From 1970s embroideries at Holly Fulton to heart cut-outs and sequin embellishments at Ashish, surface texture has been a key look on the catwalk. Meanwhile, other favourite London denim designers like Marques Almeida and newcomer Faustine Steinmetz explored their luxe take on destruction with delicately frayed hems. It’s fair to say the denim coming out of LFW was strong – and these are our top 10 denim looks to look out for in Spring/Summer 2016…
1. Holly Fulton
Known for her penchant for denim design, Holly Fulton presented a super 1970s-inspired collection packed with retro references. Raw denim gave a smartened-up, geeky attitude to blousons and sky-high waisted flares, while the all-over ornate floral embroideries stole the show.
2. Henry Holland
More 1970s style came from East London’s fashion darling Henry Holland who gave his youthful spin on the era with a collection described by Holland as “psychedelic, trippy, and eccentric” and inspired by 1998 cult movie Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas. The collection carried Holland’s evolution still further, from kooky purveyor of slogan tees to tick-all-boxes designer house. Key denim pieces included playful ruffle dresses and raw denims layered with cracked metallic prints.
3. Versus Versace
Spring 2016 marks Anthony Vaccarello’s second official season as Versus by Versace’s creative director. The Belgian designer went full on rock’n’roll for LFW showing bringing a tough mix of leather and denim. A series of pieces like boyfriend jeans and denim bombers came layered in embroidered and printed brooding roses and dark floral blooms – presenting Vaccarello’s first dip into the casual market.
4. Faustine Steinmetz
LVMH Prize finalist and Central Saint Martins alumni, Faustine Steinmetz brought a surreal start to the weekend at the Institute of Contemporary Arts where she delivered her third presentation at LFW. Models were half in, half out of the walls, with pierced and painted nails dangled bags out, a pair of legs hung here and a face appeared there. This way, the focus remained on her designs, the pieces themselves and what she’s doing. Anyone familiar with Faustine’s work will know the painstaking amount of hard labour that goes into hand-weaving, embroidery and meticulously destructing her designs. S/S 16 saw her continue with her experimentation of luxe takes in denim – and to the nth degree, with lengthy frays, embroidered florals embellishments, jacquard fades and intricate folds. Be sure to check out the full collection here.
5. MM6 Maison Martin Margiela
One of the most highly-anticipated shows of the season was the diffusion line of namesake Margiela label, and the Parisian label didn’t disappoint. A gritty warehouse in the East End was the perfect backdrop to the MM6 collection, which took its cue from the areas eclectic creative community. A wall of analogue recording equipment cemented the mood. As the models took to the catwalk they stopped to choose their own soundtrack and the audience was transported into an industrial warehouse rave. These gender fluid club kids came well prepared for an all-nighter, wearing thrown together and thrifted outfits awash in sequins, metallic and synthetic plastics.
6. Claire Barrow
It’s been a six seasons since we saw Claire Barrow show off her painted leather jackets at Fashion East and three years is a good amount of time to develop. She teamed those leathers she started out with (now screen-printed, not painted) with silky playsuits, jersey and denim. The Westminster alum showcased the collection, Broken Machines, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Inspired by our subconscious and our increasing addiction to technology, Barrow portrayed her own dystopian modern reality.
7. J.W. Anderson
While not strictly denim, London’s most promising designer explored a range of denim silhouettes through a range of technical designs and future fabrics. Classics like the trucker jacket and flare were reimagined through Anderson’s mannish tailoring with overlock stitch trim, like someone turned the whole thing inside out. In addition, high collars added nodded to Eighties references – a JW favourite.
As with every season, you always know whats in store at an Ashish show – sequined denim. But for Spring he gave us so much more. Sequins swerving down the catwalk on skateboards and gender fluid fashion flowing down the catwalks. Along with a crop of female models, the designer continued his approach to gender and ethnic-neutral designs with a cast of models of all skin tones, genders, sizes, shapes and personalities. Girls and guys came down the runway in embellished truckers and slouchy 1990s jeans splashing out shimmering discs like fairy dust for what was one of the coolest shows of LFW.
9. Topshop Unique
While the premium line of the high-street pillar wasn’t packed with denim, the collection featured a few key pieces that will no doubt be a sure hit for Spring 2016. The collection was mainly filled with flirty and playful takes on throwback 1980s suits but a casual-wear edge was added through a select few bright cast denim pieces like these sharp capri jeans as well as neat pencil skirts.
10. Marques Almeida
Last, but by no means least our favourite denim label out of London was LVMH Prize winner Marques Almeida. As the buzz label of London right now, the show drew quite the fashion crowd, with cult devotees of the duo turning out in current and archive pieces of the label in a fiesta of ripped, diced and shredded denim. The Spring show was much about the growth of the brand, but also about drilling back into their raw identity. This meant rifling back through their archives and updating signature denim pieces upon which they built their name, with asymmetric hems and necklines and tiers of cascading frills, as well as the experimentation of denim silhouettes in non denim materials like raw silk and leather.
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