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Gothic churches, noughties nostalgia and expectant models: London Fashion Week AW24



Sunday 18 and Monday 19 February at London Fashion Week were once again filled with innovative show formats, from some of London’s brightest design talent.

Read on for our highlights, and see the best shows from Friday 16 and Saturday 17 February here.


Dilara Findikoglu

Actress Hari Nef walks the runway at Dilara Findikoglu’s AW24 show, 18 February

After pulling out from London Fashion Week last season due to a lack of funding, Turkish-British designer Dilara Findikoglu made her much anticipated return to the schedule on Sunday night. With a queue twisting around St Michael’s Church in Shoreditch, upon arrival it was clear that the show was one of the hottest tickets of the season.

A wide-eyed model sat outside on a bench, scantily clad in black lingerie and with a bluish grey painted face, laughing manically to herself. Inside, guests waited in the pitch black, until actress Hari Nef (who famously wore Findikoglu’s knife dress to the London premiere of Barbie last summer) appeared to a thumping electronic soundtrack. With choreography by Pat Boguslawski (who worked on the recent viral Margiela haute couture show) the models seemed stilted, broken and slightly deranged. Nonetheless, there was a strong undertone of sex – corsets, latex and perspex heels featured throughout the collection, alongside snugly-fitting sportswear, which is a newer direction for the label.

As always with Findikoglu, the collection relied strongly on historical references. An armour-style head piece was constructed from silver, dangling keys. Two dresses, one white and one black, were the final dramatic looks of the show. The white featured a wide, pannier-padded skirt, adorned with large structural ribbons and bows, and a tightly-laced corset bodice. To end, the models circled the grand hall of the church, with a robotic voice repeating “Dilara” over the dark beats – the designer undeniably delivered a show that crowds were chomping at the bit to receive.

Sinead Gorey

Sinead Gorey AW24

At her AW24 presentation housed in London’s Heaven nightclub, south-east London-born womenswear designer Sinead Gorey revisited the rebellious nature of late 2000s British teenagehood: iPods, silicone spike accessories, school uniform flouting, Lily Allen’s debut album on repeat and Katy B in the front row. For an added layer of nostalgia, era-defining brands Ed Hardy and Steve Madden were enlisted for baseball cap and footwear collaborations, complementing Gorey’s collection of seamless knits, embellished garments and detention-worthy patchwork tartan micro-skirts: “Back in the day, different schools had different tartan checks. That’s how you knew who went to what school,” she said.

Marques’ Almeida

Marta Marques and Paolo Almeida made a triumphant return to London on Monday 19 February. Having moved to their native Portugal during the pandemic, the show at the east end’s Truman Brewery felt like somewhat of a homecoming, especially as the label began in 2011 through the Fashion East platform.

The signature design codes of the brand, such as brocade fabric, wide peplums, raw hems, buckle straps and ostrich feathers featured throughout the collection. Alongside the diverse cast of models walking catwalk were multiple children — Marques Almeida launched its kidswear range MA Kids in 2020. Spikey jackets, bleached denim and monogrammed sets were all worn proudly by toddlers, and added a true family feel to the show. The collection ended with some beautifully voluminous silk dresses, in red, peach and white — with the sunlight streaming through the windows of the show space, feelings of warmth and positivity seeped into the consciousness of onlooking guests.

Di Petsa

Di Petsa AW24

It’s not commonplace for a fashion designer to kick start their own show, but Dimitra Petsa isn’t a commonplace designer. Reading from sheets of paper in one of her signature, figure hugging, wet-look gowns, she set the tone for her eponymous label’s autumn/winter show entitled “The Body as Prayer”.

Flooding the Newgen space in deep blue light, there was a strong focus on new life – a heavily pregnant model clasped her stomach whilst walking the runway, and shortly after, a model crawled under another model’s flesh-toned, heavily draped mesh gown to perform the act of giving birth to her. A vibrant flower covered structure, housing a silver orb and supported by four women, was carried down the runway in a ceremonious procession. In terms of the clothes, structural jackets, jeans, corsets and leather handbags were a strong and varied progression from the label’s usual offering. Singer Jesse Jo Stark made a mid-show appearance in a silver, jangling bead bra top, skirt and head dress, almost like a fleeting fairy. The finale saw the entire Di Petsa army come together in unison, carrying tapered candles and wafting about on the floor of the runway like reeds in the wind.

Susan Fang

Susan Fang AW24

In the airy brightness of Yeomanry House near King’s Cross, Susan Fang hosted her AW24 show entitled “Air Home”. A rope and pulley set up towards the back of the space blew giant bubbles, which were picked up by iridescent windmills suspended from the ceiling. Models entered the room by walking down a high staircase, which, when all elements were combined together, gave guests a stunning visual treat. Marshmallow-like puffer coats were printed with pink floral shapes, and worn with knee-high crochet boots. Layered romantic dresses, in sherbet colours, were accessorised with signature bead bags and Nike sneakers customised with 3D floral shapes. The layered styling avoided the looks becoming too sugary sweet, and allowed the complimentary colour palette of the garments to really shine through.

Saul Nash

Jourdan Dunn walks the runway at Saul Nash’s AW24 show, 18 February

Saul Nash‘s AW24 collection, titled “Dress codes”, draws inspiration from the night-time rituals and strict entry requirements of London’s 1990s garage clubs, coinciding with 30 years since the founding of the genre. Nash’s Sunday evening show saw the Old Selfridges Hotel’s Newgen space transformed into a nightclub, with models – which included garage legends MC Bushkin and photographer Ewen Spencer – dancing down the catwalk in Primaloft jackets, knitwear with ventilation panels, recycled nylon zip-ups, Seaqual mesh utility jackets, and jacquard polo shirts.

“Dress codes”, which references clubs’ ban on hooded jumpers, hats and trainers, marks Nash’s first venture into the bag category with the help of London-based accessories label Arcs, in the form of a mesh crossbody bag and a holster bag fastened with magnets. Instead of trainers, models donned Sebago loafers featuring shock-absorbing Vibram soles. Nash credits the garage scene for setting “the blueprint” for his clothing design vision:

“Growing up, I witnessed the garage scene through the eyes of my older brother, who was an MC [known as RJ East]. The question was, how do you take sportswear and dress it up to get in? That was the starting point for this collection,” he said.

Yuhan Wang

Yuhan Wang AW24

Entitled “The Trials”, Yuhan Wang’s AW24 show “pays homage to the prominent female figures in the legal arena who have played pivotal roles in shaping history”. Models carried briefcases and books, and some garments had newspaper sheets affixed about the collars proclaiming “Every woman is her own lawyer”. Lace, ruffles and bows were worn with suit jackets, sensible skirts and houndstooth jackets. The influence of former US lawyer and jurist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as stated in the show notes, could be seen in a black leather coat whose cut, length and volume closely resembled a judge’s robe. This was a show which combined femininity and power, romanticism and realism, hard and soft, whilst showcasing a beautifully wearable collection.

Conner Ives

Conner Ives AW24

For his AW24 collection, New York-born, London-based womenswear designer and Drapers 30 Under 30 alumnus Conner Ives shifted his focus from exploring US sportswear archetypes to paying tribute to his female friends and mentors in his debutante ball-inspired showcase at The Savoy. Addressing the fashion industry’s waste problem, Ives incorporated unconventional materials such as headphone wires repurposed into an sheer embellished ivory gown and deadstock military textiles turned jerseys, complimented by pointed-toe pumps and boots courtesy of Jimmy Choo.


Holzweiler AW24

Norwegian men and women’s wear label Holzweiler’s AW24 collection, which took place on Sunday afternoon at the Tate Britain gallery, draws inspiration from its native country’s natural landscapes. Titled “Mycelia”, after the intricate root system of mushrooms, the collection takes inspiration from creative director Maria Skappel Holzweiler’s childhood fascination with funghi, which are the reference point behind the sculptural puffer jackets mimicking puffball mushrooms, chiffon wraps and winding ribbed knitwear which resemble the texture of the stems, as well as crystal embellishments mimicking dew droplets seen on the surfaces of mushrooms at dawn.

Paolo Carzana

Model’s backstage at the Paolo Carzana show, 18 February

Entitled “Melanchronic Mountain”, Welsh designer Paolo Carzana’s autumn/winter show was dark and stormy. Choregraphed models treaded the catwalk of the Newgen space bare foot, wearing sheer, layered garments as though they had been washed ashore. Completed with voluminous headwear by British designer Nasir Mazhar, the overall ensembles of different fabrics, colours and textures were striking. With it only being one year since the designer’s debut show, and becoming known for his use of plant-based and recycled materials, what this rising star does next is much anticipated.

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