oday, London Fashion Week was all about celebrating the female form and doing so from the comfort of your living room.
By day four, gone were the socially distanced runway shows and appointments, everything was a virtual affair. While Simone Rocha and Molly Goddard had originally planned on hosting small salon-like shows for select members of the fashion industry, these were soon abandoned due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in England.
That’s not to say they didn’t put on a show. Far from it. With brands like these, the clothes speak for themselves. While in the past, Goddard has staged kitsch catwalk shows, with some taking the form of tea parties and banquets, this season she needed no such fanfare. Her signature tulle gowns were out in full force, as were her classic vibrant shades of fuchsia and yellow.
Simone Rocha was just as pleasing, despite the more pared-back palette. Opulence was instead translated through pearl accessories and intricate brocade patterns that championed a more delicate breed of femininity. And finally it was off to Emilia Wickstead, whose “refined simplicity” collection was inspired by the South Seas and saw models of all ages and body types move gracefully around our screens in classic sleeveless dresses and structured floral co-ords.
Here are our highlights from day four of London Fashion Week.
If anyone knows how to have fun with fashion, it’s Molly Goddard. The east London-based designer has become one of the highlights on the fashion week schedule thanks to her signature frothy tulle frocks, which rose to fame after Jodie Comer wore a candyfloss-coloured one in her role as Villanelle in season one of BBC’s hit drama, Killing Eve. Now, the fashion pack can’t get enough of Goddard’s voluminous yet masterfully crafted designs.
This season, the 31-year-old originally planned to produce a neutral collection packed with creams, whites and beige shades. But after considering how bleak lockdown had been, she had a change of heart. And thank goodness she did, because we need Goddard’s joyous aesthetic now more than ever before.
For spring/summer 2021, Goddard drew on inspiration from Camden street style and the 1950s artwork on display in Villa Menagoflio Litta, a lavish home in Italy owned by collectors Giuseppe and Giovanni Panza. The mood board has resulted in Goddard staples — rolls of fuzzy fuchsia and pale lemon tulle offset by sheer bodices — and some newcomers, like jeans screen printed with roses and shearling-lined clogs, which form part of the brand’s new collaboration with Ugg.
Colours clash with glorious synergy. Tangerine floral frocks are paired with fluorescent green socks while fuchsia tutus are contrasted with checkerboard neon green jackets and deeper shades of pink. Elsewhere, there are bright blue vinyl handbags, black and yellow polkadots, and layers of cream ruffles. It’s exactly the kind of audacious maximalism we’ve all been craving, and Goddard has delivered with aplomb.
This season, Simone Rocha is “looking for comfort and security in the extreme” and it shows, sort of. While the Irish designer’s interpretation of comfort may differ somewhat from ours — unless you swan around at home in taffeta mini dresses and clotted cream bodices — it’s the craftsmanship that counts. For spring/summer 2021, Rocha has anchored her aesthetic in stillness and sculpture. The palette is simple; mostly monochrome with sporadic splashes of sky blue and navy, and the silhouettes are ergonomic. Hips are given ample breathing room in stiff wide-skirted frocks while lightweight broderie anglaise cottons keep every body part cool and collected.
A retro schoolgirl mood permeates the collection, too, with chunky ballet slippers and knee-high socks packing a punch for ensembles with shorter hemlines. This free-spirited sense of youth is accentuated further with the copious strings of pearls that are strewn across the collection. Bright and bulbous, they are the kind of pearls that any young woman would squeal with excitement upon uncovering in their mother’s dresser. We can see them on the straps of handbags, hanging from statement earrings, and even lining the pockets of peplum capes.
Standout pieces from the collection include a structured strappy dress covered in opulent brocade and a deep navy off-the-shoulder mini dress complete with balloon sleeves, modelled by none other than ballet dancer and Cats star, Francesca Hayward.
During lockdown, Emilia Wickstead noticed a book in her daughter’s bedroom that she had never read. Faery Lands of the South Seas is a non-fiction travel book published in 1921 by James Norman Hall and Charles Bernard Nordhoff. Wickstead felt inspired by the fairytale-like stories about Samoa and New Zealand, where she was born, and set about creating a collection that would reference them.
Hence why, for spring/summer 2021, Wickstead’s signature clean and precise dresses have been printed with hand-drawn sailboats, while shades of sky blue evoke the clear skies of her homeland. The designer says the collection is an “exploration of both fantasy and refined simplicity”. Sure, the palette is limited — deep crimson, beige, and a lot of white — but the silhouettes are dynamic. For example, Wickstead has revisited the Delphina skirt from her first collection, a pleated grass skirt-like shape that grazes the knee. For the campaign, it has been styled with a hyper-cropped collared shirt, bringing that classic Wickstead elegance. The tailoring is on point, too, with slick maxi skirts and trench coats that flatter the female figure. Floral prints adorn floaty co-ords, off-shoulder gowns and sleeveless dresses.
The standout takeaway from Wickstead’s collection, though, is the casting. In an all-too-rare fashion week move, the designer has cast models of all ages for her campaign video. “I really wanted a diverse cast, it was important to me to have a range of different ages, different body types, heights, and races,” Wickstead told British Vogue.
But the designer also employs models who are not normally models, like Caroline Issa of Tank magazine, and Matchesfashion.com co-founder Ruth Chapman, who was one of the first buyers to order from Wickstead.