The more I think about it, the more bizarre it seems that right now, as we try to eke out the last remaining rays of summer, London Fashion Week is showing us trends and styles coming for next spring and summer – 2017.
We’ve got the whole of autumn to get through before that, and then Christmas, followed by New Year and the bitter chills of January and February. And yet here we are, looking at next year’s summer clothes and accessories. It just doesn’t seem right or fair, especially not now, as we reluctantly pack away our holiday cottons and sandals.
Mind you, it’s hard to keep track of who’s showing what when. For example, Topshop Unique has decided to follow the trend started by Burberry, that is, to do away with the idea of showing clothes that customers can’t buy until six months later, instead offering collections available right here, right now.
Star-studded front rows are what we have come to expect from London Fashion Week, and Foxes, Lady Kitty Spencer and Ellie Goulding were all at the Topshop Unique show at Old Spitalfields Market – the brand always attracts the ultra-cool celebs. It presented a season-neutral collection drawing inspiration from the 1980s London market scene, when Hyper Hyper was the place to buy streed-cred clothing, be it Army surplus gear or net party dresses, and punks mingled with New Romantics and Buffalo boys over at Camden Market.
The 1980s New York club scene was also an influence – witness Topshop’s zebra-print slinky dresses – and in fact the 1980s in general is still inspiring a great deal of fashion, with power shirts, huge gold earrings and blow-dries appearing on the catwalk at Mother of Pearl, and more ’80s influences at Preen.
There’s a sporty ’90s vibe too, which you can actually mix in with ’80s styles to update for 2017. Or 2016, depending on the brand’s view of what it should be showing. What will happen with all this season-shifting, and when exactly the fashion world will make up its mind to achieve some kind of unity on the matter, is anyone’s guess (a bit like Brexit).
Meanwhile, it was all back to boarding school at Mulberry with the blazer taking centre stage on the catwalk. It was oversized and boxy in claret and navy white-edged stripes and adorned with jewelled kilt pin brooches. Teamed with loose culottes, tailored with wide front pleats so they looked like shorts, the overall effect was flamboyant and rather French Revolution-esque, with frills and lots of asymmetry (which is going to be huge next year, by the way).
This was the second collection from Spanish designer Johnny Coca, former head of accessories at Celine. There’s a new Mulberry bag coming called the Cherwell, designed a bit like a lunchbox, so look out for that.
Talking of accessories, Converse All Stars were spotted at the Hannah Weiland show, providing a tougher street edge to voluminous feminine shapes in gingham and patterned shirting. Get ahead of the trend by investing in them now and teaming them with long-sleeved, tiered, floaty maxi dresses (another trend, seen at Daks) for a chic transitional look.
For those who prefer to keep it elegant, there was a simple, pared-back aesthetic in crisp pale cottons, loosely tailored with deep pockets, old school safari style. See Barbara Casaola’s collection. Aquascutum draped their trench coats over leather, for a sexy styling take on a classic outerwear piece.
Oh, and major hair trend alert at Peter Jensen, where long hair was knotted under the chin like a head scarf, and topped off with a wide-brimmed straw hat. Sometimes these hair scarves were also covered with an actual head scarf. Anyway, we might get used to it. In time.