- Danielle Wightman-Stone |
While a catwalk show may still be the traditional and most preferred showcase for most designers, more and more are loving the freedom and ability to tell the story of their collection vision by embracing a static presentation, and FashionUnited has rounded up its five favourites from London Fashion Week.Sophia Webster
For spring/summer 2018, Sophia Webster has been inspired by the Cottingley fairy phenomenon of 1917, where a series of photographs by Elsie Wright appeared to show the existence of fairies, and transformed Somerset House’s Portico Rooms into a fairy flower garden.
The footwear and handbag designer is known for her quirky and elaborate presentations, this season however, there seemed to be a new maturity, yes the fun and creativity was still there, with some shoes featuring fairies in the heels, but it felt more grown up, especially across the growing collection of eveningwear styles with new shoe featuring velvet, satin and embroidered finishes.
There were also new techniques seen throughout with shoes and handbags featuring leather florals, crochet seam raffias and grosgrain frills that added textured and detailing to the growing collection.
The quirky was still seen with slogans such as ‘Roses are Red’, ‘I’ll Bring You Flowers’ and ‘Chickflix and Frills’, and her showstopper knee-high caged boots have been encased in gems and vintage brooch inspired crystals.
“I’ve loved working with this more sophisticated tone for SS18 and layering on these fairytale elements,” said Webster. “I wanted the collection to be poetic, but also modern and wearable.”
Webster also unveiled her jewellery collaboration with British jeweller Alex Monroe featuring handmade wing-inspired earpieces, delicate dandelion leaf cuffs and rings.Alice Archer
Emerging fashion designer Alice Archer brought her trip to an organic Sicilian lemon farm to life with her spring/summer 2018 presentation to offer a beautiful and slightly kitsch collection.
Cherries, strawberries, grapes and lemons were seen across the summery collection, with one of the statement pieces featuring embroidered cherries tumbling down the tulle overlay of a red-and-white gingham maxi dress.
For SS18, Archer has also introduced new sculptural shapes to her growing collection to include relaxed day dresses, silk linen suiting featuring cherry-blossom embroidery on it, silk printed separates, including cherry printed wide-leg trousers, as well as decadent evening gowns.
Archer’s signature silk Kimono has also seen an update, with over-sized lemons and green leave scattered across the blue silk, while her signature gingham shirts have been emblazoned with lemons.
Feminine touches can be seen across the summery fruity prints to the back and waist tie detailing to the cherry-shaped pompoms dangled from the edges of a sleeveless dress.Markus Lupfer
An ode to a Slim Aarons photograph with women decadently lounging around a swimming pool was brought to life at Markus Lupfer’s spring/summer 2018 presentation, with the Lupfer girl being “part old-Hollywood, part new disruptor, a Slim Aarons muse, but with much more attitude”, the show notes explains.
As you would expect the collection was bright, a little naughty, with mischievous monkeys seen swinging from vines on the print used on everything from the cabana shirt dresses to pool turbans and even the set’s furniture.
Highlights included psychedelic floral printed blouses tucked into matching pleated georgette skirts that featured a sheer black organza overlay for added glamour, while retro swimming caps inspired the sheer skirts and blouses adorned with pink and blue sequinned flowers, and the vibrant orange print that popped against the green, pink and blue hues.
Accessories have also been updated with the sunglasses continuing to be large in nude and navy blue colours, while platform heels were fastened with straps in the shape of sequinned rainbows and jewelled parrots, and the earrings dangle to the collarbone.Alistair James
Each season, fashion duo Nicholas Alistair Walsh and David James Wise, behind the Alistair James label dedicate their collection to a different muse, for autumn/winter 2017 it was a love letter to the Brontë sisters and for spring/summer 2017 it was Wendy from Peter Pan, and this season the collection takes inspiration from the fable of Sleeping Beauty and Briar Rose.
Entitled ‘Love Conquers All’ the collection has a romance and strength about it, from floor-sweeping ruffle-clad shirt dresses to a silver sequin jumpsuit evoking 1970s glamour, which all paid homage to Ossie Clark’s silhouettes that the designers referenced as a key inspiration.
The setting of Fitzrovia Chapel created drama and intrigued to the presentation, with the models surrounded by floral cages that added whimsy to the beautiful collection, from the shimmering gowns embellished in Swarovski crystals and the playful ruffled day dresses, and shoes featuring oversized bows.
“This season is our first presentation,” said co-designer David James Wise. “Storytelling has always been a central part of our process, embracing this platform has allowed us to deliver a clear narrative.”
The British fashion label also worked with Swarovski this season, using crystals throughout the collection, from draped chains to bespoke heart and star embellishments to portray the magical ambience of the fairytales that inspired the collection.
“As a brand Swarovski has always championed craftsmanship and creative expression, both of which are central to our ethos,” added co-designer Nicholas Alistair Walsh. “By using Swarovski crystals we have been able to elevate pieces to bring our story to life.”Holly Fulton
Scottish designer Holly Fulton returned to the London Fashion Week schedule after a one-year hiatus to showcase a presentation that acted as a retrospective remix of her key ideas and motifs from the labels ten-year history.
The spring/summer 2018 collection has a strong 1960s feel to it, with mini skirts and in a checkerboard pattern, while dresses, skirts and coats feature zebra prints, and Art Deco motifs embrace sporty tops, maxi skirts and trousers.
Fulton also continues her knitwear collaboration with John Smedley, creating a capsule collection of knitted sports tops, graphic coats and long line track pants that complement signature silk separates.
The vibrant presentation, which was set against Fulton’s signature graphic prints, also showed the designers aim to make her label a 360 vision by adding interior designs, with sofa’s from Moooi upholstered with placement black and white Bloom print, as well as printed wallpaper, Perspex checkerboard side tables, and printed bone china plates adorned with leaping zebras and pop targets. In addition, there was also giant jacquard throws and cushions made in collaboration with John Smedley.
Images: Sophia Webster and Markus Lupfer taken by Danielle Wightman-Stone / all others courtesy of Alice Archer, Alistair James and Holly Fulton.