by Jeremy Danté

LONDON – the underdog of the fashion capitals, london has seen it’s share of highs and it’s many lows. recovering from one of those lows in the last few years, the fashion capital is quickly looking to maintain that track record. of the five collections i’ve selected from london this season, burberry remains the crown jewel of london. they have made the largest effort in aiding the re-centering around of british fashion with their return to the UK in 2009. london, unlike new york, represents a certain liberation of style. london is the home of punk rock, home of the mod and has long lead the influence of fashion movements while not always being properly credited for doing so. london continues to drive headlines, as the british fashion council (BFC) continues their own efforts in creating programs that help keep design inspiration and financial backing thriving in their home turf. with the collections that were presented, each held an aspect of progress visible in runway casting. london is and will always be a leader in style. as a fashion capital, the british represent the freedom of fashion and have long been a platform for true artistry. that reign will surely thrive into 2014.

burberryBURBERRY – print stormed just about every major runway show in new york. it’s interesting when you’re viewing collections, and begin to view which trends will rule in the next year. this season, burberry took a hands-on approach to print. in what appeared as hand printed graphics, the collection seemed as if it was formed by several scarves. the classic trench coat is a staple for the british label and that staple was presented but in a subtle, softer, much more feminine way. the handpainted print continued onto the collections footwear, handbags and scarves accompanied every look that strolled the catwalk, including the few menswear looks which also encompassed the printed theme. i was surprised that the collection felt so light, in textile, for a fall collection. there was inclusion of rich floral sheers while injects of the label’s usual sherling fur and suede jackets were presented as well. deep tones of maroon and emeral green were seen, as pastels were seemingly carried over from the label’s spring collection. overall, the collection presented strong concepts in an unexpected way. the runway casting was strong with campaign model malaika firth walking the runway alongside burberry favorite jourdan dunn. burberry has been wildly successful from concept to execution, and this pattern shows no clear signs of slowing down. love to see, as large a label as burberry, is embracing diversity and leading as a glowing example. standing ovation to the talented, christopher bailey.

TOPSHOP UNIQUE – in the context of british style, topshop has raised the bar for fast fashion retailers like the swedish owned H&M, and the japanese founded uniqlo. topshop remains in a class all their own. unlike their fast fashion contemporaries, topshop stages a fashion show among the high brow show season collections which continues to set them apart in a striking manner. an arsenal of blue set the collection off right, as those tones soon cooled to a wave of greys. color was major aspect of the collection, while styling did it’s part in allowing the clothes to bring about a greater feel of livelihood. yellow palette injections were seen on the runway, but the collection didn’t feel as seasoned as other labels showing this season. the model casting was stellar, but the collection felt a bit retail. while topshop understands how to stay a cut above the rest in their fast fashion market, im not sure that this collection was at the same level of other high end labels which occupied the runways at london fashion week. with london making every attempt to hold onto their reign, topshop definitely lends it’s prowess. a strong collection at retail, likely, but not as powerful a contender in alignment with fashion in london, in producing key elements of trend, focusing on bringing abouts new aspects of designs and challenging the pre-existing with how women are viewed by the clothes that they choose to buy. good, though not great, topshop definitely lends it’s contribution to london.

TOM FORD – it’s interesting the ways that tom ford can create a collection of standards, in a basic palette and be able to execute on a higher playing field. maybe it’s the fact that tom has earned his place in high fashion. perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve developed an expectation that has been proven years before a tom ford namesake collection even touched a runway. on the runway this season, ford played to nothing but standards. the palette was kept strictly in black and white with a few punches of red for contrast. sleek lines, reptile skin and use of fur were seen in the collection that is sure to be a hit at retail. while standards were presented, there were very few moments that seemed to push womenswear forward. the sequined jerseys that referenced jay-z “tom ford” record had people talking, but in my mind- it lacked a special element of surprise. void of print, which seems to be a popular trend for the FW14 show season, ford seemingly continues to create only what he wishes, having no concern for promoting trends or pushing the boundaries of design. is tom ford a design genius? yes. has he developed a proven track record? yes. was any of that genius or proven track record carried off into this collection? no. tom ford is the kind of designer that is functioning at a different level than others. there is a heavier expectation for his work and his method of dealing with that pressure is seemingly to ignore it. to create past that pressure and give something unexpected. i understand that ideology, but wonder how long until the novelty of that approach wears off.

PETER PILOTTO – in what appears to be the routine route for designers looking for greater visibility, peter pilotto has joined the ranks of designers that have partnered with american super retailer, target. while peter pilotto has seemingly scratched the surface of what it takes to win on the luxury sector, greater visibility is always the key for designers. pilotto has quickly become known for his digitized prints, and that signature was well represented this show season in london. modernized through cut and kept sleek from look to look, the collection was one of the strongest in london. speaking in terms of trend, pilotto’s signature use of print has positioned him with greater relevance this season. diversity in model casting was represented as well, which only accentuated the wide ranged palette of pilotto’s fall collection even further. i really loved the collaged effect of the print that was chosen for the collection, but was in love with the use of graphics that were used which allows mountainous regions to become plastered across the outerwear of the collection, towards the middle of the collection. overall, the collection felt like it grasped onto the range of concepts while not slipping off of cohesion. the looks were both thoughtful and visually stunning. while pilotto’s entrance into target stores didn’t seem as well received as say, philip lim, he is definitely on the pathway to gaining major notoriety outside the confines of london’s fashion scene. though i’m not sure how successful this move will be for securing the future of peter pilotto as a major brand, visibility is visibility. a strong collection, for sure, with interesting reinterpretation of florals.

MARY KATRANTZOU – another designer known for her prints, mary katrantzou has been a design name to look out for. this season however, she seemed to scale things back. the simplicity of making such moves was done in all the right ways. use of print was seemingly isolated, and some designs were entirely void of print. you could feel that a bar has been raised in this collection in comparison to katrantzou’s past work, there is a steady elevation of creativity. katrantzou is one of the standouts in all of london, and her collection was definitely the strongest showing this season. whether printed or not, each look was done in a stunning way. there were embroidered aspects of design with selected forms of encrusting as well, there were cut outs and patchwork which all seemed to bring about a sense of elegance in a smart way. it’s important for younger, newer or emerging designers to flex conceptually during show season because taking those risks set them apart. that’s exactly what mary katrantzou did for herself this season. aside from raising the bar on the competition, she seemingly competed with herself; taking what she has become known for and flipping the script. a risk well taken for the fall, i loved the exaggerated lines in the collection and the serious, deep tones in the collection palette. this collection was my favorite collection presented in london for the FW14 show season. strong concepts, with even stronger execution.

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