What's new for fashion in the coming winter? Consider glamorous animal prints, a touch of punk, polished tailoring, furry collars and lashings of shiny PVC.
London Fashion Week on Tuesday wrapped up a whirlwind of runway previews that offered a huge variety of looks from dozens of designers, but one thing seemed clear: This season, many of the styles were more wearable by women who aren't necessarily models.
That's not to say the looks were boring or conventional. Glossy rubberized material — think translucent raincoats — was everywhere, as were boxy, roomy jacket shapes. There were punk-inspired biker zips and a black and red theme at Preen, but clean and minimalist tailoring kept the outfits sophisticated.
Erdem offered dark dresses brightened up with neon florals, while Christopher Kane, recently acquired by luxury conglomerate PPR, showcased a whole range of creative looks from camouflage-printed kilts to dark velvet dresses to feather trims.
Roksanda Ilincic brought out a series of feminine dresses and separates in peachy pinks, but clashed them with fluorescent green and emerald accents, ghostly makeup and statement striped lace-up boots in bright metallic hues.
"It's about daring to bring the pink into winter because it's such a spring color, and it's such a girly color," the designer said after her show on Tuesday — the fifth day of the British capital's fashion week.
Earlier, the headline acts of the week lived up to high expectations.
Luxury brand Burberry updated its classic trenches with bold animal prints and more of the ubiquitous plastic, latex-like material, while Tom Ford unveiled bright, saturated tribal patterns. Vivienne Westwood delivered what she does best: draped dresses and jackets that magically create hourglass shapes for the wearer.
Color-wise, Ilincic and others brought pink and coral to the catwalk, but a deep palette of burgundy and wine, navy and bottle green was most popular.
Compared to New York, Milan or Paris, London fashion attracts many with its younger, edgier and more urban vibe, and catwalk shows were often full of theatrical or even madcap looks.
"I find it an exuberant, inspirational city, so that's why I chose to show here," said Ford, who staged a lavish runway showcase on Monday night, marking the first full-fledged womenswear catwalk show for his Tom Ford brand.
Officials have made a point of nurturing that creative energy, though increasingly designers based in the capital are encouraged to take a more business-savvy approach to fashion — the leading creative industry in Britain, worth 21 billion pounds (US$33 billion) to the U.K. economy.
"Before it was more like an art show, but now — now the creativity is still there, though with collections that are saleable, that generate a profitable business," said British Fashion Council chief executive Caroline Rush.
Designers including handbag specialist Anya Hindmarch, Ashish and newcomer Simone Rocha were the last to show at the fashion event on Tuesday.
As the runways get dismantled in London, models, editors and bloggers are jetting off to more womenswear shows in Milan, which begins its fashion week Wednesday, followed by Paris next week.