London Fashion Week: Designers champion sensuality and Hollywood glamour in the eye of the storm

The show must go on.

Never has the phrase been more accurate than during this season at London Fashion Week, which took place amidst the raging winds of Storm Eunice – said to be one of the UK’s worst storms in 30 years.

And yet, despite the rare red warning issued by the Met Office, which warned the public to stay indoors, proceedings seemed to continue on the catwalk as normal. Well, almost.

Gone were the gossip sessions and impromptu street style photoshoots that usually take place outside show venues among guests.

This time around, LFW attendees wasted no time getting inside to safety, clinging onto their coats and clips that had been strategically employed to keep their hairdos in place.

Of course, if there was ever a crowd better suited to such dramatic conditions, it’s the fashion pack.

After all, this is an industry that has somehow sustained its biannual showcase throughout a pandemic, adapting its schedule accordingly and, for one season, taking everything entirely online.

This marks the first season since the coronavirus outbreak began that the schedule comprises so many real-life shows.

Highlights on the autumn/winter 2022 lineup include Molly Goddard, who is returning to the runway for the first time since before the pandemic, Halpern, who also hasn’t staged a catwalk since pre-Covid times, and Newgen talent Conner Ives, who is making his LFW debut.

First up, though, was Bora Aksu, the Turkish designer famed for his flouncy frocks, and feminist influences.

Taking place in the lavish St James The Less Church, the show saw a windswept style set migrate to Pimlico, where they lined church pews kitted out with goodie bags containing lipsticks from Uoma Beauty – the makeup brand used on models in the show.

Like many designers, Aksu is prone to a muse, and this season drew on the life of 14th Century writer, power and historian Christine de Pizan.

Often hailed as Europe’s first feminist, Pizan spent most of her life in the court of King Charles VI of France and overcame countless hurdles to become the first woman to earn a living purely from writing.

Championing Pizan’s ambition and beauty, Aksu’s collection took its cues from Renaissance clothing but reimagined them with contemporary flair.

Smocks were lined with purple taffeta, for example, and paired with white lace tights and Peter Pan collars.

One of the standout pieces in the Rixo autumn/winter 2022 collection.

Blue was a key colour, too, drawing on the most famous portrait of Pizan, in which she is depicted at her writing table wearing a long, deep blue gown.

For Aksu, the same shade found its way onto cropped jackets, taffeta gowns, and checked tailored coats. As is always the case for Aksu, the collection consisted of an abundance of tulle, with full skirts coming in vibrant hues of bubblegum, lilac and peach.

Tailoring was key, too, with crisp shirting and structured two-pieces evoking Pizan’s literary acumen. Offsetting the feminine aesthetic, however, were Aksu’s accessories: heavy-duty boots and berets.

A sustainable motive undercuts the entire collection, too, with Aksu having sourced old, damaged, and unwanted fabrics to incorporate into his looks.

Peter Pan collars and berets featured prominently in the collection.

Models getting into the party spirit at Rixo’s presentation.

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