London is nothing if not unpredictable.
It has been a few weeks since the spring 2018 shows ended but I want to take a moment to look back at London. Why London instead of New York, Milan or Paris? It's where I first experienced fashion week. London designers were the first to invite me to their shows. London will always be, for me, the expression of fashion in the way I understand it best. London champions underdogs. I'm grateful for that. It's experimental. It doesn't conform.
utility |yo͞oˈtilədē|: the state of being useful, profitable, or beneficial
Utility isn't something I ever really associated with London Fashion Week. Sure, LFW is of course profitable. Of course, it's beneficial and useful to some degree. But the designs themselves? If I had to pick one word to describe them as a whole? It wouldn't be utility. For me, the trademark of fashion in London has always sort of been it's lack of practicality. It is wild and avänt gärde. Sometimes, it's offensive. It can be difficult to digest. But it pushes the envelop. It inspires. It breathes youth and creativity and beauty into a world that can sometimes feel rigid and dark. And the amazing thing? People in London actually embrace it.
This season though, the thing that stood out to me about London Fashion Week (as I watched it from afar) was that it felt decidedly more utilitarian.
Some of my favorite designers were the ones that were really wearable. I've always loved Eudon Choi but this season his collection was one of my favorites. It was packed full of separates perfectly suited for a day at the office or a stroll down the promenade. Whether you're fashion-forward or style-delayed, his collection is understandable - especially when you break apart each look and consider the pieces for what they are alone. Anybody could wear it. You. Me. Your grandma. I literally want to wear everything from the collection. Right. Now. Especially the pink suit (gasp!).
So many designers presented collections that felt useful, essential and easy-to-wear. Does this represent a shift in the industry? It's not minimalist or normcore. It's something else. It's looking at a catwalk and thinking you could actually wear what you see. You could wear it to walk your dog or pick up the groceries. You could wear it to class or to pick up your kids after school. There is beauty and attention-to-detail and a magic sparkle that emanates from the clothes but there is something else. There is a use. And you don't have to squint or work hard to figure out the use. It's glaringly obvious. The clothes are wearable.
To see what other people thought of the collections, I reached out to a few of my favorite people and asked them for their favorite look from London. Their responses reinforced what I had been thinking. London fashion is embracing practicality but there will always be an element of unexpected surprise that leaves you starry eyed and dreaming of another world. So yes, it seems London is embracing utility but there are still wild cards. ✨
Runway photos from Vogue.com