See-through plastic and short skirts were on display at Burberry Saturday as the quintessentially British brand gave itself a youthful injection, while Jonathan Anderson offered women a countryside-inspired "sanctuary".
Under the new stewardship of Marco Gobbetti — formerly chief executive of French luxury brand Celine — Burberry Autumn/Winter 2018 collection proved it was possible to expertly combine heritage with a dash of boldness and a hint of fantasy.
The usual audience of celebrities and VIPs — from Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell to it-girl Lennon Gallagher — squeezed into the 18th century Old Sessions House to watch plastic-clad models strut down the catwalk in an array of colours and shapes.
The plastic, always see-through, came in a variety of colours, from antique yellow to pink and turquoise.
One look comprised of a soft-touch plastic anorak worn against the bare skin under a laid-back soft camel leather jacket and accessorised with gold sandals.
Another saw the same supple plastic anorak layered over a heavy-wool tartan skirt. Flowy bohemian dresses were dwarfed under clashing tartan trench coats in another one.
Bailey also used English lace to craft long, sensual skirts, yet also tapped into streetwear with baseball caps — although there was no mistaking Burberry's emblematic tartan.
Calm before the storm
Meanwhile, British fashion designer Anderson offered an antidote to what he described as growing "hysteria" with his new collection, giving women a "sanctuary".
The 33-year-old designer's creations had a Zen-like quality emphasising comfort, though not without elegance and even a bit of impertinence.
Anderson's shows are among the most closely-followed at London Fashion Weeks and the queue outside the door was like a who's who of British fashion.
"The main idea was to kind of ground everything," said Anderson, who is also artistic director for the Spanish accessories brand Loewe, owned by LVMH.
He said the designs were intended to show a "stillness" so that "no matter how hysterical things become everything will always have a ground level".
The collection was "like a sanctuary where it's calm before the storm," he said.
"I think we get very hysterical. I think media make us hysterical and I think sometimes you have to go back to basics."
The designs had a countryside feel to them, with plenty of comfortable dresses going below the knee and practical shoes that looked like walking boots.
The palette also had an earthlike quality with sky blue, pistachio green, dark red and leather colours.
Anderson is a fan of paradoxes: the collection was both modern and classical, wise and bold, mixing vintage corset-like designs with sleeveless T-shirts.
Anderson, the son of former Ireland rugby international Willie Anderson, will be presenting a collection created for the Japanese brand Uniqlo next week.
"I'm obsessed by them. I wear their clothes on a daily basis," he said.
"So when they approached me it was like it was a no-brainer."
On Sunday, fashionistas will be able to see Italian fashion icon Giorgio Armani at the Emporio Armani show, as well as TopShop and Versus Versace.
The start of London fashion Week hit a slight snag however as protesters urged Burberry to denounce the use of fur and promote animal rights, shouting "shame on you".
London Fashion Week will feature 80 catwalks across the city, bringing in 5,000 buyers, journalists and VIP guests, until Tuesday.
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