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London Fashion Week SS20 – 3 shows, 3 reviews

London Fashion Week is a funny thing. Instead of being tucked away somewhere exclusive, the British Fashion Council (BFC) chooses to integrate itself within the hustle and bustle of the Strand. At this time of the year, you can often spot fashion show guests and Instagram influencers not so subtly loitering around KCL’s central campus to get their photos taken.

Although the LFW Hub is based at 180 The Strand, individual shows are scattered around various London locations. Luxurious venues are almost always a given, though many designers favour unusual spaces to showcase their collections.

Photo by Halim Kim

Photos by Kimberley Archer

London-based Korean designer Gayeon Lee unveiled her SS20 presentation at Foyles, a bookstore located on the busy streets of Charing Cross. Pastel tones are apparent in this season’s collection, as Lee was largely inspired by American painter Milton Avery. To add complexity to the pieces, she weaves in patches of vivid colours such as navy and yellow. The loose, asymmetrical dresses, pants, and blouses help to emphasize the soft female silhouette. One prominent feature of the presentation was Theola Sturridge’s installation, playing around with light, space and primary colours.

Photos by Phillip Papadis

Similarly to Gayeon Lee, RCA graduate Alice Archer based her SS20 looks around works of fine art. Inspired by the paintings of Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Archer utilizes floral watercolour designs. Archer’s collection features long dresses and robes made out of layered tulle, sequins and silk-like material, adding to the elegance and intricacy of the embroidery. Archer’s attention to detail can be explained by her experience with the world of embroidery, as she spent time working closely with the artist Tracey Emin. The simplistic white background of the venue helped to enhance the colour of the pieces as a whole.

Photos by Supriya Lele Press

While both Lee’s and Archer’s collections are comprised of vibrant colours, Supriya Lele’s debut runway placed emphasis on darker tones. Dubbing this new colour palette ‘Summer Black’, Lele chose to undermine her previous usage of brighter, bolder shades. Lele’s newest collection can be analysed in three parts. The first dimension is her personal connection with fashion – many of the designs are influenced by her own vintage clothing. The eye-catching rubber trench alluded to the designer’s black leather jacket, a staple during her teen ‘rock phase’. Lele’s Indian heritage played a great role too. Her usage of textiles involved taking apart and distorting the Indian traditional clothing – sari – to create something new. Finally, Lele wanted to shed a light on young working women, as she is one herself, through reoccurring usage of the smart, business casual silhouette.

Many view London Fashion Week as the epitome of superficiality, an event catered towards the rich and famous. Although this is partially true, I believe that it is also a great platform for up-and-coming designers to showcase their talent and express themselves through fashion.

The next London Fashion week will be held from 14-18 February 2020.

Edited by Liza Mikhaleva, Fashion Editor and Alexia McDonald, Digital Editor