Now more than ever, fashion designers are coming to the catwalks with something to prove. In its second full physical iteration since you-know-what, the once-flagship presences absent from this season’s schedule have given way to a new generation of talent – some of whom have just stepped out of school – having birthed brands with a unique understanding of conscious consumption. Newbies Warpig Wonder and George Trochopoulos made waves for their clever use of materials and adaptable designs, inviting a whole new audience to appreciate their runway spectacles.
Elsewhere in London, designers set to amplify their collections using the city’s breathtaking architecture – Bora Aksu took its signature feminine ruffles to St James’ Church, while David Koma opted for the (slightly battered) Millennium Dome, Ozwald Boateng lit up The Savoy Theatre with his celebration of Black while Molly Goddard‘s models took a dip at Seymour Leisure Centre.
Below, we share our favourite talents displayed across the action-packed weekend of fun, fashion and famous faces. To see more from attendees, check out our AW22 LFW street style round-up.
Designer Conner Ivesmixed his New York upbringing with his London cool kid education for a decadent debut. Between his whimsical shapes, punchy colours, and patchwork fabrics, it’s no wonder Adwoa Aboah and Rihanna have become fans.
And with AW22 shows just kicking off in London, all eyes were on the American designer. Even though this may have been Ives’ premiere at London Fashion Week, he has already built up a cult following of industry insiders packing out the audience – before he even finished his degree at Central Saint Martins, Rihanna had hired the budding talent to work on her sell-out Fenty line with her.
For his AW22 collection, Ives made a strong statement about the sentiment of new American style. He drew directly from American archetypes and aesthetics: Jackie O, Andy from The Devil Wears Prada, contestants from America’s Next Top Model, and even the models from Isaac Mizrahi’s iconic film Unzipped.
The standout collection from the CSM MA Fashion Design showcase, and winner of the illustrious L’Oréal Professional Creative Award, was Ed Mendoza’s brand Warpig Wonder. The Peruvian-Caribbean designer was inspired by his own experience as a plus-size person to create high fashion that catered to larger male bodies. While some progress has been made among womenswear labels to feature fuller-figured models, the menswear cohort has been distinctivly less forthcoming with diversifying their runways. Mendoza even featured on the runway himself, modelling a denim grafitti vest with faux-fur skate shorts, representing the bodies he has always hoped to design for.
It wasn’t just seeing such a size-inclusive collection on the runway that got everyone talking. Mendoza’s clothes do not only aim to dress a size-inclusive customer base, but have them feel unafraid to take up space and strut in eye-catching garb. For his debut collection, Mendoza found his psychedelic colour palette by looking at the Peruvian tradition of Chicha posters – artisanal screen-printed works on paper, with bright fluorescent colours and punchy lettering.
20-year-old George Trochopoulos first captured the fashion media’s attention when one of his signature striped knit dresses cropped up on celebrity trendsetters Miley Cyrus, Kendall Jenner and Emma Chamberlain, but it wasn’t until his silver iteration appeared in Dua Lipa‘s holiday snaps that propelled his yet-to-be-released eponymous label to immediate Instagram cult status.
However, the London College of Fashion student knew, however, that this type of celebrity endorsement does not ensure guaranteed business longevity, and so the young talent set about arranging and making his debut RTW collection for London Fashion Week. Beyond his classic knit stripe, the designer also experimented with pattern cutting, beading and dyeing as well as his first foray into accessories. Trochopoulos also added to his arsenal new silhouettes, including trousers and coats, while showing just how versatile his knitwear stylings can be.
Another designer to have nailed his signature fabric early, knitwear mogul Chet Lo stunned audiences – including Euphoria’s Chloe Cherry dressed in a new collection gown – for the talent incubator Fashion East. The designer’s razor-sharp attention to detail was on show throughout the collection entitled ‘The Tundra’, a 14-look collection that saw his idiosyncratic technique transposed into a fresh, weather-hardy sartorial context.
Tapping into his influence on Japanese comics, Chet Lo utilitied modern techniques to magnify originality in his design creations by exhibiting confident, heroic, vibrant shapes and retro elements. Scarves in the spiky monofilament fabric were dramatically padded out, and in one micro-mini skirt, ice blue knit is fused with a shaggy pink faux fur that could’ve been shorn from a sort-of cyberpunk mammoth. Similarly abbreviated skirts appeared in thermal quilting in baby pink puffer quilting, while a thicker, more opaque version of Chet’s signature knit fabric was artfully draped into several garments.
Ozwald Boateng marked his return to London Fashion Week since 2010 in style, filling the Savoy Theatre with famous faces both in the audience and on the runway, with the likes of Idris Elba,Pa Salieuand Kojey Radical making their runway debut for the legendary designer.
Boateng is best known for his work as creative director of menswear at Givenchy between 2004 and 2007 and as the first Black person to helm a Parisian house – treading a path that only Olivier Rousteing at Balmain and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton menswear have followed. Now 54, the designer’s AW22 collection is a celebration of his personal history and the Black diaspora.
The collection, which comprised over 100 looks, delved into Boateng’s Ghanaian heritage. He selected a series of Adinkra symbols, each of which translates into a different value, including hope, authenticity, integrity and patience. These symbols have been used to create graphics that appear on scarlet and black jacquard weave suit jackets as well as jumpsuits, wide-leg trousers and in one instance a luxuriously soft black and white velvet blazer.
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