Anna Wintour's in town and her sunglasses seem bigger than ever. Sitting front-row at Christopher Kane despite everyone else being crushed like sardines on the narrow wooden benches, there remained a visible gap between the woman considered the most important woman in fashion, and her peers.
Kane is one of a handful of designers showing in London (others are Richard Nicoll, Erdem, Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Bailey at Burberry Prorsum) who are considered world class; he is one of those designers who always does his own thing and fashion is all the better for it. This season his collection of dark, inky blue and black dresses, with straps inspired by lava lamps, was very different indeed. Skirts made from crocheted squares and leather block-printed with crochet-like squares confirmed the "granny chic" trend being espoused elsewhere.
"Actually, the crochet is cashmere, which is very sensual," he told the press backstage, post-show. The straps and panels on his dresses, he explained, were filled with vegetable oil and glycerine and will bubble as they warm up when worn.
"The liquid idea was inspired by a pencil case I once had as a child. The colour-changing and bubbles-rising idea I still find fascinating - a bit like a lava lamp. I always wanted one of those and never got one."
Nicoll's collection focused on layering and juxtaposing sheer and opaques. Vintage cycling-inspired skinny knits were embellished with Swarovski crystals and teamed with fluid bottom halves in various hemlines. Colour combinations included cream, acid green, copper and petrol in panne velvets, insect-red Lurex and a sheer organza that resembled iridescent moth wings. Overall, his vibe was luxe sportswear, a theme that had played out in New York but hasn't so much in London.
The Burberry show, in a huge marquee in Kensington Gardens, was titled "Shrimpton", after the 1960s British model, and paid homage to the sort of sharp tailoring worn when Jean Shrimpton dominated the fashion scene.
Silhouettes focused on sumptuous, sculpted outerwear, as they did in the late 1960s. Signature Burberry features such as funnel necks, capes and Sergeant Pepper-style military buttons and epaulettes featured on all manner of jackets and coats. Colours ranged from camel and flame orange to teal, white, navy and checks. Coats have been a recurrent theme all week, but Bailey's coats for Burberry blew the others away. As well as country tweeds, hairy brushed wool checks and gaberdine, new additions included Lurex jacquard and military wool.
Continuing the 1960s theme, there were cropped cape jackets, window cut-out dresses, covered zip-front tunic dresses teamed with sculptured boot-cut trousers, many worn with furry caps and giant wedge boots.
A white section featuring hairy bouclé dropped-waist jackets worn with belts tied in a bow and black opaque tights particularly stole the show; that and the (fake) snow finale to a Dusty Springfield soundtrack.
The show was live-streamed to 40 global events and also shown live on a screen in London's Piccadilly Circus. Customers could instantly purchase the collection online - something that certainly didn't happen in the 1960s.
To see more of London Fashion Week click here