Glitter, florals and Victorian styles ruled the London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2019 runways
London’s best fashion moments were all about OTT opulence and big birthdays
Once upon a time, London was the city to skip if fashion month schedules were too tight. Now, editors are clamoring to get their hands on tickets to the city's must-see shows. More so than ever, London has a spring in its step and there was certainly plenty to celebrate this season. Bright young stars like Richard Quinn (who famously filled his front row last season with none other than Her Majesty The Queen, and this year opted for school kids) are attracting worldwide attention. Victoria Beckham and Mary Katrantzou both feted 10 year anniversaries and in the latest edition of designer musical chairs, Riccardo Tisci (formerly at Givenchy) took the reigns at Burberry, enticing Kendall Jenner to fly across the pond to walk her first runway of the spring season. And then of course, there were the clothes. Dramatic and embellished, designers across the board embraced a more is more attitude for modern dressing. Scroll through the top trends below to get a jump start on your spring wardrobe.
Extravagant evening wear
Stack your social calendar with gown-worthy events because London's designers turned out showstoppers. We first saw floor-sweeping, jet-puffed and heavily crinolined dresses in New York, but British designers have picked up the pace. Emilia Wickstead paired the prettiest ballerina pink sheath with an enormous grass green bow, Molly Goddard went with flirty flamenco ruffles and Mary Katrantzou celebrated 10 years in the biz with dresses decorated in real-life collectables (think gems, stamps, art and insects). With your wardrobe sorted, all that's left is to score a ticket to a gala event.
Sometimes trends are just about popular colours, and sometimes they manage to make a statement about the current cultural climate in the most subversive of ways. In an interview with Vogue, Erdem Moralioglu said that around the corner from his new home he found a plaque "dedicated to two sisters, Stella and Fanny, who in fact were Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, who lived as women in the 1860s." "Far beyond any perceived thrill of cross-dressing," he wrote in his press notes, "these were individuals with the courage to explore the power of self-expression." What could be more topical than that? This was the jumping off point for his Victorian-inspired collection celebrating all things lace and tulle. Erdem wasn't the only designer doing some historical digging. Simone Rochas' line up had a similar feel, as did the veils at Ryan Lo and Preen's puff sleeves.
Shimmer and shine are having a moment, but designers took the opportunity to get creative with the way they doled out their fairy dust. Ashish sent out a silver glitter bikini topped with a salmon pink sequined trench. Christopher Kane dripped oversized gems down décolleté. And Temperley London took a more ladylike approach with appliqued sequin panels. No matter how you take your glitter this spring, make sure it's statement-making.
Return of the English rose
If anyone could launch a trend in London, it's Richard Quinn. The young designer only just debuted his second runway collection but thanks to a very famous fan (her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), his star has risen rapidly. The dramatic, blown out florals in his latest show, a continuation from his fascination with florals from fall, are ushering in an era of strong, confident English roses. Delpozo's full skirts and Peter Pilotto's diaphanous gowns were also bursting with blooms.
Long live Burberry Beige
Getting into the Burberry show was like Charlie winning the golden ticket in Willy Wonka. It set the whole city abuzz. The luxury label's new designer, Riccardo Tisci smartly paid homage to the touchstones of British culture, explaining the collection is "like a patchwork or a mix of the British lifestyle." That of course meant the return of the trench, this time, trimmed in tiny golden rings and modeled by Kendall Jenner. But other designers latched onto that traditional tan trench colour too. Ports 1961 cut a collared polo dress, Alexa Chung showed her own version of the classic coat in suede while Rejina Pyo cut hers from a high gloss fabric.
Caitlan Moneta (@caitlanmoneta) is a Toronto-based fashion editor, writer and stylist. She's a firm believer that there's nothing a little retail therapy can't fix.