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Published
Sep 20, 2020
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London Fashion Week day three: Messages, not just more mode

Published
Sep 20, 2020

An almost completely digital day at London Fashion Week, marked by multiple energetic videos and the almost complete absence of actual runway models.


Molly Goddard - Spring/Summer 2021 - Womenswear - London - Photo: Ben Broomfield

 
From Marques’Almeida, where a lone dancer André Cabral gyrated with angst and effervescence to the music of Orlando, to 16Arlington, where three models were seen drinking water from a conch or pouring it out of a carafe over their bodies, this was a runway season where one got to see very few clothes. That said, there where plenty of noble artistic expressions by designers grappling with the conundrum: what does fashion mean at a tragic moment when thousands are being struck down, bereft even of the presence of their families?
 
Molly Goddard
Molly did at least stage a phygital show, set in a white-walled art gallery, with gals striding along an all-white mini catwalk.

A simple show for a succinct and sexy collection. Goddard may wrap women up in oodles of puckered, gathered and ruffled fabrics, but they always look alluring, never prim. Her clothes are Instagram eye-catching but always cool, from the baby doll pink dresses to the pinafores worn over baggy pants, to the splendid Victorian rocker femmes fatales in uber-bright Pop Art colors. No amount of lockdown has stymied Goddard’s joie de vivre.  After one week of shows in New York and London this was the most upbeat collection by far.

Bethany Williams
Bethany Williams made an impassioned call for tolerance and welcome for refuges backed up by a brilliant prose poem by Eno Mfon.
 
"They’ll tell you they will turn away a child based on their parents’ postcode," read the poet, as the cast marched in the fine color blocking styles of Williams, before some superb giant illustration backdrops by Melissa Kitty Jarram. A telling and timely comment in London, a city crammed with foreign-born fashion designers at a moment when refugees are treated as enemies in the popular press.

Bethany Williams - Spring/Summer 2021 - Womenswear - London

 
Art School
Art School actually staged a surrogate show, models marching down a Victorian park in full bloom. Austere black leather or waxy cotton coat dresses, tunics, trenches and shorts, anchored by military boots and accessorized with chains. Cut-up khaki military references and posh punk attitude from the brand’s designer Eden Loweth.
 
With so many creators obsessed with naturalism and escapism, this hard core survivalist chic was a bold statement, and somehow very needed. Spare, simple but packing plenty of punch.

Jordan Luca in a Laundromat
Fans whirling; cheap old machines, some out of order; bored youths lying on benches; archaic old computers projecting body builders, muscle queens with nipple rings or youth on roundabouts
 
Italian commentary as the design team sit around sewing and ironing: "Always dear to me this hermit’s hill… Spaces beyond it, and superhuman Silences, and profoundest stillness. In thought I do pretend."
 
Funky Londoners in flower-print black shirts, worn cotton jerkins, mega high lapel double-breasted jackets and tie-dye shirts, some of them blowing the stems of dandelions. A cheap, wee video, but one coherent for this brand.


Art School - Spring/Summer 2021 - Womenswear - London - Photo: Art School

 
Oliver Spencer
Not a runway show, nor a presentation, nor performance art, nor even a silly video, instead this season’s offering from Oliver Spencer was a faintly hokey ad for Mercedes Benz. Specifically, the new EQC luxury compact SUV, driven by one of Britain’s best dressed men, Richard Biedul, who actually instructs the car to take him to Spencer’s home and then drives it himself anyway.
 
"What a motor mate. It looks like a space ship," says Spencer, admiring the car outside his redbrick pad. 
 
"It’s the perfect London car. It’s stylish, functional," says Biedul of the auto from Mercedes Benz, a key sponsor of London Fashion Week, in this rather lame product placement.
 
"I am really excited about what they are doing at LFW this week. They are really stepping up," 
says Spencer, without providing any specifics.
 
Billed as a discussion of sustainability, Spencer did at least show a rack of clothes: crisp check French linen shirts, "where every single element of the plant is used, the linen in fabrics, the stems for cattle feed." Or what he described as the “suit of the future, a totally deconstructed costume in Supima, the cashmere of cotton.


Stephen Jones Millinery - Spring/Summer 2021 - London

 
Stephen Jones Millinery: Analogue Fairydust
Hard to think of any greater hatter in fashion, or indeed on the planet than Stephen Jones, who entitled his latest escapade into noble design "Analogue Fairydust."
 
Despite the "Analogue" in the title, his model was hyper virtual, Noonoouri, the Mitteleuropean avatar, the same lady he used in his summer men’s collection.
 
Swirling fluted shapes inspired by Disney classic Fantasia and superb blue leopard-print ten-gallon hats for torrid Texans worn on a lady avatar sporting an Edwardian moustache. 
 
"May all your hatty dreams come true," commented Jones, dressed in a distressed chalk-hued blazer and a white fedora with an enormous black band. May they indeed.

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