TThe padded jacket is everywhere, but so are summer vacation dreams. There is admiration for science and scientists, and gratitude for the comforts of home. London’s first fully closed Fashion Week, which began on Friday, reveals a fashion industry transformed by the pandemic from a world of escapism to one that tentatively outlines what our new normal might look like.
Ninety-five designers, including Alice Temperley, Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard and Erdem, will show their collections digitally, while fashion faces its first season only with digital catwalks. Last September’s fashion week coincided with a looser restriction period and there were shows and in-person dates. With this event coinciding with Monday’s much-anticipated unveiling of a roadmap out of the lockdown, designers hope their new collections will resonate with consumers eager to look to future freedoms.
“I have a feeling when we get out of this we will all go a little crazy,” said Temperley, whose latest Glastonbury-inspired collection is called Rock Swagger. “We’ve been mainly selling daywear recently, obviously: knitwear, outerwear, denim and blouses for Zoom. Our new collection is a mix of clothes we need now and clothes we will want when we go out and star in our own rock’n’roll movie. “
“It’s been nice to imagine that hopefully life will be a little more normal by the time these clothes are in the store,” designer Roksanda Ilinčić said in a Zoom call from her London studio. To bring some glamor to a fashion week without shows, he has recruited three generations of well-known women to star in a video from his collection shot on an iPhone at his home during the confinement. Their identities are under wraps until Monday’s online premiere.
“The past year has put a completely different perspective on fashion for me,” she said. “I felt like this season had to be about family and home and how valuable the little things in life are.” She has softened her tailoring, with soft robe-style belts on oversized jackets. “It’s a stylish version of what we wear at home, but it’s still cozy. We may want to look a little smarter, but we still want to be comfortable. “
The world of fashion has come true. “I think we have come to understand how to live better at home,” says Emilia Wickstead, whose clothes are a favorite of the Duchess of Cambridge. “To cook a delicious meal instead of being home late from work and being in a rush all the time. I think we will entertain ourselves with the idea of dressing at home more than before. “
For Preen’s Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi, this season “came out of our confinement experience. Easy, comfortable fabrics and coats you can wrap yourself in. ”A wood fire blazed in the background of Zoom from former Vogue fashion editor Lucinda Chambers, co-designer with Molly Molloy de Colville, as she raved about the coats. Recycled colored patchwork quilts from second-hand jackets and tracksuits.
“I don’t think anyone is looking for a new black bag right now,” Chambers said. “Clothes should improve the lives of everyone involved.” Colville’s colorful bags, made by a women’s cooperative on Colombia’s Guajira peninsula, “have brought these women income for a year in which they have had no income from tourism. It’s as much about them as it is about us. “
The limitations and distractions of locked life are reflected everywhere. Hatter Stephen Jones, who has spent his career traveling between London and Paris, pays tribute to his love for France in a collection that includes a croissant-shaped velvet hat. Designer Edeline Lee has built on the lockdown podcast trend and will use her slot in the schedule to stream an audio-only podcast on the topic of clothing and memory, rather than photos from her latest collection.
Bora Aksu took advantage of an empty Tate Britain to film her collection, which, she said, made her “appreciate how incredibly lucky we are to have these incredible museums.” Searching for positive stories of isolation, he found the story of Sophie Germain, a renowned physicist and mathematician.
Growing up in revolutionary Paris, Germain was locked inside for safety, where she went to her father’s library, discovering “a passion for mathematics and physics that would never have ignited if she had been attending girls’ schools in Paris. that time, “Aksu said. . Her collection includes a gold silk taffeta ball gown that symbolizes the awards Germain won for her work.
Aksu isn’t the only designer honoring a scholarly scientific muse this season. Gabriela Hearst, who will soon make her debut as Chloe’s creative director in Paris, also looked beyond the usual silver screen icons and named medieval natural scientist Hildegard de Bingen as the inspiration for the latest collection on her eponymous New York label.
Jane Shepherdson, the former Topshop boss who now runs rental platform MyWardrobe, chaired a London Fashion Week panel discussion with Belstaff to mark the extension of luxury rental and resale models to menswear. Shepherdson described her “rental epiphany” by realizing: “It was pretty much the only thing that still allowed me to enjoy fashion without feeling guilty.”
Sustainability, which is no longer a fringe issue, is fundamentally changing the infrastructure of the industry. Temperley recently moved the London headquarters to a large Victorian building in the center of Ilminster, Somerset. A boutique sells Temperley clothing, a bar serves cider from his parents’ nearby farm, and on-site manufacturing and storage is under development.
The double whammy of Covid and Brexit forced Temperley to “think outside the box” to move out of the capital and produce more clothes in Britain. Leather and tulle are produced in factories in Somerset, while outerwear is manufactured in Dorset. “It has been very nice to bring to life a building that had been empty for 15 years in the middle of a commercial city. We are employing local people and working with local businesses. Covid forced this to happen and to be honest it probably saved us. “
London fashion week has faced criticism from parliamentarians for a new sponsor joining to back its financial support for fashion companies struggling in current economic conditions. Clearpay is a market leader in the buy now pay later credit system that has become popular with online shoppers during the pandemic.
Clearpay partners with established retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Asos, but the Financial Conduct Authority cautioned that credit checks should be mandatory to protect consumers from the debt crisis. Labor MP Stella Creasy wrote a letter, signed by 60 MPs, calling for Clearpay’s promotion during London Fashion Week to be accompanied by financial warnings.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism