Darcey Sergison explores the whole LFW SS21 digital schedule, allowing you to skip to the highlights!
Similar to Fashion Week in June, SS21 continues to face the restrictions of an industry under stress from the global pandemic. With the rule of six being implemented a week before this season’s shows were about to occur, we were all concerned about what another season under these constraints would hold.With this season being created from the isolation of lockdown, many assumed that this would lead to collections of practicality and simplicity for this new life of being homebound. Instead, I have been met with countless examples of how isolation has produced an abundance of creativity and flare.
As many designers decided to turn entirely digital or descale their shows to smaller appointment-based viewings, creativity and passion have still broken through. I believe that with the abandonment of catwalks, this has enforced a new age of presentations.
Moving away from the traditional catwalks and towards dance or abstract presentations has allowed many designers to stand out even further from the crowd. Digital has diversified how collections are shown to an audience of enthusiasts and I, for one, have not been disappointed.
Adding fun and progressive spirit to shows, SS21 has been filled with an insert of colour and hope. With pops of orange emerging throughout numerous collections and bold prints seeping into feminine silhouettes, this season has shown that as lockdown has lifted, it has revealed a new world full of change, both in fashion and globally.
Here’s a list of the very best and inspiring collections for this season, and ones not to miss!
Choose Love Panel Discussion
The British Fashion Council supported Choose Love, a charity focused on helping refugees worldwide, who collaborated with five British designers to create five t-shirts. As well as supporting an amazing cause, the tshirts were also sustainably produced with Teemill in a British factory run on renewable energy. The discussion panel, consisting of the designers, looked at how fashion can be the starting block for change and what inspired the designers’ work. Artist Tolu Coker looked at Blackness from a space of celebration. In a time of trauma, and with the persisting global refugee crisis creating stories of deprivation, it is essential to show the power of identity. Tolu used portraits of people she met while travelling to inspire her work and show the importance of empowering identity.
With the past couple of months highlighting heroes in our society, Halpern decided to tribute their collection to them. Featuring heroines in film and portraits, eight women from across the public service sectors reflected on their work during the lockdown period. This incredible project has brought joy to these workers and adds a sense of hope with the laughter and smiles seen throughout their campaign. My favourite look from the collection has to be the red tartan coat adorned with a black feather trim worn by Arianna, a Senior Staff Nurse at Homerton Hospital.
Effortlessly blending art and form, Christopher Kane’s latest collection brings together an outburst of artistic exploration formed during lockdown. Reacting to restrictions with creativity, glitter and glue was used to create piles of portraits from the spirit of people the designer has known. Additional large canvases have been used as mindscapes to play with colour and make formations. Conscious of people’s safety, Kane didn’t feel it would be appropriate to stage a large scale show this season. Instead, using paintings created from March, there was a progression of glitter work to clothing. Kane has created an uncharacteristically small collection directly inspired by his art. Using digitally printed duchess satin and hand-painted glitter applications, this is an immensely limited and personal collection. This collection speaks volumes for craftsmanship, and the effortless focus on colour and art translated into unique pieces of art.
Displaying the new tuxedo paper clip earring capsule, Hillier Bartley produced a slapstick video based in a world where paperclips are outlawed.
Titled ‘keep it together’, this tongue in cheek film saw the mission to take the last protected paperclip. However, it can be debated how much the ‘agent’ kept it together as the treasured paperclip was dropped among hundreds of fakes. In a world where it has been hard to keep it together, this film brought together an amazing new collection along with a characteristic humour that sets this capsule apart.
Initially contemplating creating a minimalised and essentialised collection of core shapes during lockdown, Goddard instead wowed us with her loud and layered collection, which debuted her collaboration with UGG. Going in the opposite direction
to the term ‘essential’, this collection is filled with volumes of tulle, her trademark creation. Using neon green and pinks, the looks encouraged a lift in energy and showed the power of creativity that lockdown infused.
Tighe-Mearns-Smith presented a psychedelic performance to match their equally bold patterned collection. Using music and graphics, which created what looked like a video game, TigneMearns-Smith has created a playful take on fashion. A game with jesters and neon colours throughout the video seemed to pack a lot into a small amount of time. Presenting individual looks as though on gaming characters to choose, this was a unique and memorable take on the traditional catwalk. The quilted kaleidoscope dress was one of the standout pieces for me, creating a bold silhouette paired with an equally bold pattern.
This collection was inspired by the relaxed and fantastical South Seas. Blended with minimalism and elegant full skirts, this collection created an overall sense of “ease, strength, and minimalism”. Taking inspiration from the 1921 Faery Lands of the South Seas book, which Emilia found on her daughter’s nightstand, sailboat prints, and layered peter pan collars were an essential part of this collection. My favourite pieces from the collection were the two-piece sets. These included a full skirt and cropped shirt or bralet, which stood out in their monochrome and neutral colours.
Presenting her fashion film in a small London hotel, Agne Kuzmickaite looked to her childhood in Lithuania for inspiration this season. Looking at a time where there was no fashion industry in Lithuania, Kuzmicaite looked to colours in magazines and adverts as her core muse. My favourite piece from the collection is a yellow block dress that stood out in the film set. Discussing advertisements and how they dressed, Kuzmicaite’s matching bright collage blazer and boots demonstrated the adverts’ importance to this collection.
Set in the Andes, this film presented a genderless collection at the heights of isolation in the mountains. Lupe Gajardo created a zero-waste collection with recycling at the core. Regarding the materials used, Lupe Gajardo used different fabrics, including natural wool, silk, and cotton, as well as some upcycled synthetic fantasies. In each garment, the techniques of moulage, collage, and patchwork are formally and visually present.
Using bold maxi pieces, with asymmetrical shapes, these pieces stood out as the catwalk was amongst the Andes’ snowy peaks. With accents of fur, this alluded to the weather presented in the film, while the hints of mint and orange throughout the collection demonstrated spring and summer emerging.
During these unprecedented times, fashion and all its processes are affected, as with the rest of the world. This collection was created during lockdown as the designer Eva Iszoro adapted to learning specific 3D construction software. With an intense period of change, Iszoro created a 100% virtual collection in times when access to real models and seamstresses was not obvious. With a sense of fear and confusion conveyed throughout the fashion film, this collection demonstrated clearly the sense of APOCALYPSE, which many has felt is our new reality.
Encapsulating the theme of summer through the coastal-themed collection, the British coast deeply inspired every piece. Using block print patterns, the dresses were a colourful mixture. Presenting the behind the scenes set making process, Rixo’s fashion film gave a look at how their lookbook was created on set. My favourite pieces from the collection included a mermaid portrait print slip dress, which reminded me of Andy Warhol’s pop art. Additionally, one dress created a bold combination between contrasting a blue skirt, yellow bodice, and purple sleeves.
This vibrant collection saw a theme of newness with multiple debuts and the focus of charity during such unprecedented times. This collection supports the Magpie project, which works with children and mothers who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Bethany Williams also designed a flag that will be erected at Somerset house in honour of the charity. This film also demonstrated the importance of family spirit in a child’s life, highlighting the different realities of family households and how they dealt with lockdown at home. Working with deadstock, organic and recycled materials, this collection also looked to the future of the children, seeking to protect the future by using sustainable materials. After undertaking research at the V and A, this collection also featured the debut of childrenswear by Bethany Williams.
Agne Kuzmickaite film stills taken live by Grace Pickford; all other images via BFC.