illustration: Matt Herring
And lo, it came to pass that in the seven days of fashion the prophets of garments did set forth these style edicts. And it was good! On the whole. Get to know some of London’s hottest fashion-types and follow their dos and don’ts to ensure you get through London Fashion Week without a hitch.
1 THOU SHALT ENDEAVOUR TO FIND THE PERFECT WHITE SHIRT
Sir Paul Smith, fashion designer
‘Whether you are a man or a woman, the white shirt is an essential staple as it works with everything. Buy one in a high-quality cloth and it will last for many, many years.’
Sir Paul Smith’s second choice of career (his first was to be a professional cyclist) earned him a knighthood in 2000, 30 years after opening his first store in Nottingham. He will show at London Fashion Week for the fourteenth year running.
2 THOU SHALT APPROACH MAXI DRESSES WITH CAUTION
Henry Holland, fashion designer
‘Think not that a maxi dress covers a multitude of sins, and acknowledge the fact that it acts as a street sweeper, collecting fag butts and dog shit.’
Henry Holland shouted his way into London Fashion Week in 2006 with a collection of cheeky slogan T-shirts that ended up with more press coverage than the actual catwalk collections. He has since developed his House of Holland label into a fashion tour de force, and designed multiple successful hosiery collections with Pretty Polly.
3 THOU SHALT NOT TRY TOO HARD
Lulu Kennedy, Fashion East founder
‘I think it’s nice to see people looking like they’ve just rolled out of bed and bunged whatever on. Rather than tottering around in fierce heels, wouldn’t it be good to bounce around in battered old Converse? Then again, we all love tottering around in fierce heels… but maybe paired with a big cosy jumper, or dungarees, or your favourite old T-shirt. Don’t wait till evening to wear your best jazzy clothes, it’s entertaining to be overdressed for daytime!’
Lulu Kennedy is the formidable figure behind Fashion East, a platform for up-and-coming fashion designers that launched the careers of Jonathan Saunders and House of Holland.
4 THOU SHALT ENJOY KNITWEAR
Cozette McGreery, Sibling
‘Have fun wearing knitwear, and be colourful even if it is a jolly flash of sock laughing from under an all-black outfit. Don’t feel like you should Prada it head-to-toe, or wear an entire ’70s wallpaper pattern outfit if you feel uncomfortable. Just fling a leopard-print Fair Isle cardigan over a black T-shirt and black jeans.’
Cozette McCreery is one third of Sibling, the gloriously punky knitwear label that specialises in jumbo jumpers and novelty knits. So iconic is Sibling’s designs that its Knitted Skull and matching Skeleton leggings now sit permanently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
illustration: Matt Herring
5 THOU SHALT THINK TOP TO TOE
Louise Gray, fashion designer
‘Adhere to a total look – think about all the extras. I love large earrings, make-up and tights. Mix as much as possible – everything matches if you like it. Make your own choices and find your own personal style – dress for yourself and don’t be shy.’
Louise Gray is a young Scottish designer with an infectiously irreverent attitude to fashion. Her designs incorporate a riotous approach to colour, and have been showcased by Fashion East and NewGen – and will now be seen on-schedule at Fashion Week. Her make-up and fashion collections for Topshop are in-store now.
6 THOU SHALT NEVER WEAR CAMEL
Jaime Perlman, creative director, Vogue
‘A camel is an aggressive desert-inhabiting creature, not a flattering hue.’
Jaime Perlman has worked at British Vogue since 2005. She doesn’t like camel-coloured clothing.
7 THOU SHALT NOT WEAR HIGH HEELS IF THOU CAN’T WALK IN THEM
David Koma, fashion designer
‘I see so many people hobbling down the street looking really uncomfortable in heels. Nothing is less chic. I would advise wearers to train at home before going out in them. Wear heels to look confident, easy and flawless. Or not at all.’
Central Saint Martins graduate David Koma is showing his seventh collection at London Fashion Week. His designs have been showcased in Topshop and on Beyoncé.
8 THOU SHALT EMBRACE COLOUR
Brix Smith-Start, owner of Start Boutique
‘Gorge yourself on burgundy, overripe plum and black cherry until the juice dribbles down your chin!’
A renaissance woman of sorts, Brix Smith-Start has had an eclectic career that has taken her from playing guitar in The Fall, to duetting with Nigel Kennedy and founding four successful Shoreditch boutiques with husband Philip Start. She now combines buying for the Start boutiques with her blossoming role as a fearsome TV fashion pundit for shows such as ‘Gok’s Fashion Fix’.
9 THOU SHALT ACCEPT THAT DIP-DYE IS OVER
Geoffrey J Finch, creative director, Antipodium
‘Groomed locks have never been more attractive. This summer has seen the reign of mangy cheveux reach its dip-dyed jubilee and suddenly the got-it-together gloss of a seen-to do holds sexy promise. Don’t get me wrong, I have indeed championed a dabble with distress – “so nonchalant and fuss-free!” – but isn’t it nice to shake out the cooties and look, well, clean?’
Geoffrey J Finch is the creative force behind Antipodium, the cool kid of London fashion. The label has shown at London Fashion Week since 2006, and Finch’s last collection took the city as its muse, printing Thames riverscapes on to blouses and dresses.
10 THOU SHALT SET THINE OWN RULES (SO DISREGARD EVERYTHING YOU’VE READ SO FAR…)
Roksanda Ilincic, fashion designer
‘Thou shalt not follow what is set by others but learn to make new rules. Thou shalt never lose a sense of wonder in fashion.’
Serbia’s most famous designer has shown at London Fashion Week since 2005, and her trademark draping and glamorous silhouettes have adorned the ethereal forms of Florence Welch, Gwyneth Paltrow and most of the Royal Ballet. She recently launched her first childrenswear collection at Liberty, giving a new generation of tasteful tots a slice of Ilincic chic.
For more info on London Fashion Week, see timeout.com/lfw.