With the exception of the ‘**** Boris’ T-shirt worn by designer Richard Malone, London Fashion Week spring ’20 was light on political statements regarding Brexit.
However, notions of economic uncertainty ran much deeper, evinced by both the shoes that walked the runways and the fabric of the garments.
Footwear was generally wearable and accessible, as opposed to being too fashion-forward or appealing only to Instagram influencers.
With see-now-buy-now evolving into public-facing, ticketed shows, people are increasingly viewing the runway as a shopping list as opposed to a spectator sport.
As Area co-designer Piotrek Panszczyk observed, “the difference between now and 10 years ago is that when people see something on the runway, they don’t just want to fantasize about it, they actually want to own it. So for us, it’s about how we can make that happen from production to price point.”
In the face of potential economic challenges, this is how London designers responded when it came to their footwear. No one was going to stick their neck out and start a new trend that might not fly, so instead, they sought to Brexit-proof their runway shoes by playing it safe.
This came in opposition to the traditional method of showcasing the very editorial, outré versions on the runway and then releasing a more commercial collection for sales.
Pumps and sandals were classic with a twist. Case in point: pops of color at Victoria Beckham, draped fabrics at Burberry.
Square toes and two-tone details — another tried and tested formula — showed up at Rejina Pyo and at Roksanda courtesy of Malone Souliers.
At Erdem, the shoe was a gentle flatform sandal, while J.W. Anderson did espadrilles or jewel-detail flats, harking back to this summer’s anklet trend.
On the apparel front, while not everyone did the floor-grazers we’ve come to expect from Roksanda and Erdem, there was still a notable lowering of hems. (The “hemline index” theory of economist George Taylor in 1926 contends that a buoyant market equals short skirts and uncertainty is typified by longer lengths.)
However, when it came to their color palettes, Victoria Beckham, Roksanda, Erdem and friends all mounted a cheerful assault on the economic climate with saturated shades and exuberant prints. Wearing bright colors makes everyone feel better. Fact.
Donna Karan shares what she’d like to bring back to New York Fashion Week in the video below.