatic style, adding mystery while also allowing the audience to connect with the models that, rather refreshingly, crossed generations.

The runway line-up consisted of legendary older models, such as, Jacquetta Wheeler and Erin O’Connor, and young children dressed in matching feather hoods and floral dresses. To reflect this cross-generational inspiration, Quinn used a combination of youthful, thigh-grazing A-line dresses and traditional billowing gowns. This mix of the playful and elegant was perfectly balanced. Natural and soft colours were contrasted with the more dramatic impact of black and red. The light, airy feather jackets were juxtaposed with black leather, while feminine floral patterns were seen beside striking leopard print. This joyous show was further complimented by the soothing tones of the live Philharmonic Orchestra and Bach Choir, creating a hopeful and positive sanctuary, right in the middle of, an otherwise uncertain, London.

Rottingdean Bazaar

Everything we have seen them do never fails to impress and inspire. They straddle fashion and art which is an interesting place to be. TD

If what really interests you in menswear is people that just shake it all up on the air then look no further than the duo James Theseus Buck and Luke Brook the tow gents behind Rottingdean Bazaar.

Firtsly where does that name come from? It’s the town in Sussex called  Rottingdean, which is where they both hail from.

There clothes?  Well more of an art approach than actual clothing, firstly its not a fashion brand as such (although they did present at the Londons men’s and fashion east shows for several seasons)

The collections range from anything from t-shirts that look hand printed, sweatshirts to socks; early collections saw them pout ladies beige tights onto. Sweatshirt.  Its like they went to the car boot in Rottingdean and bought up anything that caught their eye then turned them into clothes.

Think bras hotel slippers and other oddities utilized for any fashionable purpose they can.

They have sent fancy dress items down the catwalk as well as a sachet of ketchup as a badge.  There are certainly hints to wards the London Club scene of the 80’s pre rave when young clubbers who just count afford a Gautier or even Junior Gautier item just ‘did it themselves’.  In so many ways this is the culture that the great designers like  John Galliano grew up with.

But don’t be fooled Rita Ora has worn it and items like sweatshirts have sold well in shops like Selfridges

All come together for a brand or anti brand that is witty  that is very tongue in cheek and totally redefines what we think of when we think of fashion. And like the other current renegade of the London’s women’s show Matty Bovan, they choose not to live and work in London

The fresh sea air must be doing them some good.

Stella McCartney

Stella has been making a stand against unethical practices for years, so it was exciting to see her most eco friendly collection yet. She is passionate about the fact that Luxury Brands have a responsibility to invest in materials and practices that don’t harm the planet and those that live on it. Many pieces noticeably have circular motifs and fabric sections, a symbol of the earth and femininity. We loved the flower print dress and the big earrings! TD

This year has been dominated by the climate-crisis and no industry has escaped environmental scrutiny, no more so than the fashion industry. ‘Fast-fashion’, ‘up-cycling’ and ‘investment buying’ have become hot topics for designers, buyers and consumers alike. For Stella McCartney, however, this has always been at the top of her agenda and now, in the year that sustainable fashion became fashionable, her environmental work is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Since the launch of her fashion label in 2001, Stella McCartney has been firmly against the animal-cruelty, exploitation and waste that has always haunted the fashion industry. From the outset she has been dedicated to providing luxury products in sustainable and ethical ways. This commitment encompasses every stage of the manufacturing process, from farming, sourcing materials, designing, production to the social impact it has on communities. With Stella McCartney’s brand you can be sure that every decision made throughout this journey has been made with people, the planet and the future in mind. She is transparent about the materials she uses and is one of the few luxury designers that uses fur-free-fur, vegetarian leather, organic cotton and recycled nylon, polyester and cashmere. She also encourages, and has for a while, ‘investment buying’ in which customers are encouraged to take care of their purchases, investing in them and keeping them forever.

Her Spring / Summer 2020 collection is said to be her most sustainable collection yet with over 75 percent of her materials being eco-friendly. The collection uses lightweight, often sheer, fabric that falls elegantly around the model giving a relaxed and feminine aesthetic. The soft, pastel colours are often contrasted with black and white clashing stripes. These stripes are also used to accentuate the recurring circular shapes used throughout this collection, perhaps symbolising the earth and the cyclical nature of sustainable fashion. Oversized, scalloped sleeves give a cape-like impression to some of the designs, giving the clothing an understated yet powerful presence. The items are often layered with patterns on some pieces replicating the rays of the sun, fanning out in an, again, circular motion and drawing the eye around the fabric. This collection emulates warmth, gentleness and the subtlety of female power; with the occasional bold earring to add a playfulness to the design.

The Vampire’s Wife

Susie Cave’s collections are so beautifully made and Pussy Bow, her latest SS20 is no exception. The fabrics are luxurious with huge sleeves and lots of beautiful bows. We love it! TD

This cult label is created by Supermodel of the 80’s and 90’s Susie Cave (nee Bick) and her friend  and business partner Alex Adamson in 2014. Initially stating out small the collection was really just for friends but it has now gained an international following and is a worldwide selling collection stocked in all the best shops in the world as well as on their own website

Think little hose on the prairie goes gothic Victoriana and you get the drift.  Think about the English rose but one who has been expelled from boarding schoolAnd the name? well, it apparently comes from her husband Nick Cave’s (yes musician Nick cave and the bad seeds) abandoned book project. 

Alongside the floor-sweeping gothic yet sultry dresses are add on’s like cashmere cardigans, chiffon blouses, high-waisted hobble skirts tailored trousers and even tailored jackets. Watch and engage this is a brand with a unique life of its own.

Paco Rabanne

There was a real positivity to Julien Dossena’s collection, we loved all the seventies references and especially the rainbow polo neck. TD

Paco Rabanne was established in 1966 when its founder, Paco Rabbane, a refugee from the Spanish Civil War, presented his first fashion show: “Twelve Unwearable Dresses in Contemporary Materials”. His fashion, wildly futuristic even for the Space Age, was unlike anything else on the runway. It was created using metals and plastics, rather than fabric, held together using wire and glue. Rabanne’s unique fashion captured worldwide attention, and stars such as Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn wore his designs on and off-screen. In 1968, Rabanne partnered with the Spanish group Puig, and launched a line of bold fragrances that continue to captivate today

            Now, over fifty years since its founding, the brand continues Rabanne’s original groundbreaking avant-garde style, creating clothing and accessories that are as much fashion as they are feats of engineering. Many metallic items, including handbags and dresses, have a fluidity that enables them to move on their own, in tandem with the wearer­— shape-shifting fashion at its best. Under the new leadership of Julien Dossena, however, the Paco Rabanne has begun to expand beyond its metallic history, as exemplified by its 2020 runway show.            

In Paco Rabanne’s Spring 2020 season, Dossena’s direction led to an optimistic aesthetic, using bold colours and retro 1970s silhouettes with spot or floral patterns. Both men’s and women’s designs were shown in a variety of styles, from a rainbow sweater and white trousers to a translucent lace dress with knee-high socks. Although some of the pieces—such as a red polo shirt layered with a chainmail dress—paid homage to Paco Robanne’s penchant for unusual materials, the majority of designs modeled for 2020 were constructed using fabrics, such as denim, lace, and lamé. To emphasize Dossena’s optimistic outlook, heart patterns were featured in both the opening and closing designs, a cloth dress and a chainmail dress, perfectly blending the styles of classic and modern Paco Rabbane.

Aries Arise

Sofia Prantera who founded Aries Arise and Silus in the nineties just always gets it right. Her latest work is a brilliant mix of fashion and streetwear and is our go-to brand at the moment. TD

English-based Sofia Prantera is one of those true renegades, but not born in the UK but she is native to Italy, but loves London and was very much caught up in the rave scene here.

An ex-St Martins student who once she left she tried her hand at several labels until success came with Fashion that isn’t on schedule. Aries Arise created with graphic designer Fergus Purcell.

Built around an 80s sensibility where streetwear was fashion, not a catwalk fashion but a street fashion and a club fashion. Cult and anti-fashion like many of the new wave of young designers just doing a sort of bourgeoisie style is not for them

The collections include men’s women’s and simply ‘don’t care’ from jeans and t-shirts to underwear,  knitwear,  dresses, and denim all sport-inspired but each piece with a touch of detail that makes it stand out

Patterns are made in there eats London studio as well as hand-dying pieces themselves.  They like so many are looking at using cut off waste to re-appropriate for pieces because when you are a small outfit (even though they are stocked ion great store) you can make small runs and utilise all you have to hand. 

This is surely becoming the future of fashion, small runs with a far more ethical footprint but also fairly unique as unlike the heavy hitters in designer fashion they don’t need to make thousands of a piece to break even, so once you buy from a brand like this you are going to look pretty standout and you are doing some good at the same time

Valentino

Stand out pieces were the monochrome pieces in hot pink, neon green and highlighter peach. Good enough to eat. TD

In 2008, Valentino Garavani became a movie star in addition to a fashion designer by starring in a documentary of his own remarkable life, entitled Valentino: The Last Emperor. The title fits. In his decades of work in the fashion industry, Valentino has created an enormous empire, producing ready-to-wear items and glamorous custom designs for the big names like Jackie Onassis Kennedy, Princess Margaret of England, and Elizabeth Taylor. It was Elizabeth Taylor, in fact, who catapulted Valentino to fame; after catching a glimpse of his first fashion show, she ordered a white dress to wear for the premier of Spartacus.

            Today, Valentino is most famous for its emblem, the V, and dresses in his signature colour, Valentino Red. In some of his boldest design ideas, Valentino dared to act against popular fashion trends. In 1967, during the height of popularity for strong patterns and designs, Valentino debuted his now infamous No Colour Collection, featuring only white, ivory, and beige tones. It was the right decision; the collection won him the Neiman Marcus award that year. Although Valentino himself has retired from the brand that bears his name, the current creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, keep hold of the original glamor, and boldness, of Valentino, while striving into the future.

           

Valentino’s Spring 2020 season is the perfect mix of both of these things. The first twelve looks were solely white, inescapably reminiscent of Valentino’s original No Colour Collection. Other featured colours included a bold green, black, and peach, sometimes blended together in jungle-like patterns. Many of the silhouettes were broad, including wide skirts, thick feather tops, or ruffled shoulders. To accessorize these designs, models wore large necklaces, dangling earrings, and golden, metallic eye makeup: uniting all of Valentino’s new lineup with glamor and sparkle.

Balenciaga

This collection was presented in a space with a parliamentary vibe, set against a European blue background and was a study of what dress codes are today. It took power dressing to a new level and felt extremely relevant- something we always seek. TD

War has shaped many of the fashion houses that opened during the 20th century, and Balenciaga is no exception. Its founder, the mysterious Cristóbal Balenciaga, originally began the brand in 1917 in Spain, but was forced to move to Paris to continue operations during the Spanish Civil War. Balenciaga was a resolute perfectionist, a master of unique designs, and, as Christian Dior is rumored to have said, “The master of us all.”

When Balenciaga unexpectedly closed its doors in 1968, and Balenciaga himself retired to Spain, it shocked the fashion community. The brand, shuttered, could have languished in obscurity, but it was reopened and reinvigorated in 1986. Today, the creative director is Demna Gvasalia, who keeps to the spirit of Balenciaga’s original designs, including his emblematic bubble skirts.

Balenciaga’s Spring 2020 collections was eclecticism at its best, featuring a variety of colours, patterns, and fabrics for both men and women. Although the tone of many of Balenciaga’s looks was business-based, taking inspiration from the suits worn by female politicians, a variety of other outfits were explored, from denim ensembles to overstuffed winter coats to lamé, zebra-print body suits. Balenciaga’s signature emphasis on boxy silhouettes, including shoulder pads reminiscent of the 1980s, united the collection.

Anna Sui

Anna Sui Fresh, Light and very feminine this collection felt like a departure for Anna Sui and very refreshing. We particularly like the cute sock and shoe combo. TD

Anna Sui is a true American success story; started in 1980 by Detroit-native Anna Sui, who knew at four years old that she would be a fashion designer, it is now an enormous enterprise, producing innovative designs each season. Sui herself has been awarded the esteemed Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award for her work. All of this is prestigious, of course, but it doesn’t quite capture the flavor of Ann Sui. Her penchant for rock and roll has made the soundtrack for her next catwalk as anticipated as her clothing. And the designs? They are entirely unique because of their cultural capital; they subvert time to merge the best of yesterday with representations of our world today.            

This is definitely the case with the Spring 2020 collection, which is reminiscent of traditional, gentle, and flowery femininity. Soft chiffon dresses, layered with tops or jackets, abounded, especially in flowery prints of light pinks and oranges. This is perhaps why the collection is called Victorianna, as it harkens back to the femininity of Victorian times while also representing today’s femininity through details like patterned socks and bulky shoes.

Erdem

There is so much to like about this collection, textures, fabrics, colours, layers, unrestricted flowing feel to the pieces and the streak of mexicana that ran through. Inspired by the life of Tina Modotti, a turn of the century photographer, model, and revolutionary political activist, the collection was as fascinating as her life must have been. TD

Erdem is young London: creative, talented, and totally fresh. It was founded in 2005 by Erdem Moralioglu, who studied at the Royal College of Art in London and remained there to launch the brand that bears his name. According to Moralioglu, Erdem’s largest contribution is its blending of the delicate and the bold to create a versatile yet vibrant femininity.

The creativity behind Moralioglu’s design process is perhaps just as fascinating as his final designs. Each season, Moralioglu chooses a muse to inspire his designs for the new collection, creating ensembles that embody his perception of her. Because of this unique design process, Erdem’s collections are always distinctive.

For Spring 2020, Erdem’s muse was Tina Modotti, an Italian silent movie actress, photographer, and communist. His show was held outside in London’s September, and how fitting; his models resembled the members of a garden party. Hemlines extended to the ankle in linen and chiffon gowns. Floral designs were popular, often accented by a bold-patterned silk scarf tied around the shoulders or the neck. Linking the ensembles were Erdem’s newest brooch and affection for Mexican patterns that Tina Modotti, who lived in Mexico, would have known.

Marc Jacobs

This collection feels very eclectic and full of attitude and individuality. Each look was a complete ‘look’. Our favourite is the ball of flowers explosion of a dress in pink and peachy tones. TD

Marc Jacobs may well be the most infamous designer in the world.  Graduating from parson’s school of design in NYC Just after graduating, at the age of 21, his first designs were for the label Sketchbook for Reuben Thomas and he started his own namesake label with his business partner (up until 2015) Robert Duffy in 1984. By 1987 he was already the youngest ever winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent.

Jacobs and Duffy then went on to do a tenure at Perry Ellis, where Jacobs won the prestigious 1992 CFDA prize for Womenswear Designer of the Year.  But it did end after a grunge collection in 1992 which the brand didn’t exactly love, a year later but it was this collection that bought his name to the fore.

But it wasn’t until  1997, that he truly became to global fashion icon he is today when  Jacobs was named creative director of the Louis Vuitton in Paris.

He created the company’s first RTW collections and introduced the idea of with collaborations many popular artists including Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami  Richard Prince and  Kanye West as well as taking the brand into a turnover of over with estimated sales of around $300 million by 2006  He stepped down from his role an after 16 years, in order to concentrate on his many lines which included Marc Jacobs, Marc by Marc started in 2001 as well as license agreements with both perfume and makeup. Marc Jacobs menswear (which was discontinued in 2017) has also been relaunched this winter as part of the ‘affordable ‘ The Marc Jacobs line. 

This season his show was a riotous collection of colours fabrics frills and hats; never a designer to follow a simple line and go with it. He meanders through a show as if we are going through a day in the life of the most fabulous IT girl of a B movie.  Never overtly sexy always there is that hint of geek we have always loved.  Dresses were full and tired, gather and long, or even gold and fluid.  Suiting was fluid and colourful all outfits topped off with rather natty hats care of Mr Stephen Jones.  It was a song of love to colour to passion and to life itself. There were definite nods to grunge, to glitter, Applique and even a tiny bit of sportswear.  There were stripes layers, tiers, and ruffles but all done al la Marc.  Each girl came out with a total ‘look’ nothing particularly spoke to each other yet there was a completeness to the collection.  Shown in a very plain venue the outfits the passion the colour and design stood up for itself

Molly Goddard

The use of Tulle to create silhouettes of such magnitude is not only impressive but also beautiful, not to mention convertible. Her colour combinations, shapes, and introduction of denim made this a stand out show. TD

London born and ex st martins student Molly Goddard is primarily known for her sugary tulle larger than life creations of immense proportions.

But don’t be fooled into thinking these are simple because the fabric is well used and known,  There is a terrific amount of detailing in her gowns.

Think smoking  pleating gathered almost as though she plays with the fabric before she creates a shape

She has broken America already with Rihanna sporting her designs as well as her designs being worn in the BBC drama Killing eve.  She already sells in the best stores worldwide and has several accolades ot her name inc Recent awards include the Harpers Bazaar Women of the Year 2017 Breakthrough Designer and British Emerging Talent Award at the 2016 Fashion Awards. Molly was selected as a finalist in the 2017 LVMH Prize and won the prestigious Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in May 2018.

Not bad after only a four-year-old business

Ashley Williams

An amazing mix of high and low culture, this collection felt very right, very relevant and just plain and simple fun. TD

Ashley Williams graduated in 2012 from Westminster and went straight on to show her first three collections at the institution that is fashion east.  Like both Molly Gioaafrad and Simone Rocha these are the naughty girls of LFW. She like the others encapsulates humour irreverence and femininity with a good handful of rock and roll

Think prints slogans streetwear meets Kitch-girly yet tomboy.  She has a cult following as well as high profile supporters like those on her catwalk like Adwoa Aboah and Georgia Jagger and a front-row littered with the likes of Pixie Geldof, Daisy Lowe, Alice Dellal and Alexa Chung.

Six years in she is still a very hot ticket at LFW and has already several awards behind her including British Fashion Council’s Newgen award in 2014, which she continued to receive for several seasons. Williams also won Emerging Designer of The Year at the ELLE Style Awards 2015. She has also collaborated with several brands including  Superga and  Red or Dead.

Vivetta

We love the way Vivetta Ponti uses embroidery and cut out shapes to add humour and creativity to her clothes. This collection didn’t fail to please with lips, greek statues and florals dotted around the collection. TD

Milan may have established itself as the historic center for Italian fashion, but its classic prestige can be misleading; it is also the site of brand-new breakthroughs in the fashion industry. One of these is Vivetta, a brand started in 2009 by Vivetta Ponti, recipient of the Tao Award and the first designer to join the Swarovski Collective project.

Vivetta Ponti grew up in the idyllic Italian town of Assisi. Moving to Florence to attend the Academy of Fine Arts, the creative honed her skills in Bologna and Milan where she continued her studies before falling in love with the world of fashion. Whilst working for several luxury brands Vivetta began to learn everything about the embroidery and elaborate embellishment techniques that would go on to form the foundations of her label.

Vivetta herself is an expert in embroidery and embellishment, and these things are signature elements of her brand. She draws inspiration from her love of animals—especially cats—and her happy childhood memories, combining the best of vintage fashion with a surrealist touch on the present.


In the Spring 2020 collection, all of these signature styles are present, from Vivetta’s affection for cats—found in unique accessories such as cat-shaped earrings and straw hats with cat faces—to her talent for embroidery. The most common silhouette in her pieces features a cinched waist, using belts to emphasize the figure. White, reds, pinks, and turquoises were all common in materials like lace, silk, and feathers. Bows seemed to have the center stage; many ensembles were defined by the look of an enormous bow, from red dresses to turquoise shirts with bulbous sleeves. As a whole, the collection has the look of a grand summer holiday, filled with decadent evenings out.

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