Namedropping is very elegant these days in London Fashion Week.
Mrs. Macbeth, Mark Roscoe, John F. Kennedy, Virginia Woolf and Eugene de la Clovis are all cited by designers before Monday at 11 am, and Michael Nyman in the people, The piano is made up in a collection of Roksanda. Burberry is a showcase of Henry Moore’s star attraction later in the day, a channel that will double the sculpture exhibition of the opening night.
London Fashion Week is developing a different kind of effect. It begins with a long, fluid skirt, cuffs tight and vigorous development. Silhouette elegant, but there is an element in coarse gravel, sensible tweed, maiden velvet and thick velvet. A steel-like British woman in the background of the emerging dialogue, with the same, Tracy Emin and Queen’s name was deleted.
And there is a common refrain among designers who speak of formidable women. For Antonio Berardi this was Lady Macbeth, the starting point for dramatic silhouettes in which dense fabrics were swathed about the shoulders and wrapped tight at the waist, with collars tipped high over the chin and skirts swirling at the knees, as if for an unimaginably glamorous walk in the Highlands.
Roksanda Ilinčić talked about how the influence of living in an extraordinary moment of history helped her crystallise her “warrior women” on the catwalk, whom she dressed in exquisite shades of carmine and rust she took from Rothko paintings she saw in the Royal Academy’s recent Abstract Expressionism exhibition.
Erdem imagined what the wardrobes of his great grandmothers – one from Turkey, near the Syrian border, the other of English and Scottish heritage – would have looked like together, merging Ottoman necklines with Victoriana bodices, and throwing in elements of Virginia Woolf for good measure, to dreamy effect.
“I like to imagine women’s stories,” he said backstage after the show. “I don’t have any photographs of my great grandmothers, so this is about their identities as I invent them, I suppose.”