It's the start of a new season, and a new venue for London Fashion Week. After five years in the eighteenth century splendor of Somerset House, the official show space has decamped to a Twenties car park in the heart of Soho. The change in dynamic is palpable. Instead of open spaces and grand rooms, there are tiny backstreets thronged with street-style snappers. Instead of a sleek white tent, there's a bare, skylit runway on the car park's top floor.
The atmosphere is utterly different: heightened, harder, more “urban.” It shouldn't, perhaps, make a difference to how one appreciates a designer's work. But it does.
In Bora Aksu's case, all that parched greyness and dulled light provided an unexpectedly strong foil for a collection themed around “The Golden Hour;” the serene, soft-lit moments after sunrise and before sundown, when darkness blurs into light – and back again. Much of the clothing was familiar – splurges of tulle, crocheted doily panels, wispy pastel shades. But just like London Fashion Week itself, Aksu's approach had been revised – toned down, and tightened up. Silhouettes still drooped, but into simpler, less frothy forms; construction was less intricate, embellishment less intense. And it worked, allowing those golden hour shades (peach and baby blue, primrose, snow, and coral) to shine.
And after a week when New York focused so intently on an androgynous future, it was interesting to see London kicking off with a far more familiar notion: prettiness.