London Fashion Week took place virtually from Thursday 17th to Tuesday 22nd September 2020, inviting both womenswear and menswear designers to take part in its gender-neutral showcase.
In a fashion week first, members of the public were invited to see the looks debuting this season, with many designers choosing to broadcast their latest collection via live-stream, with shows taking place on the British Fashion Council’s website. Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, all real-life catwalk shows were traded for live-streamed broadcasts. However, a handful of designers had the opportunity to host in-person appointments in line with social distancing protocols.
Although previously confident that both physical and virtual shows would be possible, the announcement of restrictions being imposed ‘increasingly likely’ interrupted these hopes. With social gatherings – meeting with those who you don’t live with – capped at 6 people, the possibility to running a physical show, even on a scaled level, would be impossible. In an interview with The New York Times, Victoria Beckham, who was preparing to unveil her collection at the time said:
“Showing the collection to you like this feels so much more intimate and appropriate for this moment. Lockdown gave me a moment to pause, think and remember why I fell in love with making clothes in the first place.”
These digital showcases offered a uniquely inclusive experience for fans and designers alike, exploring what the future could hold for physical fashion shows.
Paying tribute to frontline workers, Halpern requested that they model the garments. This collection doesn’t attempt to ignore what is happening in the world. In an interview with Vogue, Halpern explains the process of reaching out to Transport for London, the National Health Service, and Home Care Plus, noting that it really “grew from there”. Models include Arianna, a senior ICU nurse at Homerton Hospital; Odiri, a train line manager; and Latifah, a train operator for the London Underground, among others.
“It felt antiquated to do a runway show right now. We had an opportunity to make a collection and show our support for these frontline workers by giving them a great day, to get dressed up and have their hair and makeup done. The concept wasn’t a grand idea, it just made sense.”
One of a handful of designers, Rocha held a small live presentation, with editors and buyers scheduled at intervals. In an interview with The Cut, Rocha admitted that although limiting, she would rather display the collection in a small way that still afforded a person their comfort, so as not to neglect the hard work that had been poured into the collection, or the clothes themselves.
“I’d rather show ten actual looks to two people for ten minutes than not being able to show anything at all. It felt really important to do that.”
Rocha’s attention to detail enhances what could be an ordinary dress or jumpsuit. Her collection definitely channels postmodernism and will undoubtedly be seen on many big names this season.
After spending weeks in her pyjamas – like most of us – Wickstead began dressing herself up again. Emphasizing once again the transformative power our clothing can have. An article published by Women’s Wear Daily cites this as the power that inspired her to begin working on the collection that has now made its debut.
“I want to educate my customers about keeping the fantasy alive in fashion and not losing the dream. But at the same time, we’ve all gone through a huge trauma, and should dress for our time.”
The post-pandemic-party dresses invites a season of change along with the weather. Although 2020 was fairly uneventful in terms of social events, that doesn’t mean we should discount the fashion decisions to be made come 2021. Wickstead not only invites us into this fantasy with her, she excites us by bringing hope beyond the pandemic.
Given the unprecedented nature of the last 6 months – Osman Yousefzada admits that is SS21 collections is much smaller than usual, with about 50 pieces in total.
Like many, Yousefzada presented his latest collection via a short film aptly titled “Here to Stay”. The moving piece addresses social issues affecting the world currently, including the Black Lives Matter movement and similar racial inequalities that exist in society.
The voice over that accompanies the film was a poem a co-written by Yousefzada and Mackayla Forde. Yousefzada acknowledges the “chant” in the piece as one echoed by his uncles and cousins in the 80’s, saying
“The chant still feels relevant today, at a time when BLM activism has given a voice to marginalised communities.”
What’s Trending & Street Style
Blazers, loungewear collars and power trousers have all found their place in this seasons street style. Thanks to various global lockdown periods, it’s no surprise that loungewear has solidified itself in the fashion lexicon. Especially as most have found themselves clad in their pyjamas in the middle of the day.
However, it was the power of a good blazer, trousers and collar that swept through and took the cake for best street style during London Fashion Week this season.
Although completely unnatural in comparison to previous years, the Spring/Summer 21 London Fashion Week was far from a bust. It delivered timeless pieces in a diverse way that has allowed access unlike ever before. Opening up the industry on a global scale such as this offers opportunity and inspiration to the next pioneers of the fashion world, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.
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