From Harris Reed’s sculptural extravaganza to Simone Rocha’s motherhood-inspired collection and Fashion East’s talent melting pot, here’s a round-up of this season’s most iconic runway shows
Words by: Gilda Bruno
After six days of pure madness channeled via countless pre and after-parties, street-style fashion battles, and mindblowing catwalks, London Fashion Week has just come to a close. An edition that — following the triumph of NYFW and paving the way for that of Milan Fashion Week (21-27 September) — put to rest any rumours about the future of IRL fashion events with a comeback to live venues that cemented the rise to fame of newcomers while also leaving room for haute couture veterans to spotlight their latest creations. Here are our SS22 picks, curated for you by Collectible DRY.
Set in the medieval church of St. Bartholomew the Great in the City of London, Simone Rocha’s SS22 show could not have stayed truer to the designer’s origins. Born in Catholic Dublin, Ireland, in 1986, Rocha’s aesthetics has long been known for turning ceremonies-inspired dresses — embellished with wide lace collars, puff sleeves, and sinuous flounces — into highly feminine silhouettes that perfectly capture her conception of beauty.
In London, the designer presented what could be described as her most personal collection yet: for SS22, Rocha’s inspiration came from her own recent experiences with motherhood (she has just given birth to her second child) as well as from the diverse changes — whether physiological, emotional or related to one’s own vision of life — that becoming a mother brings about. Through tulle flounces and detailed corsets, the garments’ volumes were purposefully exaggerated to highlight fertile areas on the models’ bodies, including hips and breasts, while still preserving the designer’s undiscussed elegance. Mixing neutrals with eye-catching shades of red, hints of passion in an otherwise angelic depiction of the female figure, the Irish native confirmed herself as one of the most inspiring personalities in the current fashion scenario.
At Richard Quinn, neon-like solid tints alternated with flowery motifs and colour-blocked voluminous dresses in a SS22 collection that dared to push the boundaries of fashion. The Central Saint Martins graduate, known for his mesmerising juxtaposition of contrasting prints and sculptural play of shapes, opened the show with a succession of jumpsuits that appeared designed on the models’ bodies thanks to the combination of delicate draperies and plissé trousers. Exuberant 80s-inspired floral tailleur suits, rigorously wore with black shades and standing out for their impossible-not-to-notice pointy shoulders, catapulted the presentation into its second act and final act. It was here that Quinn’s vision fully took over the runway in a game of layers and textures that, combining romantic trains, heart-shaped decollete, and Victorian corsets with punchy elements such as leather gloves and glitters, proved that there are no rules that can’t be broken when it comes to fashion.
Amongst the most captivating shows of this season is David Koma’s, the premises of whose collection had already been set by the unusual location chosen to host his Fashion Week runway; namely the London Aquatics Centre, a design masterpiece emerged from the refined vision of architect Zaha Hadid. The designer’s presentation kicked off with a series of one-piece swimsuits mixing pastel shades and neutrals to then gradually leave the floor to party-inspired evening wear, Koma’s specialty. Here, the models, whose head-to-toe appearance mimicked the wetness of the location just like it happened with classical Greek statues, and who walked on water in the most biblical of senses, presented attendees with outfits suspended between a revisited The Great Gatsby and haute couture punk. Just like in Quinn’s SS22 collection, neon shades and neutrals such as black and white were the colours that served as the leitmotif for this season. This time enriched with shiny points of light, including studs and glitters, fringes, and fur to outline the sinuous curves of the female body in a celebration of womanhood.
For SS22, Harris Reed’s minimalistic colour palette, composed exclusively of black and white, might not come across as the most striking moment of this season’s London Fashion Week. Still, this does not mean that the looks presented by the British-American fashion designer on the occasion of his debut salon show weren’t worth the praise of the pickiest fashion critics. Quite the contrary, the twenty-five-year-old Central Saint Martins graduate famous, among the others, for having dressed pop star Harry Styles wowed all the present with an upcycled collection that crumbled every obsolete definition of masculine and feminine to magnify the all-around beauty of the human body. For his demi-couture collection, the designer reworked ‘found’ Oxfam garments and fabrics turning them into astonishing and sculptural gender-fluid bridal dresses. A choice that of Reed which, combined with his eye for detail and innate sense of elegance — as demonstrated in the immaculate flares, drapes, and ruffles that permeated the whole collection, cemented him as one of the most innovative personalities on the international fashion scene.
Need a break from the pompousness of London Fashion Week? We’ve got you covered, or so has done JW Anderson. Introducing JW Anderson’s SS22 womenswear collection, brought to you all via a just-dropped calendar, and starring none other than photographer Juergen Teller himself alongside a handful of models.
The Spring Summer 2022 collection is JW Anderson’s sixth presentation in print form (aka a show in a box) and the fourth season in a row the brand has partnered with Teller. The lineup is an uncompromising exploration of textures, materials, and volume combinations where art deco-inspired handcrafted motifs adorn ethereal and delicate silhouettes. The decorations are made of metallic materials and used as accessories, straps, and resin rings. The idea of extreme combinations is expressed through dresses in shiny pink patent leather shown in contrast with dresses in light nappa, structured and floating skirts with fitted tops, and voluminous pants in Japanese denim combined with garments made entirely of crinoline. For this occasion, the JW Anderson Twister bag was revisited in a new mini version in pop colors. The collection also introduces the JW Anderson Bumper bag, available in three different shapes (half moon, baguette, and hobo), all with the detail of the rounded seam in contrasting colours. The same detail is also taken up in the Bumper Heel Sandal and in the Bumper Mule.
Maximilian (Fashion East)
If there’s something we learned from this edition of London Fashion Week is that not only fashion isn’t dead but, in fact, the industry is witnessing the unveiling of an incredible number of new talents, all determined to take the haute couture world by storm. In case you’ve missed it, Maximilian is one of the names — if not the most prominent one — vying for the title of newcomer fashion legend. A Fashion East’s recruit on the verge of success, Manchester-born Maximilian Davis channels the essence of Trinidad Carnival and Black Liberation through audacious looks that celebrate the authenticity of his cultural heritage while setting the premises for a real fashion revolution. Playing with contrasting cuts, textures, and fabrics, from reflecting vinyls to silk, leather, and semi-transparent organza, the collection of the 25-year-old designer of Afro-Caribbean descent embodies his desire to reconnect with his roots as a means of communicating and honouring Black elegance across the world.