London is again the center of author's fashion
In the heat of debate over whether New York fashion week - which ended a few days ago - is in low hours and London resurfaces as the cradle of the most avant-garde design, the real question has nothing to do with the brands that present their collections in the two cities. Or, at least, not directly. Fashion weeks are, basically, an organized system aimed at moving the capital (cultural and economic) of the cities where they are celebrated; for medium-sized firms and designers to shine they need support and well-oiled machinery to serve as a platform.
In that sense, the British Fashion Council wins the game to the Council of American Designers (CFDA). It is not that in New York there is a lack of ideas - names like Eckhaus Latta, Vaquera or Síes Marjan prove otherwise - the problem is that these ideas are not properly communicated to buyers and the media.
Obviously, London Fashion Week, which ends this Tuesday, has its media claims. "In the end, I feel more comfortable presenting the collection at home," says Victoria Beckham after her parade, held last Sunday at Banqueting House, an imposing mansion with ceilings painted by Rubens. The businesswoman, who in ten years has positioned her namesake brand as one of the most praised in the sector, resulted in what is her hallmark, functionality. "I only conceive to make clothes that make the person feel comfortable," Beckham says.
Therefore, his idea of rebellion, the concept around which his proposal revolves next fall, does not translate into grandiloquent creative strategies, but in subtle games of proportions. "I call it 'kind subversion." In fact, it is the first time that Beckham works with short and mid-leg lengths, with tall sizes and patterns more closely attached to the body. It comes out airy: the one that until then has been a designer celebrated for practicing oversize and fluid cuts, has achieved something as difficult as not losing her identity (that archetype of sophistication due to Phoebe Philo's Celine) by experimenting with a new silhouette.
J. W. Anderson is also a teacher in making it seem easy (to carry) the difficult (to design). Loewe's creative director has also been presenting his best fashion collection under his namesake signature for several seasons. Its execution of the volumes and movement of the garments is unbeatable. "The idea of space has obsessed me, how garments can interact with the empty environment," the Irishman said after the show. This obsession has led him to play with bulky necks, trapeze coats and multilayer raincoats in a collection that does not lose sight of the business: the visual power of the bags and shoes makes them candidates to viralize on Instagram.
But if there is something for which London stands out above New York and it is unmarked from the Milanese industry and the Parisian tradition is to position emerging names at the same level as the consolidated ones. The expectation to see the new Anderson or Beckham was the same as to attend the parade of Richard Quinn, and that only carries four collections behind him. But that's what the British Fashion Council is for. Almost two years ago the very queen of England attended one of her parades, and half the world paid attention to a creator whose identity is so difficult to build that it is impossible to forget.
Between fetishism and classic evening wear, Quinn combines latex with pearls and converts a resource as easy as floral pattern into an avant-garde symbol based on covering his models with him (hands, feet and, sometimes, up to face included). It does, in addition, recycling tissues, a "small detail" that is diluted to the visual power of its proposal, which shows that in the creative quarry sustainability is not an attribute of a press release but an internalized and essential dynamic.
If Quinn, now a star, was the spoiled child of previous editions, this season everyone was talking about Matty Bovan. Graduated from Saint Martin's in 2015, today Katie Grand (perhaps the most influential stylist in the world) helps her with a parade attended by the first division of buyers and publishers, Anna Wintour included. And that his proposals, also based on recycled fabrics, are a cross between the excess of Vivienne Westwood and the deconstruction of Martin Margiela. Bovan conceives the dress more as a performative art than as a commercial object. But this is London: here the vanguard has been linked to local fashion for years (whether or not this union is a stereotype) and if something they know how to do in this city is to deepen its essence.