London Fashion Week Trend Report: Autumn Winter 2013

Spring hasn't even sprung but the latest London Fashion Week offering has got us talking about next autumn already. Here are the trends you should invest in now...

Feature by Alexandra Fiddes & Emma Segal | 04 Mar 2013

Pink, orange and red
The search for colours and colour pairings seems to be synonymous with trend reports. So, what is the new black for A/W13? Well, put simply, it’s a combination of neon and burnt/autumnal colours, specifically pinks, oranges and red. In keeping with the overwhelmingly minimalist and grown up looks displayed on the catwalk, bright clashing colours have been eschewed to make way for subtler pairings with a hint of fun. From the varying tones of orange on display at the likes of Fyodor Golan to the deep red hues at Maria Grachvogel, designers highlighted a myriad of ways to do the trend elegantly. For those who enjoy a more daring catwalk ensemble, looks which juxtaposed bright and burnt hues were seen at Topshop Unique, Paul Smith, Christopher Kane and Mark Fast.

Retro prints
Prints underwent a similar ‘calming down’ this season. With a focus on geometrical prints, often incorporating black and white or subdued colour palettes, there was a distinctly 60s/70s-meets-Bauhaus feel to proceedings. Nowhere was this more apparent than in the collections of Preen, Clements Ribeiro and Holly Fulton – hexagonal print jumpers were everywhere to be seen! Even Sister by Sibling and House of
Holland (whose collections this reporter can always rely upon for 'alternative’ and ‘out there’ moments) showcased restrained, 70s-led prints in a variety of knitwear based looks. There were still some flashes
of more daring prints, at the likes of KTZ and Peter Pilotto, for example. However, on the whole, prints were made with a view to being easy to layer, thereby making them the perfect partner for the new silhouettes and layered looks on display more widely.

Plastic fantastic
One trend which has fully flourished was plasticised and treated leather. We first noticed looks incorporating plasticised leather three seasons ago, but in A/W13 it will be unavoidable (and rightly so!) There were a few places where this new take on leather was showcased well, ranging from A-line skirts at Unique  to separates at J W Anderson and Meadham Kirchhoff. However, special mentions go to Antipodium for the particularly luxe finishing on a variety of dresses and overcoats, and to rising star and CSM MA graduate Eilish Macintosh, whose moulded gloss leather pieces were so directional she was awarded the L’Oreal Bursary Award by Christopher Kane. She also ingeniously incorporated a new ‘dare to bare’ zone – if you are bored of exposed backs and bellybuttons, her hipbone-exposing looks are the perfect antidote.

Layer it up
The overarching minimalism on display this season was in large part due to designers’ penchant for ‘new layering.’ The focus this A/W was clearly on slick, slim lines, thereby creating interesting silhouettes without adding too much bulk. Skirts were mostly A-Line and full length. ‘Mullet lengths’ (short at the front, long at the back – or business and party if you will – we couldn't help ourselves!) such as those displayed at J JS Lee, Kinder Aggugini and Jeanne Pierre Braganza. Having said this, voluminous separates were not totally absent from the catwalk; and trousers played a large part in adding subtle volume to otherwise minimal looks. The return of the 7/8th and culottes style of trousers is a perfect example of this. There was also an overarching focus on utility, in multi-wear looks which (through the use of zips or detachable layering) could transform mid catwalk, particularly in many of the outerwear looks.

Out-there accessories
Accessories were a mixed bag this season (no pun intended), but came in the form of caps at KTZ (models came down the runway wearing outrageously chic oversized baseball caps), visors at Haizhen Wang and plastic bags at Louise Gray. Yes, you read that correctly. In fact, milliner Stephen Jones declared them his ‘favourite hats ever’ on Twitter, assigning them the hastag ‘corner shop chic.’ Chokers and collars seemed to be equally prevalent, making appearances at Fyodor Golan, Bora Asku and Todd Lynn to name a few. Finally, gloves (particularly black gloss and elbow length) made a big comeback, often being used by designers as one layer in a multi-layered outfit.

Roll-Up, Roll-Up!
A roll, a turtle or a good old fashioned polo neck - whatever you call them,  it was all about the high neck on the catwalk this season. They are not only ok again, they are a new wardrobe essential. Inspired by native African tribes, and featuing the polo-neck, J JS Lee's 'travellers' collection was full of garments made from highly textured knit and weave techniques. If you thought she might tackle print with such an inspiration, think again, this was an offering devoid of pattern (of course) but focused on a subtle use of textile, structure and colour. She layered thick off-white polo-necks under pieces throughout the whole collection; poking out from under sugar sweet boxy oversized jackets, under sleeveless black dresses and on their own, paired with loose fitting wide leg trousers and relaxed skirts. J JS Lee produced not only a extremely covetable but also a beautifully tactile collection. It also made the polo-neck look modern and cool again. At the other end of the spectrum, design duo Marcus Wilmont and  Maki Aminaka Lofvander of Animaka Wilmont showed a dark, print heavy collection, full of layering and inspired by the idea of a dimensional multiverse. It featured (you guessed it) high neck pieces throughout; sheer optical illusion print fabric tops, that nearly reached to the chin, under textured leather jackets and also cape shaped tunics with chokers over the polo, emphasising the neckline further. Other design houses who showed the high-neck within their collections included Margaret Howell, Issa, Unique and Matthew Williamson.

Get waisted
This emerging trend featured heavily on the LFW runway this AW13. Waists were being accentuated by all kinds of different types of belts, corsets and textiles. It was also seen in the very construction of coats, jackets, dresses and jumpers  - all tailored to emphasise the shape of the body by focusing on the smallest part, the waist. David Koma's 'vinyl-inspired' collection was strikingly sexy, highly structured and slightly futuristic. Head-to-toe looks in red, black, blue and teal were broken up by thick high-shine ribbed leather or metallic 'girdle' type belts. Stunning metallic circular prints, half peplums and fit-and-flare dress shapes also instantly drew the eye to the waist. Haizhen Wang's innovative shapes and techniques emphasised the waist in a new way, with origami style construction and the use of quilting, used to a dramatic effect. Named 'Starkonnen' the Jean Pierre Braganza offering was also unashamedly futuristic and sci-fi inspired.  Long and lean (and also slightly Samurai style) gowns were tied at the waist, perfectly tailored coats and mid length dresses had white and pale orange side panels that appeared to nip-in waists even further. Bora Aksu and Scot Jonathan Saunders showed more 'traditional' and provocative pin-up style corsets and bustiers within their collections - if you want to go the whole hog!

Cut it out
There were many different ways designers gave us a flash of flesh this season; slits, slashes and cut-outs were everywhere! Some were modest and subtle, some were not. Emilio de la Morena embraced the theme to the full, showing pencil skirts with thigh-high slits - sometimes with only a small section of fabric covering the front... crotch area... Elsewhere in the collection, panels of fabric were stitched together and woven, so little cut-out squares of skin appeared. Because the structured silhouettes were simple and the colour palette was grown-up, the look was definitely sexy but certainly not trashy. Some designers showed cut-out and slit details in a more subtle manner, such as Michael Van der Ham who cut away and slashed organic shapes from a top layer of clothing, cleverly exposing the perfectly contrasting fabric underneath. Fyodor Golan cut-out huge swathes of garments and inserted sheer fabric, they also exposed shoulders and backs as did Unique, and Emilia Wickstead amongst others.

Black and white is already going to be a hit this spring/summer but it looks as if the trend is set to continue into Autumn/Winter. London Fashion Week favourites Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff aka Meadham Kirchhoff, showed a highly accomplished and breathtakingly beautiful collection of largely monochromatic pieces - using a variety of different fabrics (velvet, latex and cotton) and inspirations (think Edwardian lady mixed with a 1930s sailor with a dash of gothic surrealism). KTZ went for monochrome in a big way too, but in the form of eye-catching white occult symbols and illustrations over oversized tees and sweatshirts (straight on my wish list). Jean Pierre Braganza and Maria Grachvogel went down the print route, with wonderfully complex cosmic-like symblols and gorgeous delicate winter tree-like patterns respectively. Other designers, such as Zoe Jordan used black and white as a base palette for bold pops of colour.