LFW Diary: More brilliant showings from Peter Pilotto, Burberry, and Christopher Kane. Plus, Kanye shows up front row at Mark Fast!
It brings a tear to my eye that London Fashion Week is almost all over for another season—but my feet are not-so-silently rejoicing. A 9 a.m. start at Peter Pilotto meant leaving the house just past 8 this morning, but it was worth it. The Topshop venue, which is the old Billingsgate Market this season, always serves up coffee, tea, and all sorts of yummy dishes (yesterday there was a creamy soup with truffle oil; today there was porridge for breakfast); there’s also the NewGen pop-up where I scored the Erdem tank with a blue porcelain print and white lace collar and the Mary Katrantzou floral tee. Breakfast, shopping, and a show? Every day, please.
Peter Pilotto was truly amazing. Brilliant blue and green dresses with fishtail hems were accented by technicolour fur, sometimes in a stole, sometimes in the form of a square bib-cum-necklace. Whatever it was, I want it. Digital- and Asian-inspired prints prevailed, but there were also puffer jackets that, like fluorescent fuzz, have become another staple of the London shows.
Post-Pilotto, I stayed in southeast London where Christopher Kane showed for a second season at One New Change, a bizarre shopping mall complex that is (the four times I’ve been there) always astonishingly empty, yet houses outposts for popular stores like Topshop and Mango. The invite was a flexible piece of clear plastic with the show’s details screened on in pastel purple—the font turned out to match the carpet laid out for the runway and seats. For sake of space, I won’t bother naming all the attendees (with the exception of Emmanuelle Alt, Alexa Chung, and Sam Cam a.k.a. Samantha Cameron, the British PM’s wife) but I will say that I was a mere three seats away from Poppy Delevigne! Reinventing himself yet again this season, Kane veered away from the plastic-appliqued florals I so loved from Spring, opting for not-so-subtle, oversized leather low-slung bow “belts” on pencil skirts, a stunning woodgrain print, and a not-so-subtle palette of blood red and at least three shades of purple. Cutouts were trimmed with leather tubing, there was a pair of baggy washed black jeans with tuxedo stripes, and pinstriped pieces with the stripes fashioned from what looked like mink.
The afternoon shows included Michael van der Ham, Mark Fast, and Burberry, all of which were also impressive. Fast’s knits grew up this season—so much so, in fact, that normal-sized girls everywhere will actually covet one (or all) of his pieces next fall. Looser knit pieces in warm greys, tan, and creamy pink were punctuated by horizontal stripes on a cropped sweater, open cardigans with graphic vertical stripes, and longer dresses with chunky, dramatic twisted knit fronts. Did we mention that Kanye West sat front row and that Mark himself lost 50 pounds? Talk about a lean, mean knitwear machine.
London may have only regained the Burberry show a few years ago, but the season would feel incomplete without it now. Besides the usual starry front row (Clémence Poésy!), Christopher Bailey took another page from the brand’s English heritage this season, and somehow managed to still make it look fresh. Puffy toppers (shirts, jackets, mini-balloon bombers) were paired with skirts cinched with bowties and ruched belts, some with eye-catching (and covetable) fox-head buckles. I loved the shirts printed and sequined with owls, birds, and hounds and the super-fine corduroy skirt suits in chartreuse and navy. After the finale—a quilted plush velvet overcoat in aubergine with an open, flounced front worn by Cara Delevingne—and a brief rainshower that had editors tweeting “the heavens opened up” (guess it wouldn’t be a Burberry show without some form of real Twitter involvement), I left the building in the mood for a fox hunt on horseback through the English countryside.