Our Pick of the Ten Best Embroidered Looks from London Fashion Week
If you go to buy tinfoil and find the shelves empty you can blame MM6 Maison Margiela who covered every surface of a Mayfair pub in tinfoil for their 2018 September LFW presentation. Given the collection was entirely made up of metallic silvers with a hint of monochrome this makes perfect sense. Since John Galliano became creative director at Maison Margeila in 2014 they has been in a near state of conceptual creativity. Although he didn’t have a hand in designing for the MM6 collection his influence and creative vision is evident. We particularly love this look with its razor sharp metallic pleats and dreamy glittering top. The whole collection shimmered with sci-fi nostalgia; the knee-length silver boots call to mind 60s Barbarella, while the polished steel effect 70s tailored waistcoat contrasted beautifully with the 80s disco explosion of paillettes on the high neck, long jumper.
Following on from the retro sci-fi styling of the Gucci AW17 campaign we’re excited to see fashion embrace it’s inner geek.
We love embroidery but appreciate that its allover application can often create rigidity, stiffness and appear weighty. Not so with this ethereal piece by Mary Katrantzou which instead delights the eyes like a delicate watercolour. From a collection rich with bold appliques this piece stood out as a prefect example of embroidery that can still surprise and delight you. Her embroiderers have used three dimensional bugle embroidery techniques that stand on end like soft brushed mohairs. This effect combined with the delicate ruffle detail, pastel colours and the overall silhouette create a lightness. The subtle dégradé in the density and colour of the embroidery add to the ethereal design and create movement and drama around the skirt.
Mary Katrantzou made the switch from dynamic fabric prints to lavish multilayered embroideries in 2014. It’s nice to see she continues to fly the flag for the fine art of fashion embellishment all these years later.
When people talk about runway shows the question of whether a look is wearable always comes up. With ready to wear shows one would hope the items are (as it says on the label) ready to wear but that isn’t always the case. It looks like Emilio de la Morena got the memo though, and created a catwalk of crisp, wearble pieces that you really could wear. Vibrant colour blocking, frills and rouching gave the collection a modern feminine feel while details such as the black goldwork lettering from Hand & Lock elevated simple t-shirts to the realm of luxury.
Central St Martin’s graduate Emilio de la Morena may be best known for his structured cocktail dresses but this collection showed off his ability to create soft and stylish separates.
An accomplished storyteller, Erdem’s collections always offer more than just a parade of beautiful garments. For his AW18 presentation he mined the life of Fred Astaire’s glamorous sister Adele Astaire, an american actress who married into the British aristocracy (sound familiar?) and lived for the next 12 years in a Lismore castle.
The rich fabrics, polka-dot veils and ostrich feathers evoke her red-carpet life of glamour and eccentricity while the tweeds and knitwear transplant us to her stately home country life.
The dress we’ve selected features a burst of jet black feathers through a festival of baby blue and yellow embroidered flowers. The pieces seems to occupy a space between life and death, celebration and mourning and encapsulates the perception of the glamorous actress retired from fame and inhabiting a Gothic castle.
Eighteen up and coming Indian designers presented capsule collections at the 2018 ‘Fashion Utsav’ which translates from the Sanskrit word for ‘celebration’. The second half of the show high lighted traditional Indian craftsmanship and opened with Priyanka Khosla with her collection ‘Imaginative Birds’ which celebrated simple crafts of appliqué and piping alongside her designs of kitsch and cartoon-like bird motifs.
We chose this look because together and as separate pieces this coat and full skirt really work well. The contrasting colours and subtle use of coral coloured piping make the pieces at once wearable and whimsical.
Most designers wouldn’t present a collection inspired by the erotic illustrations from the 1972 illustrated sex manual, The Joy of Sex, but Christopher Kane isn’t most designers. His collections frequently delve into human sexuality, nudity and bondage but strangely his AW18 felt remarkably tame, given the source material. The sexual illustrations, so shocking in 1979 took on a subtle beauty and were no more morally corrupting than a casual scroll through Instagram. Through the wider collection his motifs evolved and morphed, creating whole aesthetic transformations based on the same fundamental DNA.
Looking at the collection we were drawn to this thoroughly modern looking dress that combined blood red knitwear with an inky black silk. The smooth black surface peppered with veins of oversized crystals, like beads of sweat.
The season may have been Autumn Winter 2018 but Delpozo’s Spanish designer Josep Font was clearly thinking about Spring in his debut London presentation. Firmly established at New York Fashion Week the designer switched to be closer to his native Spain, and LFW is all the richer for it.
This collection was inspired by 1930s National Geographic images of water lilies and lotus flowers combined with the visual art of Inès Longevial. The pieces were feminine, modern, asymmetrical and beautifully coloured. Font described the collection as ‘pret-a-couture’ which is easy to see when you examine the piece we’ve chosen. The dense hand embroidery on the skirt and the delicate tambour beading detailing on the socks elevate this collection to the realms of Parisian haute couture while the clean lines and distinct silhouettes give the collection its modern feel.
J. W Anderson is one of the most exciting designers working today, who shows time and time again that he is able to lead the fashion pack. This collection was as varied as it was polished, and the sheer breadth of looks that made their way down the catwalk demonstrated extreme versatility. 1920s inspired drop waist dresses were re-imagined as lux sportswear and parachutes and flying suits morphed into coats and skirts. Even the 90s grunge aesthetic got a high fashion makeover as beautiful thick knitwear paired with billowing crepe skirts. The whole collection seems to defy gravity.
At Hand & Lock we love dégradé embellishments and the piece we’ve chosen has that in spades along with shimmering scale like strips of colour. The simplicity of the cut gives the embroidery centre stage and gives this slip dress a casual luxury. Expect to see something similar on a high street near you soon.
Combining luxurious materials and embroidery is a classic recipe for a great fashion show. The issues arise when designers, like chefs, over season and over complicate the main course. Japanese designer Yasuko Furuta has served a collection that is at once rich with ingredients and seasoning but doesn’t suffer as a result. She dusts knitwear with teardrop sequins, drapes plastic macs over fine silk trench coats and combines different coloured laces in intriguing layers.
This heavily embroidered ensemble is a great example of how luxurious embellishment across separate pieces can make a look cohesive. Furuta has designed a piece that is rich in materials, dense with embroidery and all the better for it.
With Alice Temperely all that glitters is gold, silver, khaki, bohemian and hyper-feminine. Previous collections have succeeded in being dreamlike and ethereal but this presentation introduced dramatic embellished metallics and military femme-fatals along with the Grecian goddesses we’re used to. Abstract embroidery, printed cloud-scapes and vintage postage stamps made up the eclectic motifs.
Choosing a stand out piece is difficult but we were especially drawn the the asymmetrical mesh-like embroidery of this piece and the military inspired badge detail at the hip. This gown succeeds in being both elegant and dramatic, heavily embroidered and yet minimalist.