x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

London looks should not be ignored

Colour is a talking point at London Fashion Week.

Cobalt blue, camel and scarlet were Matthew Williamson's colours of choice.
Cobalt blue, camel and scarlet were Matthew Williamson's colours of choice.

London catwalk looks, however crazy they may initially seem, should not be ignored. This is, after all, where some of the world's most prominent stylists, including Katie Grand and Sophia Neophitou, experiment with new ideas.

At the Topshop Unique show, the designer capsule range of the fast-fashion chain store, Grand took her inspiration from the Disney movie 101 Dalmations. Models with their hair in bunches curled over to resemble dog-ears wore prints (spotty, obviously) and short trousersuits evocative of Hollywood dancers of the 1930s.

The vibe was cute (which is Grand's signature, after all). Models, including the pink-haired American rising star Charlotte Free, looked sweet in monochrome devoré silk dresses and glamorous trousersuits.

For a millisecond last season, models seemed to be looking a little older and fuller - now guess what? On day three of London Fashion Week, models at the shows of Antonio Berardi, who featured sumptuous bomber-jacket knits encrusted with marcasite and panelled short skirts, and Mulberry, which opted for longer hemlines, looked very young indeed. Or was it that a certain American in town had hogged all the grown-up models for himself? Supermodels including Anja Rubik and Lui Wan had been block-booked by Tom Ford, who showed his autumn/winter 2011/12 collection to a select group of magazine editors whose lips are sealed until some unnamed, top-secret date in the future.

Rumours of painted silver lace inspired by the Spanish artist Goya, lots of long eveningwear in red and black and dresses slashed to the thigh ("you know, the usual Tom Ford kind of thing") were being tweeted and whispered non-stop front row.

Colour has been another talking point. There's been a profusion of eye-popping brights in various touchy-feely textures, from finest silk devoré to knobbly tweed and knits. Cobalt blue, camel and scarlet at Matthew Williamson; bright blue and cyclamen at Osman Yousefzada; rust, orange, hunting pink (red) and gold at Mulberry (where the actors Nicholas Hoult and Kirsten Dunst sat front row); and metallic red, apple green and shades of cream and white at Berardi.

Surprisingly, one of the most colourful shows so far has been Acne, the trendy Swedish label renowned for its minimal palette. Acid yellow, silver, purple, fuchsia, bubblegum pink and toffee brown provided the colour at this salon presentation, staged in an industrial building with vast windows overlooking a foggy Regent Street in London's West End.

Acne's androgynous look, which homes in on simple pieces in luxurious fabrics, has struck a chord with hip women who prefer casual clothes to tailoring.

As well as signature leather jackets worn layered over cotton polo necks and slouchy leather trousers, there were boxy jackets covered by a layer of sheer black gauzy net. The net also came on drainpipe cropped trousers which gave a sort of "3D" effect. You never know - it might just catch on.