Weekly Feature

Joel Ryan/AP

Roundup of Fashion Week Fall 2009: London

March 02, 2009
by Liz Colville
London Fashion Week turned 25 this year, and flaunted the milestone with Fall 2009 shows that captured the event’s usual blend of youth, adventurousness and edgy sophistication.

The Essence of London Fashion Week

The British Fashion Council, the force behind London Fashion Week, has made the event one of the most youthful fashion showcases in the world. The BFC’s NewGen project, created in 1993 in partnership with hip fashion retailer Topshop, sponsors young and up-and-coming U.K. designers with a “merit-based scheme that was the first of its kind.”

The result? As Xiyin Tang of the fashion hub Refinery29 put it, it’s a fashion week that’s generally “kookier, younger, and less safe than others.” It should come as no surprise, then, that this season’s offerings “are more out-there than usual … And by ‘out there’ we mean outer-space.” Refinery29 has slideshows of futuristic collections from Topshop, Richard Nicoll and Jaeger London.

London Bucks the Recession

If there’s a recession going on, it wasn’t easy to tell in London, where British designers like Luella Bartley and Aquascutum commingled with American houses like Rodarte and Justin Timberlake’s line, William Rast. As the head buyer of London’s Browns, Erin Mullaney, told Elle UK, “it feels like London’s sticking two fingers to the recession and is just being super creative … Everyone’s really stepped up to the plate and produced tighter, slicker shows, the collections that we’ve been hoping for over the last few seasons.”

Mullaney’s favorites included Mario Schwab’s “slicker, sharper look” and use of Swarovski crystals, knitwear designer Mark Fast  and Ben Grimes’ label LP.BG.

Visit Elle UK’s Fashion Week section for news and plenty of slideshows of the above designers and more.

London’s Standout Trends for Fall

Style.com’s coverage of London Fashion Week indicates that black is still best, but for this fall it’s decorated with jewels, standout patterning and surprising textures, as seen in Luella, Erdem, Danielle Scutt and the students at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. View slideshows of dozens of complete collections on Style.

Women’s Wear Daily’s special section “Backstage/Beauty” observes some of the London makeup and style trends, such as Luella’s focus on the “superrealism” behind every model and the “tough” look created for Sienna Miller’s line Twenty8Twelve, inspired by the singer Neneh Cherry and the mid-1980s.

This Year, the Men Have the Last Word

For the first time in London Fashion Week’s 25-year history, the final day of shows (on Wednesday, February 25) saw men dominating the catwalk in an event called MANday, a new project by the BFC that showcased 13 emerging menswear designers. Inspired by “public schoolboys who escaped to 1950s Soho,” the clothes offered adaptable preppiness and a twist of the rugged. Imogen Fox of the Guardian writes, “Tweed blazers were worn under parka jackets with slim cotton drill trousers and hobnailed boots, with berets and rucksacks as accessories. Swap the beret for an iPod and you have a look certain to be adopted by students up and down the country come autumn.”

The Guardian has a multimedia section on London Fashion Week, including a slideshow of MANday’s menswear lines.

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