London Fashion Week: What You Need to Know About This Season

3:19 PM 9/16/2016

by Stephanie Chan

Here's what you need to know from across the pond.

Harold Cunningham/WireImage/Getty Images

Just like that, New York Fashion Week is over and we've gone across the pond for London Fashion Week, running from Friday, Sept. 16 to Tuesday, Sept. 20.

This season, LFW will look to put on a week-long show post-Brexit. Though many designers expressed their disappointment following the Brexit referendum result, many seem to be moving on (or at least trying to).

"It certainly was not the result that we were looking for at all. Having said that, we do now need to make the best of it. I think the important point of all of this is to have clarity and stability as we negotiate what Brexit actually means for our country," Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer and soon to be ex-CEO of Burberry, told Business of Fashion during a London Fashion Week kick-off party Thursday evening, where he was joined by fellow designers Anya Hindmarch, Paul Smith, Mary Katrantzou and Erdem Moralioglu, as well as British Fashion Council chairman Natalie Massenet and Britian's new prime minister Theresa May.

Speaking of Burberry, the British brand will present its first "see-now, buy-now" show on Tuesday. Should fans want to preview the September collection, inspired by Virginia Woolf's Orlando, the luxury label has already teased some of the looks via Zoe Saldana and Lily James during their public appearances for Star Trek Beyond and the My Burberry Black launch event, respectively.

Ahead of LFW, here's what you need to know about this season.

  • Post-Brexit Fashion Week

    Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    Despite the fashion industry's initial disappointment with the Brexit referendum result — 52 percent of British voters supported the exit and 48 percent wanted to remain in the EU — and its possible effect on the business (a weaker pound and possible trade regulations), the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the country's designers are moving forth with London Fashion Week with a sense of optimism.

    Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, released a #LondonIsOpen campaign, with support from BFC, that shows "London is open to the world and is an international leader of creativity and entrepreneurship."

    "There’s a fantastic range of designers and talent on the schedule this season, highlighting the very best the industry has to offer – from big brands to independent retailers, the London fashion scene has never been more diverse," Khan continued in a statement. "The fashion industry epitomises all that is great about the capital and I’m delighted to see the British Fashion Council bring the industry together to support our #LondonIsOpen campaign." You can watch the campaign clip below.

  • Britain's New Prime Minister

    Courtesy of Instagram/ British Fashion Council

    To further push London Fashion Week's agenda as a global destination for creativity and innovation, the BFC has also enlisted support from Britian's new prime minister, Theresa May, who assumed her new role in July following former PM David Cameron's exit. 

    On Thursday evening, May attended a kick-off party for London Fashion Week at 10 Downing Street (the official residence of the Prime Minister of Great Britain since 1735), where she was joined by British Fashion Council chairman Natalie Massenet, Burberry creative director Christopher Bailey, and designers Anya Hindmarch, Paul Smith, Mary Katrantzou, Erdem Moralioglu and Simone Rocha.

    "The government I lead will do everything we can, including providing the right investment in training and skills, to help everyone, whatever people’s backgrounds, to go as far as their talents can take them," said May (seen in a white cotton Palmer Harding for John Lewis blouse above) during the reception. She added, "From our home-grown start-ups to international fashion houses – every business in the industry will play a major role in ensuring we make a success of Brexit."

    Given May's support of the industry and interest in fashion (her shoe collection always takes a walk on the wild side), it should bring some comfort for up-and-comers, as well as established creatives, to know they have an influential figure rooting for their work.

  • Burberry's "See Now, Buy Now" Show


    Along with designers Tom Ford, Rebecca Minkoff and Thakoon Panichgul of Thakoon, Burberry is also joining the "see now, buy now" movement.

    Creative director Christopher Bailey will present the luxury label's first consumer-facing runway show on Monday at 7:30 p.m. BST. Both the womenswear and menswear collections featured will be available for purchase after the presentation.

    As part of its September presentation, which will be held at Makers House in the heart of London's Soho, the brand has partnered with The New Craftsmen to showcase the work of British artisans and their products in a weeklong exhibit, Sept. 21-27, at the aforementioned venue. The display will focus on "the original works by a selection of makers who will use this space to experiment and create, using the collection’s inspiration as the starting point for their work."

    Last month Burberry released a campaign, timed to the September show, that starred musician Cavan McCarthy and models Alex Dragulele and Jean Campbell posing in Victorian-inspired looks that have been influenced by Virginia Woolf's Orlando (a novel about the representation of gender that was first published in 1928).

    The fashion house also teased the outfits from its latest range via Zoe Saldana and Lily James — Saldana wore a velvet gold jacquard long-sleeve dress while promoting Star Trek Beyond in Bejiing and James donned a black off-the-shoulder number featuring the same pattern as Saldana's look while attending the My Burberry Black launch event in London.

    Only time will tell whether or not the red carpet-to-runway strategy will convince fans to buy sooner rather later.

  • Johnny Coca's Sophomore Collection for Mulberry

    David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Mulberry

    Following his appointment as creative director in 2014, Seville-born designer Johnny Coca showed his debut collection for Mulberry in February and received rave reviews. 

    "Job one for any Mulberry designer is to offer must-have outerwear and leather goods. Coca nailed that stuff, no question," wrote contributor Maya Singer of his first offering. Samantha Conti, London Bureau Chief of WWD, noted, "It was a promising — if imperfect — start, with Coca keeping shapes and fabrics classic."

    Coca, who previously served as the head designer of leather goods and accessories at Celine, will present his highly-anticipated second collection for Mulberry on Sept. 18. Will he live up to the industry's expectations? Only time will tell.

    In the mean time, the fashion house's official Instagram account has been teasing what's to come, from a video that shows someone writing "Always Sometimes Thinking About You" in permanent market on the back of a model's white collared shirt to another clip that features the phrase "I Used to Be Punk Rock" being repeatedly written on a chalk board. Here's to seeing what goes down on Sunday.

  • Versus Versace Returns


    Versus Versace is returning to London Fashion Week after showing several seasons in Paris.

    Since Anthony Vaccarello departed the Italian label, a diffusion line of Versace, to join Saint Laurent, the upcoming collection will likely be designed by an in-house team given that Donatella Versace has yet to name a successor.

    Here's to seeing if the spring 2017 collection will live up to the success of past seasons.


  • London's Rising Stars


    Huishan Zhang, Molly Goddard and Teatum Jones are this season's rising designers — all who will present their own stand-alone runway shows this season. 

    China-born, London-based Zhang, who gained experience in Dior's haute couture atelier, launched his womenswear label in 2011 and made his debut at LFW in September 2012. Since then, his collections have been picked up and sold at Browns Fashion, Moda Operandi, Bergdorf Goodman and more. Jenny Slate, Rose Byrne, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kerry Washington and Bella Heathcote are among the leading ladies who have worn his feminine creations.

    West London native Goddard is described as a designer who brings "a clumsy and charming awkwardness to her silhouettes and fabric combinations." She received major attention when Rihanna was spotted wearing one of her tulle fluorescent green "Sophie" dress while strolling through the West Village in May.

    Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones of Teatum Jones kicked off LFW, presenting Friday and re-introducing menswear on the runway (the duo met designing menswear before launching TJ as a womenswear line). Spring 2017 featured colorblock tops and bottoms, as well as dresses in contrasting stripes and a quilted bomber jackets in delicate floral prints.