LONDON — Simone Rocha’s Crocs, Erdem’s Barbour jackets and the witty plasticine shorts and hunched hoodies at JW Anderson grabbed retailers’ attention during London Fashion Week, which wrapped up Tuesday.
Buyers were impressed with established and emerging talents alike and said there was a lightness, a commercial bent and a democratic appeal to the collections this season.
Many said they are eager to snap up the darkly glamorous, embellished Crocs from Simone Rocha’s new collaboration, and the Barbour jackets at Erdem, who took his inspiration from the late Deborah Devonshire and the interiors of Chatsworth House.
Others highlighted Richard Quinn’s elegant, poignant show, a tribute to his late father, and Burberry, which touted its British heritage with a citywide takeover and an upbeat show in Highbury Fields, with guests perched on specially made park benches.
“There was a sense that London was really able to show off,” said Bosse Myhr, director of menswear and womenswear at Selfridges.
“There were heavyweights like Burberry; couture moments at Richard Quinn and Harris Reed, and the highest desirability in designer streetwear at the Mains show. And there was dress excellence at shows like Huishan Zhang, Erdem and Roksanda,” Myhr added.
Here, buyers discuss some of the week’s highlights.
Ida Petersson, buying director, Browns
Favorite collection: Simone Rocha displayed a beautiful homage to celebration and yet again delivered a strong continuation of her menswear line.
Best show format: Piferi’s Vogueing ball; who doesn’t want to have a fun night out at the Windmill disguised as a fashion show?
Top trends: Low waists either with a bare midriff or as a design detail à la Molly Goddard. Tailoring and the theme of black, white and red which started off at New York Fashion Week and continued at Daniel Lee’s Burberry. Comfortable shoes are most definitely back; Knwls delivered the perfect cowboy-cum-biker boot hybrid. We also noticed paillettes rather than sequins at the likes of Feben, Huishan Zhang and 16Arlington. Pencil skirts also dominated the runways with Sinead O’Dwyer and Ashley Williams leading the way.
Must-have pieces: The list is endless, from Simone Rocha’s Croc collaboration to Burberry’s new low-waist trench, as well the ultimate coat from Erdem’s collaboration with Barbour. The Ashley Williams and Ugg collaboration is an absolute must, as are the oversized paillette skirts from 16Arlington.
Budgets up or down: Our budgets remain the same, concentrating on nurturing, and protecting, our new talent.
New talent: Aaron Esh launching womenswear, a stunning first collection.
Impressions of the week: The energy is back in London. The New Gen designers really played up to what makes London fashion great delivering strong silhouettes, playful accessories and clothes made for the club scene.
For spring 2024, we are going out-out. On the contrary, we also saw beautiful, timeless wardrobing that the customer will be able to treasure forever; from Erdem, to new Burberry, Tove or 16Arlington there is something for everyone.
Joseph Tang, fashion director, Holt Renfrew
Favorite collection: Simone Rocha’s nod to technical sport with nylon jackets and bungee-cord bows, and JW Anderson’s nod to nostalgia and play on proportions; Daniel Lee’s second collection for Burberry continues to tap into traditional English codes and puts an emphasis on the new trenchcoat silhouette.
Best show format: Holzweiler’s garden fantasy in the Camley Street natural park.
Top trends: Feminine frills seen at Simone Rocha, Erdem and Emilia Wickstead all reinforced the return to cocktail dressing. We liked the juxtaposition of hard and soft in the way the collections were styled. Tailoring continues to be oversized and streamlined, with an emphasis on ’90s minimalism. It’s been refreshing to see an evolution of quiet luxury with classic and trusted silhouettes done in pastel colors and new fabrications.
Must-have pieces: JW Anderson’s bomber jacket and cargo pants, Simone Rocha’s Crocs, Burberry drop-waist trenchcoat in leather.
New talent: London’s New Gen designers continue to deliver on some of the week’s most viral moments.
Impressions of the week: Overall London continues to incubate and foster new design talent which remains on our radar. The bridge between London Design Week and Fashion Week brought forth the best London has to offer for the week and it’s been incredible to be a part of it.
April Hennig, chief merchant, Moda Operandi
Favorite collection: Erdem’s rich and exuberant collection was a true standout and one of our favorites from the brand to date; Tove delivered a chic and compelling lineup, and JW Anderson’s collection struck the balance of wearable fantasy.
Top trends: London’s collections offered a less quiet sense of luxury coming off of New York — with a fresh return to color and surface treatments across collections. We saw a continuation of key items like bomber jackets, midi skirts, shorts, caftan shapes, updated tailoring, and matching sets. Silver, white and pastel shades of sky blue, sage green, and butter yellow were abundant and offset by brighter pops of saturated pinks and orange.
Must-have pieces: JW Anderson’s whimsical feather-tufted bomber jackets; Simone Rocha’s embellished platform Crocs; Erdem’s mixed chintz quilted Barbour jackets; 16Arlington’s paillette pencil skirts; Emilia Wickstead’s evening shorts.
Budgets up or down: We are taking a conservative, and very considered, approach to the season.
New talent: Di Petsa, Susan Fang, Chet Lo, and Feben caught our eye and we look forward to revisiting in the Paris showrooms.
Impressions of the week: The London collections injected a refreshing sense of fantasy and whimsy to the spring season. We look forward to seeing each brand continue to refresh their signature codes and aesthetic with a sense of optimism and newness.
Tiffany Hsu, chief buying officer, Mytheresa
Favorite collection: JW Anderson, Erdem, Roksanda and Simone Rocha.
Best show format: The Roksanda show at the iconic Barbican Center was amazing. And I loved Burberry’s London takeover with a show in the middle of Highbury Hill.
Top trends: We saw a lot of bows, drapes and frills. There were a lot of ’90s silhouettes that were sophisticated and grown-up and a clear move away from the current Y2K trend.
Must-have pieces: The Erdem x Barbour coat, the JW Anderson feather-trimmed parka and the Simone Rocha Crocs.
New talent: New names to keep an eye on are Harri and Paolo Carzana.
Impressions of the week: London had a more grown-up mood this season, but I do feel like we are missing a bit of the edge that we normally see here.
Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director, Saks
Impressions of the week: London has become this creative hub for the unexpected and brings an unapologetic approach to fashion that was seen in so many of the collections these past few days. There was a strong focus on the new guard and lineup of talent as New Gen celebrated its 30-year anniversary. So many of the alums are now the major headliners — JW Anderson, Erdem, Roksanda, and Molly Goddard. It is the foundation of what London Fashion Week is so well known for, and what makes LFW so unique.
Favorite collections of the week: The sculpted and molded pieces at JW Anderson were playful and the feather-trimmed bombers and cargos were standouts. Erdem’s explosion of vibrant and colorful prints inspired by the Duchess of Devonshire brought much joy. Simone Rocha’s tulle layered over roses was soft and dreamy. Harris Reed’s sculpted couture gowns were another standout for this rising star. Other favorites included 16Arlington and Tove.
New talent: Standing Ground’s sculptural and sensual collection by Michael Stewart was a highlight in Fashion East’s presentation.
Top trends: Draped and fluid satins and jersey; every shade of white; red; slipdresses and lingerie-inspired separates. It has been exciting to see the vibrant prints and colors emerge here, translucent paillettes and sequins bring shimmer and shine to the evening. Soft embroideries and embellishments on day-to-evening dresses. Bombers and moto jackets as wardrobe staples.
Must-have item: JW Anderson’s feathered bomber jacket; Simone Rocha x Croc collab; Erdem’s pink and green printed dress.
Rickie De Sole, women’s fashion director, Nordstrom
Favorite collections: Simone Rocha, Erdem, Chopova Lowena, Molly Goddard and JW Anderson. Erdem’s spring runway collection was the epitome of English romance. This set the tone for a fanciful lineup with unmatched attention to detail. JW Anderson’s collection was bright and clean, with intelligent ease. Highlights were a pair of cleverly woven sport pants and a maxi trench dress.
Best show format: Chopova Lowena at a skate park tugged at the nostalgia for teenage love and a carefree attitude. A highlight of the week was Alfredo Piferi’s Sunday night Voguing ball— what a way to show off a shoe collection.
Top trends: Frilly frocks and jersey dresses that felt newly innovative with elaborate feats of drapery, mixed media and asymmetric silhouettes. Skirts over pants as a new layering idea. We started seeing this trend in New York City and it’s popping up everywhere. Crocs at Simone Rocha, an Ugg collab at Chopova Lowena, woven slip-ons at JW Anderson. Details like intricate botanicals and 3D florals as well as heavy embellishments like crystals, hardware and charms. There was an overall tactility to the collections — something that will draw a customer over to a rack for a chance to feel.
Must-have pieces: A new trenchcoat tops our shopping list for the season. Burberry opened with a series of sharp drop-waist trench dresses perfected and made even more covetable for their transitional capability. We can see them worn as evening attire or layered and made casual. JW Anderson’s trench featured an adjustable ruched skirt with dramatic sweep. The Erdem/Barbour collab.
New talent: The city is one of the most joyous stops on the calendar and consistently oozes with brilliant, raw talent. Mowalola, an exciting designer in Nordstrom’s Space, turned out a thrilling show that vibrated with the energy of her community and fans who came out to cheer her on and join the party.
Impressions of the week: Experimental, colorful, and feminine.
Laura Larbalestier, fashion director, Harvey Nichols Group
Favorite collection: Erdem. It was elegant, elevated, and his strongest collection to date. It felt modern and British and I loved the Barbour collaboration pieces.
Best show format: I loved the “On Foot” exhibition that Jonathan Anderson did at Offer Waterman gallery. The runway show itself was great, but the exhibition was interesting and offered context beyond a show format.
Top trends: Overall there was a real wearability to the collections this season, and items for a more elevated wardrobe.
Must-have pieces: Simone Rocha’s Crocs.
Budgets up or down: Budgets are increasing where we believe in the product.
Impressions of the week: Very positive, lots of international buyers and strong collections.
Kate Benson, buying director, Net-a-porter
Favorite collection: JW Anderson and Tove.
Best show format: Burberry. A coffee from Norman’s before the show was much needed!
Top trends: Primary colors. There was a continuation of bright red from last season, but now we are seeing plenty of cobalt blue and sunshine yellow too. There were also a lot of sheers, opaques, and metallics on the runway that we loved.
Must-have pieces: Blue fil coupé dress from Erdem and wrap-around trenches at JW Anderson.
New talent: We launched Tolu Coker this season as part of our Vanguard program, and have loved seeing the evolution of the collection.
Impressions of the week: I love LFW and seeing incredible fashion collections transplanted into important cultural London spaces, from the British Museum to the Roundhouse in Camden to the new home of the English National Ballet in Canning Town.
Clemmie Harris, head of womenswear, Harrods
Favorite collection: Erdem was very special, and I also must mention Tove and 16Arlington. The brands are elevating and evolving more every season and these collections were their best to date.
Best show format: Burberry’s tent on Highbury Fields, with green park benches for seating, Burberry-clad flasks and a tea and cake van felt quintessentially English. We also loved how Roksanda bravely showed outside at the Barbican to live opera which brought such an ethereal quality to the setting.
Top trends: Monochrome still rules the runway. There were white dresses and pops of red which will be the must-have color next season. There was also sequin detailing, which was seen on almost every collection, as well as in softer color palettes. Leather was also key throughout many collections, alongside transitional outerwear with trenches leading the way.
Must-have pieces: The gray leather dress at 16Arlington; Roksanda’s orange, draped one-shoulder dress; the red ruched dress at Tove, and of course Simone Rocha’s tiered white wedding dress. Coats are hitting my wish list, from the embroidered panel trench coat at Erdem and their new Barbour collaboration to the chiffon-tiered black jacket and cream trench worn by Karen Elson at Burberry.
Impressions of the week: The creativity was really apparent this LFW, although brands are still focusing on making their collections wearable. There were so many elevated pieces, and the designers didn’t shy away from sequins and embellishments. There was a feeling of a real celebration in London with the locations and with the Cool Britannia theme of Burberry.
Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear, Matches
Favorite collection: I loved 16Arlington’s new take on modern separates and the lightweight nature of the collection, from the sequins to the little knit tanks. Every piece in the collection was built to layer.
Best show format: The home of the English National Ballet was the perfect setting for Simone Rocha’s show. Roksanda’s show at The Barbican was beautiful in the sunshine, and I loved Richard Quinn’s tribute to his father. The dance and music were incredible and very moving.
Top trends: Color really came through in London. The bright hues at Erdem with the pink and green were my favorite combination. Hemlines are shortening at brands ranging from Emilia Wickstead to Molly Goddard and Simone Rocha. Monochrome continued at Molly Goddard, which I loved.
Must-have pieces: Molly Goddard’s short, monochrome dress; the cropped, pleated jacket at Burberry; Emilia Wickstead’s floral monochrome dress, and 16Arlington’s Kika bag and sequin skirt.
New talent: Standing Ground and Johanna Parv.
Impressions of the week: The venues were great and very varied. There is still a real sense of wearability coming through for LFW but with clever styling. Lighter layers and more transitional themes. Flats are still everywhere but in new color palettes.
Bosse Myhr, director of womenswear and menswear, Selfridges
Favorite collection: Mains, headed by creative director Skepta. It was very relevant to what the customers want right here, right now and captured the zeitgeist of London perfectly. JW Anderson’s collection demonstrated the width of his collection perfectly. Every piece felt very desirable and our customers will love all of them.
Best show format: Richard Quinn’s very intimate show dedicated to his parents was very emotional and included the most masterfully created looks. With the backdrop of the live orchestra and choir, it was simply breathtaking.
Top trends: Sheer fabrics; rich embroideries; the minidress and skirt.
Must-have pieces: A JW Anderson skirt and a Burberry trench.
New talent: Susan Fang and Paolo Carzana are designers we are watching very closely.
Impressions of the week: There was a sense that London was really able to show off. There were heavyweights like Burberry; couture moments at Richard Quinn and Harris Reed, and the highest desirability in designer streetwear at the Mains show. There was dress excellence at shows like Huishan Zhang, Erdem and Roksanda.
Jodi Kahn, vice president of luxury fashion, Neiman Marcus
Favorite collections: Erdem is always a highlight in London, and this season was no different. The collection had a bold, free spirit that felt right, with bursts of saturated colors, beautiful patchwork, and undone glamour. Love was in the air at Simone Rocha. Her signature romance felt more relaxed in the perfect way. Daniel Lee had a strong second collection. His evolution for the brand continues to reimagine house classics, like a cool drop-waisted trench coat, horse-bit print, and intricately crafted band jackets. His vibrant colors were appreciated in an otherwise neutral season.
Best show format: Richard Quinn presented a couture-like, mostly monochrome parade of timeless pieces, in a moving tribute to his late father. The live string quartet, choral performance, and ballet opening, combined with the overwhelming aroma of flowers, delighted all the senses.
Top trends: Florals, sheer, bra tops and feathers.
Must-have pieces: A master of unexpected craft and technique, JW Anderson innovatively created everyday wardrobe essentials. The waist-gathered trenchcoats in classic tan and khaki are a must-have.
New talent: While not a new brand, Tove is a welcome addition to the fashion week calendar. Their chic, minimal, wearable point of view brought a fresh counterpoint to the week. These are easy, beautiful clothes our customers will reach for every day.
Impressions of the week: The lighter mood from New York prevailed, but in London, there was a definitive romance. There were more florals, feathers, sheerness and femininity. Less centered on pragmatism, London designers continue to experiment and push our imaginations. But certainly, there was a purer sense of beauty than in seasons past.