London Fashion Week’s Best Looks

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London is the city of unbridled creativity, and the second stop on the Fashion Month circuit. See what the city’s designers have to offer for spring 2021 with the five best looks from each standout collection.

ANDREW NUDING

Simone Rocha

While we’re all looking forward, parsing out the meaning of “new normals,” it seems Simone Rocha was looking back in history, as she often does. Rocha’s work typically evokes modern interpretations of periods past. Hints of Victoriana and Edwardian inspiration are often melded with an ample dose of romance—all with a downtown, boyish bend. This collection had all that in droves, along with Rocha’s staple floral and pearl adornments, but there was something extra this time around.

This collection celebrated the female form—in Rocha’s way, corseting busts, at times cinching waists (a rarity for Rocha), and turning bows into hips. The collection felt ultra-luxe, almost like ultra-femme armor, referenced (it seemed) from historic kingdoms the world over. To protect against what, we wondered? Rocha answered that in her poetic show notes: “Sobering and exploding. Pragmatic and foreboding…looking for comfort and security in the extreme.” Whatever lies ahead, it appears Rocha’s woman will be prepared for it—clad in embroidered breastplates, with mother of pearl and faceted gem evening clutches the size of medieval wartime ball and chains, and “ergonomic shoes and souls.” —Carrie Goldberg

ANDREW NUDING

Simone Rocha

ANDREW NUDING

Simone Rocha

ANDREW NUDING

Simone Rocha

ANDREW NUDING

Simone Rocha

BEN BROOMFIELD

Molly Goddard

Bold brights; stripes and checks; ruffles on ruffles on ruffles. Sounds like a classic Molly Goddard collection, does it not? But Goddard wasn’t in the mood for her standard smile-inducing, frothy frocks when she first came out of lockdown. Per her show notes, the designer was feeling down, as we all were, and set out to design a more subdued collection, something “pared down” in all “neutral tones.” Until, that was, she understood the role she plays in making the fashion industry (and herself) smile, even in tough times. “As we returned slowly to the studio, after months of working as a team over Zoom, I realized how dark and depressing the last few months had been and more and more color crept in…” More color indeed—in clashing colors and patterns inspired by the Villa Menafoglio and Guiseppe and Giovanna Panza’s art collection, which features textured and messy Claus Oldenburg
papier-mache dresses alongside sleek and simple Robert Morris sculptures. While fashion lovers have always gravitated to Goddard’s designs, this collection will surely win her new fans ready to try dopamine dressing. —Carrie Goldberg

BEN BROOMFIELD

Molly Goddard

BEN BROOMFIELD

Molly Goddard

BEN BROOMFIELD

Molly Goddard

BEN BROOMFIELD

Molly Goddard

COURTESY OF MATTY BOVAN

Matty Bovan

The draping, tucking, and folding at Matty Bovan was so exuberantly over the top that it was hard to identify where one layer ended and another began—it’s Mad Max in technicolor. His focus on craft means materials and accents look as if they are churned out by a knitting circle rather than sleek industrial machines—which is a major pro for Bovan’s young fans, to whom rabid consumerism continues to look more and more evil. The show’s theme of “Future Olde England” was perhaps seen most clearly in the grand silhouettes, whose peplums, panniers, and heaven-bound shoulders signify that the wearer is worthy of notice. In olde olde England, that privilege would have belonged to the few, but in the future? We all deserve clothes that announce our presence. —Leah Melby Clinton

COURTESY OF MATTY BOVAN

Matty Bovan

COURTESY OF MATTY BOVAN

Matty Bovan

COURTESY OF MATTY BOVAN

Matty Bovan

COURTESY OF MATTY BOVAN

Matty Bovan

COURTESY OF RIXO

Rixo

Although there were no actual mermaid tail dresses or seashell bras in Rixo’s “Ariel” collection, the theme wasn’t hidden in murky symbolism either. The sea sirens were swimming through the colorful prints, bringing the sort of cheeky, playful attitude that devotees of the British brand’s hyper-wearable dresses know and love. Designers Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey continued to print-block with aplomb, but visual variety also sang out with oversized collars, keyhole backs, and a new focus on separates. Rixo has always been about fun, and this collection doesn’t disappoint. —Leah Melby Clinton

COURTESY OF RIXO

Rixo

COURTESY OF RIXO

Rixo

COURTESY OF RIXO

Rixo

COURTESY OF RIXO

Rixo

COURTESY OF BURBERRY

Burberry

The show must go on: That seemed to be the message of Burberry Chief Creative Officer Ricardo Tisci’s fashion-show-as-performance-art spectacular that kicked off London Fashion Week. Together, Tisci and performance artist Anne Imhof sought to tell their own contemporary fairy tale, reflecting the juxtaposition of the mystical and the natural. Models emerged from the woods wearing Tisci’s signature tailoring-meets-streetwear staples, which came in classic Burberry beige and a spectrum of blue tones, accented with fisherman’s hats in mariner orange. In a one-line synopsis, Tisci called the scene “a love affair between a mermaid and a shark, set against the ocean, then brought to land,” according to his inspiration notes. What looked like portholes—small, round openings based on the handle of Burberry’s new signature Pocket bag—featured prominently across Tisci’s spring 2021 accessories and garments. This added to the dystopian sense that he was prepping his followers for life on a new Atlantis. —Alison S. Cohn

COURTESY OF BURBERRY

Burberry

COURTESY OF BURBERRY

Burberry

COURTESY OF BURBERRY

Burberry

COURTESY OF BURBERRY

Burberry

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