From Paolo Carzana’s iconic Fashion Week runway debut to Ahluwalia’s Black and Brown heritage-inspired collection, discover all the highlights of London’s SS22 season
Words by: Gilda Bruno
Calling all fashion enthusiasts that missed out on London Fashion Week to soak up the last rays of sunshine before a very-rainy-very-British week. Have we caught you red-handed? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back this time. Here’s all you need to know about the collections presented during yet another digital-only edition of the most fashionable event of the year.
AHLUWALIA’s SS22 Collection, Parts Of Me
Nothing and no one seems to be capable of stopping Priya Ahluwalia from her more than deserved rise to global fame. As a matter of fact, this 2021 the Indian-Nigerian designer, who has recently won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design and launched her first-ever womenswear collection in partnership with Ganni, is l i t e r a l l y achieving one success after another. Just on the launch day of her SS22 Collection, Parts Of Me, the London-based University of Westminster graduate has revealed her collaboration with British handbag label Mulberry while also becoming the recipient of the BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund.
What else could one possibly want? Some might say. Well, just wait to discover Ahluwalia’s new collection.
A hymn to Black beauty and its cultural legacy, Parts Of Me stemmed from the designer’s years-long research into Black hairstyles, particularly those trending in the 1970s across the US and the UK. Braids thus became the real protagonists and overarching leitmotif of Ahluwalia’s SS22 Collection, with braiding patterns translated onto garments — including upcycled, mismatched sweatshirts, polo shirts, retro-inspired knitwear, and more — in the form of embroidered designs, embossed seams, and eye-catching prints.
Ahluwalia’s first attempt at launching a womenswear line alongside her much-acclaimed menswear one, the collection featured, among the others, denim skirts and colourful knit, and silky shift dresses to prove the designer’s ability to work across designs and genders.
Paolo Carzana’s London Fashion Week debut enchanted the public with an 18-pieces collection designed to stimulate everyone’s senses — from sight all the way to touch, sound, and smell. The Central Saint Martins MA Graduate presented fashion enthusiasts with a suggestive line featuring second-skin shirts that appeared shaped on the model’s body, sculptural, voluminous blanket coats, and ruched trousers.
The otherworldliness and extravagance of the designer’s creations were further enhanced by the eerie piano soundtrack that accompanied the rapid succession of photograms showcasing Carzana’s latest collection. For this occasion, the finishing touches took the form of lavender, witch hazel, rose, and holy basil infusions, used by the Wales-based fashion visionary to provide each garment with beneficial properties. At the end of the day, who doesn’t love a little bit of witchcraft? And let’s face it, fashion is indeed pure magic.
BETHANY WILLIAMS’S SS22 Collection, All Our Stories
The fruit of years of dedication to Newham-based women and children community network The Magpie Project, Bethany Williams’ SS22 Collection merged the gaps between traditional fashion and storytelling presenting the audience with painting-like designs directly inspired by the stories of the Magpie families. Utilising recycled textiles and unexpected objects turned fashionable, such as discarded book covers, the designer stayed true to her sustainable stance looking at fashion as a “force for change.” A 21st-century rendition of Matisse’s mesmerising colourism, the collection — comprising tailored suit sets, dreamy loose dresses, and more — celebrates the folklore and childhood stories that “passed from generation to generation and continue to inform us in our adult lives.”
At AUROBOROS, the first-ever fashion house to merge science and tech with physical haute couture, the brand gave the public an oh very impressive taste of what fashion will look like in the (near) future. At its runway debut at London Fashion Week, AUROBOROS marked a milestone in the evolution of the fashionable world by becoming the first label to showcase a fully digital collection. Featuring 14 different pieces developed in partnership with the Institute of Digital Fashion, the Biomimicry Digital Collection was brought to life on a model in the flesh and shown to the international community via a digital presentation resembling a videogame virtual character creator. Pure science fiction.
But there’s more! Are you ready to bring fashion to the next level? You better be, as AUROBOROS has made all its digital garments available to the public via its website. All you need to do to try the future on is heading to auroboros.co.uk, select your favourite digital piece of clothing, submit a photo in natural lighting, tight clothing, and clear posing. Et voilà, your sci-fi fantasy will be delivered to you in 3-5 working days! Seeing is believing.
QASIMI’S SS22 Collection, Between Ashes and Roses
If AUROBOROS’ digital presentation was, hands down, emblematic of the next generation of fashion, QASIMI reminded us that there wouldn’t be any future whatsoever without the legacy of the past. With Surrey’s St. Anne’s court serving as the perfect frame to the sinuous lines of the collection, Hoor al-Qasimi’s SS22 garments stood out clearly against the Eden-like landscape and clear blue sky provided by the location. Playing with layers, colours, and contrasting textiles, Between Ashes and Roses perfectly embodied the multicultural origins of the brand and how this attempts to bring the Western and Middle Eastern worlds closer together. The natural tones of the garments and their often loose and silky texture appeared as direct references to Sharjah, the designer’s hometown, and the desert, with minimalistic cuts and innovative designs giving a nod to Khalid al-Qasimi’s Central Saint Martins background. Local craftsmanship served as a key element throughout the collection, which featured, among the others, traditional details such as tarboushas and Middle Eastern artisanal techniques including safeefah.
PREEN BY THORNTON BREGAZZI’S SS22 Collection, Resort 2022
We wrap up this Collectible DRY-curated LFW review with Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Resort 2022, an idyllic, romantic, and slightly bucolic look at fashion and the power of recycling. Characterised by the vintage vibe that has permeated the brand’s vision ever since its establishment in 1996, the SS22 Collection presented viewers with an outstanding proof of femininity mixing volumes and materials to enhance women’s beauty in all its possible connotations. Wide collars, puffed sleeves, flounced dresses, and checkered suit sets became the protagonists of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s melancholia-fueled, delicate digital showcase. Almost suspended in time, Resort 2022 perfectly encapsulated tradition and innovation combining retro-inspired looks with mismatched and upcycled materials. The result is an online runway that confirms Preen by Thornton Bregazzi as one of the leading forces of sustainable fashion.