Fashion collided head-on with technological advances at London Fashion week this year – from colour-changing polymers to nano-ceramic jewellery – room was left to pay homage to past legacies and the bucolic beauty of more traditional styles. The Panoptic were present to witness the world's best fashion designers exhibit their best work.
Bora Aksu featured pleated organzas and silk tulles with velvets inspired by military surgeon James Barry – née Margeret Bulkley – who pretended to be male in order to practice medicine. Lu Mei’s collection focused on retro poster art on re-designed winter-sportswear featuring soft and water-repellent cotton. Vinti Andrews assembled vintage items in patchwork – creating shirt/sweatshirt hybrids in a business meets grunge aesthetic. Korean duo BESFXXK also combined functionality of multiple garments with detachable shoulders and buttons, transforming the garment fit instantly.
Xu Zhi promoted his use of an eclectic hand-painting technique on translucent PV material alongside embroidered crystals. Nabil Nayal is an Elizabethan craftsman and current research doctorate; he showcased his signature bonded pleat – part cotton laminated with 2 pieces of plastic which can be machine-washed without damage.
Ethical fashion was prominent with designers using Tencel closed-loop factory produced biodegradable fabrics as well as ‘non-violent’ silk which prevents silk-worms from dying after producing the raw material. Sustainable development and eco-friendly fashion were also key words on the runway this season as designers sought to push the boundaries of ‘compostable fashion’, whereby garments stop contributing to landfill waste. Vin+Omi showcased their use of rPET (a 50% lower carbon footprint Polyester) and breathable, perishable fabrics.
This season saw a wave of designers wrapped around the Fashioned by Nature belt – these pushed textile engineering innovations by showcasing melt polymers which change colour if washed at high temperatures as well as numerous materials made of edible or food waste components including gold pineapple leaf and mushroom leathers or orange peel and apple skin fabrics. Even sequins were made of recycled plastic. This year’s LCF Kering Award was given to Dian-Jen Lin who explored the making of garments which photosynthesise by blending a matrix of biodegradable fibres with oxygen-producing microorganisms.
All-metallic dresses and bralets were made by Marrknull, whose inspiration is drawn from the Chinese countryside. Metals were also heavily featured in the Jewellery section – with Bar Jewellery featuring non-carved dripped metal for improved glossiness and smoother discoidal pieces, and KOVA Jewels featuring nano-ceramic e-coatings adorned with 18-carat diamonds. Räthel & Wolf pushed jewellery innovation by creating pieces which are worn on non-traditional body parts or in an eccentric way such as 4-finger rings or rings which travel around the finger nail or around circling the ear.
Amidst controversy with plus-size models and PETA protests taking to the streets outside Fashion Week, LFW nevertheless celebrated diversity in fashion – with amputee model Knelly Knox walking for Teatum Jones. LFW remains an event where designers and creatives alike can showcase their ingenuity and talent.