From Richard Quinn’s mourning wear to JW Anderson’s gravity-defying separates, this season’s symbolism reached new heights.
A sense of possibility pulses through the style sphere during London Fashion Week. Known as a hub for emerging talent, the British capital has become a hotbed of innovative resourcefulness, experimental metaphors and refreshingly diverse runways. The London Fashion Week Spring 2024 shows were no exception.
Ashish’s bedazzled collection (below) was a dreamy escape with models from all walks of life, thus showcasing that fantastical clothing is for everyone. Erdem’s upcycled runway, helmed by Canadian-born designer Erdem Moralioğlu, championed a mix-and-match aesthetic of textiles pulled from historic archives. Standout shows thoughtfully explore the intricacies of the everyday — from love and loss to inside jokes and identity experimentation. One thing’s for sure: There was no shortage of creativity on the catwalk.
Below, FASHION outlines the most noteworthy presentations at London Fashion Week spring 2024.
Simone Rocha: Coming up roses
Picture this: Florals for spring — but it actually is groundbreaking. Leave it to Simone Rocha, the designer known for fanciful frothy creations, who put a fresh spin on the sartorial stereotype with bouquets of roses nestled under flowy mesh ensembles. Romance exuded her collection — with oversized fabric rosettes, bows trailing from mini-dresses, and an array of signature Rocha ruffles, tulle and lace. There was also a focus on bridal extravagance, via pearl-adorned white Crocs and a deliciously decorated wedding cake bag. Embellished fantasy has become Rocha’s calling card, and with the news that she will be Jean Paul Gaultier’s next guest couturier, there’s certainly more in store.
Burberry: In the trenches
For his sophomore season as creative director of the legendary British fashion house, Daniel Lee took cues from the classics and then changed things up. Guests gathered under a tartan-emblazoned tent in north London, hot water bottles were party favours, and the iconic archetypal Burberry trench was reimagined. Models wore tailored coats with low-slung belts, busy patterns, and, on occasion, toughened leather silhouettes sans sleeves. There was a throughline of Burberry Blue, be it through sunglass rims, shoe adornments or solid-coloured coats — all of which stood out against the severely dark lipstick that reigned supreme. With his second runway show, Daniel Lee brought elevated innovation and a bit of grunge to the next era of the brand, while still honouring the Britishness of Burberry.
JW Anderson: Clay clothing
Fashion takes itself all too seriously sometimes. This is the idea designer Johnathan Anderson poked fun of for his London Fashion Week Spring 2024 collection, wherein he aimed to put “playfulness in pragmatism.” First up, an assortment of outfits that looked as though they were moulded from Play-Doh — and they kind of were. Made using plasticine, a British brand of modelling clay, the designs were bumpy, stiff and wonderfully wonky, thus emulating a life-size version of a toddler’s play-time final product. Ostensibly having helium on his mind, he also sent inflated separates down the runway, a natural extension of his plastic fish bag mini-dress from last year. There were more wearable pieces too, from satin voluminous cargo pants to big structured blazers. But overall, the mood was weird, a little uncomfortable, and quite a bit confusing. Well played.
Di Petsa: Mirror mirror
No one is doing sartorial sensuality quite like Di Petsa. The London-based label is known for employing size-inclusive runways to showcase its sexy “wet look” dresses. This season, designer Dimitra Petsa drew inspiration from the Goddess of Love Venus — also known as Aphrodite. The collection featured her signature damp-like draping, with ornamental add-ons like gemstone embellishments and metallic fabrics. As for the aforementioned theme of love? That was front and centre when select models walked the runway mesmerized by their own reflections in hand-held mirrors. Sometimes the best infatuation is the kind you have with yourself.
Richard Quinn: The circle of life
Held in a grand London ballroom, Richard Quinn’s Spring 2024 show was an ornate ode to the eponymous designer’s late father, who recently passed away. True to Quinn’s signatures, the show was full of opulent embellishments, from abundant florals to detailed lace. The line took on a contemplative tone with regal opera gloves, exaggerated collars, and cage dresses in both grievous blacks and airy off-whites. While marking a loss, there was a sense of hope via playful proportions and polished statement bows. Canadian supermodel (and FASHION September 2023 cover star) Jessica Stam closed the show in a shimmery bridal jumpsuit, so as to say, life is full of loss — but it’s also full of love.
Chopova Lowena: Two is better than one
In an era of internet subcultures, it can feel as though opposing ends of the style spectrum are never meant to mix. A regencycore enthusiast sharing clothes with a gothic girlie? Inconceivable! Well, not according to Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons, who merged toughened skater culture with frilly folkloric imagery for their Spring 2024 show at London Fashion Week. Think studded black dresses with puffed white collars, heavy trenches with delicate frilly socks, and a fishnet top paired with a billowing layered white skirt. The result is a sort of medieval edge-Lord who transcends all aesthetic associations. It’s unexpected, clever, and pretty hilarious. And in the age of TikTok, it just might become its own kind of “core.”