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London Fashion Week: Highlights from the Fall-Winter 2024 runways

By Fiona Sinclair Scott and Leah Dolan, CNN

London (CNN) — Since its inaugural season in 1984, London has been known as the spirited, scrappy birthplace of now-world renowned designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Perhaps fittingly in London Fashion Week’s 40th year, there was palpable energy surrounding the budding British talent populating the schedule, which drew to a close on Tuesday.

It was a smorgasbord of the weird and wonderful at the Central Saint Martins Masters degree show on Friday. Menswear design student Jonathon Ferris gave on-lookers a “Being John Malkovich” moment, when he sent runway models out in identical masks in his likeness. A few moments later, during Maximilian Raynor’s graduate collection reveal, a militant, fallen angel with bells woven into his knitted wingspan jingled down the runway. Harris Reed, who has unofficially claimed the opening spot on the schedule, served whiskey cocktails to a growing crowd of fans within the hallowed halls of the Tate Britain. The collection was inspired by Victoriana and, more specifically, 19th-century shadow puppets.

Nostalgia was a common reference point this season, too, though interpreted in a myriad of ways. Not one, but two Gen Z designers — Conner Ives and Sinead Gorey — used technological relics of the Apple empire to transport viewers to a different time. Ives, with his final look featuring an iPod nano and wired headphones, while Gorey repurposed iPod shuffles as hair clips. Other designers went further back in time. Erdem’s latest season — which was inspired by the 20th century American-Greek soprano, Maria Callas — conjured images of antiquated elegance: Elbow gloves, cocktail dresses with theatrical scarf drapes, and opera wraps.

Meanwhile, London Fashion Week veteran Jonathan Anderson celebrated the rise of nostalgia by styling the models in his show in silver permed wigs, in reference to a bygone era of British life where nosy neighbors chatted over laundry lines and made their own clothes. He told journalists after the show that he was excited that younger people are discovering nostalgia. “Suddenly a song from 50 years ago can become number one,” he said. “And that’s exciting.”

Guests at the Burberry show were also taken back in time to the 2000s. The late Amy Winehouse’s crooning voice echoed throughout the purpose-built tent in East London’s Victoria Park while a number of millennial models including Lily Cole and Agyness Deyn walked the runway.


The pervasive Western wear trend roped in a few of London’s designers this season. Cowboy hats came in multiple flavors at the Edward Crutchley show: Black, white, or handcrafted from a woven Moroccan wall-hanging, courtesy of Stephen Jones’ millinery. At Molly Goddard’s show over the weekend, Western-themed shirts and flat leather cowboy boots punctuated the designer’s signature frothy tulle dresses. “The whole Western thing seems to be everywhere at the moment,” Goddard told British Vogue, “but my point of view is probably quite different from people like Beyoncé’s.”

Faux fur

Fleecy, fuzzy or fine: Faux fur was a key textile on the London runways. Simone Rocha called her show the final part of a triptych of collections, beginning with her Spring-Summer collection shown in September, a guest slot designing for Jean Paul Gaultier couture in Paris last month, and now her latest Fall-Winter 2024 line. According to the show notes, “The Wake” explored the mourning dress of Queen Victoria and featured a flood of fake fur. There was no end to its usage, from coats and extra large mittens to fur-trimmed tulle capes, shoes, or even earrings.

Similarly, at Conner Ives, faux fur shawls were dressed down with tank tops and jeans, while Precious Lee walked the runway in a detached hood in the fabric, tied wholesomely under her chin. Sinead Gorey, on the other hand, created winter lingerie by adorning corsets and bras with tufts of dyed polyester fur.

High fashion hiking

Form and function made a rare collision this season, particularly for those keen on the great outdoors. Emerging designer Johanna Parv designed with the intention of covering her wearer “for all eventualities, around the clock,” according to the collection notes. Parv gave special consideration to the inner-city cyclist, creating tops that can be stretched over a backpack, or an insulated mini-skirt “designed to keep the wearer’s bum warm on the saddle.”

At Burberry, designer Daniel Lee had the wilds of the British isles on his mind when designing his third collection for the brand which featured an abundance of outerwear made in thick, cozy fabrics including fleecy wool, shearling and moleskin.

Raincoats and anoraks were reinvented by Irish designer Robyn Lynch, who this season collaborated with 1970s athleisure brand C.P. Company. Lynch upcycled outerwear from the past collections by the Italian sportswear label, reimagining silhouettes and adding layers of knitwear. In one look, the flowing, romantic shape of a white rain poncho is reminiscent of an Elizabethan blackwork shirt. At Simone Rocha, too, a nylon windbreaker with a draw-string toggle hood is transformed into a voluminous ball gown and cinched at the waist with an embellished waspie corset; while another is made entirely sheer.

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