Between September 15 and 19, London Fashion Week played host to over 100 designers on its Spring/Summer 2024 schedule. Skepta returned to the runway with Mains after a four-year hiatus, and fashion ‘It Girl’ and former adult film star Mia Khalifa made her runway debut for Knwls. Controversy erupted at Mowalola over a miniskirt featuring a print of the Saudi Arabian flag. While other minis depicting the flags of China, the United Kingdom and Japan appeared on the runway, the Saudi flag features a holy inscription. The London-based Nigerian fashion designer Mowalola Ogunlesi later apologized for its inclusion. Otherwise, the mood was upbeat; Burberry partnered with the British institution Norman’s Cafe, taking over their space for a week with a themed menu, the Jil Sander magazine kiosk and cafe popped up at Selfridges, and Gant joined with Dom’s Subs, bringing them to 180 Corner at The Strand and keeping fashion week attendees fed.
Keep reading for a roundup of some of the week’s most notable shows.
The family brand, which has been showing in Copenhagen since 2019, made its London debut with the SS24 coed collection Rewilding. Set in lush and leafy Camley Street Natural Park, the show was “a manifesto of the Norwegian way of life.” Models emerged from a woodchip surfaced footpath to walk the rain-dampened boardwalk with the long hems of their wide-leg denim and trousers, botanical printed chiffon skirts and fringe from their handbags trailing in the dirt. The muted colour palette and flowing silhouettes perhaps made the strongest argument for a boho chic revival. Holzweiler’s vision for this nouveau boho incorporates classic elements — like crochet and patchwork, frayed edges, leather fringe, cozy knitwear and floral motifs — updated and styled for today. Floral print boxers rose above the waistbands of low-slung jeans and a denim wrap skirt, the brand’s signature Cocoon bag was introduced in exaggerated jumbo and miniature sizes, and activewear basics like leggings, tank tops and crew neck t-shirts and long sleeves were layered into looks.
Ever the romantic, Simone Rocha all but ushered us down the aisle for her SS24 collection Dress Rehearsal. In a blackened studio at the Mulryan Centre for Dance where the English National Ballet rehearses, models paraded past the skeletal timber frame of a white chapel adorned with tin cutouts of herald angels by artist and set designer Rory Mullen. Feminine but not girly, the collection was inspired by the emotions, nerves and anticipation of the night before the ceremony, an intimate rehearsal without all the pomp. In lieu of bouquets, models carried roses fashioned from faceted crystal beads, jumbo faux pearls or pastel-hued taffeta. Others held onto ladylike top handle bags from Rocha’s new line of luxury leather goods or hardshell clutches in the shape of miniature two-tiered wedding cakes that are sure to find their way into SSENSE’s bridal edit. Also notable were the embellished Crocs that Rocha sent down the runway. Classic, heeled and sneaker styles were adorned with chubby pearls and rhinestones as part of a collaboration between the two brands. But the true standouts of the show were “the rose trapped tulle pieces,” as Rocha herself described them to Harper’s Bazaar, dresses shaped by the bulbous heads of the long-stemmed pale pink roses sandwiched between sheer layers of fabric.
Men are thinking about the Rome Empire, while women — at least in the case of designers Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons — are contemplating ancient Cornish festivals celebrating spring. The SS24 coed collection Girls Tear, Girl’s Tear merged the brand’s skate style with folklore told through the pageantry of Flora Day, held in the town of Helston each May. Good and evil characters were represented by their black and white ensembles, and a new brand archetype emerged as well, that of the medieval fashion fuckboi, as Dazed Digital so eloquently put it. That the runway show took place below a carriageway at West London’s brutalist skate park BaySixty6 was fitting. Of course, signature carabiner skirts were present on both men and women but this season saw the garments realized using solid white or black eyelet lace and the instantly recognizable pleated plaids. The corsetry was also new, with Lowena admitting to British Vogue that this was unabashedly their sexiest collection to date, as were the leather bags and shoes, which debuted this season.
“This collection is very much about making clothes, which is my favourite thing to do,” Molly Goddard told AnOther Magazine. In development of the SS24 collection held at Christie’s auction house on King Street, Goddard spent time in the libraries of Central Saint Martins and the National Theatre Costume Hire, browsing garments from the Regency period on: crinolines, Victorian christening gowns, Georgian underskirts and 1950s intimates. She turned these pieces inside out, examining intricate details like grosgrain strapping, internal zips, boning and binding. For her collection, Goddard placed hidden details on display. Dresses and bandeau tops were constructed with finished seams on the outside, showcasing the internal structure and labour involved in their creation. Skirts featured asymmetrical pintuck gathering on the hips and white ruffles bursting from below their hems, providing the illusion of layered petticoats. At the centre of the show came the standout pieces: felted wool cardigans that recalled vintage blankets with their wobbly satin trim, and a dress and skirt set referencing duvets with baffle box construction on their hems.
For SS24, Erdem Moralıoğlu presented an emotional and loving tribute to the youngest Mitford sister, Deborah “Devo” Cavendish, the late Duchess of Devonshire. He didn’t just reference the woman, who has already served as muse, but her whole world including the Derbyshire estate she helped preserve, the rare-breed chickens she kept and the bug jewellery in her collection. A family friend, Moralıoğlu worked with a jewellery and textile archivist from Chatsworth House. He was given access to furnishing fabrics from the estate, which he deftly remixed into floral quilted opera coats whose wax cotton sleeves and tartan linings revealed a collaboration with heritage outwear brand Barbour, a sly reference to how Devo herself would turn old curtains into upholstery. How he will recreate the antique cloth for production will be a bit of a magic trick. The chickens made an appearance in prints on dresses, as oversized gold charms dangling from chunky hoop earrings, and their feathery feet were winkingly referenced in the elegant satin, canvas and silver metallic footwear featuring floppy bows that grazed the ground.
At Burberry, Daniel Lee continued his exercise of exploring new brand signifiers. For his first collection, the Prorsum medieval knight on a charger was brought back as the new brand logo. Then, for Resort 24, a warped Prince of Wales check was introduced. There’s also been the addition of new hardware with shields and spears popping up on sunglasses, shoes, jewellery and bags as well as a buckle that is “a cross between a carabiner and a horse’s head,” Lee told Vogue Runway last season. For SS24, the buckle was cemented into the new brand lexicon as a print appearing on trenches, dresses, shirts and more. Lee is also working to reinterpret the trench with new silhouettes. Large welt pockets sit above drop waists accentuated by double wide belts, a refreshingly modern take on a trench older than Lee himself.
That a designer producing ten collections a year still has the ability to surprise and delight is a testament to the depths of Jonathan Anderson’s creative vision. For his namesake label’s SS24 collection, he opened the show by sending models down the runway in hand-moulded Plasticine hoodies and cargo shorts — the wardrobe of stop-motion characters come to life. The effect was disquieting as the hardened garments, shaped in a way to make them look in motion, mounted a silent resistance, twisting on the body with each step. While the material was new, Anderson has been undertaking explorations in movement at Loewe where he’s printed blurry images of garments onto simple white duchess satin shifts and crafted moulded seamless leather Polly Pocket-inspired pieces. This collection, which also included puffed-up t-shirts and pants made from a glossy fabric resembling plastic bags and dresses with hula hoop skirts, seems to build from there.
Roksanda Ilinčić returned to her roots for a SS24 collection shown in an enclosed court at the Grade II listed Barbican Estate in East London. This prime example of brutalist architecture served as the backdrop for a show inspired by buildings far older. Ilinčić looked to three Serbian Orthodox monasteries — Studenica, Žiča, and Gračanica — constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries and their intricate frescoes for references. Seeped in national heritage, her collection also played with items that would have been donned by occupants of the Byzantine monasteries over the centuries. “Gračanica for a very long time was run solely by women,” Ilinčić told British Vogue. “The clothes they wore were also a big inspiration for me — those worn everyday, but also the costumes for religious celebrations like Easter and Christmas.” Models moved slowly across the cobbled courtyard in the dramatic flat-topped kalimavkion hats worn by Eastern Orthodox clergy, some covered with draped and trailing veils. Shown alongside elegant overcoats and gowns made of shaggy fil coupé and pleated fabrics that looked light as air, the results were mystical.