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  • Claire Kalikman

6 LONDON FASHION WEEK STANDOUTS


THIS HAS BEEN A STRANGE FASHION MONTH, NO DOUBT. IT’S HARD TO KEEP UP WITH ALL THE CHANGES AND NEWS - WHO’S SHOWING, WHO’S OFF THE CALENDAR, ARE IN-PERSON EVENTS EVEN ALLOWED? BUT HERE’S WHAT STRUCK US MOST STRONGLY FROM LONDON FASHION WEEK.


THE QUEEN REIGNS. Some say fashion film is dead. But that can’t possibly be the case if you’ve seen Vivienne Westwood’s latest. In lieu of a traditional runway show, the O.G. punk brand, now designed by Viv’s other half Andreas Kronthaler, produced an energetic short film showcasing Spring/Summer 2021 looks, complete with masks emblazoned with the slogan “Trust Punk.” As Westwood wrote, “Dress for the time of day, or don’t dress for the time of day – wear your evening clothes to the office if you go back to work, mix seasons.Think signature eccentric Brit fare - plaid and corsetry, the laced-up platforms, boyfriend blazers and subversive slogans.


But the best bit? A collab with Pretenders frontwoman Chrissie Hynde, who is now a painter. (Who knew?) Kronthaler used her works for prints, and donated her fee to her charity, www.AhimsaMilk.org  – a farm which doesn’t kill the cow. Says Viv: “Did you know Ox means castrated bull? The little dears have a wonderful life of leisure, not much work for them but they love it. We both support Farms Not Factories. www.FarmsNotFactories.org.”


PROTEST IS THE NEW NORMAL. London’s always big on protest so of course Extinction Rebellion’s Fashion Action group staged one - this time, at the Condé Nast offices. Those taking part in the actions wore white dresses made from reused materials that were stitched with slogans such as ‘Ecocide = Genocide’ and ‘Slavery: 41 million people now.’ The group decided to take action on the last day of London Fashion Week following the release of an open letter to the fashion media published on September 18, charing that: “Fashion media still relies on selling newness, glamorising destructive levels of consumptions and featuring brands that work against the planet.” The surprising thing? British Vogue covered it. OK not the protest but the campaign. Fair play to them. Condé not-quite-so-nasty after all.





THE MOST INTERESTING DESIGNERS GIVE BACK. Bethany Williams, a designer who always strives to create collections embedded with real stories have a positive impact, and this collection was no different. For the SS21 collection (watch the film here), the designer again teamed up with the Magpie Project, an organisation that aims to aid families experiencing homelessness. Bethany engaged project participants in drawing workshops and playtime, and then teamed up with illustrator and artist Melissa Kitty Jarram to transform children’s drawings into prints and patterns that informed the final textiles. A portion of the proceeds from this collection will be donated to the Magpie Project.

Listen to Williams discuss her work in Episode 70 of the podcast. She’s also one of the founders of the Emergency Designer Network, along with the brilliant Holly Fulton and Phoebe English. Listen to them in Episode 117. English’s show was another LFW standout. Watch her presentation, Nothing New Part 2. here.


PEOPLE WANT ESCAPISM. Designers keep producing beautiful items. “It feels almost an act of defiance or resistance, to keep making beautiful things in such an ugly time,” wrote Erdem’s Erdem Moralioglu. Michael Halpern created jubilant blouses with mutton-chop sleeves in gold leopard print, Yayoi Kusama-esque balloon dresses, and plenty of feathers and sequins. Burberry named its Spring/Summer 2021 collection  In Bloom, and staged an audience-free runway ”experience” in an undisclosed forest location. Watch it below - we’ve got to say, it looks amazing.


Did you catch any of London Fashion Week? What did you think? 


By Claire Kalikman.


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