Margaret Howell London Fashion Week Women’s S/S 2019
Mood board: What Margaret Howell doesn’t make isn’t worth worrying about. There are a great number of those who humbly subscribe to her reductivist, functional mantra: her winter clothes will keep you warm and her summer clothes will waft to the balmiest of breezes. For S/S 2019 the designer showed pressed linen button down dresses, crisp high-waisted culottes shorts, pleated cotton skirts in fresh white, good heavy cotton drill separates. It all felt at once familiar but somehow vital; classic, but gently updated.
Best in show: There’s a lot of talk about the immense pressures faced by designers working in the age of social media. How, for example, do you make clothes that are readable on a screen? What’s going to pop out of the feed? What will garner as much attention as possible? But fascinatingly, every season the throng of street photographers who line the pavements outside the shows are ignoring the bold and the beautiful and are instead zooming in on gentle, natural elegance. The kind that Howell has been pushing since the 1970s. Good tapered cotton trousers, fine wool pinstripe suits, polka-dotted collar skirts, indigo denim suits and fisherman jumpers rendered in lighter weave. It is all easy. And smart. Contesting the differences between menswear and womenswear feels crude here – the women looked gamine and relaxed; the boys looked elegant.
Finishing touches: Howell showed white cotton plimsolls – and a single white bomber – which are part of a collaboration with British brand Fred Perry. A range of steel-grey athletic vests, swimwear and cycle shorts, made in collaboration with the Japanese sportswear company Mizuno formed part of the collection too. Last season, Howell debuted a nylon running shoe manufactured in Japan by Mizuno – this time it was back in faded black suede. §