If you can convince Lili Sumner to dress as a banana and sashay down the catwalk, you know you are going to have a great show. Charlotte Olympia delivered a joyful expression of her accessories line with a cabaret of samba and bossa nova music inspired by Carmen Miranda, the ultimate BossGirl. The shoes and bags were just as impeccable as the spectacle.
The tailoring and flowers were perfectly in synch at Paul Smith’s harmonious Spring Summer 2017 show. The collection was all about combining flowers with light suiting. Smith incorporated interesting new techniques that we had yet to see. It's incredible how a designer with such experience (and whose label has been around for nearly half a century) can always offer fresh ideas that look absolutely contemporary. Smith knows what women want to wear — us included!
Paul Smith kept to recent tradition, showing his SS17 collection in Granary Square
Front row alert! It's the BBC Radio1 DJ Clara Amfo looking really cool in her Paul Smith suit at his Spring Summer 2017.
Clara Amfo 'frowing' at Paul Smith's SS17 show
Alice Temperley’s hazy days in Los Angeles, and the burnt orange and pink sunsets that only seem to burn off the West Coast, have influenced her label's, Temperley London, latest collection. Her woman is a breezy type whose clothes make a statement but don't do all the talking — the Temperley woman has plenty to say for herself!
A tribe of holiday-ready ladies at Temperley London SS17
David Koma knows how to do bodycon, and he sticks to what he knows — yet every season pushes himself and his fabric development a little further. For Spring Summer 2017 his woman is a bit undone, with her shoulders revealed and the option to flash her mile high thighs. It was polished, and chic — the kind of sexy we at Because approve of!
"Seven characters perform seven actions which are seven experiences across seven days," says Phoebe English in her show notes. There is something terribly beautiful in English's mundane approach to this collection of simple clothes supported by elaborate stories. This is a conceptual showcase at its best!
The MM6 Maison Margiela presentation can only be described as 'so Margiela'. The Spring Summer 2017 show includes plastic mannequins, taped-on accessories and a live painting of the label's hit trapeze bags. MM6 loves to subvert mainstream trends — the preppy knitted vest becomes a slip dress and the cat print is as brash as ever. It's all ironically humorous yet consists of contemporary pieces that will sell out in no time.
The scene at the MM6 presentation
The “see now, buy now” approach is disrupting the industry with more and more designers opting to forgo the traditional catwalk-to-shop model, with collections hitting the shelves six months after the initial showing. In New York, it was Thakoon Panichgul, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger and so far in London, brands including Topshop, Burberry and Temperley London (who will be releasing looks exclusively via the app Vero) are following in the same path.
Jeraldine Ng and Willis Tan of HELTER
We met up with Jeraldine Ng and Willis Tan, designers behind new womenswear brand HELTER, which launched this June and is devoted to “functional minimalism”. They had their first LFW presentation last night and the whole collection (every two and a half months, they launch a new line featuring ‘seasonless’ clothing) is already available on its website. “Why wait six months when you can buy now?” Ng tells us. “For us, it’s about making clothes with longevity that doesn’t really adhere to seasonal trends. I think fashion ‘seasons’ are a really dull idea.”
Macramé, monkeys and tropical baroque — the colours of Barragan permeated throughout a hot, slick collection from Peter Pilotto at his studio in De Beauvoir, East London.
A model walking for Peter Pilotto's SS17 show
The neat shirts, shift dresses and expertly tailored jackets were no surprise at J. JS Lee — our go-to designer for unfettered, precise and beautifully constructed clothes. This season, the Central Saint Martins-educated, Korean designer opted for a presentation-installation hybrid over the catwalk, with a collection inspired by the idea of the schoolgirl. “I went for subtlety,” she tells us after the show. “Those school girls can’t let the teachers know.”
There were tulle over-layers in different colours for shirts and dresses, which Lee says was her idea of imparting each girl with a different character. “The transparent layers convey that there is someone different inside of the uniform,” she says.
Back on Friday, we absolutely fell in love with Sadie Williams' nocturnal nautical collection created in collaboration with Doc Martens and Swarovski, so we wanted to learn a bit more about her story. We caught up with Sadie at her pop-up NEWGEN Showroom in Brewer Street Car Park.
How do you feel now that you’ve presented the collection?
A bit tired, but good. I'm happy the collection is out there now, and now it's time to take it to the Paris showrooms and meet the buyers there.
The show on Friday was your second one at LFW — have you developed any rituals?
I'm the type of person that works until the last moment, so there's not a lot of time to have a ritual. Maybe putting make-up on in an Uber?
Sadie Williams' SS17 presentation
What's next in terms of your brand?
I want to push my brand but it's really difficult to sustain it, at my level at least. That's why I sometimes teach short courses at Central Saint Martins or assist my stylist Poppy Kane. It would be nicer to have to do less juggling. I'd just like to get to a point where I can employ someone for things like studio managing or production so the creative part can be stronger next time around.
There's this vibe that NEWGEN is a squad, am I right?
I like that we're all kind of individual. Marta (Jakubowski) joined with me and became one of my best friends. It's also nice to go to Paris with everyone; it's kind of our 'bi-annual trip to Paris'.
What's your favourite piece from the collection?
I really can't choose one, but it would probably be the sailor jacket with the Swarovski crystals and the matching trousers. I make sure everything I design is something I'd want to wear.
Who would you love to wear your designs?
Well, I got a request from Björk last week and I was so happy.
Her inspiration and soundtrack for Spring Summer 2017 may have been BBC 4's nighttime shipping forecast, but in our Because fashion forecast, Sadie's path is looking bright and clear!
Beware — it's the Mary Katrantzou columns of loveliness!
Mary Katrantzou's SS17 runway
These cats can't take their eyes off the catwalk! This afternoon until 6pm Malone Souliers is holding an event in Soho Square Gardens where you get to try on their shoes and strut your stuff on this purr-fect catwalk. Make sure to drop by if you're near!
Cheetahs watch intently as shoe label Malone Souliers provides the catwalk and the accessories
Preen turned to witchcraft for a darker take on their pretty dresses, showing ripped denim jeans and jackets alongside their trademark airy dresses seen on many a celebrity. Wicca symbols and pressed dried flowers strewn on the runway made for a mix of their usual softness toughened up.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi SS17
Anya Hindmarch never fails to deliver a spectacle. This season, she was particularly inspired by “the relationship between geometry and art” leading to a collection decked out in geometric patterns, presented on a rotating, multi-level circular platform.
Models emerge from Anya Hindmarch's circular stage
We missed Rejina Pyo this season in London as she decided to show during NYFW instead. But we still got to check out her collection in the Designer Showrooms. These unusually shaped shoes, pointed with block heels, are one of our faves (they look great with cropped trousers and knee-length skirts).
Rejina Pyo's shoes
Also inside the Designer Showrooms, we saw RCA graduate Ejing Zhang and her kooky-cool earrings and necklaces made with resin, thread and wood. We couldn't help but stare at the intricate, colourful thread design inside the clear resin. "When I was growing up in China, we used abacus a lot for calculation. I began to make abacus with leftover thread from my studio and that's where the idea of this design started!" she told us. "The collection was about childhood memories and wanting to connect to that feeling again."
Ejing Zhang's earrings for SS17
What better way to start the third day of London Fashion Week than with an early palate cleanser courtesy of Margaret Howell. The Spring Summer 2017 show was more romantic than ever before — disheveled organza pussy bows were nonchalantly falling from the seminal Howell shirting and there was even a hint of hot pink via a knitted vest jumper. When the mid-LFW blues kick in, we can always rely on Howell to remind us to appreciate the simplicity and elegance within the fashion world.
A model backstage at Margaret Howell
We are starting off Day 3 of London Fashion Week backstage at Margaret Howell!
The line-up for Margaret Howell's SS17 show