London Fashion Week Women’s A/W 2019 Editor’s Picks

From Fashion East’s eclectic celebration of burgeoning designers, to Smythson’s topsy turvy country house presentation, Anya Hindmarch’s enormous weaved playground to Richard Malone’s nostalgic birthday party, we present the Wallpaper* pick of London Fashion Week A/W 2019

Orange stalactites, created by set designer Thomas Petherick
Kiko Kostadinov: Orange stalactites, created by set designer Thomas Petherick, stood in the centre of the in-the-round show space, which debuted Kiko Kostadinov’s sophomore womenswear collection, designed by Melbourne-born sisters Laura and Deanna Fanning. The duo were fascinated by the concept of looking at the past through the lens of the future, and colourful and exaggerated combinations, featuring lurex knit dresses, shiny knee patch trousers, striped handkerchief skirts, and bright Asics bodysuits, appeared part Peter Pan part the uniform of a species on a faraway planet.
(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Marta Jakubowski backstage image

Marta Jakubowski: Suits were strong for the new season at Marta Jakubowski which elongated the silhouettes and shrouded the body in asymmetric draping. Slit trousers revealed the entire legs and chunky knits in bright red and ochre featured cut outs on the shoulders in a sexy yet feminine way. But Jakubowski's clothes are made for versatile women. Padded jackets gave texture to the collection, while the elegant eveningwear was modern with sophisticated cuts and velvet tie-dye fabric.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Second genderless collection, Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço followed the zodiac chart in ‘Taurus’.

Zilver: For his second genderless collection, Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenço followed the zodiac chart in ‘Taurus’. This symbol explained the raw and textured materials in the collection, counterbalanced with transparency, the main focus of the brand. Sensual and comforting are the key words here, seen in long heavy knits worn with bare legs and riding boots, cut out shirts layered with leather skirts in shearling lining and duvet puffer jackets insulated with used plastic bottles. Metallic detailing was found on buttons and jacket collars, while leather helmet bags might soon become the brand’s signature staple.

(Image credit: Pedro Lourenç)

The Scottish label, operating from both Hawick and Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin: The Scottish label, operating from both Hawick and Elgin, has been producing cashmere for over two centuries. The brand’s A/W 2019 men’s and women’s offering was created entirely using the luxurious fibre, and its graphic and colourful collection nodded to motifs from the 20s and 30s. ‘The techniques reflect craft and innovation’ said creative director Alan Scott. There was an innovative prowess behind designs including a merino jacquard column dress resembling a foulard silk, and a men’s heritage check cashmere overcoat. ‘It’s about doing something amazingly different with the fabric,’ Scott added.

(Image credit: Johnstons of Elgin)

The eclectic designer’s A/W 2019 collection

Matty Bovan: The eclectic designer’s A/W 2019 collection was the quintessential of Britishness. Ruffles, lace, wool and sequins adorned voluminous Victorian dresses in a patchwork of prints, while here and there, luxurious fur gave the finishing touch. The CSM alum collaborated with Liberty London on the floral blouses, while the sculptural top hats and trilby’s were by Stephen Jones, clunky platforms and thigh boots were emblazoned of Coach’s signature logo fabric (the designer launched a collaboration with the American brand last September). In the backdrop stood a print of Yorkshire's Burton Agnes Hall. This was Matty Bovan’s eccentric homage to England.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

The emerging designers of this year’s CSM MA class

CSM MA: The emerging designers of this year’s CSM MA class showed that rules are meant to be broken. Genders were fluid, knitwear blended into sportswear and futuristic shapes mingles with classic cuts. The Lebanese and Korean graduates Sheryn Akiki and Goom Heo took home the L'Oréal Prize judged this year by Stavros Karelis, buyer of Soho boutique Machine-A. But there was a real sense of community, inclusivity and diversity that served as common themes throughout the collections and proved that Central Saint Martins still delivers the best international talents of our generation.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Populated Chung’s sophomore show set

Alexa Chung: The mossy show set which populated Chung’s sophomore show set, was a physical symbol of the designer’s blossoming brand. Chung’s off-kilter cool-girl style has often been labeled as pretty, but for A/W 2019 she had something a little darker mind. This translated into silhouettes that have defined her aesthetic, like two pieces, tea dresses and ruffled blouse imagined in tougher fabrics like leather, and accessorised with platform mules, grungy scarves and tights. ‘There is a toughness to the collection, but it’s is more about a resilience than an aggression,’ Chung’s accompanying show notes read.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Pink, white or black dressed up the space and surrounded the women

Roberts Wood: ‘Im interested in how what you wear changes the way you feel,’ said Katie Roberts-Wood about her A/W 2019 ‘Viscera’ collection, one that delved into the creative work of seven inspirational women, recreated live in a studio atelier in front of the eyes of the public. The ethereal dresses, baring her signature non-stitched technique, interacted with the designer – who herself took part in the presentation, and the artists, photographers and performers, with garments impacting on their creative process. Meters of tulle and organza in pink, white or black dressed up the space and surrounded the women, in a hyperbolic demonstration of the work in progress.

(Image credit: Roberts Wood)

Toga backstage image

Toga: It was fitting that Toga’s A/W 2019 show took place in a gymnasium hall, as a sportswear-chic attitude was embodied in the whole collection. Oversized silhouettes were accentuated by faux fur and feathers, while the floral dresses carried athletic finishing such as hoods, neoprene patching and drawstrings. These would would have suited any gym-goer if it wasn’t for the candy-like jewellery and beaded earrings that suddenly turned the outfits into fabulous party looks. Elsewhere, vinyl trousers and biker jackets were toned down with classic white shirts, only to be reinforced by the thigh high leather boots tightened to the top of the legs.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Smythson presentation image

Smythson: British country homes are beloved for their eccentricity, and for creative director Luc Goidadin, they formed the focal inspiration point for his debut presentation for Smythson. Upstairs at Somerset House, a series of rooms appeared as the topsy-turvy inner chambers of a sprawling home, flooding with water from its garden pond. Dining room tables and chairs and small sailing boats appeared to sink into a floor interspersed with lily pads. The eclectic presentation evoked Frank Smythsons legacy as a purveyor of a range of luxurious objects, and amongst water-inspired rooms Goidadin’s bold new collection featured smart accessories in bright leathers, travel bags with graphic intarsia details, foulard silk scarves and elegant desk objects. 

(Image credit: Smythson)

Techno was blasting in the Camden basement while models hung out on huge

adidas Originals for Ji Wong Choi: Techno was blasting in the Camden basement while models hung out on huge coloured staircases which created a three-dimensional maze. The presentation celebrated the launch of adidas’ collaboration with Ji Wong Choi. Inside the industrial space, the young Korean designer presented her capsule collection which included wide leg track pants, bralets and overalls bearing the brand’s famous three white stripes designs reimagined using her own heritage and cultural references.

(Image credit: Adidas Originals)

The Preen woman is anything but a stay-at-home.

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi: Inside a concrete warehouse, designer duo Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi took dance and music culture as inspirations for their new collection but above all, built on the sense of community that the 90s rave scene pioneered. British interior designer Ben Kelly (who designed Manchester's famed Hacienda nightclub) created a set of coloured poles insid the show venue. Ruffled mini dresses and disco-inspired attire set the tone, while punk elements were mixed with handcrafted details to create a vintage appeal. Finishing off, the British designers offered rock’n’roll versions of the classic black dress, in sequins, lace and velvet. The Preen woman is anything but a stay-at-home.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Anya Hindmarch presentation image

Anya Hindmarch: Last season, London accessories behemoth Anya Hindmarch offered fashion week goers the chance to recline on cloud nine, creating a huge ‘Chubby Cloud', a giant bean bag to sink into between shows. For A/W 2019, she had something a little more playground-inspired in mind; working with art collective Numen/For Use on an interactive installation created from bold blue weaved tunnels. Guests, clad in overalls, got the chance to clamber inside and immerse themselves in the sculpture. The interdisciplinary artwork celebrated the launch of Hindmarch's new crafty weaved bag designs, and was a giant manifestation of the techniques used to create them. Next-door, guests had the chance to not just pick up a new style, but learn how to thread leather from a host of experts.

(Image credit: Anya Hindmarch)

Osman: Inside the House of Osman, models were having tea in their iridescent hued dresses and rainbow pleated skirts, emanating exuberant femininity and innocence. There was a certain romanticism to the collection with floral dresses and pink feathers swathing the silhouettes that were toned down with darker tones. Standout was a burgundy velvet suit, enhanced by the zebra-printed rollneck and leggings that peeked out from underneath.

Osman: Inside the House of Osman, models were having tea in their iridescent hued dresses and rainbow pleated skirts, emanating exuberant femininity and innocence. There was a certain romanticism to the collection with floral dresses and pink feathers swathing the silhouettes that were toned down with darker tones. Standout was a burgundy velvet suit, enhanced by the zebra-printed rollneck and leggings that peeked out from underneath.

(Image credit: Osman)

Fashion East backstage image

Fashion East: The non profit initiative, which offers emerging designers the chance to show on the London Fashion Week schedule, alongside mentoring from a panel of experts, has produced a host of renowned talents, from Jonathan Anderson to Kim Jones. On the roster for A/W 2019, was Wallpaper* Next Generation graduate Charlotte Knowles, who showed for her third season with Fashion East. The brand is fascinated by the concept of femininity and exploring notions of sexuality and models wore clingy corsets, Lycra check cardigans, gauzy underwear as outerwear and sharp check tailoring. China-born Yuhan Wang's second season with the initiative was hyper feminine and featured emphatically ruched dresses in satin, net and velvet, in a spectrum of saccharine shades. The ultra girlish looks were topped of with floppy hats and crochet grape necklaces. For his debut collection with Fashion East, interdisciplinary artist Gareth Wrighton offered a dystopian take on design. He was intrigued by what objects would be placed in museums to convey culture today, and his pieces offered a satirical take on American culture: knitted landscapes on cropped jumpers conveying pastoral scenes were offset against cardigans with sequins in the colour of the Star Spangled Banner, Trumpian red caps were paired with Californian frayed denim.

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

Mother of Pearl presentation image

Mother of Pearl: Guests swam in a pearl-like pit of borrowed recycled plastic balls, displayed inside Fitzrovia chapel for the Mother of Pearl presentation. Models were dominating the scene, wearing 80s LA-inspired looks accessorised with retro sunglasses and headscarves tied in a big bow at the back of the neck. As always, creative director Amy Powney makes sure everything in her brand’s supply chain is as sustainable as possible, from fabric to animal welfare. Organic silk polka dot and floral dresses were dyed and printed under strict regulations, and the wool and cotton of the navy suits can be traced back to their origins. The designer also used the presentation to highlight the damaging effect of micro particles, which infiltrate water during clothes washing.

(Image credit: Oda Bakkeli Eide)

David Koma backstage image

David Koma: Staged in Bloomsbury’s St George’s church, the David Koma show was deeply rooted in British history and the work of William Shakespeare. The Tbilisi designer however managed to escape the cliché and transform every outfit into a modern take on Elizabethan codes. A voluminous leather jacket was embellished with hairy collar and sleeves, belts wrapped around the torso and dresses were rigid in patent. Inspired by King Lear and Macbeth, the collection echoed both play's motifs, such as serpents winding on sheer nylon tops and butterfly lace delicately embroidered to create a whole garment structure. Elsewhere, evening gowns and tailored jackets featured heavy metalwork and jewels, creating a mirrored armour which came to counterbalance the overall feminine grace of the collection. 

(Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans)

The SHOWstudio film also features a score by Jeremy Healy with sampled tracks by Roy Orbison.

Maison Margiela: During fashion week, brands vye to produce shows which are as immersive as possible. Maison Margiela (opens in new tab) won by miles with its exhibition ‘Reality Inverse’ at the Serpentine Gallery, which showcased a 6 minute VR film viewed through Oculus Go. It’s a trippy, highly saturated and interstellar visual conversation between creative director and photographer Nick Knight. ‘Reality Inverse’ charts the 360-degree movements of the maison’s nomadic traveller, oft seen with her cushiony Glam Slam bag in hand. The SHOWstudio film also features a score by Jeremy Healy with sampled tracks by Roy Orbison, and is an absorbing entrance into Galliano’s universe for the brand.

(Image credit: Nick Knight)

Collection that was rooted in British culture

Asai: The ex Fashion East recruit’s first solo show featured a collection that was rooted in British culture, but incorporated his own Asian heritage. Wools and cottons were mixed with leather and lace in a plethora of earthy tones ranging from sand to rust. With impeccable technique, A Sai Ta knows how to elevate streetwear pieces to make them look fabulous but the voluminous proportions and oversized hats also celebrated delicate staples such as a silk kimono jacket. His woman is strong yet fragile and these contradictions punctuated the looks that felt profoundly more mature. Asai has spread his wings and we were there to see him fly.

(Image credit: Asai)

Mercedes-Benz is well known for nurturing young creatives in the fashion industry.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents: Mercedes-Benz is well known for nurturing young creatives in the fashion industry, and this year, they celebrated their 10th anniversary as part of LFW. This unique platform allows up-and-coming designers from all over the world to build their network and have access to international markets. To celebrate the occasion, ten designers – Amesh Wijesekara, Dion Lee, Julia Seemann, Situationist, Steven Tai, Tiziano Guardini, Vivetta, Wataru Tominaga, William Fan and Xiao Li – were invited to present an interactive installation putting forward their brand, their culture and inspire the next generation of talents.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Talents:-Amesh Wijesekara, Dion Lee, Julia Seemann, Situationist, Steven Tai, Tiziano Guardini, Vivetta, Wataru Tominaga, William Fan and Xiao Li )

Draped skirts and dresses in earth tones are balanced with sharp tailoring and voluminous outerwear in colder hues, while high-waisted trousers and sophisticated collars give a smart edge

pamer//harding: Designer duo Matthew Harding and Levi Palmer based their AW19 collection on a comparison between two eras – the hyper feminity of the late 70s and the masculine power dressing of the early 80s. They saw these two different sartorial codes as complementary rather than stark opposites, which resulted in fluid yet strong silhouettes. Draped skirts and dresses in earth tones are balanced with sharp tailoring and voluminous outerwear in colder hues, while high-waisted trousers and sophisticated collars give a smart edge. 80s horror movies starring strong female leads also inspired the print, seen across colourful blouses and shirts.

(Image credit: Matthew Harding and Levi Palmer )

There was a sensual mood emanating from Supriya Lele’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection.

Supriya Lele: There was a sensual mood emanating from Supriya Lele’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, presented in front of a low lit hospital-inspired set, that saw drapery in silk and nylon ruched onto the bodies in an ultra-feminine way. The British-Indian designer looked at her heritage and the strong female figures of doctors present in her family that introduced her to medical motifs such as the NHS blue cross printed on black rubber coat and top. Another print found in her collection is the yellow Madras check that comes to adorn the thin nylon tops worn with a fetishwear apron skirt. The wide-necked silhouettes are accentuated by bra-tops that fell loosely on the shoulders, while a zip-dress half opened serves to suggest what cannot be seen.

(Image credit: Supriya Lele)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.