London Fashion Week has officially transcended the seasons, with designers stepping off schedule to present their collections with a mix of digital and physical shows.
But that doesn’t mean designers let it dampen their creative spirit, au contraire. The likes of Burberry, Molly Goddard, Bora Aksu and 16ARLINGTON have pulled it out of the bag for their dazzling aw21 collections…
Riccardo Tisci, Burberry Chief Creative Officer, said of his collection, ‘Throughout my life, my mother has been this incredible force of nature. As a single parent, she raised me and my eight sisters with unfaltering purpose and pride. So, naturally, I have always been drawn to strong women and, in turn, they have also given me the confidence to express my own femininity. They are not afraid to challenge expectations and I have always been in such awe of their determination. They are warriors.’
‘I wanted this collection to feel truly emblematic of the power of feminine energy: a modern armour that captures its characteristic fierce aura. There’s an underlying attitude to the collection that’s very British; of being unique, eccentric and totally authentic in how you express yourself. This presentation is a love letter to women and a celebration of their incomparable strength.’
The result? An Autumn/Winter 2021 womenswear presentation re-interpreting modern femininity by shedding archetypes and readdressing preconceptions. At its core, the collection carries a sense of unflinching pride and conviction. With a sense of fluidity, looks reinvent tradition, twist classicism and encourage freedom of expression.
For Autumn/Winter 21, ERDEM is at the ballet: ‘The spirit of the collection comes from Margot Fonteyn in the period of her career when she began dancing with Rudolf Nureyev. In 1961 when they first met, Fonteyn was 42 and Nureyev was 23. She was ready to retire, but such was the alchemy of their performance that she danced on for nearly two decades. Their synergy transcended taboo and shattered staid views about the age of a female dancer and the arc of her career. Photographs from this era show Fonteyn off duty, backstage and in rehearsal, powerful with poise even in repose.’
Bora Aksu kicked off LFW in style, transporting us to Revolutionary France amid the tumultuous landscape of upheaval, war and isolation presenting a collection inspired by peerless life and achievements of mathematician and physicist Sophie Germain (pictured above). The same world that inspired the cries of “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité ou la Mort” also allowed the blossoming of one of the modern era’s most sublime and often overlooked thinkers.
The designer said, ‘Despite the 200 years between us, I felt an immediate kinship with Sophie. The isolation and uncertainty of the last year has caused me to search for new sources of hope and creativity. Sophie’s own isolation allowed her to find the ideas that would drive her for the rest of her life. In that way she has shown me that even in the bleakest of times, there is always hope, if one choose to seek it.’
Honouring the inimitable talents of the celebrated Vanessa Redgrave, Joely Richardson and Daisy Bevan, the Autumn Winter 2021 short film brings these themes of family and the human touch to life in a highly intimate, poetic and moving portrayal following 3 generations of incredible women. Set against the backdrop of their countryside home during lockdown, we witness their experiences captured honestly and lovingly over the course of one day in February. Shot via iPhone in creative collaboration between Roksanda, the family and female director and photographer, Linda Brownlee, a series of tender and fleeting moments are exposed through a uniquely feminine lens.
Always trust Molly Goddard to created instant mood-boosting, joyful dresses. Bright layers of tulle and bows, knits in neon colours and tartan galore made us excited for autumn dressing.
Creative duo Marco Capaldo and Kikka Cavenati were inspired by the work of artist Hubert Durprat this season, who is known for his ‘Caddis’ collection, in which Caddisfly larvae are captured furnishing protective cocoons from gold leaf, opals, coral and diamonds.
The AW21 collection explored this nothing with 16Arlington’s signature ostrich feathers captured under delicate netting in the form of belted overcoats and strapless, cinched evening dresses, like a butterfly in a bell jar. Crystals, brocades and fiery tones of red and orange further illustrated this.
Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
Preen also presented its collection via a short film this season, inspired by the maddening effect of lockdown. The label’s signature floral designs were set against a backdrop of an isolated country home.
Scroll down for some of our favourite looks from all the other presentations too.
For his AW21 Collection – Chalet Ariel – EUDON CHOI reimagines comfort and luxury,
creating a narrative for travellers near and far longing for an idyllic escape to the Swiss Alps. The designer’s own ongoing desire for escapism has become central to his creative process and this season he imagines a dreamscape destination, with a collection imbued with 60’s positivity and a luxurious take on après ski.
This season sees the evolution of the Self- Portrait wardrobe, adapting to the changing needs of the modern woman with a focus on elegant simplicity. Fabrics and constructions are pared back and lightweight, creating a sense of freedom and ease, and are all designed to be mood enhancing.
Rixo debuted its first ever bridal collection at LFW, available to buy now.
EDELINE LEE invites her audience to listen to Memory Of A Dress, in collaboration with veteran podcaster PAUL BAE and his anthology series THE BIG LOOP. Edeline comments: “We are all navigating the digital landscape right now, but my brand operates on a human-scale. How to cross the divide? Of all the technology out there, the digitally-native but intimate, connected environment of podcast and storytelling suits the ethos of my brand particularly well. Perhaps it is subversive to produce an audio sound-only fashion show. But we all know that a piece of clothing can hold much more significance than only its appearance. I wanted to contemplate how memory and nostalgia can be held by a piece of clothing...how the soul of a dress can inherently give the wearer a sense of stability, confidence, and power.” Paul states: “I have been thinking a lot this past year about isolation and what that does to our narratives about each other and ourselves and how to capture that in audio. So when Edeline presented me with this opportunity to collaborate on a runway show we only hear--it thrilled me to the bones.”
Temperley Autumn Winter 21 riffs on the revolutionary spirit of the late '60s and early '70s.
A collection of pieces for both dressing up and hanging out. An exploration of brand archetypes that form its visual identity, which is a process of constant renewal and positive experimentation at the heart of Acne Studios.
“This is a wardrobe that brings together the relaxed silhouette of sports casual with the tailored glamour from my dream of life in a band. It is menswear that is functional and minimal, with humour, sexiness and lightness,” says Jonny Johansson, creative director of Acne Studios.
For Autumn Winter 2021 Emilia Wickstead imagines a woman blossoming through the lens of cinema. The heroine is at the precipice of discovery and transformation. One world is ending, and another is beginning.
With the fashion world pivoting to digital for AW21 schedule, Richard recruited an iconic friend – Barbie – to tease his upcoming collection, creating an intricate, highly detailed and utterly one-of-a-kind miniature look for the world’s #1 fashion doll. Barbie wears a full-length embellished gown complete with crinoline. Richard says: ‘The look was all about creating the idea of white roses growing around the dress placed in a way that makes it seem like a seamless gown. A graphic silhouette allows the flowers to be placed in an organic way with a combination of shine and matt to add depth to the piece.’
‘The collection is inspired by the emotions of falling in love. Starting from the first moment, there is a lump in your throat and a nervous energy races through your body. Emotions cause a surge of excitement, as if you are going to burst at the seams. Yet amongst this excitement there remains a fear that any confession of emotion may leave you vulnerable. So, you protect your heart through a silent language, secretly communicating the words “I love you”. As you become secure in your emotions, courage grows and you accept that the only way for love to flourish is to open up. As emotions unfold, a deeper connection develops, leading to a tender feeling of comfort that allows us to fully expose our heart for the world to see.’
Drawing parallels between the subculture of Nineties grunge and the Bloomsbury Group, this season is about a community of revolutionaries, standing for the belief that art can be a conduit for change. The clothes are centred around the concept of wrapping, hugging and protecting in a time of yet more uncertainty and upheaval.