London S/S 13 Denim Highlights

Last week was all about London! We bring you the latest and greatest denim highlights from the city’s runway shows:


The Ashish collection went back to school for S/S 13, but in the 90s. Based upon the unofficial “coolest girl in school” complete with Reebok Classics, a scrunchie and plenty of stonewashed denim, the look played with plenty of basic 90s sportswear looks, updated with a strong asymmetric theme. Items were deconstructed and reworked with Ashish’s signature heavily sequined surfaces. Two-tone jeans in upsized 80s fits and denim ‘n’ sequin biker jackets were the stand-out highlights, and number-printed jackets offered a playful update to traditional truckers.

Jasper Conran

Conran is not a designer traditionally associated with denim but for S/S 13, he decided to focus on a denim-heavy runway with strong Americana influences. Appliques adorned rigid dark indigo jeans and jackets with rodeo appliques borrowed from cowboy boots. The show also had a 70s festival vibe with a psychedelic backdrop, a lush green grass runway and very Woodstock jackets and jeans: peace signs, doves, and flower power patches updated classic denim looks. The designer also referenced Las Vegas casinos with images of playing cards and double cherries.


The Acne S/S 13 show was not particularly denim-heavy, although what denim they did show was modern, directional and interesting.  Creative director Jonny Johansson stamped the words “MUSIC,” “NEW,” and “COLLAGE” on T-shirts, spelling out his influences for the season. Basic denim garments were updated with straps and buckles, possibly a nod to punk rockers’ repurposing straight jackets and bondage gear. Denim was raw and rigid but at the same time lightweight, with a crinkled, air-dried look. There was also plenty of piecing and mixed materials, justifying the “COLLAGE” stamp and ensuring that the color-block trend continues for yet another season.  Johansson also wisely included the season’s all-important jailbird stripes, making his standout collection even more relevant.

Marques Almeida

Since graduating from Lulu Kennnedy’s Fashion East stable (fresh out of CSM), the Portuguese design duo have gone from strength to strength with their constant re-imagination of what denim can do, and their latest effort proved no exception. Presented on schedule as part of Topshops’s NEWGEN platform for new designers, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida’s S/S 13 collection saw the duo continue their penchant for distressed denim, playful silhouettes and feminine takes on neo-nineties grunge. Taking place in Somerset House’s Portico Space, the London-based designers presented a collection of asymmetrical denims that we’ve become familiar with. But they also opened up a romantic and girlish side to the brand’s defiant neo-grunge aesthetic with non-denim pieces like plush lilac chiffons and all-white backless dresses. A frayed white denim jacket embellished with lavender fur sleeves was a notable hero piece, while appliqued hand-sewn flowers saw the pair come out of their comfort zone.


Unconditional’s S/S 13 collection presented a mix men’s and women’s denim looks in tonal layers. Matching combinations of jackets and bottoms developed from monochrome pairings of grey and metallic silvers to full-throttle fluorescents pops. Silhouettes were slim, with textural touches of coated surfaces or PVC inserts at collars and pocket flaps heightening the looks. Sleeveless denim jackets with enamel hardware and cut-off shorts were finished with considered destruction at the hems, giving the clean and clinical palette unpolished edge.

House of Holland

The most iconic nineties rave soundtrack set the tone for Holland’s corresponding collection of blotchy prints and hypercolor denims that are ubiquitous of the era. Inspirations lay in the form of grunge, glamour and glory, with highlights including multi-color mixes of tie dye, oversized shadow checks, super luxe metallic floral jacquard and patent shiny leather. Holland has come a long way from the cheeky tees that put him on the map, and this season, he presented a much more grown up collection. The first set of looks was sophisticated, showing off technical cuts with fabric-blocked suits in blown-up windowpane prints. The second wave took on the more girly shapes we’ve come to recognize from the house, with 90s teen looks like spaghetti strap camis, loose pants and cropped dungarees.

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