Fashion mirrors life. Think of it at a visual barometer of the times.
So in the loads-a-money Eighties before the stock market crashed, it was all about luxury logos and bling. Nineties grunge was a reaction to that. Sixties mini skirts were about the sexual revolution.
In February 2017, a month after Donald Trump was voted in - surely the most divisive American president of all time - runway reactions fall broadly into two camps.
First, the overtly political. Unsurprisingly this was most prevalent in New York where we saw pro-equality slogan tees at Christian Siriano and Prabal Gurung. Planned Parenthood badges sponsored by the CFDA. “Make America New York” caps at Public School.
The second reaction was more, “Sod this, let’s get dressed up and party.” Equally predictably, this was the dominant reaction at London fashion week, which wrapped last night.
History (and myth) is littered with precedent, from Nero fiddling while Rome burned to those Weimar German decadents busy singing cabaret while hyperinflation rendered their life’s savings worthless overnight.
At Ashish, the two perspectives came together, with clothes that spoke of both partying and giving reactionary forces the two-fingered salute. Designer Ashish Gupta presented a high-energy show of sequined slogans (“Nasty Woman,” “Love Sees No Colour”) and LGBTQIA-friendly rainbows on a yellow-glitter catwalk. The makeup? Mexican wrestling masks. Love trumps hate, eh?
But what if even that gets you down? If, frankly, you need a little break from thinking about the world going to hell in a hand basket? As Alexander McQueen famously said, "Fashion should be a form of escapism.”
Mary Katranztou was on hand to help with that. Her Swarovski embellishments, surprising velvets and sumptuous brocades were inspired by Disney’s Fantasia.
Erdem was big on gorgeousness too – as usual. This label is the cool London girl’s red carpet go-to after all.
Christopher Kane’s modern flappers (below) glittered with golden paillettes as big as dinner plates.
Molly Goddard, the queen of avant-garde tulle and baby-doll tiers, sat her model gang around a decadent dinner party table complete with candelabras (above).
Now to the next gen. At the Fashion East show, Mimi Wade proved herself a proper Pollyanna with a blue sky/little fluffy clouds dress. Matty Bovan’s sci-fi tribal gathering turned spangles into armour. And if the party really is over, and Armageddon descends into a zombie fight, we could do worse than buy a pair of Supriya Lele’s mighty earrings to defend ourselves with.
Follow Clare on Instagram @mrspress