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Always a little wilder, weirder, and more unexpected than its New York and European counterparts, London Fashion Week is the place to look for underground trends that the rest of us will eventually catch onto. With young designers straight out of Central Saint Martins (a breeding ground for talent like Riccardo Tisci, Stella McCartney, and the late Alexander McQueen) showing alongside international powerhouses like Burberry and Topshop, the energy is such that you’d almost forget it was only five days long.
A few collections stood out as especially memorable this season: J.W. Anderson’s perfectly-accessorized, time-traveling tour de force, Preen’s sequin-and-ruffle-clad cool-girl coven, and Christopher Kane’s glorious mishmash of memories at his 10th anniversary show. Of course, a few trends emerged throughout the week, too. Below, see the five you need to know for Spring ’17.
Mother of Pearl; Ashley Williams; Topshop Unique
Oh yes: they’re back. The decade of Blondie, big hair, and bigger shoulder pads was embraced with gusto this season by brands beloved by London’s It-girl population. At Ashley Williams, where Alexa Chung and Pixie Geldof sat front row, taffeta party dresses payed homage to teenage nostalgia, while at Mother of Pearl, ruching and ruffled hems gave ultra-short minis a Dynasty-era vibe. Topshop managed to make a few of the decade’s trickier trends look surprisingly wearable, including crimped hair (softness is key), loud animal prints (bring on the zebra), and sexpot-style vinyl skirts.
Mulberry; J.W. Anderson; Versus Versace
Fashion never seems to tire of taking inspiration from military garb, and for spring, designers across the pond sent out a call to arms on the runway with precision tailoring, heavy hardware, and plenty of khaki and green. At Versus Versace, Donatella’s battalion wore cropped bomber jackets paired with buckled suede skinny pants and aviator goggles, while J.W. Anderson’s Henry VIII jackets and patchwork khaki dresses had a distinct surplus feel. Both designers also sent models out in lace-up canvas combat boots (with heels, mind you—in case you were concerned that anyone was actually about to go into battle here).
House of Holland; Christopher Kane; Temperley London
More is more is more in London—all the way from embellished Crocs (thanks for that, Christopher Kane) to gingham-floral-mesh layered dresses (you do you, Henry Holland). One great thing about the return of maximalism? It’s surprisingly easy to recreate at home—all you need is your most daring prints and a whole lot of confidence. To test the waters, find pieces that fall within the same color family, à la Temperley’s fuchsia-spotted leopard top and embroidered vest.
Molly Goddard; Bora Aksu; Simone Rocha
Bigger also proved better when it came to the scale of dresses; layers and layers of tulle and chiffon formed voluminous confections across the city. Molly Goddard, who’s made the tutu in all forms her calling card, sent out asymmetric, neon, and empire-waist styles this season, but the pièce de résistance was the delightfully frilly dove-gray version pictured above. At Bora Aksu, a vivid pink number with a ruffled, embellished neckline presented an appealingly out-there evening option, while Simone Rocha toned down the girlishness with polished riding boots and an off-kilter trench coat—definitely the easiest look of the three to imitate at home.
Peter Pilotto; Marques ‘ Almeida; Preen by Thornton Bregazzi
Shoulders have been the focal point of, oh, just about every fashion girl’s go-to outfit for Summer ’16, but come spring, designers are turning their attention a little lower, adding rows of ruffles, billowing volume, and pops of print to the lowly sleeve. Peter Pilotto did the near-impossible and offered a new take on the now-ubiquitous off-the-shoulder silhouette, giving a tie-front bandeau a pair of cuffed balloon sleeves. The ruffle trend also got an update at Preen, where they imparted extra witchy vibes to a trim polo shirt (in case the pentagram logo didn’t get the point across clearly enough). Finally, leg o’ mutton sleeves were a trend unto themselves this week (despite their unfortunate name); our favorites were Marques ‘ Almeida’s versions, which came in colorful sheer chiffon and cotton-candy pink cotton.