Of all the fashion week majors, London is often known to be the most avant-garde. Perhaps it’s the history of punk and resistance or perhaps its an antithesis to the aristocracy, or perhaps UK designers are just never short of boundary-pushing creativity. Whichever it is, the collections from new, upcoming and boutique labels this week have been as thought provoking as ever.
Given their fingers on pulses, its fair to assume that the ideas we’re seeing via their digital and runway platforms will be indicative of the cuts, shapes and trends we’ll be vying for over the next couple of seasons. So just what should we be making room for in our (hopefully-sweatpants-free) fall winter 2021 wardrobes?
ROOMY, SLOUCHY VOLUME
Although Labrum London is technically menswear, this conscious label (whose clothing is devoid of trend and dedicated to the narrative of West Africans) offered plenty of silhouette inspiration in their utilitarian fall winter collection. Trousers of an oversized nature have been gathering momentum in the last couple of seasons, however styled here in a street-wise sophistication, the look a raised whole new reason to gravitate towards it.
Cosplay is once again finding place in the world of ready to wear. Bora Aksu, the Turkish, London-based designer drew inspiration from the French Revolution for his fall winter faux-runway presentation. While the aesthetic drew heavily from the era, it offered a dramatic escapism we’re seeing more and more of this fashion season. Gowny dresses with busy applique and lacey overlays, even tutu-tulle and embroidered hoisery finished with solid boots offer a sort of Crucible homage. Super fun, anti-minimalism.
Punk in the age of pandemic makes perfect sense. A dystopian uniform for our mood following a year of upheaval. Mark Fast, a veteran of high end London street wear (in particular knitwear) lent his prowess to slick combat couture this time. Bold puffas, bodysuits and sock boots all with iterations of camo seem apt for the season. A blend of utility and sexy 90s mega-trends (the micro hem, the macro boot) is a comfy return to renegade roots.
It’s likely that 2021 will be the suit’s most interpreted season. Non-specific in both gender and destination (they have, for a while, no longer been relegated to the office), its look is now based on minutiae rather than genre as a whole. Eftychia Karamolagou’s eponymous label is well regarded for tailoring and knitwear, and this season she’s offering a slim-fit, bootleg, on-the-job variety that seems to hark back to late-90s TV-detective uniform – Gillian Anderson in The X-Files, or Angie Harmon in Law & Order, perhaps. But it’s the flat-front, double French fly trouser for us.
Up-and-coming label Sabirah by Deborah Latouche posed the idea of hope, healing and happiness for her fall winter presentation. Nodding to the 70s in head-to-toe silk and gold-on-gold ensembles, such joie de vivre is a welcome flip from last year’s ominous overtones. Make room for decadent fabrics (of which Latouche repurposes from existing materials), languid shapes and some much needed disco therapy.
As mentioned above, to cast suiting into one category these days would be like saying this season dresses or jeans or pants are in fashion. The suit family is ever-expanding, so we need to be more specific. Maison Bent, the London based label of McQueen alum Shanna Bent, is a self-described sustainable luxury brand. While sustainability is probably the most important future fashion trend, her take on traditional cuts is also progressive. Expect to see her ilk a lot this season, styles with pop-outs and A-symmetrical cuts and unique fastenings, the repurposed suit might just be the fashion item of the year.