What To Expect From The Autumn/Winter 2018 Shows At London Fashion Week.
LAST season, the contrast between the New York and London shows was striking. While designers were abandoning the American runways, the British show platform was flooded with brands from all walks of fashion. Things didn’t look up for New York this season, and as things go in this unpredictable fashion climate, it seems to be the same case in London. Most notably, Topshop is foregoing its traditional Unique show. Missing are last season’s Emporio Armani, Versus and Tommy Hilfiger shows, which didn’t just draw in the crowds but added such excellent tension between the fashion establishment and London’s experimental emerging designers in September. The city’s youth game, however, is still strong and unmatched in the competing capitals. This season, these designers are carrying the torch for London Fashion Week.
It’s February and what does that mean in the fashion calendar? FASHUUUN week, obviously.
With designers the talk of the town, we’ve put together a list of some places to explore to learn a little more about London’s fashion scene. From the King’s Road to Harrods and some rather divine Chelsea charity shops that even Anna Wintour’s shades would approve of, here are nine places where you’ll definitely find the London look.
The King’s Road & Sloane Street
This is arguably where London earned its big fashion name. Shimmy on down these streets and you’ll discover why London is such a global fashion hotspot. On first glance, it’s inclusion into the phrase “London, Paris, New York” is quite obvious: London is different, it’s innovative and as Vivienne Westwood once famously said, “There’s nowhere else like London. Nothing at all. Anywhere”. What does this mean for fashion on a global scale? Well, the scene here is creative and down right risqué.
During the 1960s, both the King’s Road and Sloane Street became a symbol of Mod and protest culture, evoking a profound sense of endless frieze, which inspired booted and fair-haired fashion revolutions. Clothes (oh, hello mini-skirt) helped women protest for equal rights and against the establishment and men designed attire to express both female and male sexuality. In short, it was a centre for counterculture, but sadly, has since suffered the dregs of gentrification.
Still, at least it’s retained its reputation for being one of London’s most shoppable streets and there are bits here and there that have a little of the old spirit: glare into the pristine glass windows of Dolce & Gabbana on Sloane Street now and you’ll spot children’s mannequins dressed up in one piece suits donning the words “No save The Queen. Revolution?” In short, it’s protest fashion, and this is precisely why this area of London is so important to the historical global fashion stage.
New & Old Bond Street
This street’s history is nothing short of fascinating. Officially, the street doesn’t exist at all: the southern section is known as Old Bond Street, which after a junction, then becomes New Bond Street with Burlington Gardens. It’s all very confusing, but nonetheless deserves one of the top spots on your London fashion pilgrimage. Synonymous with luxury, the half-mile throughfare is where some of the most prestigious brands and fashion powerhouses have made their London home.
Behind the street’s glorious facades (be sure not to miss the florals up at the moment), you’ll find eminent auctioneers such as Sotheby’s, fashion from the likes of Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Valentino, Alexander McQueen and Dior, as well as the jeweller salons of Harry Winston, Tiffany, Graff and Cartier. Many of them hold regular exhibitions (special shout out to Cartier) where you cam gawp at iconic portraits of stars draped in some of the most important frocks in the fashion canon – a great thing, if you ask us, especially when you’re splashing the cash.
Fashion and museums – an odd mix, one might think, but for fashionistas across the globe, the Victoria & Albert Museum boasts such an impressive permanent fashion collection that it’s just too wondrous and glitzy to miss. Throughout the mammoth building you’ll find well preserved remnants of the fashion world. From Christian Dior to Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood to John Galliano and Cristobal Balenciaga, icons far and wide are displayed in numerous free and paid for exhibitions every year.
Nothing screams fashion like a good glossy magazine. From the pages of Vogue to Harpers and W, one of the best places to get your hands on a mag worthy of a place on your coffee table is Wardour News in Soho. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the place is more than just a shop: it’s an institution which London’s fashion freaks descend on to get a glimpse of the latest Conde Nast cover girl.
Inside the small but incredibly well-stocked place visitors will find a vast selection of international titles (not all limited to fashion) and plenty of cool print gigs you’ve probably never even heard of. In short, if you’re a fan of words and all things gloss, go here.
Spend an afternoon in a luxe department store
This one is obvious. London’s department stores are just as much tourist attractions as they are shopping destinations. You could easily spend a whole day in Knightsbridge exploring Harrods and Harvey Nichols and an hour or two on the Piccadilly in Fortnum & Mason, purveyor of royal bits and bobs for centuries. Liberty just off Regent Street is a must for all things floral print and Selfridges & Co is your one way ticket to luxury and high street fashion. All of the aforementioned also house some stonkingly good food halls and restaurants, too. When you’re tired, or worse, poor, sit back and relax whilst you stare blankly at beautiful things and beautiful people.
A vintage shop tour of London
Anyone up on their trend game knows that London has a soft spot for all things vintage. There are a number of independent and private tours you can book yourself onto to learn more about the city’s fashion history. If you fancy going it alone, check out Beyond Retro and Absolute Vintage on Brick Lane, Camden’s Rokit, Annie’s in Angel and the One of a Kind Fashion Archive, a Portobello Road-based pocket-sized shop that looks like it’s been modelled on a collectible 1950s Parisian larder. It’s chic. Very, very chic and you’ll be sure to get your hands on some truly dazzling finds.
Fashion at a market?! You’d be very surprised, darlings. Street markets are a mecca for cheap second hand clothes and accessories. What’s even better, is that if you go to the right place you’ll nab a designer brand for next to nothing. Yes, the quality isn’t always that great, but if you’re on a tight budget and love all things vintage chic, everywhere from Brick Lane to Portobello Road and Old Spitalfields and Camden markets are a good
place to start.
Blasphemous? Not really. If you ever find yourself in a swanky London neighbourhood, say Chelsea or Marylebone, go and rummage through a charity shop. The reason? The fashion divas of the area regular donate their unwanted labels, that’s why. One of the most popular is the British Red Cross in Chelsea. The glorious little place shares a street with the only Manolo Blahnik shack in London, and it’s a prime spot for Chelsea residents to offload last season’s must-have wardrobe. Unsurprisingly, the shop bills itself as one of London’s best designer charity shops.
Go in, and you’ll see fine pieces from Jaeger to Max Mara, Vivienne Westwood and maybe a little bit of Burberry packing out the rails. For years only an exclusive club of Londoners were in on this secret, so much so that the charity shops that line the streets of Marylebone, Bloomsbury and Richmond caught on and hiked up their prices. Remember divas, it’s for charity after all.