From Christopher Kane’s grunge-spun leather to Peter Pilotto’s frenetic prints, with all the strength and purity of Antonio Berardi and Acne in between, London served up a triumvirate of top-line trends for the autumn '12 season.
Leather and latex met print and colour, while clever cutting and powerful tailoring pervaded the capital.
Emilio de la Morena looked to wet-look leather to convey a new toughness this season, as London wunderkind Christopher Kane anchored his tough-girl collection with the material. Later, Erdem twisted his usual sweet aesthetic on its head by contrasting lace with latex – also employed by Vauxhall Fashion Scout Merit Award winner Phoebe English.
At the opposing end of the dressing scale, lady-like looks aren’t going anywhere for autumn 12. Hemlines are still fixed at the knee, or lower, see David Koma, Vivienne Westwood Red Label or Christopher Raeburn, while peplums moved front and centre at Antonio Berardi, who used intricate folds to create wasp-waist dresses.
The palette from the London shows (Meadham Kirchhoff aside) was largely dark, with black, and autumn’s perennial navy, burgundy and rich greens making a familiar return. But a riot of colour surfaced through print. From Holly Fulton’s fuchsia frenzy, to House of Holland’s Mork and Mindy stripes, there will be an opportunity to offset the gloom next autumn with a variety of textures and tones.
Talking of textures, knitwear at Marios Schwab and Temperley London was interwoven with embellishment, while the sleeves at Fyodor Golan on day one looked as though they had been dipped with crystals. At Clements Ribeiro and Issa, legs were given an extra layer, with leggings instead of tights worn underneath skirts and dresses.
Diaphanous fabrics from Dion Lee to Matthew Williamson took both a feminine and technical direction, giving a sheer, romantic quality to dresses at Dion Lee. In Williamson’s case, sheer fabric gave a technical direction to boxy tops that were teamed with more flowing fabrics, while elsewhere vents and splits on skirts re-iterated autumn 12's penchant for pattern cutting.
Boxy cuts and structured yet bulky jackets and tops were a common theme seen across the week at the likes of Acne, John Rocha and Roksanda Ilincic. Puffa or padded jackets were also a popular choice, cut in a sexy-fem way at Peter Pilotto and worn more oversized at JW Anderson.
Elsewhere on coats, collars were conspicuously absent at Nicole Farhi and Sophie Hulme, to name just two. Lucky, then, that last season’s roll necks will still be making headway come autumn 12 thanks to Paul Smith and Christopher Kane.
An altogether folksy direction surfaced on day one of LFW with Fyodor Golan and Bora Aksu exploring Russian peasant detailing back-to-back on the London schedule. The theme arrived though the use of appliqué and weaving techniques and carried through until the last day of LFW, when a rich Russian-inspired brocade was used by Osman in LFW’s penultimate show.