Women Designers Dominated London Fashion Week4 min read
Photo: Nensi Dojaka; Chopova Lowena; 16Arlington; Ben Broomfield
Ask anyone who pays attention to fashion, and they’ll tell you the same thing: Designers at London Fashion Week are consistently some of the most experimental of the season. It’s because incubator spaces like Fashion East, as well as innovator programs facilitated by retailers such as Matches and Browns, give young designers money and mentorship. The result: a freedom to explore and play.
This season, female designers ruled, with people like Molly Goddard, Nensi Dojaka, and the ladies of Chopova Lowena pushing the envelope and showing silhouettes too big for a runway and bodies that aren’t typically represented, putting women’s needs at the forefront of design.
Photo: Chris Yates
Karoline Vitto made an important collection for women and femmes. Growing up in Brazil, she often felt self-conscious about going to the beach. So, in her collection, instead of conforming, she highlighted those areas she had been told to cover up with sculpted silver frames. As her show notes read, “The bulge of an armpit, a squish of hip fat, or the curve of a back roll became the subject of Vitto’s radically sensual vignettes.” Model Alva Claire closed out the show in a stunning long black dress with one hip showing. It was glorious.
Photo: Courtesy of Chopova Lowena
The impressive designs of Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena of Chopova Lowena, known for the viral kiltlike chain-mail skirt, were on full display for the first time since the pair won a LVMH prize in 2020. But only if you caught it — models were stomping by faster than people could catch them for an Instagram video. The duo paired their signature skirt with tinsel-like sweater vests, printed blouses with cutouts and corsets, as well as new pieces like billowy printed dresses and cardigans.
Photo: Ben Broomfield
Molly Goddard reminded me that fashion can be a reprieve. This season, the designer known for her flirty and frilly designs made poofy tulle dresses and skirts in neon and polka-dot prints. The finale was a monstrous white, tulle dress massive enough to get revenge on manspreaders.
Photo: Courtesy of Di Petsa
Di Petsa’s designer, Dimitra Petsa, known for her signature “wetlook” (dresses and underwear that look like they’re wet) wants to make clothes for our growing bodies. “Our bodies change so much,” she said. “And not just in pregnancy, but bloating, weight gain.” This was top of mind while she was designing a fabric that stretches, pants with healing crystals woven into the chakra points, and a corset that unbuckles for those who breastfeed. The stunning collection, including a dress printed with a photo of ancient Greek pottery found in the Mediterranean, was a beautiful progression of her already impressive pieces.
Photo: Courtesy of Completedworks
Anna Jewsbury of Completedworks has created her own world of treasures — interesting shapes in the forms of jewelry, ceramics, bowls, and mugs — that I would like to live in. Her latest jewelry collection is an extension of popular pieces she has done before, like the scrunchie earrings, in new materials like resin. She has made new pieces like pearl ear cuffs and sculptural silver signs and necklaces that make me want to embrace cluttercore on my neck.
Photo: Courtesy of Nensi Dojaka
Nensi Dojaka, who won the LVMH Prize last year, proved that she has range. Sure, the designer who studied lingerie at Central Saint Martins makes variations of her signature look, but this collection offered some glam in the form of silver minidresses and cut-out party pants. (Plus Emily Ratajkowski walked wearing a stunning pink gown.)
Photo: Jason Lloyd Evans
Designed by Erdem Moralıoğlu and styled by Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, the Erdem collection is exemplary of how I would want to dress if I were attending the queen’s funeral. All of the looks, like a corset top paired with a mid-length skirt, were covered with a thin veil and styled with black loafers.
Photo: Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Jonathan Anderson, who transformed Loewe, showed his first namesake collection in years — a big bubble dress, a mini that looks like a wrapper, and an inverted sweater with a hanger attached. We love a collection with a sense of humor.
Photo: Courtesy of 16Arlington
The 16Arlington Kikka bag — named after Kikka Cavenati, co-founder and partner of designer Marco Capaldo, who died suddenly last year — is apparently all the rage in London. Last season, Capaldo organized a moving tribute to Kikka, and this collection was no different. He showed bedazzled minis, snakeskin column dresses, and beautifully made coats.