Ahead of a new season, editors look to the runway collections to decode and deliver the topline trends and must-have items that are set to rule in six months' time. Whilst the runways still set much of the mood, Instagram has irreversibly added another layer to the process.
Nowadays, niche brands can quickly become the most-tagged names in influential circles, unexpected items can become hits within a few moments and pieces can become sold out because of just one It girl's outfit choice.
There are designers that have risen to the fore thanks to their active communities online, and coveted pieces that would have once been considered "risky" for big retailers to stock are now proving to be big business. The midrange sweet spot (£300 to £600) was once a fairly barren fashion wasteland, but it's now teeming with options.
With this evolution in mind, Who What Wear UK decided to create our first Cult Collections shoot. It's the opportunity to know what's going to be hot and on everyone's shopping lists from all of the brands booming in our social circles (and of course, it's entirely shoppable).
From Staud bags to Stand coats and Rixo dresses to Magda Butrym party tops, this is the definitive guide to A/W 18, modelled by two girls who are taking over the fashion business: Anna and Sofia Kuprienko. The Ukranian musicians known as the Bloom Twins are represented by Models1, have gained the support of musicians such as Duran Duran and are an MTV favourite for their unique pop sound.
If there's one thing we know about great #OOTDs, it's that they look better with an equally fashionable friend by your side…
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Blazé Milano George Blazer (£1227) at MATCHESFASHION.com; Modern Society T-shirt (£50); Stand trousers; Boyy Yeuxlet Mules (£590); On Sofia Kuprienko: Ganni Faust Jumpsuit (£350); Modern Society T-shirt (£50); Malone Souliers Ankle-Strap Sandals (£695); Maya Magal Chain Hoop Earrings (£106)
Ganni's gamut of must-have items couldn't be more varied. This is the Danish brand that can make you want a utility jumpsuit as much as you do a pretty printed polka-dot dress, beaded pouch bag or slogan tee. Summer has seen its trendier items take centre stage, but these red-and-black overalls are destined for street style fame and have already been adopted by some of the industry's coolest.
The neat blazers created by Blazé Milano (founded by former fashion editors Corrada Rodriguez d'Acri, Delfina Pinardi, and Sole Torlonia) have captured the imaginations of other industry women because they're a perfect fit on literally everyone and because they come with clever internal pockets, which means you can ditch your handbag altogether and go hands-free. More ops for coffee.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Stand Georgine Coat (£276); House of Sunny No Country Just Cult Tee (£42); I.Am.Gia Paris Pant (£61); Shrimps Martini Bag (£215); By Far Nikki Boots (£401); Mars Moon Double Drop Earrings (£46); On Sofia Kuprienko: Stand Josephine Jacket (£250); Baum Und Pferdfgarten Jolee Tee (£53) and Narissa Trousers (£257); Cafuné Egg Bag (£300); Nanushka Clarence Boots (£350)
Stand's faux-fur coats have become something of a noticeable hit since our last bout of cold weather earlier this year. With a rise in brands turning against real fur, it's no wonder the Swedish brand has already picked up quite an audience.
Mini bags continue to rule the streets, but we predict big things for Shrimps' latest creation (the heart bag is perfect for those who already own the beaded Antonia) and new brand Cafuné (specialising in unusual shapes in simple leathers).
If there's an existing brand that's really on the rise right now, it's Copenhagen-based label Baum Und Pferdgarten. Rikke Baumgarten and Helle Hestehave's tailoring (like these checked trousers) and brightly printed dresses have been all over Instagram feeds lately.
Meanwhile, if your style is a little edgier, it's I.Am.Gia that should be on your radar: Its affordable utility-inspired gear is for the truly sassy Emily Ratajkowski types out there, hence the vinyl, cutout, skintight finish on these trousers.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Georga Keburia Cropped Top (£265) and Drop Waist Skirt (£300); Christian Louboutin So Kate Pumps (£525); Ming Yu Wang earrings; On Sofia Kuprienko: Georga Keburia Asymmetric Jacket (£480) and Pleated Mini Skirt (£280); Christian Louboutin Hilconissima Boots (£875); J. Hardyment earrings; Ejing Zhang ring
You'll undoubtedly have seen George Keburia's super-skinny sunglasses on just about every influencer under the 2018 sun, but it's the sharply cut clothes we're also raving about back at WWW UK HQ. They're so chic that we had to shoot two looks. This Georgian designer's offbeat minimalism is going to go global.
Fashion's having a Romy and Michele moment, and U.S. brand Staud's constantly sold-out bucket bags reflect it in its new candy-cute colours and feather trims. Darling handbags need equally adorable dresses, so Olivia Rose—the Scottish designer whose puff-shouldered creations are barely ever in stock thanks to their popularity—whipped up two of these dresses especially for us. Add in some "ugly" Nike sneaks and you've got yourself a look.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Sandy Liang Bo Dress (£715) at Modern Society; Shrimps Quinn Bag (£425) at MATCHESFASHION.com; Malone Souliers Hayley Mules (£545); On Sofia Kuprienko: Rixo Gabrielle Dress (£325); Attico Velvet Pouch (£166) at MATCHESFASHION.com; Kalda Ringa Boots (£395); Ejing Zhang earrings
Party dressing has come out on the other side of seeming "naff" and been embraced once more by fashion girls who just like to get dressed up. No one does a better, more flattering, or more Instagrammable printed dress than Rixo, and no other cocktail dress quite compares to this lacy, frilly, diamanté-strapped piece from Sandy Liang.
Of course, no true evening ensemble would be complete without equally jazzy accessories: Kalda is a new shoe brand whose metallic pieces we can't get enough of, Attico's pouch bags are the It-girl go-to, Shrimps has a new beaded bag to join the club, and Malone Soulier's Dalmatian-spotted heels are the kind you can actually last all night in thanks to their excellent craftsmanship.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Magda Butrym Leticia Velvet Top (£734); Jacquemus Cropped Trousers (£370) at Brownsfashion.com; Kalda shoes; Beaufille Sputnik Earrings (£250); On Sofia Kuprienko: Magda Butrym Leticia Velvet Top (£730); Beaufille Veritas Pants (£425) at Net-a-Porter; Malone Souliers Hayley Mules (£545); Beaufille Fringe Earrings (£295)
Polish designer Magda Butrym's unique asymmetric blouses and dresses have coaxed many a fashion girl to purchase (and not just because they're beautifully made). As well as a velvet top, we'd really like the bow-front shoes she's just launched. A posh top can be worn by day or by evening, depending on your trouser choice. Jacquemus's high-waisted black pants are the ultimate "wear with every outfit piece," whilst the exaggerated silhouettes from Beaufille become even more incredible when rendered in vinyl.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Monse Denim Jacket (£1065) at Selfridges; Off-White Cropped Hoodie (£465) at Brownsfashion.com; 16 Arlington Patent Pants (£575) at Net-aPorter; Kalda boots; On Sofia Kuprienko: Naya Rea Coat; I.Am.Gia Madness Sweater (£55); Off-White Checked Blanket Skirt (£700) at Brownsfashion.com; Yuul Yie Scuba Ankle Boots (£300)
Off-White's take on streetwear has inspired countless other brands to follow suit. From hoodies to a branded, checked blanket skirt, founder Virgil Abloh's aesthetic is the last word in casual. Monse has found fame amongst A-listers, but the fashion pack are fully aware of the brand's clever pattern-cutting, too—this double-denim jacket is a perfect example of the NYC-based brand's creativity.
On the up-and-coming radar, you have Korean shoe label Yuul Yie, whose sculptural heels and flats are truly photogenic and rather comfortable, from our experience. The vinyl trousers come from 16Arlington, a London-based brand with big ambitions. The brand is notching up celebrity wearers and big stockists for its OTT eveningwear that many girls actually wear during the day.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Rejina Pyo Renee Shirt (£325) and Eve Trousers (£525) at Boutique1; Wandler Hortensia Bag (£655) at Boutique1; Grey Ant Mesh Glasses (£228); Kalda boots; On Sofia Kuprienko: Petar Petrov Eike Blouse (£691) at Boutique1; Monse Jeans (£720) at Boutique1; Malone Souliers x Emanuel Ungaro Maureen Pumps (£475); Boyy Umar 13 Bag (£695); Zohra Rahman earrings; George Keburia Square-Frame Sunglasses (£150)
Vienna-based designer Petar Petrov is all about quality, versatile pieces you can still look effortlessly cool in—just like this striped shirt that will go with almost every other thing you own.
Rejina Pyo offers up quirkier ideas for your quotidian wardrobe with demure shapes complete with unusual detailing (there's always a great button or two). You'll instantly recognise the designer's dresses as a street style favourite, but we urge you to check out the brand's separates, bags and shoes too.
As we said earlier, the bag market is truly fruitful: Wandler's adored Hortensia satchel now comes in countless colourways to satisfy every desire, while Boyy's bags tick the bonkers box with their eyelet embellishments and fun shapes.
Phill Taylor; On Anna Kuprienko: Jacquemus Wrap Dress (£475) at Brownsfashion.com; Rejina Pyo Olivia Tote (£495); Miista Josephine Mules (£200); Anissa Kermiche Mobile Doré Earring (£295); On Sofia Kuprienko: Sandy Liang Leo Dress (£525) at Modern Society; By Far Karen Mules (£340); Rejina Pyo Olivia Tote (£495); J. Hardyment earrings
Speaking of bags and Rejina Pyo, it'd be wrong to not include the Insta-famous crocodile-effect Olivia tote from the LFW designer. Elegant has never looked so hip.
Pared-back dresses that still pack a punch are a speciality of the contemporary set, and we've already seen Jacquemus's wrap midi popping up on our feeds. We also couldn't help but fall for the flirty charms of Sandy Liang's checked statement-collar minidress.
The most au courant way to wear them? With closed-toe mules, of course: By Far's sensible heels have been selling like crazy all summer long, whilst we expect everyone to come onto Miista's interesting footwear this season.