For five days, twice a year, all corners of the fashion community descend upon London. You can tell it’s approaching a few days before the start; suddenly unusually tall, Amazonian beauties and giraffe-like girls stalk the streets going from casting to casting. It is a strange and captivating bubble that serves to inspire and ignite our appetite for a new season overhaul, as budding designers and established brands alike serve up their freshest delicacies for us to salivate over.

Cream of London’s crop this season would have to be the super desirable shearling aviator jackets and coats at Burberry Prorsum teamed with wispy lace dresses and multi-buckle shearling boots, all in a military palette of greens, browns, blue, burgundy and cream.

Charlie Le Mindu opened proceedings at the On/Off site with his ‘haute coiffure’ show – exquisite powder blue fox fur stoles that edged his hair capes and dresses, as well as his signature wigs and headpieces. The Unique show took us deep into a woodland wonderland with each model wearing animal head masks on top of an unruly mane of hair. Badgers, foxes, deer, porcupines and rabbits all stalked the autumn-leaf strewn runway in heavyweight outerwear and chunky knit thigh high socks, a deft mix of the feral with the whimsical, showing toadstool print dresses, owls appearing in oversized knit cardigans and wax jackets teamed with crochet skirts.

The focus on neutral colour palettes continued at Todd Lynn, with his butter-soft leathers, super soft jerseys and sumptuous furs courtesy of Saga, all in nude, taupe, soft grey and black. His post apocalyptic spin on tailoring and sexy androgyny continues to build his fan base season upon season, and he is fast becoming the designer du jour for those wishing to channel their inner rock god or goddess.

Fashion East this season lent its support to emerging talents Nasir Mazhar, Heikki Salonen and Michael van der Ham, the latter two showing polar opposite collections back to back. Heikki Salonen’s all black collection with pale faces, black lips and John Lennon sunglasses established that grunge is far from dead. However, when Michael van der Ham’s romantic draped patchwork dresses came down the runway the mood lifted. Liberty floral prints, wool boucle, heavy silk jerseys and super light chiffons all worked into the same garment, with navy featuring heavily as well as accents of pink, plum, tropical green and grey.

Ann-Sofie Back returned to the catwalk after skipping last season, with a bat-influenced offering, showing with her cobweb shaped panels, soft grey suede biker jackets and tulle strewn dresses that the Goth vibe is set to continue albeit in a much softer guise than past seasons. If anyone was going to champion the case for a return to romance it was going to be Erdem; season upon season he has continued to build a brand fit for his stealth wealth clientele. Gone are the days of clamouring over the same ‘It bag’ as everyone else with a maxed out credit card, women have realised that buying investment pieces for their wardrobe that will still be chic in ten or twenty years time is the future of intelligent fashion. His classic silhouette this season exuded autumnal colours with a show stopping dress in tangerine being the highlight, along with his usual heavenly prints with a standout example featuring swallows.

As the shows continued the emerging themes were a definite departure from the leather clad, hard edged, super stud obsessions of the past few seasons and a move toward fresher, lighter and more romantic pastures. A nod to the nineties showed through as many designers kept silhouettes pared down, almost minimal, reinforced with the emergence of camel as colour du jour along with navy and khaki, whilst lace, chunky knits and shearling leather dominated on the texture front.

Ann-Sofie Back

DAKS

Erdem

Jonathan Saunders

JW Anderson

Katie Eary (MAN)

Nicole Farhi

OSMAN

PPQ

Topshop Unique

Report by Caroline Burman

Photography by Carlos De Spinola

Tags

ann sofie back, backstage, burberry, carlos de spinola, caroline burman, charlie le mindu, daks, erdem, fashion east, heikki salonen, jonathan saunders, jw anderson, katie eary, lfw aw 2010, london fashion week, models, nasir mazhar, nicole farhi, ppq, todd lynn, topshop unique,