And just like that, London Fashion Week is over for another season. Stylish types descended on the capital for five days of shows, which included a long-awaited Burberry revival helmed by Daniel Lee, models that were accompanied by adorable tots as they walked down a literal bed of roses at Susan Fang, and a very sleek London Fashion Week debut from Instagram favourite, Tove. After the effects of Covid and a season that fall in the official period of mourning after the Queen's death, suffice it to say that London Fashion Week had somewhat lost its spark over the las few years. But, let it be known, that February 2023 is when it found it once more. Even the typically questionable London weather couldn't dampen our spirits, as the entire Who What Wear team turned out in force to attended every show they could (you mightn't know this, but, these days, the shows are held in unique locations across the city, with timings often overlapping, so it really does take a village to get to them all—huge thanks goes out to The Laslett for hosting us in a central location).
Now that we've had a moment to compare notes and talk about the incredible catwalk creations that we each witnessed, we've been able to determine that, across well over a hundred shows, presentations, and events, that there are eight key trend takeaways to consider. That's right; eight. How's that for an edit? Of course, there will be more to feast your eyes on when it comes to compiling the autumn/winter 2023 version of our bumper trend report (which is coming your way very soon) but, for now, these are the leading London Fashion Week trends to know for autumn. Scroll on to see them.
1. Simple Dresses
Photo:Courtesy of Tove, Christopher Kane / Eudon Choi via Getty Images
Quiet luxury is a trend we've seen resonating for the past few years, and its effects could definitely be felt on the runways. Of course, there was big main character energy elsewhere with total show-off clothes, but there was an undeniable undercurrent of simple but elevated designs. From Tove to Eudon Choi to Christopher Kane (whose LFW show was anything but "safe"), we spotted perfectly-executed sheaths and column gowns.
2. In the Shadows
Photo:Erdem, Dilara Findikoglu via Getty Images / Courtesy of David Koma
I'm usually reluctant to bundle different aesthetics together but, in the interest of time-saving and concise editing, indulge me. Of course, we're talking about autumn/winter, and the palettes across the board reflect that, but, if nothing else, this season was a love letter to black and all the things that happen in the shadows. BDSM was a recurring theme across a multitude of catwalks, though perhaps it is best represented in David Koma's latex-lathered collection. Thigh-high boots, bra tops, safety pins holding together teeny skirts and gaping tops; sex is woven throughout the collections. In tandem there was what seems like a homage to Wednesday Addams, for reasons which I think are quite obvious. Erdem and Bora Aksu both created dresses and coats that we'd very much like to see costume designer and long-time Tim Burton collaborator, Colleen Atwood, pick up for season two.
3. Mad Motifs
Photo:Courtesy of Christopher Kane / JW Anderson via Getty Images
We heard it before we saw it; the chirping of chicks that reverberated around the location on the northern fringes of London in which Christopher Kane held its show. Then, turning a corner, we saw it; a dress adorned with a repeat-motif of baby chicks. This set the tone for what would be two more interesting prints at Kane; the brand's now Instagram-famous piglet dress and one, perhaps more subdued than its contemporaries, covered with rats. Bonkers and brilliant; we'd expect nothing less. However, this affinity for mad motifs continued across the LFW spectrum, with duck prints at Daniel Lee's reimagined Burberry and JW Anderson exploring ways to wear a Tesco shopper.
4. In Knots
Photo:Courtesy of Simone Rocha, Richard Quinn, Huishan Zhang
When comparing the last few seasons with one another, surface adornments have either been non-existent, with sheer fabrics that showcase what you have underneath serving as a sort of adornment in their own right, or they've been heavily crystallised; everything from dresses to boots to bags to tops have been smattered in rhinestones as our appetite for the fanciful peaked post-lockdown. This season, however, things have quietened, but only slightly. The new details to note came by way of pretty knots and bows, with doll-like and debutant-style dresses giving the collections a dress-up-like quality. Even as something of a minimalist, I myself find this too sweet to resist.
5. Dash of Saffron
Photo:Courtesy of David Koma / Eudon Choi and Bora Aksu via Getty Images
A key trend in the spring/summer 2023 collections, the recent runways confirmed that designers aren't through with their exploration of siren saffron. This is good news if you've already bought into the trend upon our advice this season, as it's now clear this is a colour we'll be wearing well into 2024, preferably head-to-toe, as dictated at David Koma, Eudon Choi, and Bora Aksu.
6. Below Deck
Photo:SS Daley via Getty Images / Courtesy of Simone Rocha, Paul & Joe
Nautical is a trend that we usually see resurge in the spring, but London Fashion Week designers are never ones to play by the rules. From layers of stripes at SS Daley (who knew Sir Ian McKellen looked so good in a sailor cap) to jaunty neckties and cute collars at Simone Rocha and Paul & Joe respectively, it's time to start practising your knots.
7. Business Casual
Photo:Courtesy of Tove / Eudon Choi, Emilia Wickstead via Getty Images
You've told us how into your workwear you are this season, as our articles on the subject are some of our most-clicked. And it would seem that designers are also tapping into our desire to look the professional part, with many building their collections upon tailoring and the foundations of officewear, albeit with elevated interpretations. Blazers with intricate clasps, suiting with spliced hems, and dresses layered with cutout knits were just some of the outfits we'd like to copy and paste onto ourselves Monday to Friday. Even Jakke, a label known for its faux fur, held its presentation in an '80s-style office, which was perhaps one of the most prevalent moments from LFW on social media.
8. Up the Volume
Photo:Roksanda via Getty Images / Courtesy of Christopher Kane, Molly Goddard
From full-on ruffle bustles at Christopher Kane to the dramatic shapes at Roksanda, finished with froths of tulle at Molly Goddard, there was no shortage of fabric on the autumn/winter 2023 runway. Shape will be a key player for the season ahead, so embrace it. Look for unexpected ways to channel volume (might I bring your attention to the bustles at Christopher Kane once more) and you'll remain ahead of the curve.