The lifestyle shifts of the pandemic “have made people more open minded about body shape”, the London fashion week designer Rejina Pyo said at a preview before her show yesterday.
Time spent at home in comfortable clothes “has shown us that clothes don’t have to restrict our bodies to make us feel special”, she said. “Some designers love to make clothes really tiny, but I have always designed clothes with a bit of room. Food is really important to me so I like to make clothes that are comfortable when your belly is full of dinner!”
Pyo, who has written a cookbook with her chef husband, served snacks and cocktails at her show at the Aubrey restaurant in a Knightsbridge hotel. “It’s a really fancy place,” she said. “I wanted to create that mood of excitement that you get at the beginning of the evening when you go out to eat with your friends and family. I love that moment when you arrive and see your friends and you can read their mood from what they are wearing.”
An actor, a costume designer, a photographer and a new mother were among the show’s models. “Because our clothes are sized generously, we aren’t restricted to only using really skinny models,” the designer said. “And I didn’t want that typical stompy model walk. I said to the women, imagine you’re in a restaurant and you’ve stood up to go to the loo and spotted someone who looks interesting at another table – that’s how to walk across a room.”
Taking inspiration from the anything-goes dress codes of supper clubs in 1920s America, the collection ranged from denim and tweed suits to an acid green ruffled gown and a slinky column dress. Some pieces were upcycled from deadstock jeans made for a previous collection.
Neither Burberry nor Victoria Beckham, British fashion’s two most powerful brands, are taking part in this London fashion week. Burberry will stage a catwalk show in London next month instead; Victoria Beckham spent Saturday making a film of her new collection which will be shown online next week.
Designers who have seized the opportunity to step into the spotlight vacated by the absent big names include Roksanda, whose show at Tate Britain featured the first NFT sold at London fashion week, a virtual ball gown shoppable on the designer’s own website through a partnership with Clearpay. Red carpet favourite Roksanda, whose front row featured the actor Harriet Walter in a lime trouser suit, brought her trademark exuberant glamour to a collaboration with Fila, which included puffer coats in the joyful rainbow brights of a patchwork quilt, and neon moonboots. “Sportswear and loungewear became much more part of my vocabulary over the past couple of years,” the designer said backstage after the show.
Students from the English national ballet school replaced models at the first catwalk show in two years for Preen. “We were thinking about youth culture and youthful exuberance, so we wanted to work with young dancers. The students brought a phenomenal energy which made the project feel really joyful,” said designer Thea Bregazzi backstage.
Erdem Moralıoğlu brought supermodel starriness to London fashion week, with Karen Elson opening his show dressed in an embroidered double-breasted black silk coat from the Erdem’s recent menswear collection, set off by a slim velvet scarf.
“Having designed menswear for the first time, I thought it was so interesting to see how the silhouette was transformed when you put it on a woman,” he said. “That double breasted broadness looks so different when you see it on Karen,” the designer said backstage of a collection which revisited the gender fluid dressing and decadent nightlife scene of the 1930s. “There’s a Cabaret kind of sexiness to it – a louche cardigan, a glimpse of a bra.”