Dispatches From London: Anya Hindmarch A/W 2015

The verdict from the front row

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The Anya Hindmarch show has become a real highlight of the London Fashion Week schedule. Yes, it’s because we want to see what she has in store bag-wise for the coming season, but it’s also because the staging of her catwalk presentations, masterminded together with Chaos Fashion, is always so imaginative and uplifting.

Before the a/w 2015 show started, there were clues that pointed to what her latest theme might be – the ‘Expect Severe Delay’ stickers that graced the invitations, the packed Little Chef breakfasts (complete with lollipops) that sat on everyone’s seats. It turns out that this season Hindmarch had found inspiration in an unlikely place: the M25.

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To set the scene, the slick black catwalk was set against a backdrop screening traffic jams and roadworks on the motorway and LED speed limit signs flashed up around it. Models emerged carrying totes and box clutches and ladylike frame bags that were covered in road signs saying ‘Stop’ and ‘No Turning’ and ‘Queues Likely’.

And there was a new development – the bags came this season accessorised with Hindmarch’s first ready-to-wear pieces: ‘I see these more as an extension of our accessories, rather than the launch of ready-to-wear. They are the pieces I want to wear now.’ Her dream wardrobe? Classically cut sweaters, blouses and pencil skirts, relaxed jumpsuits and statement fur coats and jackets, all similarly emblazoned with slogans and signs lifted from the Highway Code.

Then, the finale; The London Gay Men’s Chorus, each of its 100 members dressed in a white hard hat and orange high-vis jacket and trousers, appeared behind the backdrop and began to sing 'Pilgrim's Chorus by Richard Wagner, before half trooped along a platform to stand behind the audience and half lined the catwalk as the models took their final walk.

The experience of watching it was as joyful and playful as the pieces themselves. But the big question is this: if the much-discussed staging grew out of a need to make an accessories-only catwalk show, will the fun stop now that there are clothes to showcase too? We hope not.

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