Avant-garde fashion very often falls on the precipice of what most people judge to be wearable; more often than not it falls into the decidedly unwearable. However, quirky and unconventional were key looks across the catwalks this season. The Gareth Pugh collection in particular saw statue of liberty-esque spiked crowns, adorning the heads of models. These were worn with contrastingly slim fitted severe black dresses, decorated with mosaic gold pieces. Pugh cites the “greed and narcissism” of society, as the stimulant behind his creations. The golden spikes from the head wear represent the sun’s rays creating a further analogy of the warming yet destructive capabilities society has, which is an all too relevant subject. However, some designers focused on the more whimsical and casual side of things. Bora Aksu’s collection featured floaty fabrics and huge frills that seemed to take up entire dresses. Aksu’s preference for a lighter more pastel colour palette suited the outfits and demonstrated that clothing can still be beautiful and awe inspiring without following the rules.
The length and shape of hemlines have been subject to change since time began. Nowadays, the length of a hemline is usually just a good indicator as to the occasion. Over the past few seasons the sleeve has until recently managed to avoid much alteration. However, designers are now drawing attention to this much forgotten area – after all sleeves are not just there for simply practical reasons. Sleeves were a key feature of LFW SS17. Simone Rocha, Christopher Kane and JW Anderson collections showcased puffed, gathered and bell shaped sleeves, adorned in lace or floating way past the fingertips. Such looks are more commonly associated with fairy tales and wizards and may not be the most functional, but then fashion rarely is.
3.Ruffles & lace
After deciding that sculptural shapes and avant-garde style are on trend, to now look to the past seems a little indecisive but that is in keeping with fashion’s nature. Designers often use nostalgia and memories from childhood to inspire their collections. This season lace and ruffle have been revitalised and brought back to life, from elaborate trimmings on floor length gowns by Ashley Isham, to the ruffles that adorned the Zeynap Kartel and Erdem collections. These two classical features of fashion, more commonly associated with the Elizabethan period, made a huge reappearance. Erdem’s SS17 line was largely inspired by the British Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, and her court dresser Jean Ker. The jacquard trousers and suits in charcoal and cream floral patterns elegantly lace up using only black ribbon, highlighting the history simply in the manually laced up fastenings. The 17th century styles shone in Kartel’s collection with waterfall ruffle details, and high necked gowns and oversized cuffs, showing that the classics never go out of style.
In keeping with the occasionally outlandish nature of the fashion world, hats and head accessories cannot go unmentioned. There were the fairy like floral crowns in Bora Aksu’s collection, and the more stiff and structured spiralling details on the headwear from Sadie Clayton’s SS17 line. In contrast Erdem opted for shapeless black sun hats, which obscured the models’ faces and gave them the appearance of a DIY castaway look, while Christopher Kane featured more modern creations with distressed leather hats and Ryan Lo’s designs conjured images of the circus, with half piratical and half Napoleonic hats. The takeaway is, despite not always being selfie friendly, hats will be an essential part of the spring summer wardrobe.