Sinéad O’Dwyer, Fashion East, Di Petsa, Connor Ives
For editor Hetty Mahlich, the word ‘inclusion’ perfectly sums up the first day of the London Fashion Week A/W 23 womenswear shows. Kicking off the festivities is Sinéad O’Dwyer who sets the standard for diversity on the runway have one of the most varied castings Mahlich has ever seen. Fashion East follows with an equally great example of casting with Mahlich praising Standing Ground's demi-couture, Karoline Vitto’s exquisite tailoring and kinetic hardware that accentuates the body along with Johanna Parv reshaping sportswear by putting women’s needs first. Womanhood was also on display in Di Petsa’s presentation, which Mahlich dubs her best collection yet. As for the male designers who presented, our editor praises Standing Ground’s Michael Stewart for celebrating the body, while questioning Connor Ives' dated take on womenswear.
Robyn Lynch, Mowalola, Simone Rocha
For day two, editor Mahlich notes of a general zeitgeist existing around the idea of 'cultural bootlegging', explaining how many of London's designers are taking joy in referencing their own heritage while adding unexpected twists to elevate each look. Firstly, Mahlich reports on Robyn Lynch's effortless 'holiday camp' - a distinct aesthetic that saw the designer imbue each look with her signature sense of craft and sportswear, playing on existing ideas of tying most of her designs back to family, just as London's other favourite Irish designer, Simone Rocha does. As Rocha's signature tulles and taffetas were out in full force, so were the famous faces that saw the likes of actress Camilla Morton walk next to supermodel Karen Elson. Ending with Mowalola, Mahlich observes that the Lagos-born designer also takes joy in referencing her cultural heritage, sampling a multitude of ideas to fit her own world rooted in psychedelia - working with a palette that sees the designer use vibrant acid greens, reds and blues on a series of cropped leather jackets and low slung bumpsters.
JW Anderson, Christopher Kane
'Fashion hasn't really changed that much, and it's not giving the designers space to think and meditate on their brands, ' Mahlich opens, noting it was JW Anderson's A/W 23 collaboration with the Michael Clark Dance Company that got her questioning the system. Instead of playing it subtle, JW Anderson stamped the company's posters onto knitwear, tank tops and accessories, leaving people feeling deflated at the scaled-down reality of the show rather than the Michael Clark extravaganza that the press was hoping for. Moving onto other London staple designer Christopher Kane, Mahlich observes how this season was all about personal history for Kane, with A/W 23 looking to barmaids, housewives and cleaners immortalised in lace, latex and sequinned jersey fabrics.