Little known fact, I used to live in London for a couple of years in the 90’s. At that time fashion wasn’t taken seriously at all in London. Actually its more actuate to say that London itself was not taken seriously as a fashion center by the rest of the industry. Sure Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Burberry, and Stella McCartney were there to represent Britain, as well as other greats. In general though London was like the red headed step child of the fashion world. All that began changing around ten years ago. I think it has to do with online accessibility to knowledge. People became more aware about what was happening in London and the London scene stepped up its game as well. By the way the same thing happened with culinary. London used to be the worst for dining and then they figured it all out with pros like Jaimie Oliver. Now you can have world class dining experiences easily in London, which, trust me was not the case in the 90’s.
Due to it’s punk, grunge, alternative upbringings, London fashion week is and I suspect will always be the most radical fashion week. It is the fashion week with the most emerging designers, and it’s also the fashion week with the most out of the box fashion. New York Fashion Week is the commercial one with a big social/celebrity scene. Milan Fashion Week is old world chic and tasteful. Paris is elitist but has been the undeniable fashion pinnacle. At least Paris was, I’m not sure how the political strife and the Islamization of Paris will effect people’s desire to be there. On second thought, what am I talking about? Everyone will always love Paris, but for me now, Milan is the best.
Anyway back to London. There is a wild freedom of expression associated with London Fashion Week that you’ll find nowhere else. The only thing close are the avant garde fashion weeks in Scandinavia.
Even at the top London fashion week parties you find people wearing things like this in earnest:
The big London Fashion Week Shows leaned towards the eccentric as well, and thank God for it. It would be so boring if everything in fashion were prim and proper. We need the energy of London fashion week to get back to our stream of conscious selves. London might just be the most fun fashion week.
MM6 Maison Margiela
Christopher Kane is another fashion darling that all the cool kids love. Kane has described his tumultuous life of late as inspiration for his latest collection, “Our life has been a bit of a car-crash recently,” He and his family have been dealing with the recent loss of their mother and of Christopher’s mentor in the past year. So images of car-wrecks, fractured shapes, jagged cutouts, and spray-painting were referenced in his apparel. Kane also gave significance to thoughts of mental institutions and medical science, hence the woman in the blue shirt, banded with wipe-clean plastic cuffs and a strict skirt: “Like a nurse who’s going to give you a lethal injection!” See below:
Swinging the pendulum the other way was the Erdem show. Where as it was easy to find deconstructed, distorted, almost angst fashion coming down the runways of London, Erdem’s show was delicate, pretty and floral. Girls glided by in delicate Victorian accented dresses with embroidered pink and white flowers on chiffon. However his inspiration took the theme to a darker place. “It was about prairie madness,” he explained backstage. “In 1862, Abraham Lincoln passed the Homestead Act, which gave single women and widows the right to their own plots of land in the West, as long as they stayed there for five years. So there were all these women coming from their homes in Europe, bringing their clothes and the remnants of their lives in Norway and Germany and places like that—and they started to suffer from agoraphobia and all kinds of psychological illnesses.”
Erdem’s productions have a cinematic quality often about women who have fallen on hard times. The prairie madness girls, with their ankle-length dresses made of beautiful lace, crochet, and embroidery fabrics, arrived by railroad—pushed along on an actual train track in a former freight yard in the hinterland of King’s Cross station, with a few sticks of furniture to their names, and then proceeded to make their long, melancholy walk to a crackly voice over of Emily Dickinson’s poetry. It was epic.
London Fashion Week Run Down: Crazy Cool