What looking to the future looks like at LFW

A short film played at the beginning of the Marques’Almeida show this season in which the brand’s “MA girls” talked about what they’d want their daughters to know.
 
The designer Erdem referenced Tina Modotti as muse, noting: “At the time of her death, the world might have been on the brink of modernity, but it was still in the midst of war, battling ideologies that would rip apart the very foundations of life.”
 
And David Koma tapped into concerns regarding conservation, having travelled to Kenya's Ol Jogi Wildlife Conservancy.
 
This is the backdrop to fashion right now. It comes at a timely moment: next year we enter a new decade and Spring/Summer 2020 is our first glimpse at what that looks like.
 
Cast your mind back and the beginning of the 2010s was a time of waning maximalism (there was a recession in the UK), before normcore hit, followed by a boom in streetwear and sportswear. The latter two have now also begun to dwindle. Fashion, lately, has begun to dabble with its historic past – something which certainly Erdem continues to do, this collection akin to the wardrobe for a mesmerising costume drama on Modotti’s life.
 
But going from the noughties to the 2010s didn’t feel like such a landmark move between decades as the 2020s do. But that’s probably because of all of the above.
 
The question is, though, what does a new decade actually look like? Especially in London where so distinct is its personality defined by the designers who bookmark the years and seasons. When we look back on now, then, what will we think the turn of the 2020s was all about? What was the look? What will be the throwback?
 
Maybe it’s too early to say, but one can’t help but think JW Anderson took a pretty good stab at it with a collection that felt like a wonderful mash-up of Mad Max in tuxedos – luxe, bejewelled, golden, nomadic with multiple bags on one strap as though an updated version of a bindle. And apocalyptic. Perhaps this is what luxury will look like when that hits, the decadence yet simplicity of the ancients, the past back to inform the future yet not look anything like we might have expected.
 
Because there is an irony in that too as pushBUTTON designer Seung Gun Park noted backstage: “We assumed in 2020 we’d be very futuristic, but actually it’s very analogue and vintage.” Which is a very interesting point. It’s very Back to the Future.
 
Certainly, in London, the dawn of a new decade means a strong eveningwear scene. Richard Quinn is flying the flag for debutante dressing gone wild, stepping into a space left vacant by Giles Deacon. This was a great show, and a real show – Cecil Beaton-style vistas, an orchestra, little girls dressed in mini versions of his designs. Not easily wearable but occasion-worthy. Similarly, at Erdem, undoubtedly a beautiful collection, went big on sleeves and hats and gloves. Not really daytime but lovely. And gathered sack dresses were seen at Simone Rocha, held at the very grand Alexandra Palace theatre, as they had been at Halpern. All very a night out on the town, likely heading to the opera, a gala or such.
 
Even Marques’Almeida, for whom most of their collection was a reprise of the designs for which they’ve won a legion of fans, added eveningwear to the mix: big shapes, bubble shapes, and pockets. Alongside lots of leather looks.
 
Interestingly, though, David Koma, for whom a sassy and slick glamour is his calling card, added in more accessible pieces such as denim and trenchcoats. The brand turned 10 this year – and in this collection, yes, you could see the body-con styles upon which he built his career but also so much more.
 
In 10 years, London has grown up. And the designers right now holding court in the capital are those that seem to have, too. This it seems is the shape of things to come as 2020 cranks up.

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