There’s more to London Fashion Week than clothes. It’s about the experiences brands create, the memories you get from shows that remain within your brand for future inspiration, the moments you share with friends, and the artistic visions that continue to dictate trends once they filter into the more accessible realms of fashion. With that comes a number of surprising moments – sometimes the spaces are enough to evoke emotion, other times it’s the soundtrack that turns you into a buzz or leaves you nostalgic for your youth. Elsewhere, scents permeate dramatic spaces to further evoke the designer’s take on that collection, and the same goes for lighting, set design and everything in between.
At LFW SS23, designers seemed more committed to this cause than ever. There were more performances staged outside typical venues (such as the Old Selfridges Hotel), with many choosing unconventional spaces such as a casino arcade, derelict hotel blocks, sports centres, third-floor car park basements, community gardens, historic buildings courthouses, rich monuments and fashion’s favorite space, the aesthetic of the disused warehouse.
Now that the week has come to a close, Hypebeast goes back to reminisce and highlight some of his favorite moments. Note, if you are looking for coverage of shows or trends, this is not the place. Instead, we want to highlight events that made us feel a certain way.
JW Anderson’s take on Arcade
For one of the most intimate tracks of the season, Jonathan Anderson staged a casino crusade by hosting his show inside the Arcades at Las Vegas in London’s Soho. The bright neon lights decorating the streets outside were mimicked inside, with slot machines and winning games shining their intoxicating glow on the makeshift catwalk. As a result, the energy was pumping into the room before we had even seen the clothes, setting us up for one of the standout shows of the season: it wasn’t just computers gracing the halls, as the clothes were adorned with Getty. stock images, keyboard shortcuts for low-key styles and mirrored ball gowns that inspire selfies.
Simone Rocha’s menswear debut
Ending with the biggest applause and loudest cheers of the week, Simone Rocha’s foray into menswear was nothing short of a spectacle. Not only did she offer a range of introspective designs across the board, but she also managed to infuse her aesthetic into a distinct collection of men’s designs; clothing that introduced a softer side to the men’s wardrobe, while still sticking to traditional identities. Alongside dresses, pleats and ruffles were aviation-inspired looks enhanced by ruffles, tails and jackets that stretched and cinched across the body, and a collection of shoes that went largely unnoticed thanks to the collection’s dominance. However, these shoes – ranging from black sandals with floral straps constructed with pearls to those sitting atop high-shine rubber soles and sneakers that crossed over into the world of tartan ballet flats – were equal stars of the show.
Dilara Findikoglu Stiletto Soundtrack
The tracks are usually filled with big house tracks and techno colors, but this was not the case for Dilara Fındıkoğlu. Instead, the silence was met by a soundtrack of heels hitting the dilapidated wooden floors of a £23m former hotel from 1860, served up alongside the jingle of bells on said shoes. Divided into four rooms, audible gasps from the front row could be heard inside the strangely quiet building, building anticipation for what was to come around the corner. Each look shocked and awe-inspiring in its own ways, but the tension of a model narrowly missing a hole in the floor, or dresses catching on loose floorboards and tearing, made for one of the skinniest, emotional, uncomfortable and yet. Shows of the week that are somewhat problematic to watch.
Chopova Lowena’s Punk Chaos
Instead, Chopova Lowena’s physical debut on the runway fueled the punk chaos. It was the right tactic for the emerging brand, as the crowd couldn’t stop laughing throughout this cathartic display of teenage angst and no-nonsense Y2K strop collection. Hypebeast has documented the clothes many times, but as Chopova Lowena’s runway showed, the vibe isn’t just limited to looks. Instead, a show can be used as a way to evoke thoughts and feelings, to set a tone and comment on society, especially considering the past few years have left many of us wanting to scream with a burst of creativity.
The Story of the SS Daley
Steven Stokey-Daley has become known for his play-like fashion shows, often drawing on talent from the National Youth Theater to recreate moments from our history, and for SS23, Daley looked to the love letters between Vita Sackville West and Violet Trefusis. Taking place inside the St. Pancras Renaissance, the Liverpudlian designer created a garden based on the garden of Sackville West, which saw a diverse cast of actors transformed into models of the designer’s latest whimsical collection. Shirts floated next to silk trousers and carried bouquets, flowered hats and knitwear with classic depictions of the British countryside like dishes that would have graced your grandparents’ pantry. Working alongside the clothes was the story itself, a love story as beautiful as the collection.
Molly Goddard’s Cowboy Boots
Molly Goddard gave us everything we expected – tulle, taffeta, volume and sophistication, all infused with a whimsical and fun feel thanks to her poppy color palette. However, paired with almost every look were the designer’s footwear, this season offering cowboy boots and ballet pumps, which were also informed by the Wild West. In true Goddard style, the boots were both traditional and revolutionary, as a leather construction featured western motifs alongside love heart patches in bold tones of blue, red and yellow, contrasting with brown and black bases. . Like Rocha’s sneakers, these boots were some of the season’s best indoor footwear offerings.
Halpern’s Barbie Collaboration
If you’re not familiar with Halpern, we’ll forgive you. Founded by Michael Halpern, the brand celebrates hyper-femininity and does so with glitz and retro glamour. That was the case for Halpern SS23, which took over the 16th-century Royal Exchange building in Bank, London, with a collection that brought sequined wonderland boogie pant suits to the runway alongside a collaboration with Barbie. Suddenly, the sultry leopard print look was replaced with sparkly hair, sequined bodysuits, veils and pink branded bags, pink latex gloves and a sense of disco fever.