Drama is not unusual when it comes to the rarefied realm of high fashion, but even today’s frightful start to London Fashion Week could potentially redefine familiarity — as displaced commuters poured onto the streets of the English capital after a bomb went off in the Underground; narrowly surviving the blast. And so it is in trying times like these when you come to the realisation that what truly makes this city great are her people and their collective ability to keep calm and carry on.
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So while British resilience is celebrated on the outside of the official show venues, British talent is exalted on the inside, and rightly so. And providing the warm embrace of security is our first show of the day: Fyodor Golan.
Design duo Fyodor Podgorny and Golan Frydman‘s Spring/Summer 2018 collection reminded us of simpler times during our childhood; when having a sweet tooth was not something to be frowned upon in today’s age of gluten-free living. Along with a seemingly unlikely collaboration with the famed Spanish candy maker Chupa-Chups’s 60th Anniversary, the two designers explored and challenged the limits of sportswear aesthetics. Hooded tracksuits were festooned in reflective sequins and the famous scalloping of the lollipop’s logo became quirky keyhole cutouts. “We wanted to metamorphose the lollipop. We were attracted to this oxymoron of an everyday object turned into deity or valuable object,” said the designers. Who knew that candy crush could become so beautifully literal?
Also like a thing of beauty, the DAKS Spring/Summer 2018 womenswear collection was inspired by a gentler bygone era as well: The British Social Season, with the Henley Royal Regatta as its main focal point. Weightless and light materials such as linen and cotton are used to shape this collection that heavily echoes a time before the Second World War and even harken scenes from Brideshead Revisited. Ties were worn over folded cotton shirts, and tucked into crisp white pleated palazzo trousers that billow and sweep the floors; gently fluttering to reveal perfect leather brogues, worn with so much nonchalance.
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This attitude of casualness also appeared in Eudon Choi‘s Spring/Summer 2018 show – as what might initially come across as the sartorial exploration of 20th Century designer Eileen Gray’s modernist E-1027 house in the southeastern coast of France, at first glance – is also a subconscious rediscovery of his Korean heritage. The union of maritime colours that evoke the open space and sea breeze are all present in Choi’s designs that boast a sailor’s collar on an asymmetrically-hemmed dress, and even a reimagined menswear staple of an oversized double-breasted suit that mimics the folds of the hanbok, the Korean national dress.
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Designer Hannah Weiland continued this curious spirit of combining incongruous elements of inspiration in her designs for Shrimps’s Spring/Summer 2018 presentation. Weiland looked to Aristotle’s discovery of sea urchins and contemporary artists including Faye Wei Wei and Mary Fedden. Her classic faux furs arrive in wavy textures, luminous lime greens and printed monochromes. The prints are inspired by a romantic trip to Venice — as Venetian pinks and reds gave way to bright swirls on fabric. The designer’s silhouette this season were sweeping and oversized, ruffled and ruched — with open cut outs and ribbons found on dresses and blouses. Behold, all the hallmarks of British eccentricity.
And if Day One has taught us anything, it is that in the face of fear, hope will always prevail.
By Adriel Chiun