Victoria Beckham's collections continue to go from strength to strength and gain in popularity. With this her second show held back in her homeland and her family out in force to support her (including her daughter Harper who almost beat Anna Wintour at her own hair game), rumours of the financial problems that have plagued the brand in the last few months were largely forgotten. Instead, Beckham focused on what she does best: chic, flattering clothes that are perfectly suited to the modern woman, with just the right about of interest to keep things from getting boring. Judicious use of windowpane checks on suits and separates, as well as chain prints, pencil skirts and argyle sweaters combined with long, pointed collars and high-waisted flared trousers gave more than a passing nod to 1970s influences. We are seeing a lot of red this season - which is to be expected as it is an autumnal colour - and Beckham uses it both to create an uplifting effect and also as a perfect punctuation to the colour-blocked accessories she showed.

 

Mary Katrantzou showed Volume with a capital V. With a full, rounded shape similar to the ruffles and feathers we saw at rising star Tomo Koizumi's show in New York last week, the dresses here were heavily beaded and featured a sort of swirling, mystical landscape, a direct reference to the theme of the natural elements - earth, air, fire and water - that were central to this collection. One dress featured scale-like pailettes which shimmered like water, others wore pieces that referenced the parched, cracked earth on coats and boots. The lightness of air was in all probability evoked by the ostrich feather coats and dresses and flames were rendered by the exuberant neck ruffles and asymmetrical ruffled scarves that trailed down the models bodies. Katrantzou also showed wide, shawl-like collars, leggings under skirts.


Simone Rochas, one of our most anticipated shows of the London calendar, did not disappoint. Taking the lines of a Louise Bourgeois poem as a starting point, the clothes in this collection were as intricate as ever. The overarching silhouette was the same: rounded shoulders, full skirts, double-breasted coats and dresses, but Rochas kept things interesting with her use of fabric of different weights and transparencies. She mixed heavier tapestry-like fabrics and embroidery with lighter organza layers, within which could be found spiderwebs, flowers and phallic shapes. One of the major tropes of the collection was her use of underwear as outerwear and bralettes or cropped bustiers were worn on top of coats, blouses and dresses offering a hint of vouyeurism. The dichotomy between the fabrics and imagery of the collection reflect Rochas' own conflict with representations of tenderness and sexuality. 


There is a certain amount of exuberance in fashion at the moment which is perfectly encapsulated by this collection from Michael Halpern. 

Some delicious 1970s styling inspired by the legendary Studio 54 nightclub came sauntering down the runway which was housed in the opulent Deco ballroom of a Park Lane hotel. Swaths of draped fabric and beautiful bright patterns were all hallmarks of this collection which was inspired by Erté's illustrations. The eponymous designer showed gloriously sequinned short dresses (sparkle and shine seems to be a persistent trend for the upcoming season) some with asymmetric skirts, voluminous hooded opera coats, richly beaded floor-length halters with crystal chokers, lamé tissue Deco prints cut on the bias, a gold and black embroidered ’20s pyjama suit. Gone was the favoured suit of previous seasons, and instead he showed a silver two-piece consisting of an off-the-shoulder top with matching trousers.


A collection of cozy knits and florals in strong, but limited hues is how this collection can be summed up. 

It is a shift for Lupfer who sought to simplify his line in the hopes that it will generate interest from new quarters. He showed long pleated skirts, ribbed Italian cashmere sweaters, and parka and duffle wool coats made of material from heritage brand AW Hainsworth of West Yorkshire, as well as in leopard faux fur or with faux fur trims. The clothes were accessorised with fur trapper hats and oversized faux fur mittens, fringed scarves, more sweaters, and hiking sneakers. Some embellishment was held over from previous collections including crystal and enamel accoutrements. Lupfer could not get rid of his signature lips either, although they were rendered monochromatically in black-on-black so as to be an unobtrusive as possible. 


There was an overdose of sophistication at Reem Acra this season. While this was not the most breathtaking of her shows, the clothes were stunning nevertheless and, with the Academy Awards fast approaching, well-timed to take advantage of some old-fashioned Hollywood glamour.

Gone for the most part were the favoured floral elements of past seasons and instead Acra embraced a softer version of the militarised looks with Joan of Arc as her muse and inspiration. Beading was used to convey armour: one gold gown had metal spangles that looked as though it was pouring off of the model, while another dress featured a confection of red and blue sequins and had tiny chains strung across it. Separates were few and far between. Although the focus was on gowns and dresses, Acra did show a cropped top with an open back and beaded push-up tanks with corset-style boning.


Always a highly anticipated show, this time Marc Jacobs  can claim his collection to be a real feather in his cap, both literally and figuratively. 

The last few months have seen a renewed interest in the iconic Spring 1993 grunge collection Jacobs designed for Perry Ellis, and there was some thought that he might incorporate a reference into his next collection, but Jacobs veered as far away from flannel as possible instead showing a collection that was refined and elegant and had more in common with that of Tomo Koizumi, the protégé he and his stylist Katie Grand helped launch earlier in the week: volume.

Rounded, dropped shoulders and a wide silhouette helped to mask the natural proportions of the models. While other designers this season have seemed to focus on lines that skim and elongate the body, Jacobs played with proportion and girth. He showed cloth coats and capes, shredded tulle party dresses, A-line skirts and crewnecks. Feathers were used to add heft but maintain lightness. Hats designed by milliner Stephen Jones also had an ornitho theme, and were perched on the top of most models' heads.   

The overall result was a collection that was wearable and pretty which hasn't always been the case.

Jacobs' one reference to that Perry Ellis collection came at the very end when Christy Turlington, who had walked for him all those years ago, closed this show in an off-the-shoulder, nipped in party dress embroidered with glossy feathers. 


Vera Wang has been fixated on a certain type of elongated silhouette for a number of seasons now, and with this collection for Fall 2019, that silhouette shows no sign of losing its popularity with the designer even as she prepares for her 30th anniversary runway show after a two year absence.

That’s not to say that the looks in the collection weren't stunningly beautiful. While black also retained its popularity with the designer, her copious use of plaid marked a clear Celtic influence as did her use of the tonnag - a traditional sash-like garment - that appeared draped or folded. Wang showed precision checked suiting which included trousers overlaid with a pleated or lace aprons. Hints of lace bodysuit were also evident, and we loved the sequinned party dress complete with oversized grey faux-fur coat that revealed a lining of giant silver sequins. Shine on.


Given the season, we guess it’s only to be expected that we are seeing a lot of emphasis on outerwear and this collection from Gabriela Hearst is no exception. Like Tory Burch’s collection, Hearst showed coats with military overtones. Many were double-breasted or cutaway to display the fact that they were lined with quilted fabric.

Her knit dresses and separates were also noteworthy. Hearst was inspired by Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya and her influence could be seen in the way the knits clung to the body and revealed a balletic elegance. The dresses were striped and featured vertical ribbing down the body, while the separates mainly consisted of turtlenecks and floor-length skirts. She included a personal touch by including replica Uruguayan coins from the year in which she was born on chain belts or as buttons. Other standout pieces included a gown with delicate pleating and the Grecian-styled one-shouldered gown with woven black nappa leather bustier that closed the show.

This was Hearst's first collection since gaining investment from LVMH’s Luxury Ventures, the arm of the conglomerate launched in 2017 to focus on emerging brands.