Hits, hits, hits
Backstage at Nensi Dojaka SS22 / Photography by Verity Smiley-Jones
After a slightly awkward post-Covid reckoning of off-season jaunts or immersive digital offerings, London Fashion Week’s SS23 schedule shows the signs of a creative hub in healing.
One of the week’s biggest coups is that of Raf Simons, who recently announced his forthcoming London debut, showing his newly launched womenswear line. Describing London as a place “where fashion and creativity [are] omnipresent in the streets,” Simons is hardly the only tastemaker who shares in such a thought. In fact, a number of huge names are returning to show in the bustling capital, with the likes of JW Anderson, Molly Goddard, Daniel W. Fletcher and Burberry being just a few familiar faces set to grace the schedule once again.
Here, they join a fresh host of award-winning talents such as Di Petsa, Chet Lo, S.S.Daley and Nensi Dojaka, who are all hard at work ushering in a new era of design for the city.
So, what exactly can we expect from this season of firsts? Raf Simons will no doubt bring an abundance of astute youth references to the catwalk, playing out in oversized tailoring, loose silhouettes and harsh, punky graphics. Maybe we’ll get filmic influences pulled from Britain’s cinematic classics: a Kes two-finger salute, Gregory’s Girl’s footy scene or the Full Monty lads in mid-swing? Or perhaps while on British ground Simons will once again pay homage to his beloved Manchester music scene of the 80s/90s. Maybe with a skirted equivalent to the dusty parkas of his FW04 collection Closer – which looked to the visual artistry of Joy Division and New Order’s iconoclast graphic designer and artist, Peter Saville. Whatever is planned, a stellar playlist is certain.
Raf Simons Womenswear SS21
As for Burberry, after spending the last few seasons toying with the ever-changing role of digital fashion and opting to show off-schedule, the momentousness of Britain’s biggest brand returning to the schedule cannot be understated. Last season, Burberry returned to the physical sphere in dramatic fashion, organising an opulent British dinner party in London’s Central hall Westminister, where models walked across branded table-tops (awful etiquette) while the London Contemporary Orchestra played accompanied by a one-hundred-person choir.
Joining Tisci, who no doubt has another incredible, show-stopping production tucked under his sleeve, is fashion’s golden boy JW Anderson, who made a simulation-shattering splash at Milan menswear last month with his deconstructed BMX handle-bar harnesses and smashed-up skate deck knits.
JW ANDERSON SS23 Menswear
Burberry and JW Anderson are joined by two now-stalwarts of London’s fashion scene: Stefan Cooke and Daniel w. Fletcher – the latter another returning force to the official schedule, showing his first solo womenswear runway show. Each act brings something different to the fold, be it an appreciation for theatrical costumes and saucy knitwear (Stefan) or Britain’s lengthy rock’n’roll history, told through denim-twinsets and fur-trimmed PVC (Daniel). Speaking to us back in February 2021, Fletcher described his woman as a myriad of references bouncing from Princess Diana to Northern nightlife wardrobes. Let’s see how she’s feeling this time round.
So despite Matty Bovan setting his sights on Milan with the help of Dolce & Gabbana (we’ll miss you, Matty!), British fashion seems to be very much in the throws of its ‘coming home’ era.
Backstage at Daniel w. Fletcher FW22
Having flown the Fashion East nest with the support of NEWGEN, the BFC’s fund for emerging designers, Chet Lo will be making his solo debut come September. Last season he dreamt of an ultra-lux snow-rave fully of party girls and colossal bunny bags, so perhaps this time around his unique blend of sharp and acidic knits will lend themselves to a tropical oasis akin to London in last week’s heatwave?
Chet Lo FW22
ASAI, the wave-making-favourite of Ms. Robyn Rihanna Fenty, is also back in action, returning to LFW to once again reinvent the tie-dye wheel with his delicate eye for patchwork and cleverly subverted stereotypes of Asian culture. Though his dyed mesh might not be the most suitable material for a wardrobe of winter gear, a quick peak at the designer’s Instagram hints at a new, wholly ethereal direction for the label, with plenty of curling threads and fibres to go around. He will be joined under the NEWGEN umbrella by Feben’s array of tactile and mind-bending womenswear staples, the awe-inspirng wet-look ensembles of Di Petsa, and of course, Nensi Dojaka’s oh-so-slinky party-girl separates.
Backstage at Nensi Dojaka SS22
Elsewhere, all eyes are poised on Chopova Lowena and S.S.Daley, two still-emerging talents that have consistently blown audiences away. Known for his theatrical, narrative-driven runway performances inspired by his time at the National Youth Theatre, last season saw S.S. Daley create his own period drama, setting the stage with a table adorned with flowers, a four-poster bed scattered with red roses and a country-garden picnic. As for Chopova Lowena, SS23 marks not only their first time on the LFW schedule, but also their ever first runway, whilst the latter is set to build on a uniquely subversive world of masculine uniforms that recently snagged him 2022’s highly-contested LVMH Prize.
From the looks of things, SS23 is sure shaping up to be one of the most exciting seasons in LFW history – stay tuned for our 360 coverage.
Check out the full SS23 LFW Schedule here
Backstage at S.S. Daley FW22