Not only is clothing an integral part of how we are judged and perceived by society but is often a reflection of society itself. Therefore, in the wake of the earth-shattering #MeToo movement, there was no doubt that the effects would ricochet across all industries and that the aftermath would soon inevitably rear its head in the world of fashion.
At the SS19 collections at London Fashion Week, there was a sense of palpable excitement surrounding what designers had in store for updating the dress code for this exciting new wave of empowered women. What did emerge was two camps of designers, one maximalist and one minimalist, all with the same powerful woman in their minds.
Ryan Lo proved to be the first sensation of the week. Models floated down the runway sporting huge hennins in striking block colours, trailing tulle which added to the drama of the beautiful pastel dresses. The real pièce de résistance came at the end of the show with a literal white knight striding down the runway with dreamy curtains and chunky chainmail, gallantly escorting his ethereal bride. This could be viewed as a response against a recurring criticism of the #MeToo movement: the seismic revelations of the past year do not mean the eradication of playful femininity.
Many other shows followed in this spirit of extroverted femininity and maximalism. Matty Bovan put forward a brilliant array of eccentric patchwork garments with striking, frothy gowns. Gareth Pugh followed in the same vein, celebrating the legendary Judy Blame with his boundary-pushing designs and celebration of sexuality in all its forms.
A particular highlight was the legendary Mary Katrantzou’s 50th anniversary show. This show was a joyful celebration of her past collections all in her trademark weird and wonderful aesthetic. Richard Quinn, a relative newbie still managed to cause a stir with a show filled to the brim with drama, each look oozing with an effortless glamour. There is no doubt that all these designers created bold and brilliant designs for the unapologetic woman; the woman whose presence is known and is unafraid to have her voice heard.
And yet, it was shows from the likes of Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane, Molly Goddard and Burberry that provided the real intrigue to fashion week. Goddard’s show, normally a whirlwind of fabulous tulle, featured more wearable pieces while still keeping her brilliantly indulgent feminine aesthetic.
Christopher Kane’s show was filled with sexual empowerment, primarily showcased through his wonderfully tailored power shoulders. Victoria Beckham presented her brand’s aesthetic of clean, bright, feminine and commanding in all of her pieces.
With Riccardo Tisci taking over from Christopher Bailey, the Burberry show was the most highly anticipated show of LFW. With a staggering 134 looks, Tisci presented a Burberry stripped back to its roots of brilliant tailoring and refined British style. This was all epitomised in the first look, a classic trench coat with the waist effortlessly defined by a wide elasticated belt, simple and undeniably effective.
Tisci, Kane, Goddard, and Beckham all brought clean aesthetics and muted hues to the forefront of fashion. Their objective was creating clothing for the working, independent and empowered woman. After fashion’s identity crisis of the last few months, it seems as though many fashion houses are advocating for a minimalist aesthetic in the age of #MeToo: pared down, but no less powerful.
Image: Guido van Nipsen via Flickr