London Fashion Week 2023 was slightly overshadowed by the unexpected news of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, creating a mood that was simultaneously somber and celebratory. This year’s presentation offered not only a sea of emotions, but also settings, as designers chose venues that spoke to the attitude of their collections with intricate themes, lighting, and music to match. The presenters this year also took their inspiration from the usual sources as well as decidedly ones outside the box to feature looks and styles that will undoubtedly dictate the look of concrete jungles across the four corners of the earth in the coming months. No Kill has curated a short list of the designers that offered breathtaking pieces which speak volumes.
Voluminous excellence could be one phrase to describe Simone Rocha’s SS23 collection, which featured an assortment of light summer wool, sequined daisies, and quilted faille coats – an aesthetic slanted towards natural elements with an emphasis on proportions. The energy was ethereal and revelatory, and the execution beautifully weaved in elements of the past two years of melancholy and the unknown with slivers of distress seen through many looks in the collection. Proving that good things come to those who wait – the highlight without question is the debut of Rocha’s menswear line that veered towards a softer perspective while simultaneously embracing the traditional and utilitarian aspects of men’s apparel.
For this year’s collection, Eudon Choi brought the ‘joie de vivre’ of the Riviera to London. He presented a coterie of gender-fluid designs which harkened back to the 1930s, when cozy silhouettes and oversized blazers ruled the seasons. Also featured in the presentation were full-sized cropped and palazzo pants, mid and maxi dresses, plus lace ponchos to bring the aesthetic full circle.
With a color palette that spanned the full spectrum, of note were the vibrant yellows, oranges, and azure blues that dotted the collection. Prints were sparse but sharp and purposeful of the period recreated. Choi chose organic cotton, bamboo jersey, and Lyocell to evoke a light, ebullient aesthetic in line with a collection infused with an abundance of energy.
Sustainability and eco-friendly fashion has been centered in Rejina Pyo’s line for several seasons now and while many designers aim towards these measures, she has successfully navigated the waters to considerable acclaim. Her creations for the modern woman are an ambitious collection that embrace a soft power aesthetic in a singular way. By seamlessly blending organic cotton knits with oversized blazers, Pyo is in-step with career women on an agenda towards greatness in the boardroom and beyond. Colors ranged from beiges and muted colors to soft feminine tones in sage green, bold blues, and deep pink. Fittingly, the presentation also offers ample looks for women to go from day to night that are glamorous and easy to style up or down for the occasion. From sheer skirts and buttoned tops to crocheted bras, frayed denim also made an appearance to punctuate the set – a return to glamour and a definitive stance on eco-conscious fashion.
There are bold debuts and then there are the auspicious – those that leave an indelible print days and weeks after a presentation. Such was the case with Chet Lo, who finally stormed London Fashion Week on a mission to live up to the high expectations hovering since the announcement was made. Entitled ‘Baai-San’, Lo referenced his Buddhist upbringing through his collection. He paid homage to the peace and serenity associated with the religion while the models strutted the runway to the juxtaposition of a sonic landscape that began in tranquility and ethereal tones before building to a thunderous techno beat.
Stepping outside his comfort zone of punky, popcorn dresses, Chet Lo selected a cutout dress in deep green, slit dressed in extensive detailing, low-rise trousers and dramatic mini skirts to punctuate his collection. The visuals presented were as dramatic as the themes. The ode to club culture continued throughout, including the piece de resistance – the heralded debut of Chet Lo’s menswear line. Featuring distressed denim, textured organic fabrics in a wide spectrum of color that leapt off the runway, volume was in order and in abundance unapologetically in Lo’s praise-worthy inauguration into London Fashion Week.
Taking inspiration from nature, Nensi Dojaka’s SS23 collection was in full bloom. It included her signature slip dresses, sheer skirts, evening gowns busy and bright with sequins, structured bras, and body suits splashed with liberal strokes of vibrant colors. The overall look was refined femininity and doubled down on the aesthetic with asymmetrical construction with just the right amount of intricate tailoring. The Albanian designer used her collection this year to pay homage to one of the most iconic humans alive – Grace Jones – and gave pop culture a fresh jolt and a pivotal fashion moment.
Love from the runway? The theme illuminated S.S. Daley show for SS23, and by drawing inspiration from letters between star-crossed lovers Vita Sackville West and Violet Trefusis, he presented a dramatic presentation that dared to be as frilly, theatrical, and full of sartorial folly – a collection with historical resonance.
For his third showing at London Fashion Week, Daley adopted a decidedly classical approach. Models took to the runway in a barrage of blazers both in muted colors and stripes, patchwork shirts, sweater vests, high-waisted pants, and statement hats that paid homage to queer women under the thumb of patriarchal society from a previous era. Through a flowery setting on stage, other notable pieces included wide-cut tops, striped robes, silk scarves, and billowy long-sleeved shirts. And the debut of Daley accessories with totes, scarves, and statement hats galore! All told? A romanticized presentation aimed to pique the interests of the audience and society at large.