A haze of melancholy colored the proceeding at London Fashion Week autumn-winter 2020. Unlike previous seasons
, there were few blatant political messages seen on the catwalks. Vivienne Westwood was the only designer to use her platform to literally protest when she organized a call to arms to free Julian Assange.
Instead, the designers opted for thinner tails – stimulating soundtracks, bold beauty and moody color palates – to convey messages of general malaise and, in some cases, cheeky, gloomy, meditative.
But it wasn’t all fate and darkness, confident shapes and bold accents injected energy attacks in the week that offered a string of highs. Sophomore designer Richard Quinn triumphed with his nod to the London working style, delivered with melancholy theatrical and playful perversion.
There were punk and gothic edges in Molly Goddard’s girl’s clothing and Simone Rocha’s intoxicating romance, both staged in opulent historic locations in west London. Rocha’s show, set on a post-punk soundtrack, was dedicated to “life, love and loss”. Layered looks with aran wool, silk and lace evoke images of wild women pushing through the winds on the Irish coast.
Lena Dunham accompanied her first show on the catwalk for 16 Arlington, and Burberry creative director Riccardo Tisci launched her regular trio – Bella and Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner – to accompany her show.
London Fashion Week 2020: video highlights
London-based Korean designer Rejina Pyo injected strength and reflections into daywear with a collection that combined opaque metallics with sexy leathers and practical wool, creating a play of surfaces and dimensions – including rear cuffs, long-pointed collars, boots thigh high and oversized pockets. This was a clubgirl who became corporate.
Large jackets and coats suitable for the job were the protagonists of the Ukrainian designer Petar Petrov – who debuted in London this season – including a loose-fitting coat with a wide collar that was a modern version of a classic A line from the 1950s .
Victoria Beckham Autumn-Winter 2020 Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP / Getty Images
Victoria Beckham also presented a highly wearable collection supported by elegant tailoring. It surprised critics by increasing the brink of the signature, signaling a larger change in the turn for the brand.
Cheerleaders and art students
Molly Goddard, the London fashion favorite, showed a high aesthetic and finely tuned for art students. Doubling its characteristic Portobello Road style, the collection combines Alpen sweaters pinned with flowers with curled and climbing skirts with plateau, long cuff sweaters with Gothic crinolines and back to school plaids with playful oversized hats.
Molly Goddard Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: BEN STANSALL / AFP / AFP via Getty Images
After teaming up with Warner Bros to bring the spirit of their DC Universe character Harley Quinn – played by Margot Robbie in the recent “Birds of Prey” release – onto the catwalk, Mimi Wade’s girlfriend this season was the ramshackle rebellious sister by Goddard, in recycled t-shirts with scraps print, high-cut anti-dance dresses and pom pom bags suitable for a disaffected cheerleader.
Mimi Wade Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: Mimi Wade
Torsos and headdress
The voluminous sleeves were not the only actions to be taken over the waist. Richard Quinn showed rhinestone and spiked leather linings with spikes (reminiscent of gimp masks) and feathered lion caps. Christopher Kane made gel-injected harnesses embellished with jewels, superimposing them on bespoke party dresses and jackets.
Richard Quinn Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: BEN STANSALL / AFP / AFP via Getty Images
Wigs wider than the average jamb of Matty Bovan’s Friday night show were impossible to miss. On the prettiest side were Wade’s kitten hats above the ear and painterly hat-style bows floated over Molly Goddard’s head.
Christopher Kane Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: Christopher Kane
Legendary miller Stephen Jones
– the first and last word in a trendy headdress – celebrated 40 years of activity with a palate-style meeting in his shop in central London.
Simone Rocha Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha’s dynamic collection comes to you in waves ranging from pale ivory tones to entirely black ensembles. She also sent a series of bridal looks along the catwalk, complete with dramatic lace veils that add a sense of ceremony to her Sunday night show.
Dramatic design and atmospheric music
Hydrangea wreaths framed one of the huge walls in the cavernous neoclassical hall where Richard Quinn’s show was held. Huge doors opened onto this door of Eden, revealing walls and floral curtains in contrast to power – a repeated motif on some of the models’ head-to-toe covers – and British singer Hannah Grace, who performed melodic melodies, was accompanied by a string sextet and a grand piano.
Dilara Findikoglu Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: Dilara Findikoglu
Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu staged her sensual show in the National Liberal Club’s wooden paneled library, with cabaret tables lit by candelabra and covered with spilled wine, cigarette butts and strawberries (which the models tore off the tablecloths and they ate as they approached). Findikoglu does not avoid the show, with one of the models holding a white cat in her arms.
An extraordinarily long series of railway arches in South London was the stage of the Rejina Pyo show, with a soundtrack that included the pioneers of the Portishead trip hop, the dark electro duo Boy Harsher and the independent pioneers Joy Division that filled the drizzly night air .
Burberry Fall-Winter 2020 Credit: Victor VIRGILE / Gamma-Rapho / Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Tommy Hilfiger brought his traveling roadshow to London this season, staging a celebrity-rich performance in London’s Tate Modern. And Burberry completed the week with a mirrored epic set staged for an audience of 800 guests.
Pianists Katia and Marielle Labèque performed during a show at the large Olympia exhibition center.
‘God save the Quinn’
Then read the message embroidered on the back of the pearly king and queen-style jackets at the show of this ambassador just coined for the future of London fashion. Mixing up and down references – crisp tailoring, terraced house models, lush fabrics, punk plaids – Quinn launched everything on the catwalk: prom dresses, S&M, puffed doll clothes, night flowers and monochrome polka dots, as well as the sobriety of the 70s for his first men’s looks.
The show ended with an explosion of black tickertape, covering guests – including Billy Porter, dressed as one of the models in a glittering floral blazer over liquid black leggings – and similar models. Having opened the shop just three years ago, Quinn’s ambitious message was clear: she is here to push London fashion forward.