The day started bright and early at Ryan Lo’s dreamy FW 18 presentation that consisted of candy-coloured rainbows and ruffles, accompanied by Sketch London’s lush pastel pink interiors. The interactive presentation was a collection of some of his signature pieces accumulated over time, featuring key elements of tulle and lace. Hidden in plain sight were mannequins, all dolled up down to red glitter lips and headpieces from Stephen Jones Millinery, while models lounged on the pink velvet sofas as we walked through the space. Lo’s fantasy world was all to do with combining childhood nostalgia and romance, as seen through pink jacquard trench coats interlaced with woven silver butterflies, glittering rainbow dresses and pussy bow blouses.
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The tale of Margaret Ann Bulkley, a woman who defied all odds to become a respectable Georgian surgeon by disguising herself as a man, inspired London-based Turkish born Bora Aksu to offer his own insight into conversation on gender on the runway. It was a perfect harmony of androgyny and romance, marrying typical masculine elements like heavy wools and luxurious blue velvets with opposing entities of baby pink silk tulles and lilac pleated organzas. It was the celebration of a metamorphosis, not picking a side but nodding to the notion of an in-between and finding beauty in that too.
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Setting the scene for Marta Jakubowski’s throwback to the ‘90s was a slow rendition of Whitney Houston’s I’m Every Woman. The opening look, a red two piece suit with black lace Wonderbra visibly peeking through, set the tone for the rest of the show. An ode to women, the show notes read, to “our versatility, complexity, ambition and physicality” through a showing of dramatic shoulders and cinched waists. It was a breath of fresh air, carefree and joyous, as seen with the abundance of skipping and dancing on the runway; It was, after all, a celebration. And with many collections, it was a nod to her mother’s style, mirroring her key pieces of long tailored coats and dresses. All with a twist, of course, updated with quilted details, and clashing colourways. No detail was left untouched, right down to leather gloves and windswept hair and million dollar smile. Jakubowski deftly combined a sense of allure with professionalism, as seen in tailored jackets with low hanging lapels and dresses with subtle hints of skin — a peek of the shoulder here, a sliver of the waist there.
Fyodor Golan lifted the audience into the air with a show stopping collection of sportswear meets luxe pieces that explored the concept of aerodynamics. MTV’s logo, plastered on sweaters and sleeves were a subtle reminder of the collaboration between the London duo and them but really, who can forget such an iconic piece of pop-culture? Taking centre stage were the parachute skirts, first in an eye catching pop of colour and then with a more neutral version, finished with topographical prints. It’s hard to not make the connection with such a perfect amalgamation of lightweight fabrics and appropriate finishings, coupled with the chic sweatsuits and windswept hair.
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You’d expect nothing less from Ashley Williams, considering the fact that the promising young designer has had numerous achievements under her belt since debuting in 2013, namely her stints with Fashion East and also a jewelry collaboration with Pixie Geldof. Her FW18 collection, staged on the grounds of her Alma Mater, took us on a trip out of the busy capital in search of UK’s monolithic marvels — complete with a Stonehenge inspired set. The collection was a mishmash of bits and bobs collected over pit stops at gift shops, some of which you’d score on a day out thrifting. Think tie-dyed dungarees, neon fleece jackets and even a corduroy suit in a refreshing shade of lilac. The Ashley Williams girl is one that is unapologetically herself with a devil-may-care view on life, highlighted by t-shirts, sweatpants and hoodies emblazoned with “Don’t Know, Don’t Care”. Her signature diamante-embellished ‘GIRLS’ and ‘ANXIETY’ graphic motifs makes its reappearances on furry slides and the “raveolution”, or so she says, followed through from start till the end with ultra risque black sheer party dresses over bicycle shorts with repeated ‘SEX’ motifs, accessorising with ultra-cool sunglasses that were designed in collaboration with ACE&TATE.