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Your rolling guide to the must-see shows at London Fashion Week

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From Charles Jeffrey, to Richard Quinn, and Fashion East to Kiko Kostadinov, we round-up the best in show from SS22

When the creative industries were suddenly forced into a psychic break last year, many welcomed lockdown as an overdue escape from the slam of the fashion calendar. Designers quickly made a petrol-spluttering pivot to digital – and with little else going on – fashion people took it upon themselves to repeat the word “phygital” back and forth to one another for months on end. Both were hawked as the industry’s solve-all solution to overconsumption, a silver bullet for its turbo-charged pace, and the increasingly soulless mill of fashion week.

As brands took to video (with varying success) the future of the fashion show began to fritter. What would happen when all this was over, we speculated, were runways becoming obsolete? Like, what’s the point of an in-person show, anyway? Then, just last week – after a sorry two year hiatus – New York made its IRL return. And… people were happy. Designers sent out sexed-up, exuberant clothing while models danced and, sometimes, even skipped down catwalks. There was, for the first time in a long time, a feeling of abundance, or camaraderie, in the air. 

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And now it’s London’s opportunity to make the case for real life fun. From Charles Jeffrey, to Richard Quinn, and Fashion East to Kiko Kostadinov, the city plays host to landmark brands and young designers alike – showcasing their collections from upended, gaffer-taped sheds in East London before going international. Below, we’re rounding-up the best in show, so keep checking in as the week unfurls.

KIKO KOSTADINOV

Laura and Deanna Fanning have spent the last few months feeling wistful and pining for a break. The twin sisters, who hail from Melbourne, Australia, have been reminiscing on all the teenage summers spent feeling the scratch of sand between their toes, enveloping themselves in trashy beach reads with names like “Puberty Blues” and “On Her Knees”. As such, gaudy surfers, sunset colour wheels, and limpet shells infiltrate the SS22 collection of Kiko Kostadinov to woozy effect. Ribbed, upside-down cardigans have been twisted around the body like beach towels strewn over wet skin, low-slung denim comes embroidered with the kind of fruit you might find wrapped in a kitchen towel at the bottom of a beach bag, and nostalgic sarongue-like cotton has been fashioned into kilt-pants and spiral skirts. Turritella shells are strung across necklaces, chokers, and even tacked into grid-like formations on apron skirts. As always, every Kiko piece comes ever-so-slightly warped – as if they had been up-ended in a sudden, but short, riptide.

SAUL NASH

Saul Nash opened the second day of London Fashion Week, delivering his debut solo catwalk show having graduated from Fashion East during the pandemic. This season offered an autobiographical deep dive, with Nash working back through his teenage years and time at secondary school, reliving all the moments he had long “swept away”. And while the designer admits that those memories are pretty fragmented now, the body – as they say – keeps the score. Models moved in choreographed throngs, while others broke out into jaggedy movements and distorted solos. Piece by piece, Nash played with the past, deconstructing school uniform staples with magnets, twisted patterns, and ergonomic cut-aways. Short-sleeve shirts were put through crunchy nylons, jersey pullovers are stitched with v-necks to resemble school jumpers, while sturdy-looking track pants reflect the shape of supermarket-bought smart trousers. Backdropped by a TFL bus stop, this collection reflected back all the hallmarks of growing up in London – shrunken Just Do It bags, Kickers, and Zip cards, which Nash had printed onto the back of a cagoule.