by Sara Khan
London Fashion Week returned with a bang in more ways than one. Autumn/Winter 2018 was all about bold colours, inspiring stories, and statement pieces. This year also saw Christopher Bailey's last show for Burberry, and the week ended with the Queen appearing in the front row for the first time to see Richard Quinn’s show, before presenting him with the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
Here are our highlights for Autumn/Winter 2018.
Since graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2014, Irish designer Richard Malone was shortlisted for the LVMH Prize, and was commissioned by the New York's Museum of Modern Art to create a custom piece for its first fashion exhibition in seventy years. He later joined British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN scheme, which also supports Nicholas Daley, to present his Spring/Summer 2018 collection.
This Autumn/Winter 2018 collection was inspired by the markets of his hometown of Wexford. The presentation was complete a soundtrack of traders’ voices selling their wares and rolled up carpets dotted around the runway. The models wore bright coloured apron-style tabards, wearing oversized jackets or carrying oversized bags, and had bonnets matching the colours of their outfits. As with his previous collections, sustainability is at the heart of Richard’s work. In addition to his continued partnership with the community of female weavers in southern India, who he has worked with since graduating, many items used recycled fabrics.
York-based, Matty Bovan graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2015 with an MA specialising in Fashion Knitwear. Having previously shown his work with Fashion East, Matty revealed his first solo show this week as part of LFW.
His inspiration came from the Yorkshire Moors at dusk as well as his grandmother’s wardrobe of tweed suits. Houndstooth patterns are seen throughout the collection and exaggerated tweed is featured by using chunky yarns supplied by Wool and the Gang. Knitted pieces are tough and shredded in various colours and textures meet at ‘off' angles, causing ridges, spines and fins to rise out of the surface of the clothes.
Ashish Gupta first showed at London Fashion Week in 2005 and went on to win the New Generation award three times. His story really brings home the saying "everything happens for a reason". Born in Delhi, he studied Fine Art in India, and then moved to London to complete an MA at Central Saint Martins. After graduating in 2000 his plans to work in a Paris design studio were foiled when his bag containing his entire portfolio of work and his cash was stolen. He quietly began making clothes for friends until being spotted by Yeda Yun, then of Browns Focus, who gave him his first order in 2001.
Ashish was also inspired by the humble market trader and the catwalk was transformed into a multicultural indoor marketplace with Persian carpets, mannequins dressed in suits, and graffitied shop front shutters. Known for his love of glitz and sequins, this collection sparkled as much as the last. Models wore sequin sweatshirts and t-shirts with household bank card motifs reworked to spell out American Excess and Viva L’Amore instead of Visa to highlight our consumerist culture. Many of the models also carried plastic carrier bags filled with groceries or wore Perspex clutches shaped liked perfume bottles.
Teatum Jones is a London based luxury label recognised for its modern, polished and bold aesthetic, speaking to super smart, creative and confident women. Having trained at Ravensbourne University and Central St. Martins respectively, the two were united by a shared love of human stories.
Their Global Womanhood collection was inspired by a collective of 25 unique women including models Munroe Bergdorf, Kelly Knox, singer Foxes, and activist Caryn Franklin. A film was shown as part of the presentation where each woman was asked a range of questions that took us through their personal journeys and memories of intense joy, sadness, and hope. The film ended with hope for future generations to see a path for creating social change through fashion. The collection reflects the strength of and passion of women through its use of materials and tones of red, pink, white, and blue.