When it comes to fashion week, London is always a breath of fresh air, a few almost unreal days during which you are still working hard, but with a lighter, almost irreverent attitude, with the knowledge that what you will see on the catwalk will definitely be something different, maybe even impossible to wear, and that might be exactly what will make it super creative. London is a space in which dreaming is still allowed, and dreams have no substance, no directions, no limits: the unimaginable becomes possible here.
This is what makes LFW very difficult to reduce into just a list of trends, as that would be restrictive: even if we see clear trends on the catwalk — the strongest in Fall Winter 2017 ones are sequins all day long, and a peculiar tendency to use alpine clothes and decor, from those typical mountain jumpers to floral decorations and extremely high-waisted pants with suspenders. What matters is the message of every single show, which is expressed not only through clothing but also through music, location and atmosphere. If every show is a world to itself, this time, while looking at the collections and walking the streets of London — blessed by unusually mild temperatures — the impression was that the whole city, not just LFW, wanted to send us a message way too important for it to just be buried under a mere question of style, a message of protest and rebirth at the same time. In one word, a spring.
A spring that began in the street: animal right activists spent the whole weekend gathered outside the spaces of the British Fashion Council, demanding a ban on real fur in all collections, and on Monday, a large number of citizens demonstrated against President Trump’s state visit. The president was invited by Prime Minister Theresa May, but he was not a welcome guest, as was shown by the almost 2 million signatures gathered by petitioners who demanded that his visit is cancelled. This spring spilled onto the catwalks, in a very different way: while people outside were raising their voice to be listened to, inside there was no need for that — everyone was already sitting, waiting to listen, and no one needed to raise their voice. Actually, sometimes, words were just useless. Chalayan demonstrated this by returning to London with a collection bearing the self-explanatory title Act to Form, and a show in which the models acted, rather than just walk, ripping their clothes off, unleashing a rain of streamers. Yes, because the time has come to act, awaken, and take the reins of society back in our hands, lest we all fall into hibernation. Get up — and carry your blankets with you if you need to, as was done at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi — and go hunt for some stimulus, culture and art.
Look at things from a different perspective: who said that everything has to follow a pattern, that what we don’t know is wrong? London makes us appreciate the beauty of asymmetry, so much so that the trends we saw on the catwalk were tops with sleeves in different styles, and irregular necklines. London teaches us that if we never saw something before, that doesn’t imply that it is incorrect, just that it is different. Have you ever tried wearing a sweater on one shoulder only, with the sleeves tied on one side? Pringle of Scotland did, and the effect is so cool that we will follow suit very soon. Have you ever worn a rain of sequins during the day, maybe at the office? Ports 1961 weaved its sequins into wool, and its sweater became our new object of desire.
The truth is that there are no rules, that the only rule you should follow is love. “You are cuter than you think“, “Don’t give up on your dreams“, “United in difference“, “Keep hoping“: these are only some of the glitter and sequin messages that we saw at Ashish‘s, a show that moved many of the guests, leaving very few dry eyes in the house — and ours were not among those.
Because no, it is not too late after all, and yes, every gesture counts. And even if sometimes we lose hope, thinking that we are too small to make a difference, just watch the finale of Burberry‘s show, over and over. The ending of the show featured the same fake casual look that they had showcased throughout the show, but transformed into touching theatrical costume, thanks to incredibly elaborate shrugs, feather capes, and embroidered corsets that required hours of craft. The practical demonstration of how everything can be turned upside down in an instant, even when everything already seems set — all you have to do is wish for it.