As the curtain (read: streaming tab) falls at the end of LFW 2021, it’s clear that you can throw a global pandemic, a European exit and a national lockdown at the world of fashion and, like a broke LCF student, still cobble something incredible together. Aside from running as a digital-only event, it also brought together menswear and womenswear for the first time, bringing an eclectic, all-encompassing wardrobe of looks to as many people as possible. No enviable industry positions, press passes or rich parents were needed this time: just a decent internet connection and an eye for what’s hot.
Which, as it turns out, we have (two of ‘em, in fact). So, if you missed the action and fancy a quick catch-up, we’ve rounded up the most major moments of the week like a sheepdog wearing a mini Molly Goddard knit. From Drag Race cameos to karate world champs, farmer jackets to cherubic make-up, established labels and new kids on the block sparked talking points galore. Strap in and bite the bulletin, now.
One name was on everyone’s statement-coloured lips: Ahluwalia. We’ve been mega fans for a while, obsessed with the splicing of upcycled fabrics, collaged patchwork and Indian-Nigerian influences. It’s just been announced today, too, that Priya Ahluwalia has won the Queen Elizabeth II Design Award, adding to her rapidly expanding cabinet of LVMH and H&M prizes. We also had to talk about the film ‘Traces’ in more detail, so find our full take on it here.
But there was also another talking point in the form of the label’s new logo, a circular crest consisting of an ‘A’ surrounded by four afro comb illustrations. It weaves the collection’s narrative, one of migration, directly into the new pullovers, a dual-headed nod to the brand’s roots and the cues it takes from Black artists like Jacob Lawrence and Kelly James Marshall.
Unless you’ve been living under a boulder for the past while, you’ll know all about Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK stars A’Whora, Bimini Bon Boulash and this year’s biggest bop ‘UK Hun’. It was quite the treat, then, to see the two of them appear in Art School’s show, serving up striking silhouettes with belt-tied oversized coats, cut-up in concertina style. The rest of the showcase for ‘Ascension’, taking place in the Truman Brewery, shone a spotlight on trans and Black models, with slashed leathers coats, cascading midnight-black robes and glitter-red dresses heading up the wardrobe.
Most of us spent our days as a student watching The Chase and gulping down cans of K Cider. Harris Reed, on the other hand, has designed for Harry Styles, befriended Miley Cyrus, walked for Gucci and collaborated with MAC: all while still being twenty-four and studying at CSM. Continuing to put the rest of us to shame, he made his debut at LFW with a gender-fluid ‘demi-couture’ collection of electric, eccentric gowns (and some fuck-off cool platform boots). But, hey, I bet he doesn’t know all the Chasers’ real names off by heart?
On the subject of mad dresses, Molly Goddard unveiled (literally) a tulle dress that, she told Vogue, took thirty-six hours to make and requires thirteen metres of fabric. Labelled the Lina, its blue and black (nope, not that dress) colourway injects the puffy frills with a deep, mineral quality, and proves that the big dress is here to stay.
New York, Milan, Paris, Yorkshire. Well, kind of – Edward Crutchley collection was inspired by God’s Own Country, drawing on Coronation Street and taking us to salacious gossip in sixties salons, hair rollers and all. We hate to pick favourites but this is a serious contender for the best collection we saw: sleazy leopard prints are muted by beige, earthy tones and classic tailoring, topped with geriatric head-scarfs and upcycled coin jewellery. Right, who’s for hotpot?
Bora Aksu’s show was as close to a traditional runway as it gets, pre-recorded in the Tate Modern’s Neoclassical central hall without an audience present. The collection itself, though, was as exciting as it gets, an aesthete’s delight framed by a fittingly arty setting. Pastel pinks, sun-pecked yellows and urgent reds coated gowns and boots, while floral applique and chic berets finished everything off. The real Instagram-moment, though, was the flower-press make-up, a touch of whimsy to take us away from our Grim Reality towards a Grimms’ Fairytale.
Visually, the Vivienne Westwood AW21 collection was pretty much as imagined. It took inspo from the erotic painting Daphnis and Chloe, previously featured in a nineties VW collection, while maintaining the spunky, punky statements, British tailoring and check patterns that we all know and l-o-v-e. The best surprise, though, came via the collection’s sustainability. Over ninety percent of fabrics used were sourced responsibly, using recycled denim, organic silk, eco-printing and viscose from sustainably-managed forests. These days, guys, it’s punk to be green.
Nope, this isn’t some fashion world crossover featuring Bhad Barbie – we’re talking actual Barbie. The miniature gown created took eight days to embroider, harking back to sixties couture with a retro silhouette and shimmering details. ‘If we were able to show this season, Barbie would be our woman of choice to open the show,’ he said ahead of the show. We couldn’t love the collab more, and can’t wait to see Barbie hit Milan, Paris and New York (maybe this time she’ll be able to bring Ken?)